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Technology Name
Briefcase
Scientist
1704
Neuropathic Gaucher’s (nGD), is a rare but very severe manifestation of the disease, with a varying degree of involvement of the central nervous system, in addition to systemic symptoms. As of today, there is no cure for these severe conditions. The search for such cure is tremendously hindered by the...

Neuropathic Gaucher’s (nGD), is a rare but very severe manifestation of the disease, with a varying degree of involvement of the central nervous system, in addition to systemic symptoms. As of today, there is no cure for these severe conditions.
The search for such cure is tremendously hindered by the unmet need for a reliable biochemical biomarker for nGD.
The present invention identifies the glycoprotein non-metastatic B (GPNMB) as a potential powerful nGD biomarker for use in early diagnosis, determination of disease severity, as well as a straight forward readout in clinical and preclinical experiments.

Applications


Diagnosis and drug development for neuropathic GD

Advantages


Straight forward diagnostic tool – based on standard biochemical assays
Relatively simple clinical procedure – samples are collected from CSF and not brain
High sensitivity – for the diagnosis of disease severity
Compatible with preclinical experiments

Technology's Essence


Prof. Futerman and his team preformed a quantitative global proteomic analysis (using LC-MS/MS) of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from four patients with Type 3 GD, to identify mis-regulated proteins, compared with healthy subject.
Glycoprotein non-metastatic B (GPNMB), a protein that was previously associated with several lysosomal storage disorders, exhibited very high levels (a 42-fold increase) in the CSF of type 3 GD patients.  Two peptides were identified from GPNMB, both located in the non-cytosolic domain, suggesting that GPNMB is cleaved and secreted into the CSF from the brain. LC-MS/MS results were validated by ELISA and by western blot analysis in CSF and in human brain samples.
Several proof of principle experiments were conducted in order to prove the validity of using GPNMB as a biomarker for monitoring disease state and treatments efficacy in neuropathic GD in patients and mouse models:
GPNMB levels were shown to be correlated with the severity of type 3 Gaucher’s disease patients, as measured by lower IQ score and lower score in Purdue Pegboard test, assessing eye-hand coordination. In addition, using conduritol b epoxide (CBE)-injection based mouse model that simulate different severities and recovery periods, it was shown that GPNMB levels rapidly rise or decline to reliably reflect progress/remission states of the diseases.

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  • Prof. Anthony H. Futerman
1712
  • Prof. Yechiel Shai
1750
Organophosphates are toxic compounds found in chemical warfare agents, such as nerve gases, and insect pesticides.Use of volatile nerve gas agents by terrorist organizations is a key concern of governments around the world. V-type nerve agents (e.g. VX, RVX, and CVX) are particularly toxic nerve gases...

Organophosphates are toxic compounds found in chemical warfare agents, such as nerve gases, and insect pesticides.
Use of volatile nerve gas agents by terrorist organizations is a key concern of governments around the world. V-type nerve agents (e.g. VX, RVX, and CVX) are particularly toxic nerve gases, with an exceptionally high potency. Although not as lethal as nerve agents, organophosphate insecticides can be harmful in large or prolonged doses. The standard therapy has limited efficacy, carry risks of serious adverse effects and have relatively short shelf life in field conditions.
Bioscavengers represent a preferred to rapidly detoxify organophosphates in the blood, before they had the chance to reach its physiological targets and cause damage, but usually require the use of very high doses.
The present invention provides genetically modified phosphotriesterase (PTE) variants, which serve as catalytic bioscavengers for V-type nerve agents, with exceptional detoxification activity at low doses, and improved stability.

