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Daily Archives: March 19, 2020

Code Life Ventilator Challenge

The Code Life Ventilator Challenge is a 2-week sprint to collect the best ideas from anywhere in the world to create or design life-saving ventilators. It’s a joint initiative between the Montreal General Hospital Foundation and the RI-MUHC.

MONTREAL, March 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Montreal General Hospital Foundation, in collaboration with the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), is launching a global innovation challenge, backed by a prize of $200,000 CAD. They are calling for teams to design a simple, low-cost, easy-to-manufacture and easy-to-maintain ventilator which could be deployed anywhere needed to save lives.

What we know

With potentially up to 70%1 of the population on the brink of being infected by COVID-19, our worldwide health care systems will be strained beyond their limits. Even now, there aren’t enough ventilators to save everyone who needs respiratory support, and doctors are having to make agonizing decisions about whom to save. Our modern world provides the means to produce these life-saving ventilators thanks to widespread rapid manufacturing tools—3D printers, CNC machines— combined with low-cost computers (e.g. smartphones, Arduinos, etc.), but what we’re missing is a design.

The challenge

The goal is to design a low-cost, simple, easy-to-use and easy-to-build ventilator that can serve the COVID patients, in an emergency timeframe. It should be easy to build locally, its functionality must be easy to verify, and must meet the design requirements specified on the challenge website.

Leading researchers and medical staff at the Montreal General Hospital have assembled a committee of expert advisors (ICU physicians, engineers, etc.) who have defined specifications for this ventilator challenge and who will be judging submissions.

The top three designs will be available for free download to anyone who needs them, saving lives immediately. Start now, we have no time to lose! See the challenge rules here.

The challenge is powered by Agorize, a leading platform for open innovation challenges.

Registration

The deadline to submit your project is March 31, 2020.

For more information and to enroll to the challenge: http://bit.ly/CodeLifeMGH

We need YOU to design a simple, functional, reliable and easy to manufacture ventilator to provide life support to COVID-19 patients anywhere in the world.

About the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre

The mission of the RI-MUHC is to generate and leverage discovery and innovation to establish the MUHC as a world-class centre of excellence in patient-centred medicine. Excellence in clinical, evaluative and fundamental research will bring the innovations that will transform health care, providing an integrated view of disease and patient information with related therapies.
Visit: rimuhc.ca

About the Montreal General Hospital Foundation

Since 1973, the Montreal General Hospital Foundation (MGHF) has played a key role within the Montreal General Hospital (MGH) and the McGill University Health Network as a proud sponsor of significant medical R&D and technology development and acquisition. The MGHF now manages the third largest healthcare fund in Quebec, with $160 million in assets. In accordance with the wishes of donors, the funds raised by the MGHF go toward supporting patient care, research programs, acquiring cutting-edge equipment, and helping medical teams with their priority needs. Its leadership and strong relationships with the healthcare community have made the MGHF a sound advisor for donors as to where funds are most needed and can have the greatest impact.
Visit: Codelife.ca

About Agorize

Agorize is the leading platform for open innovation challenges. We build bridges between businesses and a global community of 5 million innovators.
Visit: get.agorize.com

Media Contact:

Sylvie Riendeau
Director, Communications & Marketing
Montreal General Hospital Foundation
sriendeau@codelife.ca
Tel: 1.514.575.1591

Organizer Contact:
Reza Farivar, PhD
Canada Research Chair in Integrative Neuroscience
Director, MGH MRI Research Facility
Scientific Director, MUHC TBI Program
Associate Director, Recruitment & Career Development, RI-MUHC
Associate Professor, Dept. of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, McGill University
Montreal General Hospital
reza.farivar@mcgill.ca
Tel: 1.514.285.4950

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1 Washington Post, March 11, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/coronavirus-forecasts-are-grim-its-going-to-get-worse/2020/03/11/2a177e0a-63b4-11ea-acca-80c22bbee96f_story.html

Algernon to Support Planned Phase 2 Trial of Ifenprodil for Coronavirus

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Algernon Pharmaceuticals Inc. (CSE: AGN) (FRANKFURT: AGW) (OTCQB: AGNPF) (the “Company” or “Algernon”) a clinical stage pharmaceutical development company is pleased to announce that Novotech, a leading Asia-Pacific clinical research organization (CRO), has identified physicians in South Korea who have agreed to conduct an investigator initiated phase 2 clinical trial of Ifenprodil for coronavirus patients.

