Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias to visit Croatia (Pula, 21.01.2022): Participation in a Conference on the Future of Europe – Meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Croatia, Gordan Grlić Radman

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, will travel tomorrow, Friday, January 21, 2022, to Pula, Croatia, at the invitation of his Croatian counterpart, Gordan Grlić Radman, to participate in a Conference on the Future of Europe, which will take place at the University of Pula. In particular, the Minister of Foreign Affairs will participate in the panel discussion “Setting the Stage for Tomorrow – Global and Regional Engagement of the European Union-Security and Defence Aspects”.

Following the conclusion of the Conference, the bilateral part of the visit will begin. Specifically, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Greece and Croatia will hold a private meeting, followed by expanded talks, a working lunch and joint statements to the press.

The talks will focus on bilateral issues and regional developments, as well as on the cooperation between the two countries within the European Union, with emphasis being placed also on the European perspective of the Western Balkans.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias to visit Croatia (Pula, 21.01.2022): Participation in a Conference on Europe’s Future – Meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Croatia, Gordan Grlić Radman

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, will travel tomorrow, Friday, January 21, 2022, to Pula, Croatia, at the invitation of his Croatian counterpart, Gordan Grlić Radman, to participate in a Conference on Europe’s Future, which will take place at the University of Pula. In particular, the Minister of Foreign Affairs will participate in the panel discussion “Setting the Stage for Tomorrow – Global and Regional Engagement of the European Union-Security and Defence Aspects”.

Following the conclusion of the Conference, the bilateral part of the visit will begin. Specifically, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Greece and Croatia will hold a private meeting, followed by expanded talks, a working lunch and joint statements to the press.

The talks will focus on bilateral issues and regional developments, as well as on the cooperation between the two countries within the European Union, with emphasis being placed also on the European perspective of the Western Balkans.

Madison Realty Capital Completes Record 2021 with $6.4 Billion in Transaction Volume Across 72 Deals and Raises Largest Debt Fund Ever at $2.08 Billion

Additional Highlights Include Launch of New $500 Million Hospitality Lending Platform

New York, Jan. 20, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Madison Realty Capital, a vertically integrated real estate private equity firm focused on debt and equity investment strategies, today announced the completion of one of the most active years in the firm’s 17-year history.  2021’s notable highlights include:

  • Closing a record $6.4 billion in total deal volume in 2021 across 72 transactions. The firm executed deals ranging from $10 million to $485 million in all major U.S. metropolitan markets.  Throughout 2021, Madison originated and acquired loans across asset classes including multifamily, mixed use, retail, office, industrial, land and hotel and invested in transitional and special situation loans as well as provided financing for ground-up development and construction.  In the last two months of 2021 alone, the firm closed 26 new deals representing nearly $2.7 billion.
  • Raising $2.08 billion in equity commitments for Madison Realty Capital Debt Fund V LP (“Fund V”), exceeding the fund’s $1.75 billion target. Fund V, the firm’s largest debt fund ever, received significant support from existing investors as approximately 70% of the institutional LPs in Madison’s prior fund re-upped into Fund V.  Additionally, 52% of the capital committed for Fund V came from new limited partners, both domestically and abroad.
  • Originating over $1 billion in loan-on-loan financing for twelve alternative lenders as part of its lender financing strategy. The firm provided financing solutions to alternative real estate lenders for projects in California, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon through its income-oriented debt investment vehicle, which targets lighter value-add and core-plus real estate transactions with a greater focus on income generation with rates of approximately 4% to 6%.
  • Launching an institutional hospitality lending platform, Madison Newbond, with $500 million of initial lending capacity in partnership with Newbond Holdings.  Madison Newbond offers unique financing programs to new and existing borrowers across the hospitality spectrum from limited-service hotels and developers to ultra-luxury resorts and targets opportunities including transitional lending and ground up developments, as well as first mortgages, mezzanine loans and preferred equity, across major metropolitan markets.
  • Attracting and retaining executive talent.  In April 2021, Madison announced seasoned executive Urian Yap joined the firm as Chief Financial Officer from The Blackstone Group, where he led the global loan operations team for Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies and the financial reporting team for Blackstone Mortgage Trust Inc.  Madison expanded its team with 12 new professionals, further building-out multiple real estate investment disciplines and capabilities. Additionally, Madison, which first opened its Los Angeles offices in 2018, continued to grow its presence on the west coast with the opening of its new Los Angeles office in Century City.

