BiomaRx Strikes Collaborative Agreement with SBH Sciences and Woodland Biosciences.

 

Cambridge, MA, February 16, 2017:  BiomaRx reached a collaborative development and investment agreement with SBH Sciences and Woodland Biosciences, for capital applied to services in kind, dedicated laboratory facilities, and access to the CLIA certified/CAP accredited laboratory. (Link to Biomarx press release)

As part of the creative collaboration agreement, both Michael Briggs, PhD, and Raphael Nir, PhD, will join the Advisory Board of BiomaRx. Michael Briggs, President & CSO of Woodland Biosciences and a former Sr. Director at Vertex, brings over 20 years of biotech leadership experience developing novel oncology models and anti-cancer therapeutics. Raphael Nir, an entrepreneur and angel investor, is co-founder of Karyopharm Therapeutics, Woodland Biosciences, Galectin Sciences, and Alma Bio-Therapeutics. Additionally, he is co-founder of SBH Sciences where he is the President and Chief Scientific Officer.

“We believe in BiomaRx and have confidence that this technology will make a significant contribution to the earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and thus save lives. We are pleased to be part of this collaboration and look forward to working together” said Raphael Nir.

“This is a great opportunity to leverage the world class expertise and facilities of both SBH and Woodland. Raphael and Michael bring deep insights that will help us develop and commercialize a first-ever non-invasive diagnostic for pancreatic cancer”, said Zeid Barakat, CEO of BiomaRx. “The SBH and Woodland partnership with BiomaRx is an exciting first-step in helping us to transition this promising life-saving technology from the academic lab to a CLIA certified/CAP accredited one, with all of the resources of a commercial facility” added Roya Khosravi-Far, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at BiomaRx. “We are excited to get going!”

SBH Sciences, based in Natick, MA offers a suite of services, including 10 biomarker platforms, to help accelerate BiomaRx diagnostic and therapeutic development programs. These facilities include two state-of-the-art cell culture labs, a protein purification lab, a molecular biology lab, and a CLIA certified/CAP accredited lab. Woodland Biosciences is located in Grafton, MA and offers an assemblage of in vivo services for the study of metabolic diseases and oncology, including orthotopic xenografts for pancreas cancers.Based out of Cambridge, MA, BiomaRx is a seed-stage venture focused on making pancreatic cancer a treatable condition through early diagnosis. The team is developing a non-invasive diagnostic for pancreatic cancer, a disease that is projected to be the second leading cancer killer by 2020.  Spun out of Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, BiomaRx uses a proprietary systems biology engine to identify next-gen diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets for first-in class pancreatic cancer diagnosis and treatment. 


Woodland Awarded STTR Grant from NIH/NCI to Bank HCC Tumors in collaboration with MGH.

 

Massachusetts, April 27, 2017:  Woodland Awarded STTR Grant from NIH/NCI to Bank HCC Tumors in collaboration with MGH.  

Massachusetts, April 27, 2017:  Woodland Biosciences, a preclinical contract research lab (CRO) in greater Boston announces today the award of an STTR grant from NIH/NCI together with co-applicant Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).  The award, titled “Development, Characterization & Commercialization of a Viably Frozen, Patient-
Inclusive Hepatocellular Carcinoma Tumor Bank”
will encompass activities to capture, expand, characterize and bank primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tumors from American patients.  The tumors will be available for patient-derived xenograft (PDX) studies at Woodland Biosciences mid-2017. 

 “Tumor banking is well established for many tumor types, such as colon and lung, but well populated and well characterized, population-representative liver tumor banks do not exist in the U.S.” said Michael Briggs, PhD, President & CSO of Woodland Biosciences.  “Liver cancer is one of a few cancers for which incidence is increasing and is one of the more lethal cancers with low survival rates after diagnosis (11-16% 5 year survival). HCC tumor banks exist in China, but they are opportunistically obtained with low tumor take-rate which leads to only capturing the fastest growing tumors and not the full spectrum of patients, and are generally less-well characterized or annotated with patient histories. Moreover, liver cancer has different drivers in China, compared to the American disease, with HCV and obesity/diabetes playing larger roles in North America,” added Dr. Briggs.

