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Archive - Jul 24, 2017

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Exosome Diagnostics Completes $30 Million Series C Financing

Exosome Diagnostics Inc., a leader in the liquid biopsy market, today (July 24, 2017) announced the close of its $30 million Series C financing, led by insiders, Tiger Partners and Forbion Capital Partners. Blue Ridge Capital, NGN Capital, Arcus Ventures, b-to-v Partners, CD Ventures, and others participated in the round, which was oversubscribed. Exosome Diagnostics intends to use the funds to support the rapid commercial expansion of its ExoDx® Prostate(IntelliScore) and other diagnostic tests in the oncology market. The company will also continue to leverage its proprietary technologies for tests in other areas, such as neurodegenerative diseases, transplant rejection monitoring, and cardiology. Exosome Diagnostics will continue to invest in the expansion of its companion diagnostics (CDx) business and build out its exosomal instrumentation business by expanding its placement of units in the CDx market and continuing its point-of-care clinical development roadmap. These divisions and technology differentiators, such as one reaction RNA and cell-free DNA interrogation within its pipeline for signal enhancement, and its “Shahky” point-of-care instrumentation which is based on, sample in - answer out, protein biomarker interrogation capabilities, will further distinguish Exosome Diagnostics as the industry leader in the liquid biopsy space, the company believes. The preservation of Exosomes in the isolation process is essential, and will be vital for the derivation of highly specific and sensitive diagnostic tests. The company will also use the funds towards advancing its current technology platform capabilities and for the commercialization of its new technologies, such as its ability to isolate disease-specific exosomes based on tissue type.

"Molecular Archeology" Study of Over 7,000 Genes in 100 Species Generates New Phylogenetic Tree for Jawed Vertebrates

Using the largest and most informative molecular phylogenetic dataset ever analyzed, evolutionary biologists were able to construct a new phylogenetic tree of jawed vertebrates. This new tree resolves several key relationships that have remained controversial, including the identification of lungfishes as the closest living relatives of land vertebrates. The evolution of jawed vertebrates is part of our own history because humans belong to the tetrapods more specifically we are mammals, or, even more specifically, primates. The study utilized a novel set of newly developed analyses for building and reconstructing, large-scale genomic datasets. In the future, this method might also be used to reconstruct the evolutionary relationships among other enigmatic groups of organisms that await resolution. The research was done as part of a large collaborative work among several laboratories, with evolutionary biologists Dr. Iker Irisarri and Professor Axel Meyer from the University of Konstanz (Germany) among the principal investigators. Their research results were published online in Nature Ecology & Evolution on July 24, 2017. The article is titled “Phylotranscriptomic Consolidation of the Jawed Vertebrate Timetree.” Fishes, amphibians, mammals, snakes, turtles, lizards, crocodiles, and birds are all groups of animals that include thousands of species and are morphologically very different from each other. These animal lineages show huge differences in species richness, life history, behavior, and many other aspects of their biology. Notwithstanding these differences, these animals all possess a backbone and jaws. Since their origin about 470 million years ago, jawed vertebrates have diversified extraordinarily: they include more than 68,000 described species, not counting those that went extinct.

Beetle at “Dawn of the “Great Rise” Astonishes Entomologists and Paleontologists

He’s Australian, around half a centimeter long, fairly nondescript, 300 million years old – and he’s currently causing astonishment among both entomologists and paleontologists. The discovery of a beetle from the late Permian period (299 million to 251 million years ago), when even the dinosaurs had not yet appeared on the scene, is throwing a completely new light on the earliest developments in this group of insects. The reconstruction and interpretation of the characteristics of the beetle “Ponomarenkia belmonthensis” were achieved by Professor Dr. Rolf Georg Beutel and Dr. Evgeny V. Yan of Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany). They have published this discovery, together with renowned beetle researcher Dr. John Lawrence and Australian geologist Dr. Robert Beattie, online on Juy 21, 2017 in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. It was Dr. Beattie who discovered the only two known fossilized specimens of the beetle in former marshland in Belmont, Australia. The article is titled “At the Dawn of the Great Rise: Ponomarenkia belmonthensis (Insecta: Coleoptera), A Remarkable New Late Permian Beetle from the Southern Hemisphere.” “Beetles, which, with nearly 400,000 described species today, make up almost one-third of all known organisms, still lived a rather shadowy and cryptic existence in the Permian period,” explains Jena zoologist Dr. Beutel. “The fossils known to date have all belonged to an ‘ancestral’ beetle lineage, with species preferring narrow spaces under bark of coniferous trees.