Updates about recent collaborative efforts between researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and members of the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.

Mass General Partners with Google Cloud on Clinical Research Platform

Massachusetts General Hospital is collaborating with Google Cloud and ProofPilot to improve the ProofPilot digital clinical trial platform to improve usability for researchers at academic medical centers. Mass General, Google Cloud and ProofPilot will test the platform on a study looking at the effects of time-restricted eating on overweight patients with bipolar disorder. The platform is made accessible to other Mass General researchers through funding from Google.

Bayer, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital open joint lab for research of new treatments for chronic lung diseases

Bayer and Mass General Brigham's founding members, Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital, announced the launch of a joint lab to research new drug candidates to treat chronic lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The joint lab will host scientists from all three institutions and Bayer is investing more than $30 million to fund joint research projects over the next five years.

Elysium Health Announces FDA Acceptance of Investigational New Drug Application for Prevention of Acute Kidney in Surgical Cardiac Patients

Elysium Health, Inc., a life sciences company developing clinically validated health products based on aging research, announced the acceptance of an investigational new drug (IND) application by the FDA to evaluate the efficacy of BASIS for the prevention of acute kidney injury (AKI) in surgical cardiac patients. In 2018, a successful Phase I dose-escalating study to evaluate the safety of BASIS in patients with AKI was conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Shiseido Company Announces New Six Year Alliance with Cutaneous Biology Research Center

Shiseido Company, Limited has extended its research alliance six years with the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Cutaneous Biology Research Center (CBRC). Shiseido will continue joint research with the CBRC and create cutting-edge value through research in dermatology including ultraviolet rays and aging, as well as development of innovative cosmetic products. In addition to research and development, the Wellman-Shisheido team will provide consumers with information to maintain healthy skin, such as basic knowledge of UV rays and the impact of photoaging, etc. through seminars and symposiums.

Bio2 Technologies Enrolls First Vitrium Patient in Cervical Spine Fusion Trial

Bio2 Technologies, Inc., the developer of Vitrium, a unique proprietary structural and resorbable orthobiomaterial for spinal fusion, announced the first patient implantation in its randomized, multicenter, non-inferiority IDE Vitrium Cervical Interbody clinical trial. The implant was performed at the Orthopaedic Institute of Western Kentucky.

"The Vitrium material is a fundamental improvement over the current solutions for spinal fusion,” said Thomas Cha, MD, MBA, assistant chief, Orthopaedic Spine Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the principal investigator of the trial. “The implant uses a clinically proven bioactive material in a form that offers optimal strength and porosity to facilitate bone remodeling throughout the fusion site."

Mass General Brigham's investment strategy that led to $154M commercial, investment income in 2018

Mass General Brigham Innovation is the system's business development arm that commercializes the insights and discoveries of researchers and clinicians at Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, and McLean Hospital. The 125-member team was responsible for $154 million in commercial and investment income last year and at any given time is working on 2,000-plus active agreements.

In this article, Chris Coburn, chief innovation officer of Mass General Brigham and president of Mass General Brigham Innovation, discusses the health system's projects and what he's looking forward to in the future.

Mass General Enters Partnership with Blockchain Startup MediBloc to Improve Patient Data-Sharing Capabilities

In December 2018, Massachusetts General Hospital entered a collaboration with MediBloc, a Korean company, to research blockchain’s use for patient data. Blockchain is a rapidly emerging system for storing blocks of digital information through a chain of computers that serve as a decentralized public database. The technology allows information to be recorded and distributed but not edited, which could improve information sharing, ensure the integrity of data and increase protection against hacks or breaches.

The Laboratory of Medical Imaging and Computation, a joint venture of Mass General and Harvard Medical School, will lead the involvement with research on medical imaging analysis, storage and data exchange. A blockchain prototype will go live this winter.

Innovate Biopharmaceuticals Announces a Collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital on “Leaky Gut”

In December 2018, Innovate Biopharmaceuticals Inc., a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on developing novel medicines for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, announced a collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital. Jay Luther, MD, and Raymond T. Chung, MD, in the Gastroenterology Unit at Mass General will lead the collaboration to investigate ethanol-induced toxin uptake and sequelae in a model of alcohol-related liver disease. The goal is to understand how toxins within the intestine are crossing the gut vascular barrier and entering the circulatory system, a process that leads to inflammation and liver disease. Dr. Chung is a Kevin and Polly Maroni MGH Research Scholar 2013-2018.

Mass General, Mayo and Nvidia Researchers Combine to Use AI to Develop "Synthetic MRIs"

A team of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital Center for Clinical Data Science, the Mayo Clinic, and Nvidia have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) model to generate synthetic MRIs on which they can train future AI systems. For the study, the researchers used a system and deep learning framework from Nvidia to train a generative adversarial network on data from two publicly available datasets of brain MRIs. They then used the network to create synthetic abnormal MRIs with brain tumors.

Kamada Ltd Extends Collaboration with Mass General

Kamada Ltd. extends collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital for a proof-of-concept study evaluating the potential benefit of the company’s liquid alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) on liver preservation and transplant rejection prevention. The purpose of the ongoing study is to assess the effect of AAT on liver graft quality and viability and to evaluate the liver graft for markers of ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) and tissue damage.

