Biotech

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…


Traverse sinks teeth into human periodontal study

By GREGORY ZELLER // It seems everyone wants a piece of TRB-N0224. Already being tested as a potential treatment for lung injuries and for periodontal disease in dogs and cats, the flagship formula patented by Stony Brook-based Traverse Biosciences will now be pitted against inflammatory diseases threating bone and tissue around human teeth. The National Institutes of Health has awarded Traverse Biosciences, in partnership with Stony Brook University’s School of Dental Medicine, a $1.32 million…


Some pig: USDA, Codagenix target swine flu

By GREGORY ZELLER // With Zika virus, Foot and Mouth Disease and other global threats already in its crosshairs, Farmingdale biotech Codagenix Inc. is challenging another high-profile opponent: swine flu. A Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will fund research and development of an influenza vaccine for swine using Codagenix’s proprietary software platform, which “re-codes” viruses to create and test potential vaccines. Research and development under the $99,710…


Traverse, SUNY, DoD set big test for TRB-N0224

Stony Brook-based biotech Traverse Biosciences will share a Department of Defense award with SUNY Upstate Medical University to fund a critical field test of Traverse’s leading drug candidate. The effectiveness of TRB-N0224 as a treatment for lung injuries – including acute respiratory distress syndrome, a common condition in critically ill patients with a mortality rate as high as 50 percent – will be put to the test via a DoD Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program…


Study is big news for Vagus pioneer Tracey

By GREGORY ZELLER // Medical science has taken an enormous step toward “using electronics to replace drugs.” Kevin Tracey’s words sound downright science-fictional. And no, researchers cannot wave a medical tricorder and instantly cure ailments like “Star Trek” medic “Bones” McCoy. But they’re getting closer to a world where high-tech implants – not pharmaceuticals – are the most effective treatments for inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson’s disease. A recent clinical trial in the…


‘Accidental’ find may be COPD breakthrough

By GREGORY ZELLER // From the Didn’t See That Coming File comes Stony Brook University researcher Ute Moll and the p73 gene – potentially, a master key to unlocking new treatments for chronic lung diseases. As part of a cancer study, a team led by Moll – a professor in the SBU School of Medicine’s Department of Pathology – and research scientist Alice Nemajerova studied a family of genes including the p53, “the mother of…


Traverse Biosciences lands key seed investment

By GREGORY ZELLER // A critical seed investment will help Traverse Biosciences commercialize pharmaceutical candidates licensed from the SUNY Research Foundation. The circa-2013 Stony Brook-based biotech has secured $500,000 in convertible debt financing in a round led by Excell Partners, a Rochester-based venture capital fund partial to early-stage, high-tech startups. The SUNY Research Foundation added an undisclosed investment to Excell Partner’s $100,000 stake, while a collection of 10 accredited angel investors – “almost exclusively from…


Novel Parkinson’s Procedure Pumps Up NSUH

By GREGORY ZELLER // They’re dancing in the aisles, literally, at North Shore University Hospital, thanks to a revolutionary treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Surgeons at the Manhasset hospital, part of the Northwell Health system, recently completed their first endoscopic procedure involving Duopa, an effective drug combo administered via a cutting-edge cassette-pump system marketed by Chicago-based pharma AbbVie Inc. Approved by the FDA in January, Duopa marks the first Parkinson’s disease treatment to administer medicine –…