Company spotlight_Biostart Magazine

Perspectum Diagnostics: An Oxford University spinout

November 11, 2019 Jane 0

It was during his time as a research fellow at the University of Oxford that Rajarshi Banerjee published the work which would later become the foundation for Perspectum Diagnostics, a medical software and AI company with innovative diagnostic solutions for metabolic disease and liver cancer.

Alongside the team at the Oxford Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research, his research discovered…

Attached Issue № 0819
Company spotlight_Biostart Magazine

Promethera Biosciences

November 8, 2019 Jane 0

Many biotech companies are formed out of early research conducted in universities. This is the reason for the increasing number of technology transfer offices.  

Promethera Biosciences which focuses on liver disease, is one such company. Founded in 2009, it was the brainchild of Professor Etienne Sokal, pediatric hepatologist at Cliniques Universitaires St Luc and the Université Catholique de Louvain Technology Transfer Office.

It drew on the longstanding, pioneering work in paediatric liver transplantation at Cliniques St Luc, the first European hepatocyte transplantation program and the discovery in 2005 by Professor Sokal and Mustapha Najimi of a unique liver-derived mesenchymal stem cell, obtained from…

Attached Issue № 0819
Company spotlight_Biostart Magazine

The CEO perspective

October 2, 2019 Jane 0

Algernon Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a publicly-traded clinical-stage drug development company, focused on non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), chronic kidney disease (CKD), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Their discovery program is based on drug repurposing; finding new uses for already approved drugs.

Christopher J. Moreau joined Algernon (previously called Breathtec Biomedical) as CEO in March 2018 to bring new leadership to the company. His first mandate was to review the company’s key technology and to make recommendations to the board on the company’s business plan.

Behind the scenes at Algernon

In the fall of 2018, Algernon acquired a company called Nash Pharmaceuticals. Nash’s business model was to…

Attached Issue № 0819

Sitting down with: Bent Jakobsen, Immunocore

September 19, 2019 Jane 0

Dr. Bent Jakobsen gained first-hand insight into the foundational discoveries of the life sciences during his PhD studies at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. At the LMB, not only was DNA structure, the genetic code and the invention of protein crystallography discovered, but also monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). The work pioneered by Cesar Milstein and Greg Winter on mAbs, amongst others, was Bent’s inspiration for the idea that led to Immunocore, of which he is the scientific founder.

What does Immunocore do?

Immunocore uses human T cell receptors (TCRs) to generate novel types of drugs. TCRs are present on T cells, which are immune cells whose role is to destroy infected cells. TCRs have many similarities – and many differences – to antibodies. Like antibodies, TCRs are generated in humans in a repertoire of huge diversity and can be generated against cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases. But unlike antibodies, TCRs can target intracellular proteins, which provides us with…

Attached Issue № 0519
Company spotlight_Biostart Magazine

In my experience: Alex Goddard, AOBiome

May 1, 2019 Jane 0

A scientist by training, Alex Goddard has worked in large companies – namely Novartis’ neuroscience drug discovery division and in small companies including Tal Medical and AOBiome, where he currently serves as VP of Research & Development. He spoke to us about the main differences between the two.

My entry into industry at a big pharma was very edifying. My time at Novartis taught me how the industry prioritizes certain questions in science and showed me the key questions to ask. Novartis was good at providing opportunities to learn and they offered short courses on various aspects of drug discovery and drug development. One of the interesting structural aspects of big pharma is that…

Attached Issue № 0219

David Kyle, Evolve Biosystems

March 27, 2019 Jane 0

Dr. David Kyle has co-founded biotech companies for 35 years in nutrition and health including Martek Biosciences which was acquired in 2011 for $1.1 billion. For the first issue of Biostart, he spoke to us about the lessons he’s learned during his career.

Where did Evolve begin?

Evolve’s work is based on 15 years of previous research at the University of California at Davis. A cross-functional team of world-class scientists made an incredible discovery. The early microbiome of the infant is defined by the 15% of energy in human breast milk that is not directly available to the infant, but rather it is tied up in a soluble fibre (Human Milk Oligosaccharides or HMO) that feeds the new-born infant gut microbiome.

Interestingly, only a single bacterial species, Bifidobacterial infantis, has the capability for completely consuming all those HMO and remarkably, this species has been lost from most infants in the developed world due primarily to a lifetime exposure to antibiotics. The seeding of an infant’s gut microbiome has historically come from its mother’s gut microbiome, but mothers in the U.S. today have had 15-20 courses of antibiotics from the time they were born until the time they deliver their first baby. Her microbiome diversity has been depleted significantly, including this important symbiont and if mom does not have the B. infantis, she cannot pass it on to her baby and the symbiosis has…

Attached Issue № 0219