Sense4me is developing a digital platform that predicts relapse in patients with alcohol use disorder. Through wearable sensors, sense4me provides real-time measurements of a patient’s sympathetic nervous system and hypothalamus, data that can act as an alert to subdue cravings before they cause the patient to relapse. This just-in-time intervention powered by personalized health analytics has the potential to reduce relapse rates, which can be as high as 80-95% among patients in their first year of treatment for alcohol and nicotine addiction. Dysregulation of the stress system has been associated with a shorter time to future relapse in alcoholics. By monitoring stress responses, this technology empowers the 14.8M Americans with alcohol use disorder to actively participate in their treatment and take control of their cravings. A collaboration between Columbia’s Dr. Lili Deligianni and Dr. Nasir Naqvi, sense4me is seeking $500K in seed funding to complete a wearable prototype and accompanying software.
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are used in many products such as electronics, toys, wireless headphones, handheld power tools, small and large appliances, electric vehicles, and electrical energy storage systems. If not properly managed at the end of their useful life, they can cause harm to human health or the environment. Princeton NuEnergy is revolutionizing the material supply chain with its patented low-cost process for producing high quality cathode active materials from spent lithium ion batteries. With successful operation of our lab scale plant and strong relationships throughout the electric vehicle supply chain we are building out our team to execute our production scale manufacturing plants starting in 2021.
GenoTwin is a next-generation genomics platform that combines leading genomics expertise with data science to transform the detection of pathogens and our understanding of individual immune responses to them. We envision a future where data-rich pathogen and immuno-surveillance are a part of the public health fabric, ushering in an era of precision medicine and enlightened policy-making. Specifically, we have developed an innovative genomics platform that combines cutting-edge capabilities in genomics, artificial intelligence, and bioinformatics to support clinicians, public health officials, and researchers. Out solutions encompass four key areas: ) Pathogen detection, 2) Pathogen surveillance, 3) Immune/resistance assessment, and 4) Precision treatment development. We were founded by leaders in this field and are supported by a Scientific Advisory Board of widely esteemed scientists and practitioners in genomics, virology, infectious disease, and epidemiology.
The HoloAnatomy® Suite is the first product built on CWRU’s Mixed Reality Education Platform (MREP), and is the culmination of over seven years of artistic and programming development launched through a partnership with Microsoft. Case Western Reserve University was Microsoft’s inaugural Medical Education Lead collaborator, gaining access to the first generation of the HoloLens prior to public launch. Developed to be the primary Anatomy course used in CWRU’s School of Medicine, it is now used at several premier schools of medicine across the United States, UK, and European Union. HoloAnatomy has an executive sales team in place with $600k in signed contracts to date, currently growing at 80% annually. HoloAnatomy is seeking a CEO responsible for building out a NewCo team to commercialize the Mixed Reality Education Platform (inclusive of the HoloAnatomy Software Suite), lead fundraising as needed, furthering the development of the product, and commercializing the technology.
KneeMo addresses problems associated with musculoskeletal disorders including sports related injuries and chronic disease such as osteoarthritis (OA). The potential market is substantial since musculoskeletal disorders affect more than one out of every two persons in the United States over age 18 and three out of four over age 65. Osteoarthritis alone accounts for 242 million people in the world who live with activity limiting symptoms. Pharmaceuticals, often used to alleviate the musculoskeletal pain come with side effects that can include addiction. KneeMo takes a novel mechanical approach to engage multimodal sensory pathways that signal pain using cutaneous mechanical stimuli (e.g., vibration) where over stimulation in one mode of the system (e.g., vibration) can gate response in other modalities (e.g. pain). KneeMo was shown in a placebo controlled clinical trial to provide an effective and safe alternative to pharmacological interventions to reduce pain and enhance function.
Dermal fillers are implantable medical devices injected into the skin to help fill in facial wrinkles, restoring a smoother appearance. In 2018, there were >2,600,000 dermal filling procedures performed in the US, and the market was estimated to reach $10 billion by 2023. Despite the high demand, no dermal filler has been approved by FDA for injection in the superior portion of the face. High blood vessel density around the eye presents the risk for vascular occlusion leading to skin necrosis or blindness. UCLA researchers led by Prof. Timothy Deming and Michael Delong reported a novel dermal filler material, polyion-complex deblock copolypeptide hydrogels (PIC-DCH), which is safer than the currently used hyaluronic acid.