The investigators were identified after Algernon retained Novotech to conduct a feasibility study in South Korea. Novotech was asked to advise on the most efficient regulatory approach to initiating a phase 2 clinical trial for Ifenprodil for COVID-19 and to also help identify potential investigators.

Ifenprodil is an already approved drug in South Korea and Japan for certain neurological conditions with a known safety history. Algernon has been investigating Ifenprodil under its re-purposed drug program and has appointed Novotech as the lead CRO for its upcoming idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and chronic cough phase 2 clinical trial to be conducted in Australia.

The Company is in the process of refining the protocol for the phase 2 coronavirus study after receiving input from the investigators, and is working with Novotech to provide the necessary information and support in order to assist with the study’s approval. The study approval process may be expedited due to the current global health crisis.

The Company will release more information about the planned phase 2 coronavirus study shortly.

The decision to retain Novotech to conduct a feasibility study was made after a recent independent study found that Ifenprodil significantly reduced acute lung injury (ALI) and improved survivability in an animal study with Asian H5N1 infected mice by 40%. Asian H5N1 is the most lethal form of influenza known to date with an over 50% mortality rate. The drug was also previously shown in a separate study to prolong survival under anoxic (low oxygen) conditions, as might occur in patients with severely impaired lung function.

“This independent study data, along with the data generated from the Company’s animal studies on IPF and chronic cough, have supported the Company’s recent new COVID-19 and acute lung injury clinical program,” said Christopher J. Moreau CEO of Algernon Pharmaceuticals.

About NP-120 (Ifenprodil)

NP-120 (Ifenprodil) is an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NDMA) receptor glutamate receptor antagonist specifically targeting the NMDA-type subunit 2B (Glu2NB). Ifenprodil also exhibits agonist activity for the Sigma-1 receptor, a chaperone protein up-regulated during endoplasmic reticulum stress. Although the anti-fibrotic activity of Ifenprodil in IPF is not known, recent studies have suggested a link between both receptors and pathways associated with fibrosis.

Glutamate (Glu) is the main excitatory neurotransmitter which acts on glutamate receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) but overactivation of these receptors can cause several damages to neural cells including death. Recent studies show that the glutamate agonist N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) can trigger acute lung injury (ALI). ALI is a direct and indirect injury to alveolar epithelial cells and capillary endothelial cell, causing diffuse pulmonary interstitial and alveolar edema and acute hypoxic respiration failure. ALI is characterized by reduced lung volume and compliance, and imbalance of the ventilation/perfusion ratio, inducing hypoxemia and respiratory distress and its severe stage (oxygen index <200) known as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). (1) Furthermore, pathological findings show that 64% of ARDS patients may have pulmonary fibrosis during convalescence (2).

NP-120 (Ifenprodil) was initially developed by Sanofi in the 1970’s in the French and Japanese markets for the treatment of circulatory disorders. The drug is genericized and sold in Japan and South Korea and is used to treat certain neurological conditions.

About Algernon Pharmaceuticals Inc. 

Algernon Pharmaceuticals is a clinical stage pharmaceutical development company focused on advancing its lead compounds for non–alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), chronic kidney disease (CKD) inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and chronic cough.

Algernon has filed new intellectual property rights for NP-120 (Ifenprodil) for the treatment of respiratory diseases and is working to develop a proprietary injectable and slow release formulation.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Christopher J. Moreau
CEO
Algernon Pharmaceuticals Inc.
604.398.4175 ext 701
info@algernonpharmaceuticals.com
investors@algernonpharmaceuticals.com
www.algernonpharmaceuticals.com

The CSE does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Neither the Canadian Securities Exchange nor its Market Regulator (as that term is defined in the policies of the Canadian Securities Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. The Canadian Securities Exchange has not in any way passed upon the merits of the proposed transaction and has neither approved nor disapproved the contents of this press release.

CAUTIONARY DISCLAIMER STATEMENT: No securities regulatory authority or stock exchange has reviewed nor accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of the content of this news release. This news release contains forward-looking statements relating to, product development, licensing, commercialization and regulatory compliance issues and other statements that are not historical facts. Forward-looking statements are often identified by terms such as “will”, “may”, “should”, “anticipate”, “expects” and similar expressions. All statements other than statements of historical fact, included in this release are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company’s expectations include the failure to satisfy the conditions of the relevant securities exchange(s) and other risks detailed from time to time in the filings made by the Company with securities regulations. The reader is cautioned that assumptions used in the preparation of any forward-looking information may prove to be incorrect. Events or circumstances may cause actual results to differ materially from those predicted, as a result of numerous known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking information. Such information, although considered reasonable by management at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect and actual results may differ materially from those anticipated. Forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made as of the date of this news release and the Company will update or revise publicly any of the included forward-looking statements as expressly required by applicable law.