Applications


  • Prophylactic or post exposure treatment for nerve gases attack, in particular V-type agents
  • Treatment for pesticides poisoning

Advantages


  • High catalytic activity – allow high efficacy at low doses
  • Reduced effective doses allows to reduce adverse effects
  • High stability increasing shelf life
  • Compatible with both prophylaxis and post exposure
  • Compatible for both surface decontamination and administration to patients

Technology's Essence


Researchers at Prof. Tawfik lab use directed evolution to drive protein mutagenesis towards desired traits. Appling this approach, using the actual threat agents, the present inventors generated recombinant phosphotriesterase (PTE) variants with improved catalytic efficiencies towards V-type nerve agent hydrolysis. Serving as catalytic bioscavengers, these recombinant PTE variants hydrolyze organophosphates without being consumed and thus can be applied at low doses (catalytic efficiency (kcat/KM) greater than 3.106 M-1min-1).
Importantly, PTE is efficient both as a prophylactic agent that may be given several hours prior to exposure as a preventive measure, and as post exposure antidote, even days after in a single or multiple-doses.
It is compatible with both decontamination of surfaces and detoxification administrated to a patient by standard routes such as orally or injectables.
Finally, some PTE variants show superior stability properties, retaining at least 50% of their catalytic activity at 50?C, indicating extended shelf life. This may be especially critical in field conditions, where the risk for nerve agent exposure is high.

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  • Prof. Dan S. Tawfik
1629
A new unsupervised learning tool for analyzing large datasets using very limited known data via clustering was developed by the group of Prof. Domany. This solution was originally demonstrated for inferring pathway deregulation scores for specific tumor samples on the basis of expression data.Nearly...

A new unsupervised learning tool for analyzing large datasets using very limited known data via clustering was developed by the group of Prof. Domany. This solution was originally demonstrated for inferring pathway deregulation scores for specific tumor samples on the basis of expression data.
Nearly all methods analyze pathway activity in a global “atomistic” manner, based on an entire sample set, not attempting to characterize individual tumors. Other methods use detailed pathway activity mechanism information and other data that is unavailable in a vast majority of cancer datasets.
The new algorithm described here transforms gene-level information into pathway- level information, generating a compact and biologically relevant representation of each sample. This can be used as an effective prognostic and predictive tool that helps healthcare providers to find optimal treatment strategies for cancer patients. Furthermore, this method can be generically used for reducing the degrees of freedom in order to derive meaningful output from multi-dimensional data using limited knowns.

Applications


  • Personalized cancer treatment.
  • A tool for mining insight from large datasets with limited knowns.

Advantages


  • Provides personalized solutions.
  • Can be utilized for rare conditions with very limited known information.
  • Proved on real oncologic datasets.
  • A Generic unsupervised learning tool.

Technology's Essence


The algorithm analyzes NP pathways, one at a time, assigning a score DP(i) to each sample i and pathway P, which estimates the extent to which the behavior of pathway P deviates from normal, in sample i. To determine this pathway deregulation score the expression levels of those dP genes that belong to P using available databases are used. Each sample i is a point in this dP dimensional space; the entire set of samples forms a cloud of points, and the “principal curve” that captures the variation of this cloud is calculated. Then each sample is projected onto this curve. The pathway deregulation score is defined as the distance DP(i), measured along the curve, of the projection of sample i, from the projection of the normal samples.

 

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  • Prof. Eytan Domany
  • Prof. Eytan Domany
1546
Improvement of protein production by modulating the tRNA pool. For maximal heterologous expression of proteins per host cell, the optimal level of expression of genes needs to be addressed. The science and art of expressing a gene from one species in another often amounts to modifying the codons of the...

Improvement of protein production by modulating the tRNA pool. For maximal heterologous expression of proteins per host cell, the optimal level of expression of genes needs to be addressed. The science and art of expressing a gene from one species in another often amounts to modifying the codons of the gene, and supplementing the host with specific tRNAs. Yet the full challenge of heterologous expression is not only to maximize expression per host cell, but also to minimize the burden on the host. The outlined invention describes a universally conserved profile of translation efficiency along mRNAs, based on the adaptation between coding sequences and the tRNA pool, to improve heterologous gene expression and thus protein production.

Applications


  • Improvement of the yield and success rate of recombinant protein production.

