Three scientists share Nobel for pioneering work on phage display and enzymes; Kite antes up $10M in TCR discovery deal
→ Frances Arnold from the California Institute of Technology will share this year’s Nobel prize for chemistry. Her work on the “directed evolution” of enzymes offered a new approach to bespoke catalysts for new chemical reactions, setting up an advance that has played a role in pharmaceuticals as well as renewable energy. She is being recognized alongside George Smith and Sir Gregory Winter, who played a pioneering role in phage display, which has had a major impact on the development of antibodies.
→ Looking for a follow-on to its groundbreaking CAR-T therapy, Kite Pharma has signed on the cell screening experts at HiFiBiO Therapeutics to take a deep look into neoantigen-reactive T cell receptors. The Gilead subsidiary is paying $10 million for access and a right to license HiFiBiO’s tech platform, which has capacity for “in-depth screening of TCR repertoires from patient samples to identify shared antigen and neoantigen TCRs for use in adoptive cellular therapies.”
→ Twist Bioscience, a manufacturer and supplier of synthetic DNA, is seeking an $86 million IPO. Other than updating the platform and expanding its sales operations — which currently boasts of 600 biopharma, ag and tech clients — the San Francisco-based company also plans to spend its proceeds on a manufacturing site in China.