Bristol scientist develops novel ophthalmic device that could prevent vision loss worldwide

Dr Shelby Temple, from the University of Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences, has been named Innovator of the Year 2017 for his ground-breaking work into polarization and macular degeneration.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) award recognizes Dr Temple’s work in developing a device that can rapidly screen people at increased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the worldwide leading cause of incurable blindness in people over 55.

Read more

US company plans regional Queensland biorefinery to make cosmetics from sugar cane

A United States biotechnology company has announced it will build a biorefinery in Queensland to make cosmetics out of sugar cane.

Amyris Biotechnologies is a renewable products company that engineers organisms to make alternatives to petroleum, plant and animal-based products, such as specialty chemicals, flavours and fragrances, cosmetics ingredients and pharmaceuticals.

Read more

Time for a new approach for NZ agriculture – KPMG

In its latest edition of Agribusiness Agenda, KPMG said agri-food sector success was dependent on placing consumers at the centre, and farming needed to move to a market, value-based focus. KPMG Global Head of Agribusiness Ian Proudfoot said creating and capturing value fell on people and organisations involved in the industry, and working collaboratively will ensure a sufficient pivot to a market-focused, value-based culture to better capture opportunities. The Agribusiness Agenda considers how to capture the quarter of a trillion dollars New Zealand products realise in-market and contribute more to domestic prosperity. Mr Proudfoot said the industry must collectively focus on food and beverage, fibre and timber consumers. Key points of the Agenda include the increased priority of provenance branding, securing high-quality trade agreements, action needed on water and the environment to preserve the “license to operate”, growth of alternative proteins, necessary biotechnology regulatory frameworks, and data control and opportunities to monetise it.

Read more

Regeneus to receive cash payment for trial success

Regeneus (ASX:RGS) is set to receive a milestone payment of US$1 million for meeting the primary endpoints of its Phase 1 safety trial of Progenza in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

Progenza is Regeneus’s flagship asset, and is a patented off-the-shelf stem cell technology developed for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

Read more

Amazon buys Whole Foods(!) for $13.7 billion

Amazon has acquired Whole Foods, a move that marks the ecommerce giant’s official entry into the world of brick-and-mortar stores as well as groceries.

It’s Amazon’s biggest acquisition ever—and it’s not even close. The company is paying $13.7 billion in cash for the grocery chain, which now operates some 465 stores across the U.S.

Read more

Private equity, capital flows bolster local 2017 M&A prospects

Local bankers and lawyers expect a strong final half for mergers and acquisitions, after a jump in activity and resurgence in private equity-led deals so far this year.

Those canvassed by The Australian Financial Review said the pipeline of M&A deals was healthy, and buoyed by large pools of global capital that had to be deployed and favourable funding markets. They expect a strong rather than stellar finish to 2017.

Read more

The week in medical cannabis: ethics approval granted, new JV formed

It’s been a big week for Australia’s growing medical cannabis industry, with ethics approval granted for two human trials as well as the formation of a new joint venture.

Life science company Medlab Clinical Limited has received Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) approvals to begin human trials of two different cannabis-based medicines. Developed at Medlab’s Sydney laboratory, the patent-pending medicines have two different applications and will be clinically tested at different locations.

Read more

Bioshares analysis: 60 of 101 biotech firms lifted market cap in 3 years, as Oventus reaches distribution deal

BIOTECHNOLOGY can be risky, but a new study shows that almost 60 per cent of life-science companies have grown in stockmarket size over the past three years.

At least 25 out of 101 surveyed companies had doubled their market capitalisation, the study by sector analysts Bioshares found. Fifteen of the 101 companies listed since June 2015 had at least tripled.

Read more

Precision gene editing may deliver biofuel promise

For decades now, we’ve been promised cheap biofuels from algae. But there’s no free lunch. Growing these mini oil factories in vast ponds requires fertiliser and mechanical aeration; and then the oil has to be extracted. It all costs energy and money so the yields need to be high to make it worthwhile.

One promising industrial species is Nannocholoropsis gaditana, which can produce a lipid – the oil and fat energy store – content up to about 60% of the algae’s ash-free dry weight. But Eric Moellering and colleagues at the company Synthetic Genomics Inc in California, wanted to do better.

Read more