The field of brain-machine interfaces has advanced significantly over the past two decades, especially in its successful transition into human clinical trials. However, this progress has relied largely on wired, invasive sensors for the acquisition of neural data with high spatial and temporal resolution. Neurograins represents the first completely wireless network of sensors in neural application, consists of ensembles of implantable, sub-millimeter, individually addressable microchips.
Foodborne illness is a significant health and economic problem globally. Cross-contamination of food by pathogens via surfaces of food processing equipment is a leading risk factor in foodborne disease outbreaks. Antimicrobial coatings that make food contact surfaces self-sanitizing have potential to reduce cross-contamination and represent a $2.3B market opportunity. Despite that promise, the antimicrobial coating technology available for food contact surface applications is severely limited by a lack of food-grade coatings, lack of efficacy in high volume/organic matter environments, difficult application, high cost and challenges in use with legacy equipment. We have developed novel antimicrobial coatings to make food contact surfaces self-sanitizing to prevent cross-contamination. The coatings are made of food-grade, FDA GRAS materials. They are safe, effective, low-cost, environmentally friendly and useable on legacy equipment. The underlying technology was developed at University of California-Davis.
Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are a $300B market, about $20B in diagnostics and $30B in antiviral therapeutics. Yet antibodies require poorly scaling, expensive mammalian cells, vary with batch, are environmentally unstable, and are subject to escape by viral strain evolution. Protein Architects is developing beta solenoid proteins as “molecular Legos” for applications in self-assembly of nanoparticle based devices and materials. Our polyvalent, environmentally robust viral decoy proteins for antigen diagnostics and therapeutics can be scalably produced in microbial GMP facilities at 1/50 the cost per binder yet bind up to 1000000x stronger than antibodies. As receptor decoys, they align with viral evolution, and modular human design makes immunocompatible therapeutics. We are seeking seed financing and regulatory advising on our in development viral decoy antibody substitutes for SARS-CoV-2 antigen diagnostics and therapeutics. We are positioned to make a difference in this pandemic, and future viral threats.
The continuous emergence and rapid spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria and antimicrobial resistant Candida has caused serious environmental and public health issues worldwide due to increasing difficulty in treating infections. Triggered drug delivery systems that limit exposure to antibacterials and/or antimicrobials can alleviate these challenges and help prevent resistance. We have developed responsive hydrogel systems to combat skin wound bacterial and fungal infections. ResponseGels is developing hydrogels that incorporate a degradable peptide sequence in the backbone that responds specifically to either 𝛽‐lactamases (βLs), the most common cause of resistance to antibiotics, or aspartic proteases (Saps) secreted by virulent Candida.
Neuromodulation is a rapidly expanding field of clinical neuroscience. Yet the widespread use of neuronal probes for recording and functional stimulation has been slow to develop, in part because of incompatibility problems with existing metallic and ceramic probes, as well as surgical complexity and potential tissue damage or infection during probe insertion. SME-Tronic is developing an electrode array made of shape-memory alloys and/or shape-memory polymers that can be inserted in a minimally invasive fashion through a needle or a small window in the spine or skull. Once inserted, the temperature-driven shape-memory response transforms the electrode shape into a shape that covers a more desirable area of the brain or spinal cord.
Neuralert offers non-invasive, wearable wristband devices which monitor asymmetric arm movement/weakness, a tell-tale sign of stroke. Neuralert’s proprietary algorithm accurately identifies stroke symptoms and immediately alerts medical staff to assess the patient and begin treatment. Neuralert’s technology can detect stroke in under an hour, which is more than 4 times faster than manual assessment processes currently used.