Josh Zegen, Managing Principal and Co-Founder of Madison Realty Capital, said, “Madison Realty Capital further distinguished itself in 2021 by providing single-source, customized financing solutions for borrowers’ unique needs and delivered speed, certainty of execution, and strong underwriting, despite a highly dynamic market environment.  I am proud of what we were able to accomplish, which is a testament to our team as well as the culture and expertise we have developed over the past 17 years. We look forward to continuing to execute on behalf of our borrowers, investors, and communities we serve in 2022 and beyond.”

Noteworthy transactions for the firm in 2021 include:

  • Breaking ground for a mixed use residential and public school development in Woodside, Queens in a public-private partnership with the NYC School Construction Authority and Department of Education;
  • A $34 million loan-on-loan financing for the redevelopment of a multifamily property in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles;
  • A $106 million construction loan to Arch Companies and AB Capstone for the ground-up development of Myrtle Point, a mixed-use residence in New York City;
  • A $450 million construction loan to The Rabsky Group for a 1,098-unit mixed-use development in Downtown Brooklyn;
  • A $278.5 million construction loan to Reger Holdings, LLC for a portfolio of 734 multifamily apartments, 1,264 multifamily units, and 117 luxury condominium residences across three projects in Austin, Texas;
  • A $30 million first mortgage loan to Metropica Development for a luxury condominium tower and ten acre development site in Sunrise, Florida;
  • A $79 million loan to Vella Group for a portfolio of five industrial and flexible office properties in Los Angeles, California;
  • A $395 million loan for a portfolio of 1,161 units across three multifamily projects in Bayonne, Raritan and Linden, New Jersey as well as a land site at the former Bears Stadium with plans for 4,200 residential units;
  • A $110 million loan to Harridge Development, Silverpeak Real Estate Partners, and an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management for single-family homes in a master-planned housing development in Historic San Pedro, Los Angeles.

About Madison Realty Capital 

Madison Realty Capital is a vertically integrated real estate private equity firm that, as of December 31, 2021, manages approximately $8 billion in total assets on behalf of a global institutional investor base. Since 2004, Madison Realty Capital has completed approximately $20 billion in transactions providing borrowers with flexible and highly customized financing solutions, strong underwriting capabilities, and certainty of execution. Headquartered in New York City, with an office in Los Angeles, the firm has approximately 70 employees across all real estate investment, development, and property management disciplines. Madison Realty Capital has been frequently named to the Commercial Observer’s prestigious “Power 100” list of New York City real estate players and is consistently cited as a top construction lender, among other industry recognitions. To learn more, follow us on LinkedIn and visit www.madisonrealtycapital.com.

Nathaniel Garnick/Grace Cartwright
Gasthalter & Co.
+1 (212) 257 4170
madisonrealty@gasthalter.com

UAB announces first clinical-grade transplant of gene-edited pig kidneys into brain-dead human

UAB announces the first clinical-grade transplant of gene-edited pig kidneys into brain-dead human

A doppler probe is used to assess blood flow inside the right porcine (pig) kidney after transplantation into the brain-dead recipient.Hands left to right: Katie Stegner, Dr. Babak Orandi, M.D., Ph.D. (holding the probe), Jayme Locke, M.D. (holding the kidney)Photo taken by Jeff Myers, UAB

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

UAB researchers have achieved several world’s firsts with pig-to-human kidney transplant:

  • First peer-reviewed/published study of a genetically modified pig kidney transplanted into the body of a brain-dead human recipient
  • First such study on a pig-to-human kidney transplant using genetically modified kidneys with 10 key gene edits that may make the kidneys suitable for direct clinical-grade therapeutic use in humans
  • First validation of a UAB-developed test for compatibility before xenotransplant
  • First peer-reviewed/published study to establish brain death as a viable preclinical human model

Notably, the study was designed and conducted to meet standards directly comparable to those that would apply to a Phase I clinical trial and mirrored — as much as possible — every step of a conventional transplant between humans. Importantly, this study included removing the human brain-dead recipient’s native kidneys before replacing them with genetically modified pig kidneys.

