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  • 18 Jun 2020 10:58 AM | Anonymous member

    Fast Track™ offers alternative option to current COVID-19 reagents

    Scientists at iXpressGenes, on the campus of HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, have engineered a new reagent, critical to pathogen detection testing. It’s a DNA polymerase, derived from a deep-sea organism (hyperthermophillic marine archaeon), well-suited to couple with RT-PCR reactions. The enzyme, named Fast Track™ has a longer half-life, higher fidelity, and greater extension and binding efficiency than the commonly used Taq DNA polymerase and others. Fast Track makes the amplification activity of pathogenic DNA more stable and specific. 

    A DNA polymerase is important to molecular diagnostics because the process depends on a rapid amplification of genetic material, and the polymerase catalyzes that step, starting the process.  

    DNA polymerase is one of the reagents that has been difficult to source during the COVID-19 pandemic and has limited the number of tests performed. Members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force working group contacted Dr. Joseph Ng, President of iXpressGenes to discuss the urgency of reagent availability. iXpressGenes optimized its recipe and manufacturing process to help diagnostic companies meet the demand. 

    “The critical component comes from a hydrothermal vent (a sea floor fissure) at the bottom of the ocean floor that Dr. Owen Garriott harvested from a deep sea trip we took several years ago. We were looking for a microorganism that could help solve industrial challenges,” said Dr. Ng, a close friend and colleague of the late Dr. Garriott. “This particular enzyme has evolved over millions of years to replicate DNA at very high temperatures. We have further modified it and we’ve ramped up production to help support the COVID-19 crisis.”

    The product is offered on the company’s website,


    Photo caption: Dr. Joseph Ng, President, iXpressGenes, Inc.

  • 17 Jun 2020 10:00 AM | Deleted user

    A $1.5 million gift to the HudsonAlpha Foundation by Miguel “Mike” Loya, a Texas businessman and HudsonAlpha supporter, has established the first endowed faculty chair at HudsonAlpha Institute for BiotechnologyRichard M. Myers, PhD, Institute president and science director, has been appointed as the M.A. Loya Endowed Faculty Chair in Genomics.

    “Over the years, I have seen HudsonAlpha take enormous strides in Alzheimer disease research, and I want to continue the momentum by supporting the Institute’s neurological research projects,” Loya said. “My family has a personal connection to these devastating diseases and I want to make sure HudsonAlpha can continue their work to find answers.”

    As the eldest of seven siblings, Loya came from modest means in El Paso, Texas, on the border with Mexico. He went on to graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso. He received his MBA from Harvard and started his career in the oil industry.

    Recently retired, he served as the president of Vitol, Inc., one of the world’s largest oil trading companies for nearly two decades. Both Loya’s mother and grandmother had Alzheimer disease, which led to his interest in neurological disease research.

    “Mike has once again demonstrated his commitment to HudsonAlpha and neurological disease research by providing this generous gift to the Institute,” said Myers. “His positive impact will continue for generations to come, and we are grateful for his generosity.”

    Loya previously supported the HudsonAlpha Foundation Memory and Mobility Program to study neurological diseases with a $1M gift. As recognition of that gift, the Institute’s cafe was named the Anita Loya Cafe in his mother’s honor.

    “This is the first endowed faculty chair position for HudsonAlpha,” said Elizabeth Herrin, HudsonAlpha Foundation Director of External Relations. “Endowed faculty chairs provide the necessary funding to advance research and discovery and are critical for retaining and attracting top talent. We are very grateful to Mike for this gift.”

    The HudsonAlpha Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Institute, has created the opportunity to name endowed faculty chairs, such as the M.A. Loya Chair, as a way for donors to make an investment in the Institute to ensure its sustainability. In addition, endowed faculty chairs help increase faculty retention and recruit new talent. For more information, please click here.


    About HudsonAlpha: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to developing and applying scientific advances to health, agriculture, learning, and commercialization. Opened in 2008, HudsonAlpha’s vision is to leverage the synergy between discovery, education, medicine, and economic development in genomic sciences to improve the human condition around the globe. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. The state-of-the-art facilities co-locate nonprofit scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. HudsonAlpha has become a national and international leader in genetics and genomics research and biotech education and fosters more than 40 diverse biotech companies on campus. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit

  • 5 Jun 2020 10:49 AM | Deleted user

    As most summer camps and educational opportunities have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is helping students, educators and the public continue learning with online opportunities. 

