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covid-19 drug: Antibody drug tech firm AbCellera raises $105 million as it works on COVID-19 – Latest News

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Canadian drug discovery technology company AbCellera, which analyzes and identifies antibodies for pharmaceutical companies working on a coronavirus treatment and other medicines, said on Wednesday it had raised $105 million in funds.

AbCellera has been working with pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly and Co which is developing a coronavirus drug based on antibodies from patients that have recovered from the disease.

AbCellera uses computer vision and machine learning to quickly analyze data from human samples, and pharmaceutical clients then use that to develop drugs, AbCellera Chief Executive Carl Hansen said.

The human sample is inserted into a device the size of a credit card that has over 250,000 “chambers.” A computer checks human antibodies secreted into the chambers by sample cells to determine which has the best properties for fighting a certain disease and is worth developing, he said.

AbCellera is paid an upfront fee for the work from drug companies, and also payments for milestones of the development and eventually a small royalty as well, Hansen said.

Funds raised through AbCellera’s latest funding round will be used to hire about 100 more employees, mostly in software and data science, Hansen said, adding that the company currently has 140 employees and plans to open a new 48,000-square-foot R&D facility next year.

In addition to the latest funding round, led by venture capital firms OrbiMed and existing investor DCVC Bio, AbCellera also won a $124 million grant from the Canadian government this month to help build a manufacturing facility for antibody drug making that would help in future pandemics, said Hansen.

AbCellera said it has identified antibody candidates for drug development in diseases including cancer, immuno-oncology, pain, and metabolic disorders.



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Facebook pauses sharing WhatsApp user info with Hong Kong authorities

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Facebook and its popular WhatsApp messaging service are putting a hold on what information they share with Hong Kong law enforcement, as the company reviews a sweeping new security law from Beijing.

Twitter had similarly paused such sharing last week, a company spokesperson said Monday.

China’s National Security Law, which went into effect Tuesday, is widely seen as a crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters. The law bypasses Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous status and will grant Beijing the ability to create special police units to target the city’s “troublemakers.”

Like all major American tech companies, WhatsApp and Facebook respond to legal requests from countries around the world if they meet certain criteria. WhatsApp automatically uses end-to-end encryption, meaning the company is unable to see the contents of its users’ conversations. It does, however, regularly share users’ metadata, like location data and call dates and times, when law enforcement requests it.

But the company is putting a pause on that practice when it comes to Hong Kong.

“Privacy has never been more important than now, and we remain committed to providing private and secure messaging services to our users in Hong Kong,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement Monday. “We will pause reviewing law enforcement requests for WhatsApp user data from the Hong Kong government pending further assessment of the impact of the National Security Law, including formal human rights due diligence and consultations with human rights experts.”

The messaging app Telegram is also refusing such requests, according to Hong Kong Free Press.

The law criminalizes a broad swath of behaviors, including anything that promotes secession and subversion from China’s mainland, and it’s unclear how it will be applied in daily life in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Police Force has claimed it may criminalize banners and chants promoting Hong Kong independence.

Peter Micek, general counsel at the international digital rights advocacy group Access Now, said the decision was a “smart move” for Facebook and WhatsApp.

“They need a bit of a break to give time to digest the new law and the new powers that authorities in Hong Kong have and how that’s going to impact Facebook and WhatsApp’s ability to respect human rights in its operations there,” Micek said.

In the second half of last year, Hong Kong made 241 legal requests for user data from Facebook and WhatsApp, which processed just under half of them, according to the company’s transparency report.

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Extend US Facebook boycott to Europe, campaigners urge | Technology

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Campaigners are calling for an advertising boycott of Facebook in the US to be extended to Europe, after its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, dismissed the effects of the campaign in a meeting with staff.

A growing number of companies have halted advertising on Facebook after criticism that the platform was not doing enough to counter hate speech on its sites.

Imran Ahmed, the chief executive of the British nonprofit the Center for Countering Digital Hate, said: “There’s a very strong argument to be made that advertisers should be boycotting Facebook in Europe as well.

“In the US, I think the question of Facebook’s role in spreading hate is highly party political, but in Europe it’s generally accepted on all sides as being a serious problem.

“Perhaps that’s taken some of the fire and energy out of calls for Facebook to change its behaviour. But most of the polling shows that in Europe there is an even stronger desire for Facebook to be held to account for the hate speech and misinformation that spreads on its platform.”

In response to criticism, Zuckerberg last month announced a raft of changes to the platform’s hate speech policies, banning content that demonises immigrants and further restricting posts that make false claims about voting.

While some advertisers, including Patagonia and Ford, have pulled spending internationally as part of the campaign, others such as Unilever have only taken action in the US. The UK-headquartered conglomerate, which owns brands including Ben and Jerry’s and Marmite, explained its decision with reference to the “polarised election period in the US”. Unilever has not responded to requests for comment.

In the past week, many of the companies that joined the boycott announced they would pull all spending globally. Lego’s chief marketing officer, Julia Goldin, said the company would “take immediate steps to carefully review the standards we apply to advertising and engagement on global social media platforms”, and would pause all spending for 30 days. “We are confident solutions exist but urgent action is needed,” Goldin added.

But the lack of a truly global response, particularly from the largest advertisers, has come under fire from campaigners and emboldened Facebook’s senior leadership. According to a report by the tech news site the Information, Zuckerberg sees the boycott as a PR issue rather than a serious threat and is not planning a major response.

“We’re not going to change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue, or to any percent of our revenue,” he said, according to the site. “My guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”

Advertisers needed to ensure their message was clear, Ahmed said. “If you’re a large company and you’re pulling your advertising from the US but not the rest of the world, that puts into question your commitment.

“It is by now clear that legislators are dithering around the world on taking robust legislative or regulatory action so it’s on the rest of us in civil society, which includes businesses, to send a clear message to social media companies.”

Ahmed’s call came after a group of 37 UK charities, including Barnardo’s, Mind and Parkinson’s UK, threatened to curb spending on social media engagement if platforms such as Facebook did not tackle hate speech.

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Technology News Live Updates: Elyments launched under Aatmanirbhar Bharat, Samsung to launch big battery phone

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technology news, science and technology news, samsung 6800 mah battery, samsung m series, elyments, pubg leaks, tiktok like apps, aatmanirbhar bharat campaign Elyments is free to download on iOS and Android (Source: Express Photo & Play Store)

In today’s live updates in the technology world, Samsung is likely to bring a new smartphone to its affordable M series. The expected new entrant to the M Series is likely to have a huge 6,800mAh battery to power the smartphone. Previously, the largest battery on a Samsung smartphone was 6,000mAh.

For PC gamers, there is good news as PS4 exclusive game Horizon Zero Dawn is available for pre-order on Steam and Epic Games. The third-person open-world role-playing action game will be launched on August 7. However, despite its release being a month away, it has already become the top seller to Steam as it is the first PS4 exclusive game to come to Microsoft Windows.

Under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat campaign, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu launched a social media app Elyments on Sunday. Elyments is available for download on both iOS and Android.

Technology News LIVE UPDATES:

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