UAB announces first clinical-grade transplant of gene-edited pig kidneys into brain-dead human

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Jan. 20, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The University of Alabama at Birmingham Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine announces today the first peer-reviewed research outlining the successful transplant of genetically modified, clinical-grade pig kidneys into a brain-dead human individual, replacing the recipient’s native kidneys. These positive results demonstrate how xenotransplantation could address the worldwide organ shortage crisis.

In the study published in the American Journal of Transplantation, UAB researchers tested the first human preclinical model for transplanting genetically modified pig kidneys into humans. The study recipient had two genetically modified pig kidneys transplanted in his abdomen after his native kidneys were removed. The organs were procured from a genetically modified pig at a pathogen-free facility.

“Along with our partners, we have made significant investments in xenotransplantation for almost a decade hoping for the kinds of results published today,” said Selwyn Vickers, M.D., dean of the UAB Heersink School of Medicine and CEO of the UAB Health System and UAB/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance. “Today’s results are a remarkable achievement for humanity and advance xenotransplant into the clinical realm. With this study, our research teams have also demonstrated that the decedent model has significant potential to propel the xenotransplantation field forward.”

For the first time, the pig kidneys transplanted were taken from pigs that had been genetically modified with 10 key gene edits that may make the kidneys suitable for transplant into humans. This process demonstrates the long-term viability of the procedure and how such a transplant might work in the real world. The transplanted kidneys filtered blood, produced urine and, importantly, were not immediately rejected. The kidneys remained viable until the study was ended, 77 hours after transplant.

“This game-changing moment in the history of medicine represents a paradigm shift and a major milestone in the field of xenotransplantation, which is arguably the best solution to the organ shortage crisis,” said Jayme Locke, M.D., director of the Comprehensive Transplant Institute in UAB’s Department of Surgery and lead surgeon for the study. “We have bridged critical knowledge gaps and obtained the safety and feasibility data necessary to begin a clinical trial in living humans with end-stage kidney failure disease.”

Gene editing in pigs to reduce immune rejection has made organ transplants from pigs to humans possible, which could offer help to thousands of people who face organ failure, disease or injury. The natural lifespan of a pig is 30 years, they are easily bred and can have organs of similar size to humans.

Genetically modified pig kidneys have been extensively tested in non-human primates. In addition to testing in non-human primates, evaluating genetically modified pig kidneys in a human preclinical model research may provide important information about the potential safety and efficacy of kidneys in human transplant recipients, including in clinical trials.

“This human preclinical model is a way to evaluate the safety and feasibility of the pig-to-non-human primate model, without risk to a living human,” Locke added. “Our study demonstrates that major barriers to human xenotransplantation have been surmounted, identifies where new knowledge is needed to optimize xenotransplantation outcomes in humans, and lays the foundation for the establishment of a novel preclinical human model for further study.”

This effort is supported by biotechnology pioneer United Therapeutics Corporation, which awarded a grant to UAB to launch the innovative xenotransplantation program. Revivicor, Inc., a subsidiary of United Therapeutics, provided the genetically modified pig that was the source of the investigational xenotransplant kidneys called UKidney™.

“All of us at Revivicor are in awe of the historic achievements at UAB with our investigational 10-gene xenokidney, or UKidney,” said David Ayares, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Revivicor and a trailblazing genetic engineer since his early work cloning the world’s first pigs and the first alpha-Gal knockout pigs. “We feel confident that this UKidney may turn out to be a life-saving solution for thousands of people on dialysis, subject to successful completion of our clinical trials and achievement of FDA approval in the next several years.”