Dan Duda, PhD, DMD – an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and Investigator at the MGH Research Institute, and  the co-PI on the STTR project – has developed a protocol that sharply improves the ability of human HCC tumors to grow in mice, leading to a higher capture rate and a more representative and diverse tumor bank of HCC in the American population.  “Our goal is to bank more than 30 tumors representing the diversity of the disease and of the patient population,” said Dr. Duda, whose roles will involve both primary tumor capture and molecular characterization.

“Our phase I milestones are to demonstrate stable expansion of tumors and to test their sensitivity to existing HCC drug therapies in vitro and in vivo.  MGH will perform oncogene screens in phase I with deeper molecular characterization planned for phase II,” said Dr. Briggs.  “In Q3 2017 we will welcome biopharma companies seeking to partner on early PDX studies in American-enriched HCC.”

About Woodland Biosciences
Woodland is a contract research organization (CRO) offering in vivo services for the study of metabolic diseases and oncology.  Woodland has >330 cancer cell lines for flank xenografts plus several syngeneic models for immuno-oncology studies, with a special focus on cancers of the liver, pancreas, brain and colon. Woodland has laboratories on the campus of Tufts Veterinary School in Grafton, Massachusetts (Boston metrowest). Woodland Biosciences is a DBA of Woodland Pharmaceuticals, LLC.

 About NIH/NCI SBIR/STTR Program
HHS SBIR and STTR programs are an integral source of capital for early stage U.S. small businesses that are creating innovative technologies to improve health.  The announced award was issued by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under Award Number R41CA213678.


                   (PR Log entry here)

Press Releases

USA - Canada Preclinical Oncology Strategic CRO Alliance Formed

Strategic Alliance in Oncology between Woodland Biosciences and CNBE de l'INRS
A Preclinical Oncology Strike Force is Now Available

Feb. 11, 2015 - WORCESTER, Mass. - LAVAL - A strategic partnership agreement in preclinical oncology was signed by Woodland Biosciences and Centre national de biologie expérimentale (CNBE) of Institut national de recherche scientifique (INRS). This unique alliance provides integrated contractual services from target discovery through preclinical development in the oncology field.

The spectrum of services comprises in vitro screening services using 2D and 3D cultures, target marker identification and mechanism of action, and in vivo pharmacology studies. In addition to standard efficacy studies, the alliance allows us to provide the following expanded and integrated menu of services making your experiment a more complete study that can be customized to your needs: screening toxicology (biodistribution, dose-range finding, immunotoxicology, chemotherapy-related hematological toxicities), pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and biomarker identification in healthy and tumor bearing animals, syngeneic animal cancer models and xenograft studies using cell line and patient-derived (PDX) models for small chemical entities and biological products. Over 260 human cancer cell lines in 19 cancer indications will be available.

Further, innovative animal models of cancer will be co-developed over the next months for answering unmet needs in oncology. A critical research focus of the alliance is to better understand and model treatment-refractory or drug resistant cancers which is the clear unmet medical need for researchers, clinicians and their patients.

"Our partnership with CNBE will accelerate targeted applied oncology research and development, particularly in offering a one stop shop for anti-cancer drug developers," explains Dr. Michael R. Briggs, President, Woodland Biosciences.

"Thanks to this agreement, the clients will be able to use the expertise of each organisation to strengthen their drug development pipeline. They will have also the possibility to expand their development in using the state-of-art animal facility of the CNBE having the expertise and capability to house rodents, dogs, ferrets, farm animals (swine, sheep and goats) and non-human primates," adds Dr. Mario C. Filion, Director of CNBE-INRS.