    “Once we made the difficult decision to cancel all in-person summer activities, our Educational Outreach team quickly went to work developing an exciting schedule of virtual programs and experiences,” said Dr. Neil Lamb, vice president of Educational Outreach at HudsonAlpha. “Activities are available, and registration is underway, for a diverse offering of enriching, engaging and fun programs.”

    Middle school students

    Starting June 8, HudsonAlpha is offering Science Shorts: Summer Adventures, free online activities and experiments to try at home. Science Shorts is a series of fun, independent adventures geared towards middle school-aged kids, but available to all ages. There will be a new topic posted each week, from curdling milk to exploring outside as a backyard biologist. Visit for access.

    Young professionals

    HudsonAlpha will offer a new, free online professional development seminar series beginning on June 8. The BioTrain Professional Development Seminar Series will cover topics including professional etiquette, career advice (resumes and interview skills), ethics and more. The sessions hosted by HudsonAlpha’s Educational Outreach team are designed for college students, but open to anyone interested in a science career or looking for professional advice. Visit to register and learn more.

    In addition, HudsonAlpha Spark, a program for busy professionals, has moved online. Join the Spark community at to receive updates and information on upcoming sessions of Genomics and Java and Science After Hours. 


    Teachers have a unique opportunity to continue professional learning with HudsonAlpha this summer. HudsonAlpha Beacon is a program to help educators find life science content from a distance.

    These virtual opportunities provide ways to explore and interact with genetics, biotechnology, and the wider world of science. Experiences will include multi-day online workshops that combine synchronous and asynchronous learning, opportunities to tune in to researcher talks, and webinar-style training on newly-developed resources. More information and registration at

    Public outreach

    Life-long learners also have a unique place at HudsonAlpha this summer. Dr. Neil Lamb, PhD, Vice President for Educational Outreach, continues to break down difficult science topics for the public through his popular blog and video series. View all of the new and past content at

    Summer is a great time to continue learning, and HudsonAlpha continues to offer opportunities and engaging activities to bring life science content to all learners. For more great summer resources and activities, like and follow HudsonAlpha on FacebookTwitterLinkedinInstagramVimeo and Youtube.

  • 4 Jun 2020 1:24 PM | Deleted user

    Singh is Scientific Founder of Yuva Biosciences

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala., June 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Yuva Biosciences, an anti-aging startup based on technology developed by one of the world leaders in mitochondrial sciences, Dr. Keshav K. Singh, is pleased to announce that Dr. Singh joined the Science of AgingSM faculty, a platform owned and run by Allergan Aesthetics Medicine R&D.

    (PRNewsfoto/Yuva Biosciences, Inc.)

    Allergan Aesthetics selected an elite group of globally-known thought leaders in the field. The Science of AgingSM was born out of a desire to bring the latest developments from the field of aging to the aesthetics arena and explore how these discoveries could potentially translate to aesthetic medicine.

    Dr. Singh commented, "I am honored to join Allergan Aesthetics' efforts to assemble pioneers in the 'healthy aging' field to find new insights to help accelerate research and product development and bring exciting new products to market."

    Yuva Biosciences plans to develop products based on Singh's breakthrough research on mitochondria and their role in reversing skin aging and loss of hair, as he has successfully demonstrated already in mice which has garnered national and international recognition because of its potentially broad application. Yuva Biosciences was selected as the most recent UAB Faculty Startup of the Year, as Dr. Singh is the Joy and Bill Harbert Endowed Chair and Director of Cancer Genetics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

    About Allergan
    At Allergan Aesthetics, an AbbVie company (NYSE: ABBV), we develop, manufacture, and market a portfolio of leading aesthetics brands and products. Our aesthetics portfolio includes facial injectables, body contouring, plastics, skin care, and more. With our own research and development function focused on driving innovation in aesthetics, we're committed to providing the most comprehensive science-based product offering available. For more information, visit

    About Yuva Biosciences (
    Yuva Biosciences is an anti-aging company harnessing the cutting edge of mitochondrial science to develop cosmeceuticals as well as pharmaceuticals targeted at aging-related hair loss, wrinkled skin, and reduced energy. The Company's Scientific Founder and Chief Scientific Advisor, Keshav K. Singh, Ph.D., is a world leader in the field of mitochondrial biology and genetics and its role in health, disease, and aging. Dr. Singh is the Joy and Bill Harbert Endowed Chair and Director of Cancer Genetics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the founding editor-in-chief of the Mitochondrion journal published by Elsevier. Yuva Biosciences is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.

    Cision View original content to download multimedia:

    SOURCE Yuva Biosciences, Inc.

