The hottest company uses robots to produce persona

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The company uses robots to produce personalized cancer vaccines, valued at $7billion

Yi science and technology news on July 25. According to wired, it needs a batch of robots to produce personalized cancer vaccines. Boston biotechnology company Moderna therapeutics is involved in this field, and its current valuation is $7billion

in the early 1990s, when Melissa Moore tampered with RNA (ribonucleic acid), the young biochemist had to carefully construct gene molecules with micropipettes, only a few at a time. In the laboratory of Nobel laureate Phil sharp at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), it may take several days to make a few drops of RNA. RNA can transport the genetic source code of cells to protein manufacturing machines. She didn't expect that in nearly 30 years, she would leave academia and work for a company that could produce 20 liters of RNA at a time

Moore is responsible for RNA research at Moderna therapeutics. According to the data of CB insights, an industry research institution, the company is valued at about $7billion and is one of the most valuable private medical companies in the world. Is this Boston based biotechnology company one of the few companies that has developed technology to use messenger RNA? (mRNA) one of the companies that turn human cells into pharmaceutical factories. These command strings can prompt the patient's body to produce things such as anti-cancer chemicals, heart repair proteins or antiviral antibodies. "Once you know how to get these drugs where you need them, you can change the sequence and produce a new drug very quickly. This is a radical mutation in our ability," Moore said

maybe so, but the development of Moderna is still in its infancy eight years after its establishment. The company operated secretly in the first two years, so it gave people a mysterious impression early. Natural biotechnology once criticized the company -- and other biotechnology companies, including troubled theranoa -- for not doing enough public research

it was not until the last year and a half that Moderna began to appear in public as it put several candidate drugs into clinical trials, and finally published some papers on the technical details it was developing. As these experiments are carried out - there are 10 at present and 11 more will be carried out in the future - Moderna has also expanded its base. Last week, the company opened a new manufacturing plant with an area of 200000 square feet and a cost of 110million US dollars. The plant will provide all the mRNA required by its experimental and preclinical research teams. Until now, the greenhouse gas emission reduction effect is better than that of steel and magnesium

Stephen Harbin, CEO of

moderna and head of the new station, admitted that the company is still a few years away from producing commercial products

new manufacturing plant

earlier this month, when England still had a chance to win the world cup, the Englishman in cowboy boots showed wired the new base of Moderna. Habin explained how scientists in uniforms, gloves and hair would pass through the five fluorescent clinical cleanrooms in the building. When the new base was opened on July 17, they were building the first batch of formal GMP (drug production quality management specification) of Moderna. Don't covet the 1:00 low price m, and take Changxing Island (West Central Island) petrochemical industry base as the core RNA

in the first room, a large stainless steel machine converts a set of digital sequences of gene building blocks called nucleotides into circular DNA plasmids. In the second room, the enzyme converts the DNA into mRNA chains. In the third room, mRNA? It is coated with lipid nanoparticles to enter the cells

the last and most important room is located in the center of the building, in a closed sterile area. To get there, employees must wear double-layer overalls and gloves and move slowly, so as not to arouse any microorganisms that may slide down the air filter. It's crucial to prevent pollution here. MRNA is stored here in vials and then taken to the final destination with the vials

behind the clinical clean room, in an area that habin said outsiders should not enter, workers are still repairing the "ballroom" of Moderna. The company plans to install some refrigerator sized customized robots there later this year to produce personalized cancer vaccines. Except for the project established by Moderna to treat infectious diseases, cardiovascular diseases and rare diseases, perhaps nothing can attract more attention than the design of disposable anti-cancer drugs. Ten years ago, the cost problem made all this unimaginable; According to Steven Hoge, President of Moderna, in terms of manual labor, the cost of producing a drug for one patient is the same as that of producing a drug for one million patients. But automation and advanced sequencing technology are changing this

"we will be able to produce drugs that treat diseases in different people in very different ways, which is equivalent to removing the human factor from this process." Hogg said in an interview with wired earlier this year, "it's not saying, 'Oh, this is the color that suits you', but 'no, we invented this color for you.'

personalized treatment

like other companies trying this approach, Moderna has also begun to use two genetic characteristics of cancer patients for personalized treatment. One is a small particle from tumor tissue, and the other is from their vial of blood. By comparing the two, the algorithm will find the mutation that causes cancer. Another algorithm generates a list of 20 protein targets based on those mutations, which predicts that these protein targets will teach the patient's immune system to attack the tumor. However, another algorithm will design nucleotide chains, and then Moderna's unique automated machine will integrate them into mRNA drugs. Human workers are responsible for monitoring the whole process at the workstation and performing quality control checks, but in general, machines undertake most of the work

last fall, Moderna cooperated with Merck to start the clinical trial of solid tumors; The first patient received individualized treatment before Thanksgiving. Those vaccines are being tested in conjunction with Merck's immunotherapy drug keytruda, which is used to weaken cancer's ability to avoid the immune system

this is a cooperative strategy. At least some of Moderna's competitors are also adopting this strategy. Everyone hopes to take the lead in launching products to the market. The German based biontech company has begun to work with its partner Genentech to carry out the second phase trial of personalized cancer vaccine treatment on patients with a variety of tumors. As early as 2011, the company obtained the first GMP? to grant authorization. Curevac, also located in Germany, established the world's first GMP production plant for mRNA in 2006. At present, the company is building the third and fourth factories, and its production capacity will increase 30 times by 2020. It has three anti-cancer vaccine projects that are currently in clinical trials

will be eliminated by 13. Stress control rate accuracy: CRISPR technology when the rate is less than 0.05% FS/S

some industry analysts said that the lack of progress in mRNA based cancer vaccines should cause investors' concern. Dirk haussecker, a German biotechnology consultant, has turned his attention to new technologies such as CRISPR gene, which he believes will eliminate most mRNA applications, including personalized cancer treatment

Nils Walter, director of the RNA biomedical center at the University of Michigan, is less pessimistic. He believes that the time is finally ripe for the implementation of RNA based therapies, and companies such as Moderna, curevac and biontech may be at the forefront. But he warned that there was still much to be studied about the biological principles of these potential therapies. "If you want to cross the vaccine, you must start to worry about what that mRNA is doing, because it can escape to other parts of the body." He said, "for example, when you inject muscle, it magically appears in the blood."

but he said that the addition of Melissa Moore would undoubtedly help Moderna solve these problems. She previously worked at the RNA Therapy Institute at the University of Massachusetts School of medicine and was highly respected. Walter said that with Moore's scientific talent, maybe they can find potential bottlenecks, treat them frankly, and overcome them quickly. After all, she has developed many RNA technologies widely used in this field. At a meeting with Moderna's process innovation team, Moore realized that they were using a technology she invented 30 years ago when she was a postdoctoral. She later found the old laboratory notebook of that year and showed it to them

as Moderna enters a new chapter, she may also help them tear down the mysterious label. Moore said that her team will soon publish a paper proving that they can turn off mRNA by design, so that they can only express proteins in cells expected by Moderna, such as cancer cells. They have also prepared to carry out more research to design that mRNA can exist in the human body for a longer time, which will be of great significance for the treatment of genetic diseases that require lifelong medication. Relevant arguments will also be published. (lepang)

source of this article: Yi science and Technology Report

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