Woodland is also pleased to announce that it has formed a Quebec corporation, Recherche Translationnelle Woodland Canada, Inc. (Woodland Translational Research Canada) which will be located at the CNBE on the INRS–Institut Armand Frappier campus. This organization is primarily focused on building a state-of-the-art primary patient viable tumor bank, called "Living Legacy" Viable Tumor Bank that is partnered with a Quebec-based non-profit organization, PreThera Research that has received Canadian funding from the Network of Centers of Excellence to establish the bank and identify solutions to personalizing cancer care. Woodland Canada will focus on capturing primary patient tumors, expanding them and preserving them in a viable form for future studies of new drug entities and biological products and models more relevant to the clinic for researchers from the academic and industry setting in Canada and around the world.

For more information, please see www.nce-rce.gc.ca

About Woodland Biosciences

Woodland BioSciences is a preclinical contract research organization (CRO) providing innovative and customized solutions and consultation to the biotechnology community. The mission of Woodland is to enhance drug development for the most severe cancers, inflammation and other major diseases.
Woodland also enters shared-risk ventures through our bioincubator to help advance early molecules to value creation milestones.

About CNBE INRS

CNBE, located on the INRS campus in Laval, offers high standard preclinical research services to the scientific community and the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Certified by the Canadian Council on Animal Care in Science (CCAC) and the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC International), it provides housing for laboratory animals at various levels of biological confinement as well as an array of services required by R&D projects.


###

Contact
Michael R. Briggs
mbriggs@woodlandpharma.com

May 2016:  Woodland President & CSO is a co-author on a poster presented at Digestive Disease Week in San Diego.

 

Sa2084 CAT-2003, an Analog of CAT-2054, a Novel Oral Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein Inhibitor, Inhibits Inflammation and Fibrosis in a Murine Model of Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)

Dominic Picarella, Mike Zimmer, Diana Lee, Michael Briggs, Arlin Rogers, Joanne Donovan,  Andrew Nichols

Abstract published in Gastroenterology Journal.  (Link to Catabasis press release)


Introduction: CAT-2003 and CAT-2054 are orally administered small molecule inhibitors of Sterol Response Element Binding Protein (SREBP), a master regulator of cholesterol and triglyceride metabolism that impacts liver fat. Consistent with this mechanism CAT-2003 and CAT-2054 treatment reduced LDL-cholesterol levels in clinical trials. Elevated expression of SREBP isoforms have been described in patients with NAFLD and NASH. CAT-2054 is currently in a Phase 2a trial for hypercholesterolemia. Here, we use CAT-2003 as an analog molecule of CAT-2054 to study effects in a murine model of NASH. Objective: To determine the effect of oral administration of CAT-2003 on the progression of inflammation, fibrosis and NASH and the subsequent development of preneoplastic lesions in a murine model. Methods: A two-hit model was used to induce a NASH-like disease in male C57BL/6 mice. Streptozotocin was used to induce liver and pancreatic damage in 4 day old mice followed by a second insult of a high fat/cholesterol diet at week 5 to induce steatohepatitis and fibrosis. CAT-2003 was administered in the diet (0.75% w/w) 2 weeks later for 9 weeks. Results: CAT-2003 treatment significantly reduced hepatic INSIG1 expression, indicating inhibition of SREBP activity. CAT-2003 significantly reduced steatosis and inflammation and produced a complete abrogation of the ballooning degeneration and progression of fibrosis relative to levels observed in baseline control mice at the start of treatment. The absolute NAFLD/NASH activity score was significantly reduced from 4.75 in control to 2.83 in treated animals. Similarly, CAT-2003 reduced the fibrosis score from 1.83 in the disease control to 1.17 which was lower than the pretreatment baseline score of 1.38. Livers from CAT-2003 treated animals showed markedly decreased expression of the pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrogenic chemokines CCL2 and CCL20; ACTA2, a marker of hepatic stellate cell activation; and ID1, an indicator of reduced TGF-b signaling. In addition, CAT-2003 also significantly reduced the number of preneoplastic foci from a mean of 6.8 to 2.0/cm2 , demonstrating that treatment with CAT-2003 may help slow progression to hepatocellular carcinoma. Conclusions: Inhibition of SREBP by oral administration of CAT-2003, an analog of CAT-2054, significantly reduced the progression of multiple morphologic components of NASH including: steatosis, inflammation, hepatocyte injury and fibrosis. CAT-2054, which is in a Phase 2a trial for hypercholesterolemia, may have additional utility in NASH.

