Weekly Quick Hits (Greater Philly) – Week of March 20, 2023

By Mark Terry, Alex Keown, and Sarah Ellinwood
March 24, 2023

Funding, Awards and Collaborations

Princeton’s Biofuels Program Receives Department of Energy Funding

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) committed $590 million to four Bioenergy Research Centers, including Princeton’s Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI). CABBI will focus on converting yeasts into biodiesel, organic acids, jet fuels, lubricants and alcohols. The other three programs are the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, the Center for Bioenergy Innovation, and the Joint BioEnergy Institute.

Helius Inks Distribution Deal with HealthTech Connex

Newton, Pa.-based Helius Medical Technologies signed an exclusive agreement with HealthTech Connex. The deal grants HealthTech the exclusive right to purchase, market, sell, and distribute Helius’s Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator (PoNS) device throughout the metropolitan Vancouver and Fraser Valley regions of British Columbia, Canada.

In the Clinic

Incyte Reports New Phase IIb Data on Nonsegmental Vitiligo

Incyte, headquartered in Wilmington, Del., announced new data from a Phase IIb trial of povorcitinib, an oral JAK1 inhibitor, in adults with extensive nonsegmental vitiligo. The data demonstrated substantial total body repigmentation as measured by total Vitiligo Area Scoring Index (T-VASI) scores. The company also announced new 104-week data from the pivotal Phase III TRuE-V trial of Opzelura (ruxolitinib) cream 1.5% in patients 12 and older with nonsegmental vitiligo.

New Products

Syft Technologies Launches Next-Gen Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spec

Philadelphia-based Syft Technologies launched its next-generation Syft Tracer, a Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MD) technology. The tech applies precisely controlled chemical ionization reactions to detect and quantify trace amounts of volatile organic compounds and inorganic gasses.

Wistar Graduates 13 in Inaugural Biomedical Technician Training Program

Philadelphia-based Wistar Institute’s 2023 Biomedical Technician Training (BTT) Program graduated its inaugural spring graduating class of 13. The program connects adults with a high school diploma or GED to high-skill careers in the region’s laboratory environment. The program included 12 weeks at The Wistar Institute followed by 10 weeks as interns at Iovance Biotherapeutics, developing competencies to become aseptic manufacturing technicians.

Research Roundup

CHOP Research: Strong Adolescent-Parent Relationships Lead to Better Long-Term Health as Adults

Researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) published research showing that adolescents with strong parental relationships have better long-term health outcomes. The study evaluated data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and was published in JAMA Network Open.

CHOP Research: First-of-its-kind Prediction Model for Newborn Seizures

Investigators from the Neuroscience Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) developed a model to predict which newborns are likely to experience seizures in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). It will help physicians decide which babies will need electroencephalograms (EEGs) and which can be safely managed without EEGs.

Regulatory and Advocacy

FDA Approves Incyte’s Zynz for Merkel Cell Carcinoma

The FDA approved Wilmington, Del.-based Incyte’s Zynz (retifanlimab-dlwr) for adults with metastatic or recurrent locally advanced Merkel cell carcinoma under an accelerated approval pathway. The drug is an anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor. The approval was based on tumor response rate and duration of response.

FDA Rejects Incyte’s Ruxolitinib for Myelofibrosis, PV and GVHD

The FDA issued Incyte a Complete Response Letter (CRL) for ruxolitinib extended-release tablets for once-daily use for myelofibrosis, polycythemia vera and graft-versus-host disease. The drug is a JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor. The CRL indicated it could not approve the application in its present form, citing additional requirements for approval.

TELA Bio Receives 510(k) Clearance for OviTex PRS

TELA Bio, located in Malvern, Pa., announced the FDA granted 510(k) clearance for its OviTex PRS Long-Term Resorbable product. The product is designed for implantation to reinforce soft tissue in patients requiring soft tissue repair or reinforcement in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

People on the Move

Chris Preti Named President of Jubilant HollisterStier

Spokane, Wash.-based Jubilant HollisterStier, a subsidiary of Yardley, Pa.-based Jubilant Pharma, named Chris Preti as president. Preti’s previous positions included positions of increasing responsibility at GlaxoSmithKline and HolisterStier Allergy, where he was most recently president.

Chemours Appoints Denise Dignam and Gerardo Familiar

Wilmington, Del.-based The Chemours Company appointed Denise Dignam as President, Chemours Titanium Technologies and Chemical Solutions. The company also promoted Gerardo Familiar to succeed Dignam as President, Chemours Advanced Performance Materials. The company is involved in a range of markets, including healthcare and medical devices.