With its sights set on a series A and an IPO following a £3.5 million (US$4.4 million) investment round in 2021, Scottish biotech ILC Therapeutics Ltd. is hoping to make waves with a sublingual interferon antiviral to treat COVID-19. The USP for the company’s lead, Alfacyte, is the fact that it’s an artificial version of interferon, so it has less of a propensity to cause the flu-like symptoms that can come from treatment with natural kinds, which hike levels of cytokines and interleukins. As a hybrid interferon that is composed of interferon alpha-10 and interferon alpha-12, Alfacyte is “up to 10,000 times less likely” to cause adverse effects, according to ILC CEO Alan Walker.
Albatroz Therapeutics Pte Ltd. has secured $3 million in seed funding to develop therapeutic antibodies against a new target that degrades the extracellular matrix, a key contributor to cancer and arthritis.
Dupuytren’s disease is often referred to as “the most common crippling hand condition that people have never heard of,” but Kurt Harrington is on a mission to change that. A seasoned biotech and pharma consultant, Harrington has had the condition himself for over a decade and, acutely aware of the lack of available treatment options, has founded Ventoux Biosciences Inc. to bring additional therapies forward.
With scientists yet to discover the specific antigen that confers protection from Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), there are currently no prophylactic vaccines available for the diseases it causes, the most well-known of which is infectious mononucleosis but which evidence suggests might also extend to immune disorders, multiple sclerosis and various cancers. This hasn’t stopped companies from trying, and one such player, EBViously Inc., is hedging its bets with a wider net, using as many proteins as possible to mimic the original viral pathogen and its complexity in a vaccine composed of non-infectious virus-like particles.
The artificial intelligence-first approach to drug discovery may be boosting productivity but has also exposed the fact that in silico design can only go so far. At some point it will be necessary to revert to the conventional method and synthesize a protein and do an experiment. Now newco Adaptyv Bio aims to smooth this transition by applying cell-free systems and micro fluidics to enable proteins to be synthesized and validated at nano scale.
With the backing of €2 million (US$2.17 million) in seed funding from venture capital company Adbio partners, French biotech Calida Therapeutics hopes that drawing on some U.S. academic research into thrombo-inflammatory disorders will enable it to develop a series of monoclonal antibodies.
A $10 million pot of seed money has catapulted Ctrl Therapeutics Inc. into existence, enabling it to advance an immunotherapy approach in which tumor cells are extracted from the bloodstream rather than the tumor itself. By targeting circulating tumor-reactive lymphocytes (cTRLs) in the blood, the company’s cell therapy platform – which originated at the University of Toronto – is designed to address the challenges of existing cell therapy technologies.
Acute thrombosis, including heart attack and stroke, is a leading cause of mortality worldwide. Yet only a small fraction of patients can be treated with current therapeutic or surgical interventions. Enter Basking Biosciences Inc., a 2019 startup aimed at developing a short-acting, fast-onset thrombolytic drug alongside a reversal agent for treating acute ischemic stroke.
Two years after its formation, Mosaic Therapeutics Ltd. has raised $28 million in a series A to begin commercialization of research carried out by the Translational Cancer Genomics Lab at the Sanger Institute in Cambridge, U.K., into the genetic vulnerabilities of multiple tumor types and how that impacts response to therapy.