  • 4 Jun 2020 1:20 PM | Deleted user

    DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. (DBM, announces a new unit of its contract research organization (CRO) services business called Sentirix formed based upon our continuing 5-year collaboration with world-renowned, Philadelphia-based Monell Chemical Senses Center.

    "The name, Sentirix, is derived from the Latin word sentire ‘to feel in a sensory way,’" explained Dr. Erik Schwiebert, Ph.D., CEO of DBM. "Our logo showcases the name and illustrates a taste bud with a tastant molecule binding to the pore of the taste bud." A trademark application has been filed.

    Sentirix aims to provide the most relevant model of human taste sensory pathways for the purpose of understanding taste sensation, characterizing taste profiles of pharmaceuticals and food ingredients, and identifying naturally-derived taste modulators. Specifically, Sentirix uses human taste bud epithelial cell (hTBEC) platform technologies developed by DBM from the prior patented work of Drs. Hakan Ozdener and Nancy Rawson at Monell. DBM has licensed the technology from Monell, while continuing to collaborate scientifically on the development of these niche human cell platform technologies.

    Over time, DBM has optimized hTBEC technologies by multiple and different genetic methods, and has established specific cultures that are useful for investigating bitter, sweet, or salty taste pathways. DBM’s expertise in extracellular ATP signaling and in epithelial ion, solute and water transport physiology has also been of significant value to the development of specialty bioassays of and growth formats for hTBECs. "These primary and immortal hTBEC culture platforms are remarkably easy to grow, expand into larger numbers for medium-throughput screening, and respond functionally to many different types of taste stimuli," explained Dr. Grace Salzer, Ph.D., Senior Scientist and Business Development Specialist at DBM. "We believe we have developed a technology that both the food, beverage, and flavor industry sectors and BioPharmaceutical drug developers will have significant interest in utilizing for multiple applications pertaining to taste."

    DBM has already established proof-of-concept that bitter-responsive hTBEC platforms can be used to discover, validate and profile bitter blockers, small molecules that mask the bitter taste of BioPharmaceutical medicines. Bitter taste blockers discovered in DBM hTBEC screens also blocked the taste of bitter medicines in a subset of human subjects. "This example demonstrates that what we are doing on the benchtop also works in the human mouth," said Dr. John Streiff, Ph.D., DBM’s Chief Chemistry Officer.

    DBM has developed the tools to create customizable cell lines and assays tuned to meet varying client needs. Cell lines can be derived from single donors or pooled donors. Assays are tuned to different taste modalities, and cell response can be measured by multiple indicators. Sentirix will operate as a unit within DBM in Birmingham, AL; and, future labs for human sensory studies and for formulation chemistry are envisioned. "This unit fits within our unique niche human CRO services offerings, and it has been a fruitful commercial-academic collaboration with Monell from the start," declared Dr. Schwiebert.

    About DiscoveryBioMed, Inc. is in its 13th year of operation as a life sciences and biotechnology company focused on leveraging normal and diseased human cell platform technologies for its CRO services business and for its R&D programs. DBM is located in Birmingham, AL where it is leading an effort to build a critical mass of biotechnology companies in a new hub of the Deep South.

    The Monell Chemical Senses Center is an independent nonprofit basic research institute based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1968, Monell‘s mission is to improve health and well-being by advancing the scientific understanding of taste, smell, and related senses, where discoveries aid improving nutritional health, diagnosing and treating disease, addressing smell and taste loss, and digitizing chemosensory data.

    View source version on


    Dr. Erik M. Schwiebert, Ph.D.
    Company: DiscoveryBioMed, Inc.
    Phone: (205) 918-8138

  • 28 May 2020 3:55 PM | Deleted user

    Haley Hop to Spend Summer Supporting the Alabama Bioscience Community  

    BIO Alabama welcomes a second student into it’s summer internship program, a program for college students who are intrinsically curious about Alabama’s bioscience industry and are motivated to promote the intellectual and innovative capital that make our state a premier place to invest, start, and grow in bioscience. 

    Haley Hop, a Master of Science in Economic Development student at The University of Southern Mississippi, was recently accepted to BIO Alabama’s summer internship program. 

    “My coursework focuses on the elements that push data-driven economic development,” said Haley Hop. “Paired with my undergraduate degree in civil engineering and my passion for science, an internship with BIO Alabama provides an incredible opportunity to put my education and passion to work.” 