About the study
The peer-reviewed research is a study of ambitious scope and great significance, given that more than 800,000 Americans are living with kidney failure. Most never make it to the waiting list, and far too few human organs are available to put a dent in that number. Although dialysis can sustain life for some time, transplantation offers a better quality of life and a longer life for the few individuals who can gain access to transplantation. Each stage of this decedent xenotransplant study approximated the steps that might be taken in a Phase I xenotransplant clinical trial:

  • The kidneys were removed from a donor pig housed at a pathogen-free, surgically clean facility. The kidneys were then stored, transported and processed for implantation, just as human kidneys are.
  • Before surgery, the brain-dead recipient and donor animal underwent a crossmatch compatibility test to determine whether the genetically modified pig kidney and its intended recipient were a good tissue match. A crossmatch is done for every human-to-human kidney transplant; however, this pig-to-human tissue-match test was developed at UAB and marked the first time a prospective crossmatch has been validated between the two species.
  • The pig kidneys were placed in the exact anatomic locations used for human donor kidneys, with the same attachments to the renal artery, renal vein and the ureter that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder.
  • The brain-dead recipient received standard immune-suppression therapy used in human-to-human kidney allotransplantation.

The study was conducted to meet the standards directly comparable to those that would apply to a Phase I human clinical trial, mirroring every step of a standard transplant between humans. It included Institutional Review Board and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approval, a tissue compatibility confirmation before starting the operations, using the standard procedures of human-to-human transplants to remove, preserve, transport and transplant the kidneys into a human, and giving the standard immunosuppression therapy to the recipient.

Transplant recipient Jim Parsons helps open doors to the future of organ transplantation
This scientific and medical breakthrough would not have been possible without Jim Parsons, the recipient, or his family.

Parsons, 57, was a registered organ donor through Legacy of Hope, Alabama’s organ procurement organization, and he had longed to have his organs help others upon his death; but his organs were not suitable for donation. His family permitted UAB to maintain Parsons on a ventilator to keep his body functioning during the study. His native kidneys were removed, and two genetically modified pig kidneys were transplanted.

“Mr. Parsons and his family allowed us to replicate precisely how we would perform this transplant in a living human. Their powerful contribution will save thousands of lives, and that could begin in the very near future,” Locke said. “Mr. Parsons’ gift honors his legacy and firmly establishes the viability, safety and feasibility of this preclinical model. Because of his gift, we have proposed this to be known as ‘The Parsons Model.’”

Parsons’ ex-wife, Julie O’Hara, and their children, Ally, David and Cole, made the decision (along with Jim’s sisters and mother) to take part in the study after they were approached by Alan Spriggs with Legacy of Hope and Locke.

“Jim was a never-met-a-stranger kind of guy who would talk to anyone and had no enemies — none,” O’Hara said. “Jim would have wanted to save as many people as he could with his death, and if he knew he could potentially save thousands and thousands of people by doing this, he would have had no hesitation. Our dream is that no other person dies waiting for a kidney, and we know that Jim is very proud that his death could potentially bring so much hope to others.”

The critical need for other organ donation options
Kidney disease kills more people each year than breast or prostate cancer, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Although transplantation is the gold standard treatment for end-stage kidney disease, fewer than 25,000 kidney transplants are performed each year in the United States and 240 Americans on dialysis die every day. Many of these deaths could be prevented if an unlimited supply of kidneys were available for transplant.

The wait for a deceased donor kidney can be as long as five years, and in many states, it is closer to 10 years. Almost 5,000 people per year die waiting on a kidney transplant.

About UAB transplant and the xenotransplant team
UAB Medicine is a world leader in organ transplantation and has performed 9,055 kidney transplants from Jan. 1, 1988, to Dec. 31, 2021 — the second-most kidney transplants in the United States during that time. The focus of UAB’s xenotransplantation program is to address the organ shortage by safely transplanting genetically modified pig kidneys into humans with kidney failure. Learn more.

About UAB
Known for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a part of the University of Alabama System, is an internationally renowned research university and academic medical center. UAB consistently exceeds $600 million in annual research awards and totaled almost $850 million last year, including one-time COVID-related funding. UAB is Alabama’s largest single employer, with more than 26,000 employees, and was named America’s Best Large Employer by Forbes in 2021. The institution’s annual economic impact on the state exceeds $7 billion each year. The pillars of UAB’s mission include education, research, innovation and economic development, community engagement, and patient care. Learn more at www.uab.edu.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The University of Alabama at Birmingham is one of three doctoral research universities in the University of Alabama System. In your first reference to our institution, please use University of Alabama at Birmingham and UAB on subsequent references.