Mass General and ideas24 Team Up to Support Patients with Opioid Use Disorder

Massachusetts General Hospital and ideas42, a nonprofit behavioral design lab, announced a research collaboration aimed at supporting patients in emergency care seeking treatment for opioid use disorder. With funding from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Mass General and ideas42 will use behavioral insights to inform the design, implementation and evaluation of a series of new interventions for this growing population.

electroCore Sponsors Research to Study Medical Device for Brain Conditions

Massachusetts General Hospital and electroCore, a New Jersey-based medical device company, announce a four-year research project looking at concussive brain injuries and Alzheimer’s disease. The company is providing Mass General with $1 million over four years as seed funding for multiple preclinical studies on its non-invasive electric nerve stimulation device. The device is already on the market for migraines, but they hope to expand the market to other conditions.

Mass General Researcher Wins Regeneron Creative Innovation Award

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals announced the winners of the sixth annual Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation, an award designed to recognize, reward and foster talented early-career biomedical scientists. Lauren Orefice, PhD, of the Department of Molecular Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital, won an award for her research studying the function of peripheral sensory neurons in mouse models of autism spectrum disorders.

The Science of Coolsculpting Developed by Mass General Doctor

In this WCVB interview, Rox Anderson, MD, a dermatologist at Mass General, researcher, and inventor of cool sculpting—the procedure that freezes unwanted body fat—discusses how he thought of the idea while looking for a new way to remove fat without surgery.

GigaMune and Mass General Enter Collaboration to Identify Therapeutic TCRs

GigaMune and Massachusetts General Hospital entered a research collaboration to test GigaMune's T cell receptor (TCR) discovery technology to identify therapeutic TCRs in healthy donor samples. The TCRs will be directed against tumor antigens that are expressed by solid tumors. The project will be led by Mark Cobbold, MRCP, PhD, a translational immunologist at Mass General, and Dr. David Johnson, founder of GigaMune and expert in immune genomics.

Mass General and Chembio Enter Agreement to Develop Tests for Patients with Fever

Chembio Diagnostics recently announced they have entered a memorandum of understanding with Massachusetts General Hospital to jointly develop a point of care diagnostic test for individuals with fever symptoms. The project would combine Chembio’s DPP technology with Mass General’s proprietary biomarkers to develop tests for typhoid and other febrile illnesses.

"We are quite excited about the targeted collaboration between Mass General, Chembio, and our international colleagues,” said Edward Ryan, MD, Director of Global Infectious Diseases at Mass General. “All of us are committed to developing clinically needed and accurate diagnostic assays to correctly distinguish patients who would benefit from potentially lifesaving antimicrobial therapy and those who can be safely managed with supportive care."

The tests may also lead to the early diagnosis of hard to detect diseases like malaria, typhoid fever, dengue, leptospirosis, Zika and typhus.

Phillips Announces Collaboration with Mass General to Advance Use of Digital Pathology

Royal Phillips announced a partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital to implement Philips IntelliSite Pathology Solution, a digital pathology solution to aid pathologists in viewing and diagnosing digital images of surgical pathology slides. The solution will be used to accelerate research, education and collaboration across the institutions and to help develop best practices for implementing in other U.S. medical centers.

CRISPR Startup Beam Therapeutics Launched with $87M

Beam Therapeutics, a startup cofounded by Mass General’s J. Keith Joung, PhD, and his colleagues from Harvard Medical School and MIT, was recently launched with Series A funding of $87M (led by F-Prime Capital Partners and ARCH Venture Partners). Beam is the first company to pursue development of new therapies using CRISPR base editing technology, which targets one base within the genome without cutting the DNA or RNA. This technology may reduce genetic side effects associated with current CRISPR strategies. The company’s goal is to use this innovation to develop transformative treatments for a wide range of human diseases.

Glutenostics Announces Clinical Studies at Harvard Hospitals Focused on At-Home Gluten Detection Technology

Glutenostics LLC, today announced plans for two important clinical studies involving "Gluten Detective" technology, the first at-home product designed to monitor gluten consumption, to help people on a gluten-free diet maintain compliance. Two organizations from the Harvard Medical School Celiac Research Program—Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital—are conducting the research in collaboration with Glutenostics.

FDA filing for hereditary angioedema (HAE) drug planned after phase 3 clinical trials success

Shire Plc plans to file for regulatory approval of its drug lanadelumab for the rare genetic disorder hereditary angioedema (HAE) on the back of new phase 3 data. The trials showed that the drug reduces monthly swelling attacks when taken as a preventative treatment.

HAE is a rare inherited blood disorder that can cause dangerous episodes of swelling in the face, extremities, gastrointestinal track, airway and/or genitals. The swelling is often highly painful and can be life-threatening if it obstructs the airway. HAE affects approximately 6,000 people in the United States.

Massachusetts General Hospital was one of the trial sites for the new therapy. Clinical trial investigator Aleena Banerji, MD, of Mass General said: “If approved, lanadelumab may offer patients a long-acting treatment option that significantly reduces HAE attacks when administered subcutaneously as infrequently as every four weeks.”