Debiopharm International SA | January 11, 2022
Debiopharm a Swiss biopharmaceutical company, announced their co-investment in California-based start-up VeriSIM Life's $15 Million Series A Round to advance their mission to accelerate drug development via technology powered by artificial intelligence. VeriSIM Life's computational platform reduces time and cost of drug development as well as reduces the need for animal testing that, in the vast majority of cases, does not translate well to humans. Debiopharm's co-investment in VeriSIM contributes to the growth plan of the start-up and will help to expand and establish transformational partnerships with industry and academia using their first-in-class 'virtual drug development engine' BIOiSIM™. The investment aligns with Debiopharm's focus to invest in digital health solutions that improve the cancer patient journey, transform pharmaceutical R&D, and shift healthcare towards a more patient-centric approach.
With the financing round led by Morpheus Ventures, Debiopharm Innovation Fund joins new investors including Colorcon Ventures along with existing investors OCA Ventures, Intel Capital, Serra Ventures and Susa Ventures. Founded in 2017 by Jo Varshney, DVM and PhD alongside a cross-functional team of pharmaceutical scientists, software engineers and AI/ML and simulation experts, the start-up offers a range of translational-based solutions, customized for pre-clinical and clinical programs.
"We're moving into a time where AI-based technology will play a critical role in drug development. We absolutely need to reduce the time, costs & risks of drug development in order to be more efficient – that's exactly what the BIOiSIM™ is proven to do. The value of using this AI-based platform is the potential decrease in the need for animal testing and the acceleration of the pre-clinical, translational stage, helping drug research companies to more quickly select which early-stage medicines will most likely benefit patients and cure their disease."
Tanja Dowe, CEO of the Debiopharm Innovation Fund
More than 90% of drugs tested in animals fail to pass human clinical trials, resulting in delayed development and high costs. VeriSIM's BIOiSIM platform, driven by AI and machine learning (ML), de-risks R&D decisions by providing meaningful insights much earlier in the drug development process with unprecedented accuracy and scalability. VeriSIM's platform solves this decade-old translatability problem within the drug development phase and ensures clinical success of drugs intended for highly unmet needs. With its first-in-class platform, VeriSIM is transforming the way pharmaceutical and biotech companies address the most challenging diseases impacting humankind.
About VeriSIM Life
VeriSIM Life has developed a sophisticated computational platform that leverages advanced AI and ML techniques to significantly improve drug discovery and development by greatly reducing the time and money it takes to bring a drug to market. BIOiSIM is a first-in-class 'virtual drug development engine' that offers unprecedented value for the drug development industry by narrowing down the number of drug compounds that offer anticipated value for the treatment or cure of specific illnesses or diseases. The program not only reduces the time and cost of drug discovery and development, it also greatly reduces the need for animal testing that, in the vast majority of cases, does not translate to humans.
Debiopharm's commitment to patients
Debiopharm develops, manufactures and invests in innovative therapies and technologies that respond to high unmet medical needs in oncology and bacterial infections. We aim to provide strategic funding and guidance for companies with Smart Data & Digital Health solutions with the ambition to change the way drugs are developed and the way patients are treated. Our growing portfolio company achievements includes 18 FDA clearances or CE marks and 2 IPOs. Since 2018 Debiopharm has invested over USD 120 million, typically leading the investment rounds of its 16 portfolio companies.
Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals plc | January 13, 2022
Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals plc the biopharmaceutical group developing new therapies and treatments for blood diseases, and Selexis SA, a JSR Life Sciences company, have signed a service agreement to develop the cell line for Hemogenyx’s CDX bispecific antibody for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Under the agreement, Hemogenyx will leverage Selexis’ proprietary SUREtechnology Platform™, a suite of cell line development tools and technologies that significantly reduces the time, effort, and costs associated with developing high-performance mammalian cell lines.
The CDX bispecific is made using the Hemogenyx’s proprietary humanised monoclonal antibody against a target on the surface of AML cells. CDX was co-developed by Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly and Company (“Lilly”). This cutting-edge application of immune therapy offers a potentially more benign and effective form of treatment that, if successful, could have a significant impact on treatment and survival rates for AML. CDX is planned to be the Company’s second therapeutic candidate to enter clinical trials. Following the completion of the co-development phase, Lilly granted the Company an exclusive worldwide license to certain intellectual property developed by Lilly related to the CDX bispecific antibody for all uses, including the treatment of AML and other blood cancers.