Current point of care diagnostics frequently require blood draws (e.g., blood glucose monitoring for diabetes), hampering our ability to continuously monitor biomarkers such as cortisol and electrolyte levels. Understanding these levels are critical for a range of populations (high-performance athletes, military personnel, the chronically ill). Today, these biomarker analytes can be isolated from sweat with a new platform from FESSwise. The FESSwise platform is capable of broad biomarker monitoring and is pursuing cortisol detection as a first indication. The Freestanding Electrochemical Sensing System (FESS) platform features sweat sampling, electrochemical sensing, and data display / transmission, all within a self-contained wearable platform. The FESS-enabled smartwatch can be used to monitor the metabolite profiles of individuals in sedentary and high-intensity exercise settings.
While deep learning methods exist to guide protein optimization, examples of novel proteins generated with these techniques require a priori mutational data. Aperiam is taking the guesswork out of biotechnology with computer vision that illuminates critical parts of protein chemistry. We have trained a portfolio of computer vision algorithms on protein chemistry and use those algorithms to mutate genes for improved catalysis, expression, stability, and solubility. We are now using this approach to build our own suite of stabilized and solubilized enzyme therapeutics for direct delivery to the lung via nebulization and in parallel tailoring the computer vision framework to antibodies for expedited development and improved manufacturability.
SOLUtion Medical is an early-stage life science company developing user-friendly delivery systems for reconstitutable drugs. These devices improve patient outcomes through increased adherence to patient injected life-saving medication. We specifically aim to improve the administration efficacy of life-saving injectable medication with our TwistJect auto-injector for people living with adrenal insufficiency including Addison’s Disease and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia.
LignaMed is a biotechnology company developing breakthrough treatments for asthma, organ transplant viability, and pulmonary fibrosis. Many of these conditions suffer from localized ischemia-reperfusion injury due to local hypoxia. LignaMed's lead candidate LGM2605 is a novel small molecule synthetic lignan with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. LignaMed expects to file an Investigational New Drug application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2021 for Airway Hyperreactivity (AHR) in Th2-low asthma, a subtype of glucocorticoid resistant asthma. LignaMed is recruiting a CEO to take its breakthrough pharmaceutical and device technologies from pre-clinical studies to clinical trials and FDA approval and/or exit with a strategic pharmaceutical or device company.
KIN-Therapeutics is developing an AI-based computational platform integrating structural bioinformatics and machine learning with experimental approaches to identify small molecules targeting specific protein kinase targets and conformations. The Kinase Inhibitor (KIN) artificial intelligence (AI) is able to generate de novo kinase drugs with optimal selectivity. This technology will allow for better design and discovery of clinically relevant kinase inhibitors, which will have significant implications for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and even diabetes treatments. KIN focuses on a manageable and clinically-relevant chemical space and is entering into a partnership with a biotech company to design conformation specific immune-oncology inhibitors. KIN is looking for a CEO / Chair of the Board to lead the next steps for the venture.
There are over 900k cocaine addicts in the USA alone while worldwide cocaine usage rates have been growing at over 2% a year over the last decade. In the USA this results in over 15k deaths, 505k ER visits and $21B lost annually. Despite all of this, there is currently no FDA approved treatment for cocaine abuse disorder. AddGraft Therapeutics aims to be the first FDA approved treatment for cocaine abuse disorder utilizing our revolutionary gene delivery platform. Our treatment promises to be long lasting, minimally invasive and highly effective at treating the challenging aspects of addiction. AddGraft's technology is a novel skin-based gene delivery platform for treating cocaine abuse. Patients receive an autologous skin graft of genetically modified skin-stem cells which produces a dual molecule solution to effectively break down cocaine, preventing lethal overdose, and to behaviorally prevent frequent use, relapse, and developing of new addictive behaviors.
Between 2007 and 2017, there has been a 377% increase in the treatment of diagnosed anaphylactic reactions to food. The current standard of care is not enough to stem the tide of patients suffering the healthcare costs of food allergies. Phlaxis is an innovative immune tolerance company focused on providing a new approach to treating food allergies. Phalxis' allergen tolerance platform features proteins, or antigens, that are engineered to deliver precise, targeted allergy therapy, without the side effects of broad immunosuppression. Phalxis’ allergen-specific platform can be translated to virtually any food allergy, including the Big 8 of milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, crustacean shellfish, wheat, and soy.
