Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

APR15 2017

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) is the world's most widely read biotech publication. It provides the R&D community with critical information on the tools, technologies, and trends that drive the biotech industry.

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Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News | | APRIL 15, 2017 | 11 achieved via the overexpression of a strong oncogene (ras-encoded p21 protein), gives the rasH2 model an advantage over many other transgenic models on the market. Ag- ing effects are also minimized. The rasH2 model is also useful in evaluating tumor treatment compounds. Drug toxicity is the major reason for most withdrawal of approved drugs from the market, the most common reasons being hepatotoxicity and cardiotoxicty. Usually, toxicity testing is completed and results are vetted in the preclinical phase. But even if drugs pass through these evaluations with high marks, they may falter after they enter the clinical market. Here, toxicity reports may reflect adverse consequences among end consumers. Such revelations may trigger losses that far exceed those associated with a drug's research and development expenditures. A drug that hurts consumers can lead to liti- gation and reputational damage. Drug deba- cles, however, can become less common. For example, if innovations such as the DILISym system, body-on-a-chip technology, or tests consonant with the CiPA Initiative are used to improve toxicity testing in the early stages of drug discovery, many problems down the line can be eliminated. Drug Discovery We've seen it before. A spark of inspiration becomes an idea. That leads to a discovery. That produces a breakthrough product. That creates a whole industry. And all the innovator needs from us is to get behind it. With R&D funding. With technology transfer. With support from business leaders. That's the "get it done" spirit that put Iowa in the lead nationwide for renewable energy. First in ethanol production, second for biodiesel and third in renewable energy production. So visit And find out why innovation is so contagious in Iowa. Photo courtesy of Iowa State University College of Engineering WHEN WE SEE INNOVATION, WE GET BEHIND IT. Rarefied Cannabinoid Process Achieves New (Biosynthetic) Highs Insights Although the Trump administration has been giving mixed messages about marijuana legalization, it seems to regard recreational use of marijuana as being relatively base (and worthy of prohibition), and medical use as being relatively el- evated (and worthy of forbearance). With time, the administration may define intermediate altitudes. For ex- ample, it may place marijuana-con- taining nutriceuticals below highly processed pharmaceutical-grade products, which may contain mari- juana extracts. An even loftier status may be accorded artificial products. If official favor is to be accorded in proportion to one's distance from the cannabis plant, a company called Teewinot Life Sciences will be well po- sitioned. Instead of refining and modi- fying cannabinoids extracted from cannabis, Teewinot manufactures authentic cannabinoids that have the same chemical structure as naturally occurring phytocannabinoids. The company relies on methods that com- bine the tools of synthetic biology, biocatalysis, and chemical synthesis. Teewinot recently signed a letter of intent with Noramco, a producer of controlled-substance active phar- maceutical ingredients. Together, the companies plan to enter the commer- cial cannabinoids market using Tee- winot's CannSynthesis™ biocatalytic technology. Teewinot will also provide the expertise Noramco requires to implement the technology rapidly. Noramco will create 10–15 can- nabinoid reference standards with CannSynthesis technology and si- multaneously evaluate it for the pro- duction of dronabinol on a commer- cial scale. Dronabinol is known for its effectiveness in pain management, as an antiemetic, in the control of vomiting, as an appetite stimulant in the treatment of AIDS, and for reduc- ing the side effects of chemotherapy. "Combining Teewinot's CannSyn- thesis™ technology with Noramco's controlled substance manufacture and distribution expertise allows us to serve a fast-emerging market space," said James Mish, president and CEO of Noramco. Projections of the size of the can- nabis biotech/pharma market may need to be recalculated, depend- ing on the Trump administration's actions. If estimates cited in 2015 by Viridian Capital Advisors remain valid, however, the market could sur- pass $20 billion by 2020. n

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