“We are delighted to partner with Selexis, and access its proprietary protein expression tools and technologies, IP and know-how. The partnership is key to advancing our CDX programme into clinical trials and accelerating the timeline to deliver this innovative therapy to patients in need of a more benign and effective treatment for AML.”
Dr. Vladislav Sandler, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals
Mr. Dirk Lange, CEO of Selexis, added, “There’s an urgent need for effective treatments for AML, and we at Selexis are pleased to apply our technologies to help Hemogenyx advance the CDX bispecific antibody to the clinic. We’ve built a reputation for delivering cell lines rapidly and cost-effectively, without compromising safety. This is an exciting milestone for Hemogenyx and we welcome the opportunity to join the company on its journey toward delivering a promising and effective therapy for patients with AML.”
Selexis’ modular SUREtechnology Platform™ facilitates the rapid, stable, and cost-effective production of recombinant proteins and vaccines, providing seamless integration of the development continuum from discovery to commercialization.
About Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals plc
Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals is a publicly traded company headquartered in London, with its US operating subsidiaries, Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals LLC and Immugenyx LLC, located in New York City at its state-of-the-art research facility.
The Company is a pre-clinical stage biopharmaceutical group developing new medicines and treatments to treat blood and autoimmune disease and to bring the curative power of bone marrow transplantation to a greater number of patients suffering from otherwise incurable life-threatening diseases. Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals is developing several distinct and complementary product candidates, as well as a platform technology that it uses as an engine for novel product development.
For more than 50 years, bone marrow transplantation has been used to save the lives of patients suffering from blood diseases. The risks of toxicity and death that are associated with bone marrow transplantation, however, have meant that the procedure is restricted to use only as a last resort. The Company’s technology has the potential to enable many more patients suffering from devastating blood diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma, as well as severe autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, aplastic anemia and systemic lupus erythematosus (Lupus), to benefit from bone marrow transplantation.
About Selexis SA
Selexis SA, a JSR Life Sciences company, is the global leader in cell line development with best-in-class modular technology and highly specialized solutions that enable the life sciences industry to rapidly discover, develop and commercialize innovative medicines and vaccines. Our global partners are utilizing Selexis technologies to advance more than 146 drug candidates in preclinical and clinical development and the manufacture of eight commercial products. As part of a comprehensive drug development process, the Company’s technologies shorten development timelines and reduce manufacturing risks.
Iktos | December 20, 2021
Iktos, a company specialized in Artificial Intelligence for new drug design, and The Drug Discovery Unit (DDU), School of Life Sciences, The University of Dundee, focused on the discovery of therapeutics for neglected diseases and the translation of novel biology through small molecule drug discovery, announced entering a collaboration to apply Iktos’s generative modelling artificial intelligence (AI) technology in one of DDU’s drug discovery programs. Under the agreement, Iktos will apply its de novo ligand and structure-based generative modelling technologies, its AI-based retrosynthesis analysis and planning tool Spaya™, and know-how complementing DDU’s drug discovery capabilities to expedite the identification of potential pre-clinical candidates and to identify additional novel chemical matter with suitable properties.
The DDU was established in 2006 to respond to a lack of drug targets identified for neglected tropical diseases being translated into therapeutics for diseases impacting the poorest people in the world. The DDU translates basic science into lead compounds to validate putative drug targets, to use as tools to investigate disease pathways and, when appropriate, advance to pre-clinical drug candidates for multiple diseases, e.g. TB and cancer.
Iktos’s AI technology, based on deep generative models, helps to bring new insights and directions into the drug discovery process based on a comprehensive data-driven chemical structure generation technology. This technology automatically designs virtual novel molecules with all of the characteristics of a successful drug molecule. This approach, validated through Iktos’s other collaborations, is a novel solution to one of the key challenges in drug design: rapid identification of molecules that simultaneously satisfy multiple parameters, such as potency, selectivity, safety, and project-specific properties. This approach uniquely enables the exploration of chemical space and produces innovative molecule designs with greater freedom to operate.
Iktos has recently diversified its R&D efforts into the development of an AI technology for retrosynthesis. Identifying and selecting synthetic pathways is one of the most challenging and time-consuming tasks in synthetic and medicinal chemistry. Iktos has developed AI based retrosynthesis analysis and planning tool Spaya™ by harnessing the power of data-driven retrosynthesis algorithm for systematic exploration and prioritisation of synthetic routes for a desired compound in minutes.