Advantages


  • Protein expression levels can be artificially increased
  • Minimization of the burden on the host

Technology's Essence


The translation efficiency profile of a gene is defined, for each codon position, as the estimated availability of the tRNAs that participate in translating that codon. The profile is high at codons that correspond to abundant tRNAs and low at codons that correspond to rare tRNAs. In this invention it is predicted that the first ~30-50 codons of genes appear to be translated with a low efficiency “ramp”, while the last ~50 codons show highest efficiency. The “ramp” serves as a late stage of initiation and is an optimal and robust means to reduce ribosomal traffic jams, thus minimizing occupation of free ribosomes, ribosomal abortions and, ultimately, the cost of protein expression. Implementation of appropriate ramping in heterlogous proteins, given the host?s tRNA pool, might improve the yield of expressed recombinant proteins.

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  • Prof. Yitzhak Pilpel
1640
Although early programs targeting MMPs (matrix metalloproteins) were largely unsuccessful due to adverse side effects, they remain a viable and highly desirable therapeutic target. The main obstacle in the attempts to target MMPs is the ability to selectively target individual family members. The...

Although early programs targeting MMPs (matrix metalloproteins) were largely unsuccessful due to adverse side effects, they remain a viable and highly desirable therapeutic target. The main obstacle in the attempts to target MMPs is the ability to selectively target individual family members. The present invention provides highly selective targeted therapy against MMP-7, which is strongly associated with aspects of cancer development such as angiogenesis and metastasis.
The innovative concept leading to this high selectivity is immunization with both a synthetic metal-protein mimicry molecule, previously developed by the present inventors, followed by the metalloenzyme itself (e.g. MMP-7). The resulting antibody exhibits exceptional degree of specificity towards MMP-7 over other MMPs.
The present technology offers an opportunity to re-introduce improved MMP-targeting agents to the cancer therapeutics market, in particular aggressive cancers that face a major unmet medical need. 

Applications


  • Therapy for MMP-7 associated diseases
  • Diagnostic tool for MMP-7 associated diseases

Advantages


  • Highly selective
  • Safe – avoids adverse effects that are associated with broad spectrum MMP inhibitors.
  • Efficient – targeting a physiological active conformation of the enzyme

Technology's Essence


The present technology is based on a previous invention that was developed in Prof. Sagi's lab, of synthetic metal-protein mimicry molecules that mimic the conserved structure of the metalloenzyme catalytic zinc-histidine complex within the active site of each MMP enzyme.
These molecules were shown to be powerful immunogens in the generation of highly selective MMP antibodies since they recognize both electrical and structural determinants residing within the enzyme active site. The potential of this method to successfully generate MMP-targeting therapeutics was shown for MMP-9/2 inhibitory antibodies in mouse models of inflammatory bowel disease.
Prof Sagi and her team now take this invention a step further to achieve even higher specificity. They show that immunizing with the mimicking molecules described above, followed by immunization with the metalloenzyme itself increases selectivity further.   
Implemented for MMP-7-targeting, this approach yielded an antibody with a 5 fold lower Ki towards MMP-7 than towards other MMPs (e.g. MMp-2 and MMP-9).


 

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  • Prof. Irit Sagi
  • Prof. Irit Sagi
1601
A potent combination therapy against non-invasive breast cancer Breast cancer is the most common cancer in females. Among the different subtypes of breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) represents an intermediate step between normal breast tissue and invasive breast cancer. Currently, about 25...

A potent combination therapy against non-invasive breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in females. Among the different subtypes of breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) represents an intermediate step between normal breast tissue and invasive breast cancer. Currently, about 25% of breast cancers that are diagnosed in the US are DCIS. DCIS is commonly treated by surgical intervention followed by adjuvant radiation therapy. However, a significant fraction of the DCIS lesions, which display HER2 gene amplification, are associated with increased relapse rate following surgery. Therefore, in cases of HER2-overexpressing DCIS a molecularly targeted therapy might be necessary for complete eradication of microscopic remnants following surgical tumor removal. The current technology presents an potential DCIS therapeutic strategy that collectively targets the functionally linked HER2 and Notch pathways.