Detecting and quantifying very low concentrations of disease biomarkers is important for the diagnosis and management of many disease conditions in their early phases. Technologies to detect low concentrations of biomarkers are only available in the advanced research or central clinical laboratories, due to high technology complexity and costs causing significant delay in reaching correct diagnosis. Instanosis testing platform enables ultrasensitive, low-cost and rapid quantitation of disease biomarkers. This platform has many applications in multiple instances, where rapid, convenient and ultra-sensitive biomarker detection is crucial for disease detection and treatment. The lead application is the ultrasensitive detection of SARS-CoV-2 antigen in the community setting using smartphones. Current diagnostic gold standard for SARSCoV- 2 is rRT-PCR, which requires expensive extraction instrument, thermocycler, facilities and trained operators to conduct and hours or days to turn around results.
Smell loss is an early indicator of infectious and neurodegenerative disorders. In COVID-19, for example, objective smell loss may occur in >90% of patients. Though molecular (PCR) tests are effective in diagnosing SARS-CoV-2 infection, with moderate sensitivity and high specificity, they typically are costly (>$50), with long turnaround times (up to 5-7 days) and have not been as effective in controlling asymptomatic spread. The Aromha Smell Test complements molecular tests with high sensitivity and negative predictive value and can be scaled quickly to provide an important new tool to prevent community spread of COVID, with an at-home, non-invasive, safe, and cost-effective screening test that provides instantaneous results. This platform technology, developed based on 20 years of olfactory research at Harvard, can also be utilized to provide an early signal and improve care in critical neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's Disease, and Traumatic Brain Injury.
IMIJ Technologies is a startup from the labs of Columbia’s Dr. Scott Small and Dr. Frank Provenzano that focuses on novel approaches to broad neurological and psychiatric screening and diagnostics that can be applied to existing and conventional neuroimaging - structural MRI. IMIJ has successfully developed and adapted technologies initially researched at Columbia to a variety of existing conventional neuroimaging to develop statistically rigorous candidate biomarkers, as well a fully interpretable report detailing the results. IMIJ uses the same images frequently obtained to diagnose brain diseases, images acquired tens of millions of times a year in the US alone. IMIJ's proprietary software requires no additional data or MRI equipment. IMIJ has raised $1.1M seed funding to date and is seeking $9M with the goal of securing approval for indication in order to refine the development and pilot with a major hospital system.
PrevPanc is developing an improved prophylactic against pancreatitis caused by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), by targeting two key inflammatory pathways. Post-ERCP pancreatitis can be life-threatening, excruciatingly painful, and costly. PrevPanc is developing a more effective and practical treatment to prevent pancreatitis, with significant improvements beyond current options of indomethacin, stenting, and IV hydration. PrevPanc's therapy is a combination of a calcineurin inhibitor combined with indomethacin to target two distinct inflammatory pathways, achieving higher effectiveness than the current standard of care with minimal change in post-procedure care.
SmartScan2 is revolutionizing secure identification applications with unclonable polymer film-based, scalable technology. Most, if not all security devices in use today can be corrupted, counterfeited, or easily interpreted. Examples of these devices include personal identification cards, passports, pharmaceutical product tracking, currency, and product identification tags. One good example of this corruption involves credit cards. The fifty year old “magnetic strip” technology on a credit card has been corrupted by the use of illegal credit card “skimmers” attached to the credit card readers, and reported in the local news as prevalent on gas pumps and ATMs. The newer “chip” technology on credit cards can also be corrupted by the use of credit card skimmers which are becoming more prevalent in similar locations. SmartScan2's ID security is “unclonable” since it is vastly more difficult to corrupt, counterfeit or interpret the relevant information.
