May 17, 2020

Nile Therapeutics appoints Darlene Horton as Chief Medical Officer

Biopharmaceutical company
venture-backed company
1 min
Nile Therapeutics appoints Darlene Horton as Chief Medical Officer
Biopharmaceutical company Nile Therapeutics, Inc has said it has appointed Darlene Horton as its Chief Medical Officer. Mr. Horton earlier held the pos...

Biopharmaceutical company Nile Therapeutics, Inc has said it has appointed Darlene Horton as its Chief Medical Officer.

Mr. Horton earlier held the position of Chief Medical Officer at Itero Biopharmaceuticals, a venture-backed company which was involved in developing and out-licensing a bio similar protein therapeutic. Before joining Itero, Dr. Horton also served as Senior Vice President, Clinical Research at Scios, Inc, a Johnson & Johnson company.

Darelene Horton was also the clinical lead for Natrecor, a commercial product indicated to treat acute heart failure, during her 12 year tenure at Scios. She also led the program to the FDA’s cardiovascular and renal advisory committee prior to successful approval.

Joshua Kazam, CEO of Nile said, “We are excited for Dr Horton to join the Nile team.” Mr. Kazam also said, “We believe Dr Horton’s proven track record in the development of cardiovascular therapies will be invaluable to Nile as we push forward the cenderitide post-acute heart failure problem.”

Nile Therapeutics, Inc is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company involved in developing innovative products to treat cardiovascular disease, within an initial focus on heart failure. The company is developing its lead product candidate, cenderitide to treat the patients following the admission for acutely decompensated heart failure, an acute exacerbation of heart failure.

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Jul 28, 2021

5 mins with... Johannes Bhakdi, Quantgene

3 min
5 mins with... Johannes Bhakdi, Quantgene
Johannes Bhakdi, CEO of Quantgene, tells us about their approach to identifying new COVID-19 variants

Quantgene is a US biotech company that uses AI and the cloud to do genomic testing. It was founded in 2015 to focus on cancer - integrating advanced genomics and molecular diagnostics systems with the cloud and AI systems. 

CEO Johannes Bhakdi tells us Quantgene is the first COVID-19 testing company to fully integrate variant identification - we find out more. 

Given the new Delta and Lambda variants, is the coronavirus mutating at a faster rate than most viruses?
The reason SARS-COV2 is mutating on a perceived higher rate is not that the individual viruses mutate at a higher rate, but that the base population infected with the virus is vastly higher. The absolute rate of global mutations is a direct function of how many people have the virus at any given point in time. Since this is a global pandemic, and tens of millions have been infected, we see more mutations. 

That makes it more unpredictable, because any single mutation that has an evolutionary advantage - like the Delta variant - can then take over and spread even faster.  

What is the usual process for testing and analysing viral mutations? 

The most effective tool for analysing mutations is Whole Viral Genome sequencing. It allows you to read out the entire genome of the virus. Once the wet-lab sequencing is complete, we use this information to map it against what is called a "reference genome", meaning the classic SARS-COV2 genome. This allows us to then see any differences between the investigated sample and the baseline genome of SARS COV2. 

We then use these differences to map them against a database of known mutations, like the Delta variant. That way we can see if we are dealing with any known variant, and if we have a new variant at our hands, as well as determine what this new variant does to the spike protein and how likely it is to be a problem with antigens and vaccines, based on the changed protein structure. This last step is not easy and not clear-cut, and there is some speculation into the determination of how problematic the mutated proteins are. 

 What does Quantgene do differently?  

At Quantgene, we are focusing on solving problems for our clients - may it be employers, movie productions or governments. That means we ensure that our client gets the COVID protection they need in the fastest possible time frame and at the highest precision possible - mostly at or below market prices. 

We are bringing together technologies like RT-PCR testing and mutation profiling/sequencing, as well as advanced bioinformatics and computational resources to ensure high-quality results are being delivered seamlessly. 

We are also adding important components such as real-time cloud software and medical services to it. Simply put, we turn the COVID problem into a one-click seamless solution that works better than others, so companies and government clients don't have to deal with laboratories, medical or software providers who point fingers at each other and fail to deliver in time and with high precision. COVID is too dangerous and important to risk falling short.     

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