 

Applications


  • Combination therapy for DCIS patients following surgical tumor removal.
  • Classification of DCIS patients according to HER2 Notch activation patterns to identify patients with increased risk of relapse after surgery.
  • Diagnostic antibodies to NRG4 to screen for cancer cell subtypes that express/over-express NRG4.
  • NRG4 fusion conjugates, where NRG4 acts as a vehicle to direct the conjugate to cells specifically expressing the receptor ErbB4.

 


Advantages


  • Targeted cancer therapies will give doctors a better way to tailor cancer treatment.
  • Targeted cancer therapies hold the promise of being more selective, thus harming fewer normal cells, reducing side effects, and improving the quality of life.
  • The proposed treatment strategy may prove beneficial in DCIS patients with poor prognosis.

 


Technology's Essence


The HER2/Neu oncogene, a member of the HER/ErbB signaling network, encodes a receptor-like tyrosine kinase, whose overexpression in breast cancer predicts poor prognosis and resistance to conventional therapies. Pre-invasive lesions, such as DCIS, overexpress HER2 at higher frequency than invasive ones. Another signal transduction pathway critical for breast cancer progression comprises Notch family receptors and their membrane-bound ligands. In the current technology, a team of researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science uncovered that overexpression of HER2 in a novel experimental model of DCIS leads to transcriptional upregulation of Notch pathway components, resulting in enhanced tumor cell survival and proliferation. Combined treatment with HER2 and Notch pathway inhibitors resulted in decreased proliferative and tumorigenic potential. The current technology offers specific and combined targeting of HER2 and Notch pathways for DCIS treatment. This approach may also be tailored for DCIS patients with enhanced co-expression of HER2 and Notch.

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  • Prof. Yosef Yarden
1662
Immunotherapy, that is the use of the immune system to treat cancer, is currently a leading candidate in the combat against cancer. Unlike the toxic effects of both chemotherapy and radiation, immunotherapy is considered to have mild side effects due to its ability to differentiate between healthy and...

Immunotherapy, that is the use of the immune system to treat cancer, is currently a leading candidate in the combat against cancer. Unlike the toxic effects of both chemotherapy and radiation, immunotherapy is considered to have mild side effects due to its ability to differentiate between healthy and cancerous cells. Also, the therapeutic role of the immune system is an essential element in the healing process due to bone marrow transplantation for hematologic malignancies.
However, a more efficacious and less toxic T cells based treatment is required. Effective therapy depends on the functional avidity between T cell receptors (TCRs) and peptide-MHC complex (pMHC). However the natural affinity of TCR is low and they do not naturally undergo the processes that improve antibody affinity, such as somatic hypermutation (SHM). Currently there is no method of increasing the affinity of a TCR to its ligand. Moreover there is no knowledge on how use affinity maturated TCRs for creating anti-tumor reactive cells
This technology presents a method of increasing the affinity of a TCR to its ligand. This is done by subjecting TCR genes to SHM via the enzyme Activation Induced cytidine Deaminase (AID). The technology further provides affinity maturated TCRs (in cell- bound or in soluble form) and their pharmaceutical potential for immunotherapy. 

Applications


  • Generating anti-tumor T cells
  • Generating T cells reactive against selected antigen

Advantages


  • Rapid
  • Effective

Technology's Essence


This novel technology reveals that the affinity of a TCR to its ligand may be increased remarkably by subjecting TCR genes to SHM, directed by AID.
First a nucleic acid construct encoding a TCR gene is expressed in a host cell. Next SHM is used to introduce mutations to the TCR gene. Last, the the cells will be analyzed for affinity maturation by tetramer staining and subsequently sorted by FACS.
There are three parallel approaches to perform affinity maturation for the TCR: (1) Ex-vivo affinity maturation system, using Tet-regulated expression of AID (2) Ex-vivo affinity maturation system, using controlled expression of AID by mRNA electrophoresis (3) In-vitro affinity maturation system, using extracts from cells that are in SHM and recombinant AID.

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  • Prof. Rachel Lea Eisenbach
1616
Existing treatments against cancer are non-sufficiently selective. Immunotherapy based treatment offers highly selective and efficient solution to this problem. A promising approach in Immunotherapy is adoptive cell therapy (ACT). In ACT, therapeutic lymphocytes are administrated to patients in order...