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5938426/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19909524

Sinch AB (publ): Sinch adds conversational AI capabilities through acquisition

Stockholm, Sweden – Sinch AB (publ) – XSTO: SINCH

Sinch AB (publ), a global leader in cloud communications for mobile customer engagement, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Chatlayer BV for an Enterprise Value of EUR 6.9 million.

Founded in Antwerp in early 2018, ChatLayer.ai is a cloud-based software platform that lets businesses create multi-lingual chatbots and voicebots using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU). The platform enables intelligent two-way conversations between businesses and their customers across multiple communications channels like mobile messaging, voice, and web chat.

“Cloud communications and mobile technology fundamentally transforms how brands can engage with their customers. We are now seeing how next-generation messaging channels, which are designed to be conversational, are creating new opportunities for brands to enrich their customer experience. Growing our capabilities in AI and NLU is an important way for Sinch to ensure that our enterprise customers and channel partners can fully realize this opportunity”, comments Oscar Werner, CEO of Sinch.

Whereas first-generation chatbot implementations rely on simplistic scripts and keyword analysis, intelligent conversational AI leverages Natural Language Understanding to determine what a person wants to achieve when she engages with a business through text or voice chat. This creates a step-change in usability, fuels productivity, and means that live agents can focus on the smaller number of complex questions that the chatbot is unable to resolve.

Like Sinch, Chatlayer has a Go-To-Market model that leverages multiple channel partners in addition to direct field sales. Strong partnerships are particularly important when deploying AI and NLU-based tools for businesses with advanced requirements and in situations which may require specialist expertise in system integration and conversational design.

The Chatlayer.ai SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) platform is currently used by a range of enterprise customers including Belgian bank Belfius and insurance leader Foyer, and the company has established partnership relationships with companies like Proximus, Ordina and KPMG. Recurring revenue is growing rapidly. In 2019, Chatlayer generated revenues of EUR 0.8 million, Gross Profit of EUR 0.7 million, and EBITDA of EUR -0.9 million. The company is based in Antwerp and currently employs 17 people.

“We have built a platform that leverages AI and NLU to improve customer experience and drive measurable business outcomes. We are excited to partner with Sinch who adds deep mobile expertise and can help scale our offering to an international audience”, comments Rick van Esch, Chatlayer CEO.

The transaction is expected to close in April 2020 and will be financed using Sinch’s available cash at hand. Sinch has a financial target to maintain net debt/adjusted EBITDA below 2.5x over time. As of Q4 2019, net debt/adjusted EBITDA was 1.7x when measured on a rolling, twelve-month basis. All else equal, the acquisition of Chatlayer increases Sinch’s net debt/EBITDA by 0.1x to 1.8x.

Webcast

A conference call for analysts and investors will take place today, March 19, at 14.00 CET. The live webcast will be available at investors.sinch.com/webcast, where it will also be possible to ask questions. Presentation materials will be available at investors.sinch.com.

For further information, please contact

Thomas Heath
Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Investor Relations
Sinch AB (publ)
Mobile:        +46-722-45 50 55
E-mail:         thomas.heath@sinch.com

About Sinch

Sinch brings businesses and people closer with tools enabling personal engagement. Its leading cloud communications platform lets businesses reach every mobile phone on the planet, in seconds or less, through mobile messaging, voice and video. Sinch is a trusted software provider to mobile operators, and its platform powers business-critical communications for many of the world’s largest companies. Sinch has been profitable and fast-growing since its foundation in 2008. It is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and has local presence in more than 30 countries. Shares are traded at NASDAQ Stockholm: XSTO:SINCH. Visit us at sinch.com.

About Chatlayer

Founded in 2018, Chatlayer is a platform to build high-performing chat- and voicebots that work in 100+ language. Its custom-built AI ensures superior Natural Language Understanding and provides business users with actionable insights and advice on how to improve bot performance before and after the bot is deployed. Find out more at chatlayer.ai.

Important information

This communication may contain certain forward-looking statements. Such statements are all statements that do not relate to historical facts and include expressions such as “believe”, “estimate”, “anticipate”, “expect”, “assume”, “predict”, “intend”, “may”, “presuppose”, “should” or similar. The forward-looking statements in this release are based on various estimates and assumptions that in several cases are based on additional assumptions. Although Sinch believes these assumptions were reasonable when made, such forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that are difficult or impossible to predict and that are beyond Sinch’s control. Such risks, uncertainties and important factors could cause the actual results to differ materially from the results expressly or implicitly indicated in this communication through the forward-looking statements. The information, perceptions and the forward-looking statements in this release apply only as of the date of this release and may change without notice.