For low-resource internet-of-things (IoTs) like wearables, health-monitors, tags and sensors, existing authentication techniques (e.g., encryption, strong hash functions, pseudorandom number generators) might be impractical for securing access to critical data. This is because these devices have limited computational bandwidth; limited energy; and require real-time authentication. Static identifiers like bar-codes, product IDs, embedded physical unclonable functions (PUFs) or stored private keys are vulnerable to theft, counterfeiting, replay attacks or tampering. In this gap, Secure Dynamics is delivering enterprise-grade security solutions for energy-constrained Internet-of-things using zero-power timers. This solution uses zero-power timers to generate dynamic tokens that are secure against any power side-channel attacks, eaves-dropping and tampering. The hardware-software solution also supports mutual authentication, where the IoT device could also query and verify the trust of its reader.
Transfoam harnesses engineered microorganisms and renewable feedstocks to tackle plastic pollution at the beginning and end of the product lifecycle. Our proprietary bioprocess reduces the operating cost and environmental footprint of PHB manufacturing to overcome limitations currently hindering the industry’s growth. Plastic is at the forefront of our transition to a circular economy. We treat plastic waste as a valuable resource rather than a burden. By using a waste-based feedstock, we can both remove plastic pollution from the environment and provide a safe, accessible alternative. Polyhydroxybutrayte (PHB) is a bio-based polymer with similar properties as many traditional single-use plastics, except it degrades fully in the environment. PHB is both produced and consumed by microorganisms, leaving behind only traces of water and CO2 after use/disposal.
VitalCore is a Medical Devices Integration (MDI) solution that provides an integrated platform for showing the status, error messages, and patient info stored across all devices in various hospitals. VitalCore provides a visualized form of status data for easier comprehension and viewership by using tables, bar graphs, line charts, pie charts, and donut charts that enable the users to grasp the trend of the data and generate insights efficiently to improve patient care and reduce costs. Compared to similar device connectivity monitoring providers, VitalCore is focused on medical devices and has an active pilot that provides both an HL7 viewer and mobile application for healthcare professionals on the go. VitalCore is looking to expand their leadership team as they prepare to fundraise.
Functional brain imaging is an important tool to assess brain health in conditions like stroke, cognitive function, visual function disorders, Parkinson’s, and ischemia. However, the MRI scanners are too bulky and expensive to bring the assessment where it is needed at the bedside or in ambulatory settings. EsperDyne's Wearable Optical Brain Imaging (WOBI) system addresses the cost and portability gap, bringing affordable functional brain imaging to the bedside and beyond. The market size for fNIRS Brain Imaging Systems is currently estimated at more than $135M with a CAGR of 10% as the systems gain additional research and clinical importance. The two known competing research systems lack the voxel density and portability of the WOBI system. The WOBI technology is protected by two issued and two pending US patents and has 3 prototype generations.
Celata is the first company leveraging transomics data and machine learning to see what others do not. We provide answers to crucial questions across drug discovery from target ID to patient selection. Our approach yields actionable and unbiased results based on data that meets three fundamental principles: (1) global, (2) dynamic, and (3) contextual.
Viral infections causing hepatitis are major contributors to human morbidity and mortality. Currently, there are no approved directly acting antivirals that cure two of these viruses - hepatitis B (HBV) and E viruses (HEV) – that account for close to 300 million infections world-wide. Our goal is to develop novel small molecule therapeutics that can be readily deployed to combat efficiently these diseases. To achieve this, we capitalize on discoveries and technical advances from our lab that put us in a unique position for targeted high through-put screens. We have already identified a lead molecule that is effective against multiple HEV genotypes, and we have uncovered a minimal set of host factors that are essential for HBV persistence.
Antimicrobial resistance is emerging as a growing global threat. Currently, more than 10 million people per year become infected by drug-resistant bacteria and those numbers are predicted to grow exponentially in the coming years. There is thus a pressing need for new antibiotics, and in particular for antibiotics with novel mechanisms of action. To address this need we have developed a novel pipeline for rapidly determining the mechanism of action of candidate antibiotics. With this approach we can fundamentally change the traditional antibiotic discovery pipeline by focusing our efforts on compounds with novel mechanisms of action (instead of the traditional efforts that prioritize based on chemical features and efficacy, leading to the rediscovery of similar compounds time and time again).