Existing treatments against cancer are non-sufficiently selective. Immunotherapy based treatment offers highly selective and efficient solution to this problem.
A promising approach in Immunotherapy is adoptive cell therapy (ACT). In ACT, therapeutic lymphocytes are administrated to patients in order to treat a disease. In this process antibody-type cells are generated ex vivo, and then infused to the patient. By this technology the cells can be redirected against specific tumors via genetic engineering, using chimeric receptors.
Currently ACT is logistically and economically challenging since it is limited by the used of the patients’ own cells. Another key concern is safety, due to the danger that the allogeneic cells will be rejected by the patient, or will attack the patient.
In cancer, use of tumor specific, chimeric receptor redirected allogeneic T cells can transform ACT into a standardized, off-the shelf therapy. Overall this method proposes a safe and effective adoptive therapy using allogeneic cells while avoiding the use of bone marrow transplantation (BMT).

Applications


  • Cancer immunotherapy

Advantages


  • Off the shelf, standard treatment
  • Safe
  • Effective
  • No bone marrow transplantation (BMT) is required

Technology's Essence


A novel approach for adoptive immunotherapy using fully MHC-mismatch allogeneic T cells. These cells are redirected with tumor specific non-MHC-restricted antibody-based chimeric antigen receptor (T-bodies) in the absence of Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). In order to create a standardize treatment, the redirection of T cells can be done through an antibody-based chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), thus creating ‘universal effector T cells’. This is based on a combination of of MHC-mismatched allogeneic T-cells with an MHC unrestricted chimeric antigen receptor. These cells would recognize their target independently of MHC restriction, therefore applied as an ‘off-the shelf’ immunotherapy. Regarding the second challenge of avoiding GVHD, by using a controlled lymphodepletion the researchers were able to create therapeutic window during which the allo-T-body cells could destroy the tumor before being themselves rejected.

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  • Prof. Zelig Eshhar
1628
New generation of superior nature-inspired therapeutics for treating inflammation.Inflammation is characterized by elevated levels of TNF-?. Neutralizing TNF-? activity was shown to be beneficial for patients with chronic autoimmune inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and...

New generation of superior nature-inspired therapeutics for treating inflammation.Inflammation is characterized by elevated levels of TNF-?. Neutralizing TNF-? activity was shown to be beneficial for patients with chronic autoimmune inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, current treatments of such conditions include general anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs that are of limited effectiveness and may cause serious side effects. Another class of drugs includes targeted therapies directed against TNF-?, that are associated with serious infections including tuberculosis (TB) and sepsis as well as increased risk of cancer in some cases. Thus, there is an urgent need for highly selective, safer and more effective drugs for inflammatory conditions that involve TNF-? as a key mediator. The present technology introduces a novel generation of candidate drugs that selectively inhibit the processing of TNF-?, thereby preventing it from exerting its pro-inflammatory properties. This technology provides a framework for the development of safer and more effective therapeutics for IBD and related autoimmune disorders.

Applications


  • Treatment of autoimmune inflammatory conditions such as IBD and RA.
  • Treatment of neuroinflammatory conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • Treatment of other inflammatory mediated diseases such as psoriasis, systemic sclerosis and ankylosing spondylitis.
  • All MMPs and ADAMs proteases possess an autoinhibitory pro-domain and therefore this technology can be broadened to other MMP and ADAM targets.

Advantages


  • TACE pro-domain is highly potent and efficient.
  • TACE pro-domain is metabolically stable, unlike small molecule inhibitors of TACE.
  • Targeting TACE through nature-inspired protein design may constitute a safer approach to combat TNF-? induced inflammation.
  • Unlike non-specific small molecule inhibitors, which target the conserved catalytic zinc site of TACE, TACE pro-domain shares little homology to other MMPs, making it a good candidate for specific inhibitor of TACE.