Woodland Biosciences and CNBE – INRS extend oncology alliance to now include the liver diseases of NASH / Fibrosis / Fatty Liver Disease or Steatosis and their sequelae HCC, or liver cancer

Additional preclinical services in liver diseases are immediately available.

August 13, 2015 - Grafton, MA, U.S.A. and Laval, Quebec -Grafton, MA, U.S.A. and Laval, Quebec August 13, 2015. – Earlier this year a strategic partnership agreement in preclinical oncology was signed by Woodland Biosciences and Centre national de biologie expérimentale (CNBE) of Institut national de recherche scientifique (INRS). This unique alliance provided integrated contractual services from target discovery through preclinical development in the oncology field. Now we announce an expansion of preclinical services to encompass a broad spectrum of liver disease states, starting with obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease or steatosis and inflammatory diseases such as liver fibrosis.  All of these prequelae can lead to liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma or HCC and our models develop liver cancers if the disease is allowed to progress to its natural conclusion. 

Liver diseases including fatty liver and diabetes are rapidly becoming one of the most pressing needs in the medical community as the population grows and ages. Our new spectrum of services comprises in vivo pharmacology studies of the progression of liver disease in mouse models. In addition to standard efficacy studies, the alliance allows us to provide the following expanded and integrated menu of services making the sponsor's experiment a more complete study that can be customized to customer needs: screening toxicology (biodistribution, maximum tolerated dose, dose-range finding, immunotoxicology,), pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and biomarker identification in healthy and diseased animals.

Further, in partnership with CNBE, Woodland and its academic partner are expanding model research and development to include a rat model of Type 2 diabetes and NASH / fibrosis to complement the current model in male C57BL6 mice.  Until now model offerings from CROs around the globe offered only male mouse model of fibrosis, however exciting new data from Woodland research shows for the first time liver fibrosis in female mice.  This work is offered as a developmental model for interested parties from our new research facilities in Laval, Canada or in our Massachusetts laboratories.

"This exciting new field of experimental model research opens new doors into the burgeoning field of liver diseases including fibrosis, cirrhosis and liver cancer as well as the complications of obesity and diabetes such as fatty liver disease," explains Dr. Michael R. Briggs, President of Woodland Biosciences.

"Thanks to this agreement, the clients will be able to use the expertise of each organisation to strengthen their drug development pipeline. They will have also the possibility to expand their development in using the state-of-art animal facility of the CNBE having the expertise and capability to house rodents, rabbits, dogs, ferrets, farm animals (swine, sheep, goats and fowls) and non-human primates," adds Dr. Mario C. Filion, Director of CNBE-INRS.  We welcome inquiries into model expansion and/or development in these species as well.

About Woodland Biosciences
Woodland BioSciences is a preclinical contract research organization (CRO) providing innovative and customized solutions and consultation to the biotechnology community. The mission of Woodland is to enhance drug development for the most severe cancers, inflammation and other major diseases.
Woodland also enters shared-risk ventures through our bioincubator to help advance early molecules to value creation milestones.

About CNBE INRS
CNBE, located on the INRS campus in Laval, offers high standard preclinical research services to the scientific community and the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Certified by the Canadian Council on Animal Care in Science (CCAC) and the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC International), it provides housing for laboratory animals at various levels of biological confinement as well as an array of services required by R&D projects.

Source:

Michael R. Briggs
President 
Woodland Bioscience
Worcester, MA, USA
mbriggs@woodlandpharma.com
www.woodlandbiosciences.com


Mario C. Filion
Director
CNBE INRS
Laval, Québec, Canada
Mario.Filion@iaf.inrs.ca
www.cnbe.inrs.ca


Woodland Pharmaceuticals Launches Woodland Translational Research Canada

Woodland is partnering with PreThera Research of Quebec, Canada to create a "Living Legacy" Viable Tumor Bank to study cancer recurrence and drug resistance with funding from the government. Woodland's new labs will be the center of this activity.  