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are carbon containing molecules that have low boiling points and high vapor pressures causing them to evaporate into gas phase at ambient conditions. A wide range of VOC analysis devices are used in various industries for occupational exposure monitoring, environmental monitoring, process control, detection of explosive compounds, and medical diagnosis. Gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS) is the gold standard method for analysis of VOCs. However, these systems are bulky, expensive, and sophisticated laboratory instruments that require skilled professionals for operation. ProTech’s VOCSense is a sensor-based analysis technology that resembles the functionality of a gas chromatography mass spectrometry system. VOCSense can identify and quantify individual VOCs from normal air samples. ProTech is looking for a C-level leader and advisors to support them during development and fundraising.
CyloFlux is is unlocking the ability to passively store the "cold” during the winter to cool homes and buildings in the summer. Powering our homes, offices, schools, hospitals, restaurants, and stores consumes a lot of energy. Residential and commercial buildings account for approximately 40% of the nation’s total energy demand – greater than that for either industry (32%) or transportation (29%) – and about 75% of all electricity use (and even more of peak power demand). The resulting annual national energy bill for buildings totals over $410 billion. CyloFlux is developing a thermal diode that will unlock improved thermal energy storage technologies for applications in building energy efficiency. CyloFlux's heat pipe-based thermal diode is a dynamically tunable thermal energy transport material that allows rapid, directional transport of thermal energy - offering a potential 60% or grater savings in installation over ground source heat pumps (GSHPs).
Wearables are transforming how we exercise, train and perform. EXOForce Robotics is commercializing a groundbreaking high quality, stretch athletic textile that conforms to the body to enhance sensing performance, representing a substantial leap beyond current biometric offerings. These intelligent garments sense muscle behaviors and whole body biomechanics and use machine learning to tailor readouts to the wearer, quantify their workouts and alert them to impending injury. This technology has broad utility in the athletics (professional sports and consumer wellness), medical (rehabilitation and remote patient monitoring) and military markets. Ongoing R&D is focused on next-gen garments that both sense and intervene, and in the next few years will power everyday users to exercise their muscles while going about their tasks like walking their dog or running errands, provide postural corrections to prevent long-term pain or discomfort, and motivate those with sedentary lifestyles to get moving.
Rubitection is developing a skin health and wellness system to improve assessment and care management of dermatological, plastic surgery, and vascular conditions with an initial application to early bedsores detection. Bedsores are an $11 billion healthcare problem at affects 2.3 million each year killing 60K. If detected early they can be prevented, but low cost early detection tools are not available. Our Rubitect Assessment System (RAS) empowers any caregiver in hospitals, nursing homes, and in home care to detect bedsore early and support care management. Rubitection’s issued patents, and exclusive worldwide license provide barriers to competitors. The RAS’ low risk FDA pathway allows a quick path to a $4.1 billion US bedsore market. Two recurring revenues supports long term sustainability. Within 5 - 6 years of product launch, Rubitection will generate $48 million in sales using a hybrid sales model. Rubitection will exit through acquisition to a wound care company like Hill-Rom, or 3M.
geCKo Materials provides volume manufacturing for a bio-inspired, energy saving, reusable, multi-purpose, industrial and consumer adhesive. The mechanical adhesive is composed of directional, microscopic inclined features with a tapered geometry. geCKo’s unique IP is in the manufacturing method, introduced by Dr. Capella Kerst in her PhD at Stanford and protected by pending patents. Tested in the lab and in use with customers, a 1 square inch adhesive is capable of supporting 15 lbs of weight in shear with no attachment nor detachment force needed. The geCKo Opposing Force scales with area and can be purchased at any area. Integrating onto your robot grippers is simple, just a peel and stick. We can offer integration assistance and expertise for simple, quick and easy integration.
The logistics of ensuring compliance of thermal profiles (e.g., keeping cold items cold) for each product is a difficult problem. Solutions exist for monitoring temperature at coarse scale (shipping container), but those that precisely track each unit (color-changing stickers), lack the ability to precisely convey information in a scalable manner. Free Dynamics designs electronic temperature sensors that operate without any external batteries for months. Unlike current solutions, our quantum-mechanically-driven sensors are miniature and cost-effective enough to be incorporated into every vial of essential drugs that require stringent storage conditions. As a result, we can assure last-mile compliance while expecting higher accuracy. In addition, we have also shown that our system can be used for authentication which will guard the tagged assets against tampering and counterfeiting.