    Hop will spend her summer conducting research on tactics, techniques, and strategies that will help BIO Alabama develop an economic development roadmap focused on business attraction and retention, workforce development, and startup and tech transfer within the bioscience community. Part of that research includes an industry survey that is currently open to all bioscience stakeholders around the state. The survey will be followed by a series of focus group sessions that are scheduled for June. Hop will assist in collecting, compiling, and translating data into a consumable report. The final report will be presented at BIO Alabama’s annual conference in October. 

    “There are a number of career pathways that allow students to work in bioscience including economic development,” said Sonia Robinson, Executive Director of BIO Alabama. “Bioscience can be intimidating. An internship with BIO Alabama provides an opportunity for students to learn more about Alabama’s bioscience industry and the diverse career tracks that are available,” Robinson adds. “Growing and supporting our researchers, scientists, and business leaders requires diversity in thought, knowledge, skills, and abilities.”

    BIO Alabama provides remote internship opportunities throughout the year. In addition to BIO Alabama, a number of bioscience companies across the state welcome interns. Interested students may contact BIO Alabama for more information. Bioscience companies who have available internships are encouraged to send internship opportunities to BIO Alabama for assistance in promoting those opportunities to partner colleges and universities.  

    Interns support the executive director in further connecting our bioscience ecosystem. Internships with BIO Alabama are for college credit and follow the college or university's internship guidelines including minimum hour requirements and deliverables. 

  • 15 May 2020 1:45 PM | Deleted user

    The iC-COVID19 Assay™ expands coronavirus testing

    May 14, 2020 (Huntsville, Ala.) – iCubate®​ ​, provider of accurate and affordable syndromic diagnostic testing, announces the launch of the iC-COVID19 Assay™. As the demand for testing increases, iCubate now offers the iC-COVID19 Assay to expand needed coronavirus testing.

    Diagnostic testing continues to be a key part of efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease. In the United States, there have been over 1.3 million COVID-19 cases, resulting in 80,000 deaths.

    “Many regions of the country are facing barriers to COVID-19 testing. iCubate was eager to join the fight and developed the COVID-19 test for hospitals, clinical laboratories and temporary collection sites in major cities and small towns," said Carter Wells, CEO of iCubate.

    Targeting the S gene and the ORF1ab gene of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, iCubate’s COVID-19 assay was designed to test people exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus disease. By using the iC-COVID-19 Assay, a result can be generated in less than 6 hours from the time of sample collection.

    “Testing is key to controlling the coronavirus pandemic and the availability of precise and automated tests has been a limitation in many areas,” said Fran White, Founder and President of Regulatory Affairs of MDC Associates. “iCubate’s easy-to-use assay offers another option for laboratories to consider in the fight against COVID-19. The iCubate system is highly reliable and easy to install and implement in any laboratory setting.” Ms. White and the MDC team work with in vitro diagnostic and medical device companies in the US and around the world as they move innovative products through regulatory processes to positively impact patient health.

    With a goal of reducing exposure for front line healthcare workers, each iC-COVID19 Assay ​is performed in a single-use, closed, disposable cassette that is pre-loaded with the reagents necessary to provide a qualitative answer from a single patient sample.

    The iC-System has previously earned two 510k FDA clearances for the iC-GPC Assay™​ and the iC-GN Assay™​ ​. These assays rapidly detect and identify potentially pathogenic gram positive bacteria and gram negative bacteria, respectively, which are associated with blood stream infections and subsequent sepsis. Additionally, the FDA has designated iCubate’s iC-Myco Assay™​ a “Breakthrough Device” for the detection and identification of potentially pathogenic non-tuberculosis Mycobacterium, a major cause of pulmonary infections.

    iCubate has submitted the iC-COVID19 Assay to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization for the detection of the virus that causes COVID-19. iCubate’s submission is currently pending with the FDA.

    Video: iC-COVID19 Assay™ - For the Front Line

    Video: iC-COVID19 Assay™ - For Everyone


    About iCubate®​
    iCubate is a molecular diagnostic company providing diagnostic solutions to clinical laboratories. Founded by Jian Han, MD, PhD, iCubate’s core technology, Amplicon-Rescued Multiplex PCR (ARM-PCR), detects multiple pathogens concurrently with high sensitivity and specificity within each assay. The portfolio of “sample in-answer out” assays operate on an integrated, intuitive and user-friendly closed system. The end result is improved turn-around time for pathogenic organism identification and detection of important antimicrobial resistance markers. Offering a scalable, cost-effective platform, iCubate offers accurate testing for labs of any size. See ​ for more information.