Technology's Essence


The A disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17 (ADAM17), also known as tumor necrosis factor-? converting enzyme (TACE), has been defined as the major shedding protease for a broad range of substrates predominantly the key immuno-regulatory cytokines TNF-?. Cleavage by TACE renders TNF-? pro-inflammatory, highlighting ADAM17 as a rationale target for treatment of autoimmune diseases such as IBD and arthritis. A team of researchers at the Weizmann institute headed by Prof. Irit Sagi, has employed a sophisticated approach towards TACE targeting by exploiting its autoinhibitory pro-domain as a platform for the ‘smart design’ of TACE selective natural inhibitors. The therapeutic potential of TACE pro-domain was demonstrated in IBD mouse models, where TACE pro-domain administration showed significant improvement in multiple parameters such as reduced mortality and weight lost, in a dose dependent manner. Additional in vivo studies demonstrated that the TACE pro-domain is highly stable in vivo and harbors specificity towards the activated immune cells located in colon lesions. Thus, the novel TACE inhibitor presented in this technology leads to significant therapeutic effects and is beneficial in controlling inflammation in IBD disease manifestations in mice.

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  • Prof. Irit Sagi
1633
The ErbB family consists of four structurally related receptor tyrosine kinases. Excessive ErbB signaling is associated with enhanced tumorogenesis, and as such serves as a major therapeutic target in a wide array of solid tumor cancers. A member of this family, the human epidermal growth factor...

The ErbB family consists of four structurally related receptor tyrosine kinases. Excessive ErbB signaling is associated with enhanced tumorogenesis, and as such serves as a major therapeutic target in a wide array of solid tumor cancers. A member of this family, the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (ErbB-2/HER2), is overexpressed in a variety of human cancers, including breast and gastric tumors. ErbB-2/HER2 amplification correlates with elevated metastatic activity and poor prognosis. An innovative and highly potent approach for cancer treatment is proposed here, based on delivering novel nucleic acid-based entities called aptamers targeting ErbB-2/HER2. Remarkably, the antitumor effect exerted by the multimeric anti-ErbB-2/HER2 aptamers is twofold stronger than that elicited by currently available antiErbB-2 monocolonal antibodies.

Applications


  • A novel class of molecules for the treatment of human cancers exhibiting excessive ErbB-2/HER2 signaling.
  • Combination with other therapeutic modalities may predictably enhance the antitumor activity of the aptamer.
  • Aptamers may also be harnessed as carrier molecules to deliver toxic loads into cancer cells.

Advantages


  • Unlike traditional methods for producing monoclonal antibodies, no organisms are required for the in vitro selection of oligonucleotides. This facilitates the selection and chemical design process of aptamers.
  • Aptamers are produced chemically in a readily scalable process.
  • Non-immunogenic.
  • Unlike other oligonucleotide-based therapeutics (siRNAs, antisense RNA), aptamer therapeutics can be developed for intracellular as well as extracellular or cell-surface targets.

Technology's Essence


Aptamers are single-stranded oligonucleotides that fold into defined architectures and avidly bind to targets such as proteins, with the same effectiveness and affinity associated with mAbs. Using a novel screening technology the research team has identified a multimeric aptamer with pronounced ErbB-2/HER2 inhibitory activity. Preliminary preclinical experiments show that treatment of gastric tumor-bearing mice with trimeric aptamer resulted in reduced tumor growth that was nearly twofold stronger than that achieved with a monoclonal anti-ErbB-2/HER2 antibody.

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  • Prof. Yosef Yarden
  • Prof. Michael Sela
1555
Albumin binding probe for extending the lifetime of drugs. Most polypeptide drugs, in particular non-glycosylated proteins of molecular mass less than 50 kDa, are short-lived species in vivo having circulatory half lives of 5-20 min. Drug association with endogenous albumin may be suitable for...

Albumin binding probe for extending the lifetime of drugs. Most polypeptide drugs, in particular non-glycosylated proteins of molecular mass less than 50 kDa, are short-lived species in vivo having circulatory half lives of 5-20 min. Drug association with endogenous albumin may be suitable for designing an approach to protract the action in vivo of, potentially, any short-lived peptide/protein drug. In doing so two principal obstacles must be overcome: (1) following its conjugation, the probe introduced into a peptide or a protein should have sufficient affinity to albumin to manifest prolonged action in vivo, and (2) in case such covalent introduction results in an inactive product, the latter should be capable to undergo slow reactivation at physiological conditions. The present invention relates to engineering prolonged-acting prodrugs employing an albumin-binding probe that undergoes slow hydrolysis at physiological conditions.