“We are thrilled to be working with Iktos to drive our projects towards drug candidates. Iktos AI platform combined with our own in-house computational and medicinal chemistry design teams provide a powerful combination for innovative new drug design.”
Professor Paul Wyatt, Head of the DDU
“We are thrilled and proud to join forces with DDU with the aim to help in the discovery of therapeutics for neglected diseases and the translation of novel biology through small molecule drug discovery,” commented Yann Gaston-Mathé, President and CEO of Iktos. “Pleased to have earned DDU’s trust, we are confident that together with DDU and their established R&D partners, we will be able to identify promising novel chemical matter and solve complex multiparametric optimisation problems. The feedback from DDU’s research team will be highly valuable as we improve our product offerings. Our strategy has always been to tackle challenging problems alongside our collaborators where we can demonstrate value generation for new and on-going drug discovery projects.”
The Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) (est. 2006) within the School of Life Sciences at The University of Dundee is a fully integrated, Biotech-style, drug discovery centre working across multiple disease areas. The DDU collaborates with partners to translate world-class biology research into novel drug targets and candidate drugs to address unmet medical need.
Incorporated in October 2016, Iktos is a French start-up company specialized in the development of artificial intelligence solutions applied to chemical research, more specifically medicinal chemistry and new drug design. Iktos is developing a proprietary and innovative solution based on deep learning generative models, which enables, using existing data, to design molecules that are optimized in silico to meet all the success criteria of a small molecule discovery project. The use of Iktos technology enables major productivity gains in upstream pharmaceutical R&D. Iktos offers its technology both as professional services and as a SaaS software platform, Makya™. Iktos is also developing Spaya™, a synthesis planning software based upon Iktos’s proprietary AI technology for retrosynthesis.
TendoNova | March 24, 2022
TendoNova, an emerging leader in microinvasive sports medicine procedures, is pleased to announce the FDA 510 clearance of its new Ocelot surgical tool, which uses an innovative technology for fragmentation or debridement of soft tissue. The FDA found the Ocelot TDS 1000 substantially equivalent to the Tenex TX1 which is routinely used for percutaneous tenotomy in orthopedics, sports medicine, pain management, and podiatry. The Ocelot System's form factor and price point make it an exciting alternative to existing tools.
Using technology licensed from Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University School of Medicine, the Ocelot facilitates procedures that require fragmentation and debridement of soft tissue under external image guidance in a simple hand-held format. TendoNova was able to achieve this success through grants and investor backing of groups such as the Georgia Research Alliance and the NFL Players' Association.
"According to studies cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from chronic tendon pain, and half of those have little or no relief from physical therapy or medication. The Ocelot is the company's first product and was conceived in response to a request by Atlanta Hawks head team physician Dr. Ken Mautner for an improved tool."
TendoNova CEO, Mark A Samuels
Dr. Mautner, who practices at Emory, commented that, "After 15 years of treating elite and recreational athletes for tendinopathy, I have been frustrated by the tools we have had to help heal these injuries. The TendoNova device could be a game changer in getting our athletes back to the healthiest level possible."
The Ocelot System performs mechanical fragmentation or debridement of a targeted area. The use of fragmentation and debridement is part of a common treatment for encouraging the growth of healthy tendon to supplant painful pathologic tendon tissue. Chronic tendon pain disorders, or tendinopathies, include tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, and jumper's knee. Tendinopathy is prevalent in athletes and anyone else who engages in repetitive tasks. If left untreated, can lead to months or years of pain and even career-ending injuries.
TendoNova plans to manufacture the Ocelot in Georgia and is presently working to validate the Ocelot disposable component production. The Ocelot is expected to be available to physicians in the second half of 2022.
Founded in 2017, TendoNova is a medical device company that is an emerging leader in microinvasive sports medicine procedures. The company's initial product is the Ocelot™ TSD 1000, a patented, FDA cleared medical device for fragmentation or debridement of soft tissue. TendoNova is also working on a digital health solution projected to provide device operating feedback during a procedure to reduce training times and improve outcomes. Dedicated to helping people live healthier lives with less pain and fewer injuries, the company plans a series of instrumented microinvasive tools designed to help physicians better heal patients suffering from advanced tendon and other pathologies.