Boston, MA, September 19, 2014:  WOODLAND PHARMACEUTICALS announces the formation of "Recherche Translationnelle Woodland Canada Inc." in Laval, Quebec, Canada, formed to contribute its tumor banking expertise to the PreThera Research consortium, an initiative funded by the Canadian Government to enroll cancer patients in long-term tumor tracking projects.   Recherche Translationnelle Woodland Canada Inc., also known as Woodland Translational Research Canada will be hosted at the National Center for Experimental Biology, known by its French acronym CNBE-INRS, a state of the art animal preclinical research facility in Laval, Quebec.  More news about PreThera Research and our new strategic alliance with the CNBE-INRS in Laval just outside Montreal, Quebec, Canada will be forthcoming in the next month.

About Woodland Pharmaceuticals

Woodland Pharmaceuticals is a preclinical contract research organization (CRO) offering in vivo, preclinical, efficacy modeling services in Worcester, MA.  Woodland Pharmaceuticals was founded by Michael Briggs Ph.D. with a focus in oncology and the physiological dysfunctions predisposing to cancers.  It has a stated mission to improve the laboratory modeling of refractory drug resistant human cancers.  The alliances with our Canadian partners PreThera Research and CNBE-INRS will facilitate and strengthen this mission substantially.

Contact
Michael R. Briggs
mbriggs@woodlandpharma.com

September 2015:  Woodland's President & CSO is a co-author on a paper linking hepatocyte growth factor to MET-driven glioblastoma.


Genomic profiling of a Hepatocyte growth factor-dependent signature for MET-targeted therapy in glioblastoma. 
Johnson J, Ascierto ML, Mittal S, Newsome D, Kang L, Briggs M, Tanner K, Marincola FM, Berens ME, Vande Woude GF, Xie Q.

J Transl Med. 2015 Sep 17;13:306. doi: 10.1186/s12967-015-0667-x.  (Link to full text)

BACKGROUND:Constitutive MET signaling promotes invasiveness in most primary and recurrent GBM. However, deployment of available MET-targeting agents is confounded by lack of effective biomarkers for selecting suitable patients for treatment. Because endogenous HGF overexpression often causes autocrine MET activation, and also indicates sensitivity to MET inhibitors, we investigated whether it drives the expression of distinct genes which could serve as a signature indicating vulnerability to MET-targeted therapy in GBM.

METHODS:Interrogation of genomic data from TCGA GBM (Student's t test, GBM patients with high and low HGF expression, p ≤ 0.00001) referenced against patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models (Student's t test, sensitive vs. insensitive models, p ≤ 0.005) was used to identify the HGF-dependent signature. Genomic analysis of GBM xenograft models using both human and mouse gene expression microarrays (Student's t test, treated vs. vehicle tumors, p ≤ 0.01) were performed to elucidate the tumor and microenvironment cross talk. A PDX model with EGFR(amp) was tested for MET activation as a mechanism of erlotinib resistance.

RESULTS:We identified a group of 20 genes highly associated with HGF overexpression in GBM and were up- or down-regulated only in tumors sensitive to MET inhibitor. The MET inhibitors regulate tumor (human) and host (mouse) cells within the tumor via distinct molecular processes, but overall impede tumor growth by inhibiting cell cycle progression. EGFR (amp) tumors undergo erlotinib resistance responded to a combination of MET and EGFR inhibitors.

CONCLUSIONS:Combining TCGA primary tumor datasets (human) and xenograft tumor model datasets (human tumor grown in mice) using therapeutic efficacy as an endpoint may serve as a useful approach to discover and develop molecular signatures as therapeutic biomarkers for targeted therapy. The HGF dependent signature may serve as a candidate predictive signature for patient enrollment in clinical trials using MET inhibitors. Human and mouse microarrays maybe used to dissect the tumor-host interactions. Targeting MET in EGFR (amp) GBM may delay the acquired resistance developed during treatment with erlotinib.

PMID:26381735    PMCID: PMC4574608