Applications


  • Prolonging half life of short-lined drugs

Advantages


  • Prolonging the action of the drug without effecting its activity 
  • A desirable pharmacokinetic pattern

Technology's Essence


Since albumin is long-lived in vivo, drugs and endogenous substances that tightly associate with it have lower clearance rates than that of the unbound substances, and exhibit prolonged lifetime profiles in vivo. The present invention is based on a concept according to which a long chain fatty acid (LCFA) like albuminbinding compound is covalently linked to a short-lived amino-containing drug to form a non-covalent drug conjugate capable of associating with albumin in vivo, i.e., a long-lived prodrug that gradually releases the pharmacologically active constituent. This approach has been successfully implemented with several drugs (e.g. insulin, exendin and gentamicin).

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  • Prof. Matityahu Fridkin
  • Prof. Yoram Shechter
1657
Bioengineered formatotrophic E.Coli can be utilized to efficiently generate biomass from electricity. A popular direction for cleantech in recent years is that of biorefineries, that use living organisms to supply the human demand for chemical commodities. Electricity is considered to be a potential...

Bioengineered formatotrophic E.Coli can be utilized to efficiently generate biomass from electricity. A popular direction for cleantech in recent years is that of biorefineries, that use living organisms to supply the human demand for chemical commodities. Electricity is considered to be a potential feedstock for biorefineries, with the end products serving as solid or liquid storage of energy.  Such microbial electrosynthesis is highly dependent on mediators to enable electron transfer from an electrode to a living cell. 
Formic acid (formate) is an electron mediator with a number of desired features for microbial electrosynthesis. However, wild-type organisms that can grow on formate are not suitable for industrial use due to slow growth rates and metabolism. 
Researchers at the Weizmann Institute have successfully engineered a formatotrophic E.coli. By combining systematical analysis with computational tools they screened numerous metabolic pathways and identified the optimized metabolic pathway that supports efficient formate-based growth. This innovative method enables the design of industrial strains of bacteria capable of efficient microbial electrosynthesis.

Applications


  • Biofuel and chemical commodities production.

Advantages


  • Efficient and robust storage of electrical energy.
  • Cost effective conversion of C1 compounds into sugars.

Technology's Essence


By engineering E. coli, the ”workhorse” bacteria used in biotechnology and enabling its growth on formate, researches at Dr. Ron Milo’s lab paved the way for efficient microbial electrosynthesis. The Researches started by investigating many metabolic pathways in order to discover how a model organism such as E.coli can be engineered for formatotrophic growth.  estimate which pathway is most suitable to support growth on formate each pathway was examined based on various criteria such as biomass yield, thermodynamic favorability, chemical motive force, kinetics and additional practical challenges. 
One short favorable pathway was consistently identified, that is the reductive glycine pathway. Furthermore.  Researches generated an isolated organism that is able to convert formate to pyruvate or glycerate.


Licensing Status


Pending

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  • Prof. Ron Milo
1602
A novel technology for robust downregulation of bacterial genes.RNAi (RNA interference) is a powerful method for downregulation of gene expression in eukaryotic systems. RNAi-based technologies are extensively applied as scientific research tools, as well as actively explored as promising therapeutic...

A novel technology for robust downregulation of bacterial genes.RNAi (RNA interference) is a powerful method for downregulation of gene expression in eukaryotic systems. RNAi-based technologies are extensively applied as scientific research tools, as well as actively explored as promising therapeutic agents. However, although an efficient way to dowregulate bacterial and microbial gene expression has been long sought after, RNAi is not applicable in these species. The present technology offers a rapid and simple means to silence gene products in prokaryotic systems.

