In This Issue:

  • New Business Development Manager and Marketing Manager join Base Pair
  • Aptamers in Therapeutics
  • Base Pair and Nexmos Develop Aptamers that Inhibit Vitamin C Oxidation

 

Joe Fraone joins Base Pair as Business Development Manager 

Joe has over 17 years of experience in the biotech industry spanning the diagnostic, drug development, and product development markets.  Joe also comes with an extensive background in aptamer technology having spent 10 years in the therapeutic aptamer space with Archemix Corporation and Baxter Healthcare overseeing the synthesis, modification, purification, and QC of aptamers for discovery and supporting process development and transfer to clinical programs. Joe received a BS in Biology from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont.

“I’m incredibly thrilled to be part of such a talented team here at Base Pair Biotechnologies and looking forward to working closely with our diverse clientele to bring them aptamer based solutions to their challenging work.” -Joe Fraone

​Amy Willson joins Base Pair as Product Marketing Manager

Amy has a strong background in immunoassay development and multiplex biomarker analysis. She brings nearly twenty years of product management & product marketing experience in the life science industry at companies including ThermoFisher Scientific, Nexcelom Bioscience, Aushon Biosystems, Mettler-Toledo, and CryoXtract.  Amy has a BS in Biochemistry from Boston College and is currently pursuing an MBA at the University of New Hampshire.

“I am excited to share the cutting-edge aptamer discoveries taking place at Base Pair with the scientific community.”  -Amy Willson
 

Aptamers in Therapeutics

A recent article in The Scientist called oligonucleotides the “third major drug-development platform.” Oligonucleotide technologies include antisense oligonucleotides, aptamers, small interfering RNA, anti-micro RNA, and micro RNA mimics. Though early oligonucleotide drugs, including the antisense drug fomivirsen and the aptamer drug pegaptanib developed more than ten years ago, met with limited success, there are more than 70 oligonucleotide therapeutics in clinical trials in the U.S. Results from several late-stage trials are expected in 2017. [1]
 
Improvements in aptamer technology and aptamer conjugates have paved the way for new aptamer applications in therapeutics and diagnostics. Nucleic acid aptamers with high affinity and selectivity can be raised against a wide range of targets, including targets that are toxic or non-immunogenic. Their small size, stability, cost-effective and highly controlled chemical synthesis, and low immunogenicity make aptamers attractive therapeutic agents. Ophthotech has two ongoing phase 2/3 clinical trials for aptamer drugs for age-related macular degeneration. On December 15, 2016 Noxxon signed an agreement with MSD to study NOX-A12, an aptamer against CXCL12 (SDF-1), in conjunction with Keytuda for the treatment of pancreatic and colorectal cancer. While the NOX-A12 aptamer interferes directly with SDF-1 function, aptamers are also being developed as drug carriers for specific cell targeting. An aptamer selective for prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) has recently been complexed with the anti-cancer drug doxorubicin to provide targeted drug delivery, increasing the ability of the drug to reach cancer cells and decreasing off-target effects. [2]

​Aptamers are also being optimized for allosteric regulation, where ligand binding induces a conformational change in the aptamer that creates an active or inactive state. Aptasensors often incorporate pairs of fluorophore and quencher dyes for rapid in vitro detection and in vivo imaging upon ligand binding, but a wide range of sensor formats and applications are being developed. Aptazymes are being developed for the in vivo regulation of gene expression and have been demonstrated in E. coli, yeast, and mammalian cells. [2,3] Aptamers that successfully target and enter NSCLC cells and induce apoptosis are in development as potential therapeutics. [4] Advancements in aptamer technology and design are increasingly being applied to therapeutics, particularly in cases where conventional therapeutic techniques have fallen short. Base Pair is currently working with several clients to discover aptamers for specific therapeutic applications.

​Considering aptamers? Base Pair Biotechnologies can put together a customized development plan. Contact us today to learn more.

​References:

​1. Offord, Catherine. Oligonucleotide therapeutics near approval. The Scientist. 1 Dec 2016. Accessed 4 Jan 2017.
​2. Jo, Hunho, et al. Aptamer-nanoparticle complexes as powerful diagnostic and therapeutic tools. Experimental & Molecular Medicine. 48,e230. 6 May 2016. doi:10.1038/emm.2016.44
​3. Vinkemborg, J.L. , et al. Aptamers for allosteric regulation. Nature Chemical Biology. 7,519-27. 2011. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.609
4. Xu, Li, et al. Cellular internalization and cytotoxicity of aptamers selected from lung cancer cell. American Journal of Biomedical Sciences. 2013. 5(1):47-58. doi:10.5099/aj130100047.

Base Pair and Nexmos Develop Aptamers that Inhibit Vitamin C Oxidation
New stabilizers enable cosmetic, neutraceutical, and beverage formulations with greater shelf life and efficacy

Aptamers are small DNA or RNA molecules that are selected in vitro to bind specifically to a target.  Targets can be cells, viruses, proteins, small molecules or metabolites. Manufacture uses well-established synthetic chemistry methods, providing high purity and minimal batch to batch variability.  At scale, aptamer manufacture can cost significantly less than more commonly used affinity agents such as antibodies.  Aptamers are also relatively stable, non-toxic, and biodegradable, all necessary attributes for additives in the cosmetics, neutraceuticals, and beverage industries. While aptamers

with enzymatic activity are well known, these are the first aptamers known to inhibit oxidative damage. 
“We are tremendously excited about the potential for this new class of molecules,” said Nelson Son, CEO, Founder of Nexmos.  Nexmos will market the aptamer-vitamin complexes under the trade name, APTAMIN™.  APTAMIN™ C, the first Aptamin product, solves the fundamental stability problem of vitamin C which has limited its applications.
DNA synthesis has in the past been used to generate tools for research use, therapeutic use, forensics, and diagnostics.  In most cases DNA and RNA aptamers are used as capture or detection reagents. This is the first time a synthetically manufactured DNA aptamer has been shown to be useful for general consumer products.

View Dec 28, 2016 press release at PR Newswire.