The Mag

The thing about milk…

For years, pharmaceutical companies have made little progress in the search for new treatments for colon cancer and other solid tumours. Now research from Nobel laureate Harald zur Hausen has established a causal link between infection with the bovine episomal pathogens found in milk and red meat and subclinical chronic inflammation, as well as subsequent tumour genesis. Food authorities are asking questions, but haven't yet moved to protect infants from infection.

Further topics in this issue:

AI – The next revolution
AI-driven pattern recognition could help biotechnologists design better medicines, engineer more nutritious crops and develop greener enzymes. In June, Alphabet subsidiary DeepMind announced it had solved a protein folding problem that has dogged the field for half a century. Its self-learning protein prediction tool Alphafold 2 can forecast globular protein structures within minutes.

Antibiotic boost  
After seven years of funding, the European Gram-negative Antibacterial ­Engine (ENABLE) will be finished in Autumn 2021. Wandrille Ract-Madoux, CEO of French firm Mutabilis, explains how the support helped attract further funding.

Protein Intelligence
In the EU’s Horizon Europe innovation programme, combining biology with artificial intelligence is high on the agenda. The hope that AI-driven pattern recognition can help biotechnologists design better medicines, engineer more nutritious crops and develop ‘green’ enzymes that can break down plastic waste got a boost in June.

mRNA vaccine/gene therapy for Africa
For decades, the biopharma industry has been looking for a vaccine against malaria. But the pathogen is a moving target. Now, new research supports hope that mRNA vaccines inducing the production of newly developed anti-CSP antibodies could eradicate the disease.

Federico Pollano, SVP Business Development, Rentschler Biopharma SE

Cultured meat takes off

Country report