    Forward-Looking Statements

    Some statements in this press release may be “forward-looking statements”. iCubate cautions that these forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. iCubate undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

  • 13 May 2020 11:32 AM | Deleted user

    The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) today unveiled a first-of-its-kind, interactive tracker of the new treatments and vaccines in the COVID-19 pipeline. This online resource illustrates the unprecedented campaign being undertaken by biopharmaceutical innovators to combat – and ultimately eradicate – the novel coronavirus. 

    Unlike other tracking tools, BIO’s Industry Analysis Team has identified funding sources from the onset of each project; de-duplicated multiple programs and trials for the same drug; and pinpointed the locations of companies discovering these important innovations. The tracker also organizes and categorizes projects in ways that will help public and private sector funders more strategically and holistically assess and prioritize programs to speed their advancement. 

    Here are some key takeaways:

    • In the fight against COVID-19, more than 400 unique drug programs were launched in just 16 weeks, including 101 experimental vaccines and 138 programs aimed directly at the SARS-CoV-2 virus;
    • Private-sector innovators are responsible for more than 90% of vaccines and therapeutics in development to protect individuals and communities from COVID-19;
    • More than 70% of COVID-19 R&D is being undertaken by small companies; and
    • More than 50% of this important work originated on American soil. 

    Among other features, the tracker breaks down the programs by types of approaches, or modalities, being tested to combat COVID-19, and includes information about type of organizations and companies involved in developing the molecules, funding the research, and sponsoring trials. Sourcing of drug names and phase of development comes from BioCenturyBiomedtracker, and international BIO affiliate organizations.

    As scientists and researchers work around the clock to develop therapeutics and vaccines to fight against COVID-19, this tracker will be updated weekly on Mondays to ensure you have the most recent information available.

    To learn more, click here.

    To learn more about how the biopharmaceutical industry is responding to the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

  • 11 May 2020 11:57 AM | Deleted user

    Sarah Everett to Spend Summer Supporting Alabama’s Bioscience Community 

    BIO Alabama’s summer intern program serves college students who are intrinsically curious about Alabama’s bioscience industry and are motivated to promote the intellectual and innovative capital that make our state a premier place to invest, start, and grow in bioscience. 

    Sarah Everett, a Master of Biotechnology student at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, was recently accepted into BIO Alabama’s summer internship program. 

    “BIO Alabama has been an incredible resource for our Master of Biotechnology program. My peers and I have had the opportunity to work with the organization on various research projects,” said Sarah Everett. “I love science but have an interest in learning more about business operations, especially marketing, and gaining knowledge, skills, and abilities beyond the laboratory.”

    Everett will spend her summer supporting back office operations, marketing, and event planning to further the mission of BIO Alabama, the state affiliate of Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and the leading advocate for Alabama’s bioeconomy. 

    “Internships present an incredible opportunity for students to translate their knowledge, gain experience, and build their network,” said Sonia Robinson, Executive Director of BIO Alabama. “We are thrilled to be able to offer an internship program designed to introduce our participating students to our bioscience community more broadly. Sarah will have the opportunity to plan and implement projects, support key initiatives, and play an active role in amplifying the work of our bioscience researchers, scientists, and business leaders.”

    BIO Alabama provides remote internship opportunities throughout the year. In addition to BIO Alabama, a number of bioscience companies across the state welcome interns. Interested students may contact BIO Alabama for more information. Bioscience companies who have available internships are encouraged to send internship opportunities to BIO Alabama for assistance in promoting those opportunities to partner colleges and universities.  

    BIO Alabama is a membership-based professional organization representing the state on a national and international stage. Interns support the executive director in further connecting our bioscience ecosystem. Internships with BIO Alabama are for college credit and follow the college or university's internship guidelines including minimum hour requirements and deliverables. 

  • 4 May 2020 11:51 AM | Deleted user

    To further our mission to keep the Alabama bioscience community connected, we are moving forward with our plans to host an annual conference in October. While the future look and feel of large gatherings remains uncertain, we are taking COVID-19 safety guidelines into consideration as we plan our conference. 

    One thing is certain, in order to deliver an exceptional event (whether in-person, digital, or a blended approach) we need your help in shaping the content and conference programming. We're looking for your feedback and suggestions regarding topics and speakers that will inspire, educate, and connect our researchers, scientists, startups, manufacturers, medium and large bioscience companies at our annual conference scheduled for October 7-8, 2020.

    Take the survey here.

Connecting the Bioscience Ecosystem in Alabama

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Normal, AL 35762

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