There’s been a key development in one of their partnerships.
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What’s up with Vertex and CRISPR Therapeutics?
“The big biotech has chosen to opt out of the diabetes gene-edited stem cell therapy it gained through the acquisition of ViaCyte, leaving CRISPR to take the clinical-phase program forward itself.”
“Vertex also remains active in diabetes cell therapy, including in partnership with CRISPR. In March, Vertex paid $100 million for non-exclusive rights to its partner’s CRISPR-Cas9 technology in hypoimmune cell therapies for type 1 diabetes. CRISPR received a further $70 million from Vertex later in the year and is still in line to receive up to $160 million in R&D milestones.”
Arnold Caplan death
The stem cell field lost one of the early pioneers recently when Professor Arnold Caplan passed away on Jan. 10. Caplan was considered the father of the mesenchymal stem cell or MSC field. He and others later felt that the MSC acronym should not be defined simply as stem cells since the cultures are somewhat heterogeneous. Other meanings for the MSC acronym began to be used.
I got to know him a little bit over the years and some good conversations. I had a long interview with him for The Niche about a decade ago. We even had some mild disagreements related to stem cell clinics marketing MSCs. He was a wonderful person to talk with about anything related to stem cells. Arnold was the kind of person you felt would just be around forever and him dying at 82 is a bit of a shock. It seems way too young.
More recommended reads
- Scalise temporarily leaves Washington for stem cell treatment, WaPo. This is a bone marrow transplant-type procedure for a blood cancer.
- One of the researchers on the xenobots saw my newer post on anthrobots and gave me a heads-up on an article that the various xenobot authors all contributed to. They express some diverse views on how this all played out, which is really interesting: Biological Robots: Perspectives on an Emerging Interdisciplinary Field, Soft Robotics.
- Regulatory T cells in skin mediate immune privilege of the hair follicle stem cell niche, Science Immunology.
- Hallmarks of stemness in mammalian tissues, Science Immunology.
- A nonneural miRNA cluster mediates hearing via repression of two neural targets, G&D. A reader of The Niche pointed out that we haven’t covered cell therapy research for hearing impairment, which is a good point. I’m going to be writing about that sometime soon.
- Ancient DNA helps trace multiple sclerosis origins in European descendants, WaPo. My favorite line from this article from Carolyn Y. Johnson is “But genes don’t do just one thing.” I like it because so many folks oversimplify genes and, in particular, how they will gene edit them to supposedly yield only one desired result. Genetics and biology don’t work that simple way. In the case of MS predisposition genes, the same genes may protect against some pathogens. It’s akin to how variants that are somewhat protective against malaria can cause sickle cell. Some variants of the CCR5 gene that protect against HIV infection may make things worse when a person faces West Nile virus or influenza.
- Molecular basis for PHF7-mediated ubiquitination of histone H3, G&D.