LEAH Labs is the first in the world using gene-editing to make a cure for cancer in dogs. We're building the first cure for canine cancer. It's called CAR-T cell therapy, and we know it works. CAR-T cells are FDA-approved and already saving human patients from their deathbeds in clinics today. This advance can only be made affordable for dogs because of our company's expertise in gene-editing technology.
Pharma companies have increasingly relied on innovative biotech startups to bolster their pipeline. The global small-molecule drug discovery market reached $25B in 2019 and is expected to grow to $50B by 2027. Think's business model is to partner with pharma companies to build precisely targeted, readily synthesizable molecules. For a drug target of interest, standard partnership models consist of an upfront fee with long-term development milestones and royalties. Just for the SHP2 (similar class to PTP1B) market, there have been several partnerships with deal values exceeding $500M. Synthetic biology is a growing field that designs microbes to confer capabilities outside their native function. Proof-of-concept has been demonstrated in elusive target, PTP1B, which is implicated in type 2 diabetes, obesity, and breast cancer. Further development will focus on optimizing the two novel drug scaffolds and expanding the platform to other key protein classes.
Palm Therapeutics is a San Diego based biotechnology startup, and member of JLABS@San Diego, in the early stages of development of an innovative class of drugs known as depalmitoylating molecules (DPALMs). The DPALM strategy was developed in the Devaraj Lab at The University of California San Diego by Dr. Andrew Rudd and Prof. Neal Devaraj. Our technology targets post-translational protein palmitoylation and represents a fundamentally new approach to inhibiting protein function. In preliminary studies, NRas-targeted DPALMs have shown in vitro and in vivo efficacy in NRas-driven melanoma models, and in September 2020, we were awarded a Phase I SBIR from NIH/NCI to pursue this indication.
Toragen Biotechnologies is focused on developing, repurposing and commercializing uniquely selective cancer drugs targeting cancers caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV associated cancers include Head and Neck Cancer, Cervical Cancer, and multiple other Genitourinary and Gastrointestinal Cancers. We are developing drugs designed to inhibit HPV oncogenes, the root cause of malignant transformation in these cancers. It is our intent that these drugs will be more selective for malignant cells and better tolerated by patients than traditional cytotoxic and radiation cancer therapy. Our drugs interfere with the ability of the HPV virus to inhibit the immune system and will thus enhance the ability of the immune system to eradicate these cancers and potentially augment the activity of existing immunotherapies for cancer.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) contributes to approximately one-third of all injury-related deaths in the United States, with total direct and indirect costs estimated in excess of $76 billion. TBI is also the leading environmental risk factor associated with the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disorder of the brain. Given the extensive public health burden, the lack of any approved therapies to modify the disease course for CTE continues to represent a critical unmet need. 3RT Innovations is a start-up founded in 2019 to address this need. We are currently developing a novel, brain penetrating antibody for the treatment of CTE. The neuropathology of CTE is characterized by abnormal aggregations of tau proteins in the neocortex with an organized filament structure comprised of three-repeat (3RTau) and four-repeat tau (4RTau). This organized filament structure is unique as it is found only in CTE and not in other tauopathies such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
The FloraPulse system is a microchip tensiometer (microtensiometer) that is embedded into the tree woody tissue and directly measures the water status, known as water potential. Because the measurement is taken directly inside the water-carrying tissue, readings are very accurate and reliable. You receive daily midday stem water potential readings, along with science-backed irrigation recommendations. Since 2017, we raised $1.2M in non-dilutive SBIR research awards to develop microT, and successfully field tested the product in almond, grape and prune commercial orchards and vineyards. In 2019-2020, we received $50k in customer deposits and sold the first 60 subscriptions ($90k) to 15 customers in the US, Chile and Australia. Customer feedback has been very positive. We are looking to hire a seasoned CEO to help the company raise funds, build partnerships, and continue increasing product sales in the US and abroad.
