Biothera Pharmaceuticals Inc. is hardly a traditional biopharma newco. The company’s core beta glucan immunomodulator technology, developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was picked up following the 1999 liquidation of Alpha-Beta Technology Inc., which had sought to advance the platform to treat bacterial infections. Biothera, known at the time as Biopolymer Engineering Inc., initially sought to develop an alternative or adjunctive approach to antibiotics or vaccines by using the technology to enhance the innate immune defense system against infections.
That effort plodded along without great success until 2005. With the prospect of immuno-oncology (I-O) still a gleam in the eye of most cancer researchers, a collaborator suggested taking a closer look at applying the immunomodulator technology to