Biotech

Stock deal locks funds for Scythian marijuana study

By GREGORY ZELLER // A Canadian R&D firm with Long Island roots has locked up the first tranche of a strategic investment that will fund a major study involving concussions and medical marijuana. Scythian Biosciences Inc. and Canadian mining exploration company Kitrinor Metals Inc. on Tuesday announced a “brokered private placement” that gives 32.7 million common shares of Calgary-based Scythian, owned by Great Neck investment banker Jonathan Gilbert, to an investment team including lead agent…


Northwell, drug-maker ink bioelectronics partnership

By GREGORY ZELLER // Bioelectronic medicine has taken another forward leap, thanks to the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research’s latest professional alliance. The research-and-development arm of the Northwell Health system announced Thursday that it will apply its cutting-edge bioelectronics and cell-therapy technologies to cardiology and hypertension cases through a new “strategic partnership” with United Therapeutics Corp. Financial terms were not disclosed, but United Therapeutics will “fund Northwell’s efforts in four research-and-development tracks” while ushering new…


Rockefeller researcher nabs Feinstein’s molecular prize

Advanced molecular-genetics studies have earned a Rockefeller University researcher accolades from the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, and a fat check. While Feinstein Institute scientists are often the ones collecting the research prizes, this time the institute is dishing it out, naming Jeffrey Ravetch – head of the Leonard Wagner Laboratory of Molecular Genetics and Immunology at The Rockefeller University in New York City – the recipient of the fifth-annual Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine….


Fighting forced labor, Applied DNA forms cotton club

By GREGORY ZELLER // So, where does your cotton come from? Applied DNA Sciences would like you to know. Adding to its portfolio of crimefighting products and services, the Stony Brook-based biotech has identified lead genetic markers unique to cotton cultivars – produced intentionally by genetic breeding – grown in Uzbekistan, where forced human labor is used to harvest the fluffy fiber. Now, the anti-counterfeiting and product-authentication specialist is “seeking out partners” in an effort…


Scythian, U of M concussion study hits the jack-pot

By GREGORY ZELLER // A Calgary-based R&D firm with strong Long Island ties has swung an eight-figure financing deal, lighting up a major study pitting cannabinoids against concussions. Scythian Biosciences Inc. – owned by owned by Great Neck investment banker Jonathan Gilbert, who partners in fitness-nutrition enterprise Decision Nutrition with his wife, Keren Gilbert, among other ventures – and the University of Miami stand ready with a planned five-year, $16 million study of cannabinoid-based methods…


GE brings good things to bioelectronics research

By GREGORY ZELLER // General Electric is giving the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research a bioelectronic jolt. The Feinstein Institute, R&D mecca of the Northwell Health system, announced a new “strategic alliance” Tuesday with GE Ventures, the multinational conglomerate’s New Jersey-based business-licensing and equity arm. While no financial terms were disclosed, Northwell Health did note an “investment” that will help the Feinstein Institute’s evolving Center for Bioelectronic Medicine “continue its work in discovering, developing and…


New patent, new partnership for soaring Traverse

By GREGORY ZELLER // When a new U.S. patent is your second-biggest announcement of the day, you’re probably in a good place. It’s all smiles (with healthy teeth, of course) lately at Stony Brook-based Traverse Biosciences, which on Tuesday announced a new patent and a material transfer agreement with what CEO Joseph Scaduto dubbed “a top-10 global animal-health company” – essentially, an agreement to privately test flagship formula TRB-N0224 against a host of animal illnesses. That’s…


Codagenix: Flu can mutate, but it can’t hide

By GREGORY ZELLER // In a potentially huge breakthrough in the struggle against seasonal influenza mutations, Codagenix Inc. is preparing to release data demonstrating “multi-season efficacy” for its frontline flu vaccine – meaning the vaccine could prevent flu-related sicknesses even after the virus mutates. According to the Farmingdale-based clinical-stage startup, in multiple studies involving pigs and ferrets, CodaVax-H1N1 – Codagenx’s live-attenuated Influenza A vaccine – induced “a robust immune response to multiple seasonal strains of…


Still cutting its teeth, Traverse set for stellar 2017

By GREGORY ZELLER // First, healthy teeth for dogs … then a cancer cure for the world? Financially and otherwise, Traverse Biosciences enjoyed a strong 2016 – but it may ultimately pale compared to what’s shaping up as a potentially enormous 2017 for the Stony Brook biotech and its flagship pharmaceutical. Fueled primarily by a $1.32 million Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer award granted by the National Institutes of Health in August to the…


Tackling concussions with cannabis

By GREGORY ZELLER // A research effort stretching from Florida to Long Island to Canada’s Alberta province will determine if compounds derived from marijuana can be effective treatments for concussions. Calgary-based R&D firm Scythian Biosciences has agreed to fund a University of Miami study, to be conducted by the university’s The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and Miller School of Medicine, exploring cannabinoid-based methods of reducing post-concussion brain cell inflammation, which causes headaches and other neurological complications….


Codagenix, SUNY RF ink exclusive licensing deal

A year of big steps has led to one giant leap for Codagenix. Stony Brook University, through the Research Foundation for the State University of New York, has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with the Farmingdale-based biotech to commercialize a platform technology aiming to create a “pipeline of live attenuated vaccines” against viral infections attacking humans and other animals. The exclusive licensing agreement, announced Wednesday, involves technology developed in the laboratory of Eckard Wimmer,…


In Brazil, a big forward step for Chembio

The national health-regulatory agency of Brazil has approved commercial use of Chembio Diagnostics’ rapid field rest for the Zika virus – a major step toward selling the product in the Zika-ravaged Brazilian market. Brazil’s Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária (ANVISA) has greenlighted the DPP Zika IgM/IgG Assay, which detects antibodies using a tiny drop of blood and provides “semi-quantitative results” in 15 minutes, according to the company, using Chembio Diagnostics’ patented virus-detection platform and a…


Codagenix commences Zika vaccine testing

By GREGORY ZELLER // Farmingdale biotech Codagenix Inc. has commenced the first tests of its potential Zika virus vaccines in a living host. In a noteworthy display of speed sure to impress the medical community and potential investors alike, the 2012 startup began in vivo testing of its live-attenuated Zika virus vaccine candidates earlier this month – just 27 days after it plugged Zika into its proprietary, synthetic biology-based vaccine-design platform. The safety and efficacy study…


Chembio lands $13.2M Zika contract

Medford-based Chembio Diagnostics has won a $13.2 million federal contract to further develop its rapid test for the Zika virus, the company announced Thursday. Almost $6 million of the money – from the Department of Health and Human Services – will go toward its Zika test and a companion field monitor, the company said. Another $7.3 million will be used for development of a combination test for Zika, chikungunya and dengue. The firm, which also makes…


Feinstein researchers nab major NIH awards

Two cutting-edge Feinstein Institute for Medical Research projects have been selected for an elite National Institutes of Health funding program. Kevin Tracey, the institute’s president and CEO, and Ping Wang, Feinstein’s chief scientific officer, will continue their groundbreaking research into bioelectronic medicine and sepsis, respectively, with help from the NIH’s Maximizing Investigators’ Research Awards program. Through the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences – which supports “basic research that increases understanding of biological processes…