Gene silencing drug opens new era for rare genetic disease treatments

October 11, 2017

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. unveiled positive results from a late-stage clinical trial of the drug patisiran for the treatment of familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy. Patisiran works by interrupting the production of a specific disease-causing protein through a process called RNA interference (RNAi), which eliminates unwanted proteins. Because RNAi can be easily tuned (in theory) to any disease, this may herald a new class of medicines.

Read More

AI startup Deep Genomics raises US$13M

October 10, 2017

The founding principle of Toronto-based Deep Genomics is “that the future of medicine will rely on artificial intelligence (AI), because biology is too complex for humans to understand.” After success at the startup assistance program run by University of Toronto’s Creative Destruction Lab, Deep Genomics has now closed a Series A financing deal that will allow it apply AI to search across 69 billion molecules to identify 1000 potential drugs.

Read More

The making of a genomics strategy for the Ontario agriculture and agri-food sector

October 5, 2017

On September 25th, 2017, Ontario Genomics, in partnership with the Synthesis Agri-Food Network and supported by Genome Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, held a workshop to discuss “The Genomics Strategy for the Ontario Agriculture and Agri-Food Sector”. Over 80 leaders from across Ontario’s diverse and strong agriculture and agri-food sector attended…

Read More

Ontario Genomics welcomes Canadian innovation leaders

October 5, 2017

The past week saw the appointments of leaders in key positions across Canada’s and Ontario’s research and innovation ecosystem, including Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, CEO of MaRS Discovery District, and CEO of the newly created Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Dr. Bettina Hamelin, President and CEO of Ontario Genomics, would like to congratulate Dr. Mona…

Read More

Does your genome predict your face? Maybe not quite yet

September 27, 2017

J. Craig Venter and Human Longevity published a paper making the bold claim that it can identify individuals using their genomes to predict what their faces looks like. But criticism over social media and BioRxiv has called this into question, or at least stated this technology needs more development before being robust enough to predict faces from genomes.

Read More

Genetic tests to guide brain cancer treatment

September 22, 2017

Doctors at Sick Kids have developed tests to analyze the molecular makeup of individual brain tumours, leading to the possibility of personalized treatment. Hospitals from around the world are sending their patient’s tumour samples to Sick Kids for this molecular analysis.

Read More

Proteorex: Speedy drug discovery & development

September 21, 2017

Proteorex, a spinout from the Toronto-based Structural Genomics Consortium, aims to solve the problem of failures in drug discovery with their power-packed mix of machine learning, patient-derived cell-based screening, and Artificial Intelligence. They recently completed four months at the venture-backed accelerator, IndieBio, and are looking to close a seed series round of financing.

Read More

Bayer and Ginkgo Bioworks aim to make crops produce their own nitrogen fertilizer

September 20, 2017

Most nitrogen fertilizer is made by big chemical producers and is sprayed onto crops. Some 3% of the world’s carbon emissions result from its production. With $100M in investment, the Bayer/Ginkgo team wants to turn crops into their own mini-fertilizer manufacturers. The work combines the synthetic biology leadership of Ginkgo Bioworks with Bayer’s deep knowledge and experience in agriculture.

Read More

Sun Life to look at effectiveness of pharmacogenetics on plan members

September 13, 2017

Sun Life Financial will be offering plan members on short- and long-term disability leave for depression or anxiety the chance to take part in a study on the impact of pharmacogenetic testing. The insurer is participating in a study that examines the effectiveness of the technology in partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and personalized medicine provider Assurex Health Inc.

Read More