The labyrinth of jumbled blood vessels in the microenvironment of a solid tumor remains one of the toughest blockades for cellular therapies to penetrate and treat. For example, glioblastoma (GBM), the most common and aggressive type of brain cancer diagnosed in more than 22,000 Americans every year, is known for its prominent and abnormal vascularity and being immunologically "cold." Radix Therapeutics is developing immunotherapies to eradicate solid tumor cancers by targeting the tumor stroma, bridging the gap between current immunotherapies and drug-resistant cancers. Radix's improved immunotherapy combines chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy with selective inhibitors, enabling engineered cells to punch their way through and attack the tumor. Proof of concept has shown significantly enhanced survival in mice.
Pulmera enables x-ray visualization of the tracheobronchial tree to aid physicians in guiding endoscopic tools in the pulmonary tract. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital for improving lung cancer survival rates, and tissue biopsy is necessary for diagnosis. However, performing a lung biopsy is difficult due to the complexity of the highly branched airways of the lung, making it difficult to access and obtain the tissue and the procedure can pose a risk to the patient. Electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy (ENB) is the safest way to obtain a biopsy but diagnostic success is limited by poor real time visualization of significant portions of the lung. Should the biopsy procedure be unsuccessful, patients may then need to have the tissue surgically removed. In a high number of these cases, the nodules are found to be benign. Pulmera will greatly improve the ability to obtain a diagnosis for the patient using ENB.
Based on engineering research conducted at UC Berkeley, H2Only’s patent-pending technology aims to revolutionize the way we produce water for agriculture. In terms of price point and scale, our technology was designed specifically for our customers: California almond farmers.
With the increase in obesity throughout the world, liver disease and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)-related cancers are also increasing. Treatments are urgently needed to prevent the progression from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) to NASH and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) via steatosis and fibrosis. Spectrin Bio aims to apply our siRNA therapy to treat obesity-associated nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and liver cancer Our drug target is β-Spectrin (SPTBN1), a key player in both steatosis and fibrosis. Preclinical findings in mice (in vivo) and human 3D culture NASH model system have shown success in reducing body fat and lowering blood triacyl glycerol leves. Critically, siRNA therapies are already approved for diseases of the liver, blazing a trail for navigating regulatory approval.
Nearly 1.6 million Americans have Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), an autoimmune class of diabetes. Additionally, ~3.2 million Americans develop latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA). For T1D or LADA patients, immunotherapy promises a path to reprogram the immune system such that it no longer attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. SermAb Biologics is developing a monoclonal antibody therapy against serpinB13. SermAb Biologics focuses on the discovery that tissue regeneration is stimulated by blocking serpinB13 and restoring the activity of its protease target. The second advantage is that our antibody to serpinB13 suppresses inflammation, increases beta-cell proliferation, and delays the onset of diabetes. Thus, by using a single reagent that regulates the balance between serpin inhibitor and protease, we can simultaneously suppress the inflammatory response while promoting regenerative changes in the pancreas and other tissues expressing serpinB13.
As part of a portfolio of COVID-19 inspired innovations aimed at advancing RNA vaccines and tools, Stanford researchers have developed a secured, invite-only version of their popular Eterna platform for designing mRNA vaccines. Eterna is an online application that integrates RNA folding algorithms, a video game interface, and associated computational methods to revolutionize vaccine design and RNA structure prediction. The new, secured version of the platform (called EteRNA Enterprise) is able to host selected participants to work in a confidential manner on problems such as designing improved mRNA vaccines that can be translated to clinical trials by industry partners and other collaborators. The data and designs generated by Eterna users may be used to develop improved mRNA vaccines immediately for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Current clinical diagnostic methods require confirmation by invasive procedures such as a biopsy of the gut, skin, or liver, while protein marker tests are limited to few tissue types and do not detect infections. Short fragments of cell-free DNA circulate in blood, urine and other biofluids and offer an information-rich window into human physiology, with rapidly expanding applications in prenatal testing, cancer screening, organ transplant monitoring and infectious disease testing. Our research pursues technologies and applications of cell-free DNA in infectious and immune-related disease.