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/UAB.edu TEXT: www.uab.edu/news
TWEETS: www.twitter.com/uabnews VIDEO: www.youtube.com/uabnews

Media Contacts:
Tyler Greer, 205-934-2041
Nicolas Kressmann, 732-532-5318

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at: https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/33d4e6ff-7c94-45e9-b4b2-54b02013eabc

A video accompanying this announcement is available at: https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/90656f74-a325-479f-9177-9d9538f11799

Sweegen Praises New Framework on Stevia Technology By International Food Safety Authority

Sets Global Example on Standards for Countries

Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., Jan. 20, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sweegen’s health and wellness commitment through global sugar reduction solutions became stronger after Codex Alimentarius (Codex), the international food standard safety authority, recently adopted the specifications for all four stevia technologies, including Sweegen’s bioconversion.

“The new Codex framework is timely as the benefits of steviol glycosides, the sweet component in the stevia leaf, fit into the broader health and wellness narrative, which is something consumers want to see more of, and global food and beverage manufacturers want greater access to,” said Luca Giannone, senior vice president of sales.

The significance of the adoption is that there is now a more streamlined approach to regional adoption of new production technologies. This will provide greater access to less common and better-tasting steviol glycosides at scale and a more sustainable supply of the sugar-like tasting ingredients.

Sweegen’s support for adopting the “Framework for Stevia Technology” started four years ago as a member of the alliance group, the International Stevia Council (ISC). Adopting the framework was a stevia industry effort and collaboration internationally where Sweegen represented bioconversion technology.

“With this framework, most countries in the world will gradually adopt this standard, and our global stevia footprint can expand more rapidly into countries where we are seeking approval for offering our pure, clean, and great-tasting Signature Bestevia ingredients produced by bioconversion,” said Giannone.

Modern technology advancements, such as bioconversion, produce clean new generation sweetener molecules such as Rebaudiosides M, D, and E, originally found in small quantities in the stevia leaf. Unlike first-generation ingredients like Rebaudioside A, these rebaudiosides impart a clean sugar-like taste with a better sensory profile and are highly sought-after by food and beverage manufacturers in countries where they have regulatory approvals.

“The adopted framework is good news for brands that want greater access to Sweegen’s pure and clean tasting stevia ingredients, Rebs D, E, M, and more,” said Giannone. “By leveraging proprietary bioconversion technology, we start with the stevia leaf, and with the support of enzymes, produce a final product that is a single purified steviol glycoside (not a mixture) that naturally occurs in the stevia leaf.”

Under the new framework, all of Sweegen’s rebaudiosides are approved by Codex. Last year, Sweegen earned regulatory approval for its Signature Bestevia Reb M in Europe, which enables greater flexibility in satisfying regional preferences for sweetness and great taste.

“We welcome the adoption of the Codex framework and the opportunity to support our customers globally with new sugar reduction innovations,” said Steven Chen, Sweegen’s chief executive officer. “Sweegen is proud to be part of this collaborative effort to bring much-needed innovation to the food and beverage industry.”

About Sweegen

Sweegen provides sweet taste solutions for food and beverage manufacturers around the world.

We are on a mission to reduce the sugar and artificial sweeteners in our global diet.  Partnering with customers, we create delicious zero-sugar products that consumers love.  With the best next-generation stevia sweeteners in our portfolio, such as Bestevia® Rebs B, D, E, I, M, and N, along with our deep knowledge of flavor modulators and texturants, Sweegen delivers market-leading solutions that customers want, and consumers prefer. Be well. Choose well.

For more information, please contact info@sweegen.com and visit Sweegen’s website, www.sweegen.com.

Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements, including, among other statements, statements regarding the future prospects for Reb M stevia leaf sweetener. These statements are based on current expectations but are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and are beyond the control of Sweegen, Inc.

Relevant risks and uncertainties include those referenced in the historic filings of Sweegen, Inc. with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by the forward-looking statements, and therefore should be carefully considered. Sweegen, Inc. assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements due to new information or future events or developments.

Attachment

Ana Arakelian
Sweegen
949-709-0583
ana.arakelian@sweegen.com