Life sciences and health technology news overview: cancer care, layoffs, funding, more

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is now Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. (Photo by Fred Hutch/Robert Hood)

The week in life sciences in the Pacific Northwest ended with an announcement years in the making: The UW and Fred Hutch strengthened their relationship to better integrate cancer care and research.

With a bigger umbrella, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has a new name: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. The agreement also includes a restructured relationship with Seattle Children’s.

The new arrangement will better connect the lab and clinic, strengthen collaborative relationships and accelerate clinical trials, which benefits patients, but also has the potential to foster new Seattle spin-outs.

And there’s a new Fred Hutch spinout in town, Affini-T Therapeutics, which recently raised $175 million. In an interview, Fred Hutch researcher Phil Greenberg shared his thoughts with GeekWire about working effectively with his new industry partner.

More headlines below, including health tech news about a Seattle startup’s new partnership with Yelp.

– Biotech vet Phil Greenberg on his new cancer-fighting startup and the next phase of immunotherapy

— Yelp expands health ratings for restaurants, with help from Seattle startup

— Silverback Therapeutics halts oncology program, plans to lay off 27% of staff

— Financing News: Enzyme Design Startup Raises $33 Million; addiction recovery company raises $3 million

— Latest drama at Athira: investor calls for CEO replacement and wants two board seats

Philip Greenberg (center front) and members of his lab at Fred Hutch. (Photo by Fred Hutch)

Here’s other life science news from the Pacific Northwest and beyond:

More than 20 years after the first headlines praising the completion of the human genome, the time has finally come. The “dark” parts of the sequence, its more obscure parts – centromeres, telomeres, names known to the faithful – are complete. His fleet of repetitive DNA is ready. Geneticist Evan Eichler and other UW researchers helped lead the effort. Seattle’s Institute for Systems Biology also contributed. Amazon Web Services has partnered with Raleigh-Durham, NC-based Thread Research to decentralize clinical trials and make them more efficient. Impel Neuropharma’s commercial launch of its newly approved migraine treatment was “effective,” the company said in its latest earnings report. The company also recently secured $100 million in new funding to advance the product. Seagen, based in Bothell, Washington, is growing. The company posted a 38% increase in product sales to $1.4 billion last year. AGC Biologics, also based in Bothell, makes material for a peanut allergy vaccine. The drugmaker will make the product at its plant in Heidelberg with its biotech partner. Fred Hutch researchers Jesse Bloom and Tyler Starr discussed how the COVID-19 virus is likely to develop in the future, in a New York Times commentary with their colleagues. Vancouver, Wash.-based Cytodyn has issues with the FDA ( it happened before). The agency has clinically blocked two of its clinical trials, for HIV and COVID-19. Village Reach was part of a recent tranche of gifts by billionaire Seattle philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. The Seattle nonprofit received $20 million to advance its work by providing COVID-19 vaccines and other health services to underreached communities. Seattle biotech journalist and adventurer Luke Timmerman set out on his… last quest: Trekking to Everest base camp with a host of life science leaders to raise money for Fred Hutch.

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