News

Illumina’s $1.2 Billion PacBio Takeover Threatened by CMA Concerns

20 June 2019

The CMA has announced that Illumina’s $1.2 billion acquisition of Pac Bio is potentially anti-competitive, delaying the expected conclusion of the deal until fourth quarter 2019. The CMA said the deal could remove Illumina’s biggest competitor, leaving limited alternatives available for customers.

13 June 2019

BIO 2019 – An Interview with Irene Rombel, Senior Director and Head of Strategic Analysis at Janssen

With the recent conclusion of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s BIO 2019 event, we thought we’d talk to some of the fascinating individuals who were present to showcase their innovative ideas or technologies. Irene Rombel, Senior Director, Head of Strategic Analysis – External Innovation, Discovery, Product Development & Supply, at Janssen Research & Development, spoke at BIO 2019 about gene therapy and the next generation of biotherapeutics. We spoke to her about her thoughts on the gene therapy field, and the future for companies in that space.

13 June 2019

George Church’s Startup Testing Pig Organs in Primates

eGenesis has announced that it is now testing pig organs on primates to see if they safe for human use. If successful, this practice could solve the current shortage of human organs for transplantation. The company has declared that the pig organs are the most highly engineered ever created by surgeons.

13 June 2019

Gene Editing Creates Primate Model for Autism

A joint US-China study has engineered macaque monkeys to express a mutation linked to autism and other human neurodevelopmental disorders. The monkey showed certain behavioural traits similar to humans with the same condition.

12 June 2019

Russian Scientist Plans to CRISPR-Edit More Babies

Russian biologist Denis Rebrikov has announced his intentions to produce further gene-edited babies, ignoring the scientific consensus that this should not be done until an ethical framework is constructed to regulate the science involved. Rebrikov’s plans could occur before the end of the year if he receives approval in time.

10 June 2019

New “Jumping Gene” CRISPR Directly Inserts DNA

A new experimental version of CRISPR could help fix genes rather than disable them using transposons, or “jumping genes”. This could help move the current “find and delete” purpose of CRISPR to the more useful “find and replace” one.

7 June 2019

US Government Restricts Research on Foetal Tissue

The US government has ended medical research funding for scientists using foetal tissue, and cancelled a multi million-dollar contract for a laboratory at the University of California at San Francisco, which required the material to test new HIV therapies. According to a White House spokesperson, the decision was taken by President Trump himself.

6 June 2019

Mirror Mirror Universe: An Explanation for Dark Matter and Anti-Matter?

There could be another universe right next to our own: a mirror universe that goes a long way to explaining many of the inconsistencies and questions we’ve found in our own. Scientists are working towards finding this hidden space which could contain mirror atoms, molecules and whole planets to our own.

6 June 2019

Stem Cells Edited In Vivo For the First Time

Researchers have genetically modified stem cells inside the bodies of mice for the first time, in a study that could lead eventually to new potential for stem cell therapies. The study also shows potential for studying genetically-edited stem cells within the body, rather than in the lab.

4 June 2019

CRISPR Twins’ Lives Could Be Shortened by Two Years

He Jiankui, the Chinese scientist who created the first gene-edited twin children last year, could have unknowingly shortened their lives by more than 1.9 years. A study into the DNA and death records of 400,000 volunteers in the UK Biobank found the genetic mutations to gene CCR5 were “of quite strong effect.”

3 June 2019

Fungus Genetically Modified to Wipe Out Malaria-Carrying Mosquitoes

University of Maryland scientists have genetically modified a fungus to produce a toxin fatal to mosquitoes, in order to reduce the malaria death toll they currently cause. An out-of-lab trial destroyed a mosquito population almost entirely within 45 days, leading some to criticise the work as “too dangerous” for the real world.

30 May 2019

Scientists Create Self-Repairing DNA Nanostructures

Scientists from John Hopkins University have created DNA nanostructures which self-heal in serum, avoiding damage to such nanostructures which has historically occurred when added to cellular environments.

29 May 2019

Autism-Causing Variations Found in “Junk” DNA

Princeton University researchers have used AI techniques to uncover junk DNA mutations which can lead to autism. The findings are the first to link functionally link mutations in regulatory DNA with a disease like autism, and possibly prove that the changes affect how genes are expressed in the brain.