Applications


  • Treatment of bacterial infection, by targeting bacterial genes vital for antibiotic resistance or bacterial virulence.
  • Enhanced biofuel production by targeting genes that interfere with ethanol and/or hydrogen biosynthesis.
  • Generation of improved bacterial strains for the diary industry (e.g. phage-resistant strains).
  • Discerning prokaryotic gene function by silencing the expression of the gene product.

Advantages


  • The present technology may offer means to treat antibiotics-resistant strains.
  • Because CRISPR-based technology does not involve ‘classical’ genetic engineering, the resulting products do not require labeling as 'genetically modified'.
  • CRISPR-based technology system allows for the development of a rapid, scalable and high-throughput platform to probe the function of genetic circuits in prokaryotes.

Technology's Essence


CRISPR (clusters of regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) is a recently discovered anti-viral system that functions as the prokaryotic-equivalent of the adaptive immune system. CRISPR provides bacteria with protection against foreign genetic elements such as viruses by incorporating short stretches of invading DNA sequences in genomic CRISPR loci. These integrated sequences are thought to function as a genetic memory that prevents the host from being infected by the viruses and other genetic elements containing this recognition sequence. A team of researchers at the Weizmann Institute, headed by Dr. Rotem Sorek, has developed a unique technology to gain robust and rapid silencing of prokaryotic gene expression by exploiting the CRISPR system capacity to efficiently downregulate gene products. This potent technology can potentially be utilized in a broad range of areas such as in the agriculture, food and pharmaceutical industries as well as in the scientific research arena.

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  • Prof. Rotem Sorek
1664
Neuroinflammation is well established as a key secondary injury mechanism following central nervous system (CNS) trauma, such as brain/spinal injury or ischemic stroke. The neuroinflammation has long been considered to contribute to the damage sustained and fatal outcomes following brain injury....

Neuroinflammation is well established as a key secondary injury mechanism following central nervous system (CNS) trauma, such as brain/spinal injury or ischemic stroke. The neuroinflammation has long been considered to contribute to the damage sustained and fatal outcomes following brain injury. Alternating between CNS microglia pro and anti-inflammatory activation states is at the core of neuroinflammation initiation and resolution, and failure to switch to the anti-inflammatory state can induce further damage. This can happen under acute or chronic activation as microglia fail to undergo self?resolution of their inflammatory phenotype. Targeting and correcting the balance between microglia activation and suppressive states can therefore reduce brain damage following injury and inflammation.

The present discovery by the teams of Prof. Michal Schwartz and Prof. Ido Amit elucidates the mechanisms that lead to injury-induced microglia over-activation and proposes IFN-? as a therapeutic strategy to induce microglia to stop their inflammatory response. 

Applications


·           Targeted therapy to reduce neuroinflammation – avoids general immuno-suppressive side effects, treating the cause of inflammation. 

·           May allow relatively large therapeutic window – according to proof-of-concept preliminary experiments.


Advantages


 


Technology's Essence


Resident microglia are the major specialized innate immune cells of the CNS. During the process of wound healing or pathogen removal, there is an induction of the microglia active pro-inflammatiry phenotype (M1), leading to a transient inflammatory response, which is resolved via local conversion to the M2 anti-inflammatory phenotype. Following acute injury, microglia fail to acquire M2 phenotype in a timely manner, often resulting in self-perpetuating local inflammation and tissue destruction beyond the primary insult.

Prof. Schwartz, Prof. Amit, and their respective teams uncovered the mechanisms that lead to injury-based inhibition of the M1 to M2 phenotype switch. They showed that the capacity to undergo pro- to anti-inflammatory (M1-to-M2) phenotype switch is controlled by the transcription factor Interferon regulatory factor-7 (IRF-7). Their results demonstrate that restoring Irf-7 expression by IFN-? (a known IRF-7 activator) reactivates the circuits leading to M2 conversion by improving the resolution of pro?inflammatory cytokines expressed by microglia ex vivo and in vivo, following acute CNS insult.

Importantly, the anti-inflammatory activity of IFN-? was demonstrated in vivo in mouse models when administrated 24h following the primary insult, proposing a relatively large therapeutic window.

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  • Prof. Michal Eisenbach-Schwartz

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