This information is information that Sinch AB (publ) is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication, through the contact person set out above, at 08:00 CET on March 19, 2020.

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Statement of Philips CEO Frans van Houten on the COVID-19 outbreak

March 18, 2020

Amsterdam, the Netherlands Frans van Houten, CEO of Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, today provided an update on how Philips is addressing the constantly evolving coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, as its epicenter is shifting from China to the West.

COVID-19 is a top priority for Philips and all its employees. The company has mobilized its global resources to fulfill Philips’ triple duty of care: continuing to fulfill critical customer needs, ensuring the health and safety of its employees, and ensuring business continuity.

“I am proud that our employees around the world are stepping up to support healthcare providers and their patients in the fight against COVID-19,” said Frans van Houten. “We have a broad portfolio of products, services and solutions that can help address the preparedness, response and recovery needs of an infectious respiratory disease such as COVID-19.”

The complete statement by Frans van Houten can be found on Philips’ global news center.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Klink
Philips Global Press Office
Tel: +31 6 10 8888 24
Email: steve.klink@philips.com

About Royal Philips

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a leading health technology company focused on improving people’s health and enabling better outcomes across the health continuum from healthy living and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment and home care. Philips leverages advanced technology and deep clinical and consumer insights to deliver integrated solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care. Philips generated 2019 sales of EUR 19.5 billion and employs approximately 80,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. News about Philips can be found at www.philips.com/newscenter.

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Seaborn and EdgeUno announce free IP offering for eligible institutions in the Americas in support of COVID-19 response

Seaborn & EdgeUno provide help for institutions during COVID-19 crisis
Free IP Offering in the Americas from Seaborn & EdgeUno for eligible institutions

BOSTON and SAN FRANCISCO, March 18, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Seaborn Networks, a leading developer-owner-operator of transoceanic subsea fiber optic cable systems (Seaborn), announced today that Seaborn is supporting EdgeUno and together they are enhancing their IP and Infrastructure Partnership to offer 90 days of free Internet connectivity across their respective Americas networks to non-profit/not-for-profit organizations, educational programs, state and municipal governments, public health care providers, and non-government organizations.

This free internet connectivity is offered during the next 90 days to help these qualifying organizations accelerate remote learning, work-from-home, governance, support, medicine and research. This offering is available within the EdgeUno-Seaborn partnership network, which includes the countries of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Argentina and Peru.  The 90-day free Internet connectivity has no obligation for the customer to extend beyond the free period.

“Providing free Internet connectivity is our way of supporting communities in the Americas to quickly implement government-recommended social distancing guidelines,” said Mehmet Akcin, CEO of EdgeUno.  “Access to high capacity Internet will hopefully help local, state and regional institutions in this challenging environment.”

 “By alleviating this particular financial constraint in the provision of IP, we hope to reduce the strain on these organizations to enable them to execute on their respective missions during this health crisis,” said Seaborn’s CEO Larry Schwartz.

For more information on obtaining this free service as a qualifying organization, please contact people.first@seabornnetworks.com

For all media enquiries, please contact Kate Wilson
media-relations@seabornnetworks.com

About Seaborn Networks
Seaborn Networks is a leading developer-owner-operator of submarine fiber optic cable systems, including Seabras-1 between São Paulo and New York. Seabras-1 is the only direct POP to POP system between São Paulo and New York metro, offering the lowest latency route between the B3 exchange in São Paulo and the trading exchanges of New Jersey. Seaborn’s industry leading service delivery and performance combined with our new IP and Ethernet service offerings broadens our solutions driven approach and commitment to always exceeding the service expectations of our customers. For more information please visit www.seabornnetworks.com. Follow us on Linked In.

Media Contact:
Kate Wilson
media-relations@seabornnetworks.com

About EdgeUno:
Co-founded in Silicon Valley by former Microsoft, Yahoo! and Terremark executives, EdgeUno provides unparalleled datacenter and managed cloud services focused in Latin America. EdgeUno entered the market in 2019 by acquiring major Colombian service provider RedUno with the goal of making it simpler to deploy and operate infrastructure across Latin America. EdgeUno has recently expanded its footprint to Brazil, Argentina and Chile.

Media Contact:
Diana Villamizar –  press@edgeuno.com