Company’s PANTHER technology platform enables selective targeted delivery of therapeutic compounds directly to neutrophils and other immune cells
Ann Arbor, Mich., February 23, 2021– Asalyxa Bio, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing nano-engineered, immune cell-targeted therapeutics, today announced the closing of an over-subscribed seed financing round totaling more than $2 million. The financing was led by Research Bridge Partners, co-led by ID Ventures, and also included Michigan Rise Pre-Seed Fund III, BRCC of Western Michigan University, Ann Arbor Spark, Woodward Angels and other undisclosed investors. Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance Asalyxa Bio’s lead development candidate, ASX-100, into first-in-human clinical trials.
Asalyxa Bio’s drug development programs are based on the company’s proprietary PANTHER technology platform, which enables the targeted delivery of therapeutic compounds directly to neutrophils and other key immune cells. Lead program, ASX-100, is a neutrophil-targeted formulation being developed for the resolution of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).
ARDS is a critical health problem, affecting approximately 500,000 Americans each year. The condition frequently develops in the context of severe respiratory disease, contributing significantly to mortality in cases of COVID-19, influenza, pneumonia and other conditions. ARDS is fatal in 50% of cases and has no approved pharmaceutical treatments.
ASX-100 is a novel therapeutic formulation that targets neutrophils through their well-studied professional phagocytic function. The development candidate is designed to deliver a multi-functional, anti-inflammatory compound that attenuates the systemic innate immune responses that drive ARDS, including the dysregulated release of pro-inflammatory messengers commonly referred to as “cytokine storm.” These same inflammatory mechanisms, driven by neutrophils and related myeloid immune cells, also contribute to a wide range of other severe inflammatory diseases and conditions, offering a broad range of opportunities for the company’s platform and development candidates. Importantly, the company’s focus on delivering its drug directly to neutrophils allows for improved pharmacodynamics and a widened therapeutic window.
The PANTHER platform is based on the research of University of Michigan professor and chief scientific officer Dr. Lola Eniola-Adefeso and her team, which has demonstrated the in vivo neutrophil-targeting capabilities and therapeutic potential of ASX-100 in relevant animal models. This research has supported the accelerated development of ASX-100 toward a planned first-in-human clinical study in 2021. In addition to its lead program in ARDS, Asalyxa Bio is leveraging the PANTHER platform to generate a portfolio of therapeutic formulations to transport high-value payloads directly to neutrophils and related myeloid immune cells.
As part of the financing, James Graham of Research Bridge Partners has joined the Asalyxa Bio board of directors.
“This is an exciting time for Asalyxa Bio as we approach initiation of our first-in-human clinical study of ASX-101. This seed funding will enable us to continue the rapid development of the program as we work diligently to bring a much-needed treatment to patients battling ARDS,” said Marc Appel, president and CEO of Asalyxa Bio. “We are excited to welcome James to our board and thank all of our investors for their support.”
“We are pleased to support Asalyxa Bio in the company’s efforts to address the critical unmet need in ARDS,” said Mr. Graham. “This investment is highly aligned with our focus on mid-continent innovation in the service of global health.”
Ms. Patti Glaza, managing director of ID Ventures added, “Asalyxa Bio is a great example of the innovation and talent that exists in Michigan. We are proud to invest in this local startup with big potential for global impact.”
About Asalyxa Bio
Asalyxa Bio is a drug development and platform technology company focused on novel therapeutics to treat major unmet medical needs caused by the dysregulation of immune signaling. With applications across a wide array of disease areas and conditions, Asalyxa Bio’s platform technology enables delivery of existing and novel drugs directly into over-reactive immune cells. https://www.asalyxabio.com
About Research Bridge Partners
Research Bridge Partners, a 501 (c) (3) organization, enhances the societal and economic impacts of America’s research universities by bridging preeminent innovators at mid-continent institutions with the commercialization resources of Silicon Valley. Founded by Isaac Barchas and Reid Hoffman, Research Bridge Partners uses proprietary data analytics to identify the nation’s leading researchers and translational philanthropy to transform their scientific breakthroughs into investible companies for the benefit of people everywhere. www.researchbridgepartners.org
About ID Ventures
ID Ventures was created by the nonprofit Invest Detroit in 2009 to enhance its overall mission to support inclusive growth of entrepreneurial ventures. As one of few venture funds located in Detroit, ID Ventures is one of the most active early stage investors in the state and have invested in over 150 Michigan-based companies across multiple sectors including life sciences and healthcare, information technology, fintech, mobility, advanced manufacturing and materials, among others. ID Ventures invests in Michigan-based companies and oversees additional programs designed to grow and support the state’s startup ecosystem. Visit www.investdetroit.vc
by Ryan Field
— University of Texas spinout is developing world’s first single-molecule protein sequencing platform —
AUSTIN, TX (November 30, 2020) – Research Bridge Partners— a 501 (c) (3) organization that bridges preeminent innovators at mid-continent research universities with the commercialization resources of Silicon Valley—announced a previous investment of seed capital in Erisyon, Inc.
A spin-out from the University of Texas at Austin, Erisyon was co-founded by Professors Edward Marcotte and Eric Anslyn with Jag Swaminathan, Angela Bardo, Zack Simpson and CEO Talli Somekh.
“Erisyon is commercializing the world’s first single molecule protein sequencer to transform the way we detect, treat, and track disease,” said Talli Somekh, CEO of Erisyon. “The technology brings the advantages of next generation DNA sequencing to proteins with the ultimate sensitivity of a single molecule, massive throughput with up to billions of parallel experiments, and absolute quantification of proteins with digital counts of molecules in a sample.”
Erisyon was founded in 2018 shortly before a landmark paper was published in Nature Biotechnologydetailing the technology. The company was recently awarded a prestigious grant from the Michael J Fox Foundation to use single molecule protein sequencing in the validation of biomarkers for Parkinson’s diagnostics.
Research Bridge Partners’ investment will help fund development of core platform technologies, intellectual property, and key applications. Concomitant with the investment, RBP Catalyst Director, Jim Graham, will join the Erisyon Board of Directors.
“We are delighted to be working with Jim and RBP to revolutionize the field of proteomics. RBP’s belief in Erisyon and its commitment to building companies in the middle of the United States is gratifying,” said Somekh.
Research Bridge Partners, a 501 (c) (3) organization, enhances the societal and economic impacts of America’s research universities by bridging preeminent innovators at mid-continent institutions with the commercialization resources of Silicon Valley. Founded by Isaac Barchas and Reid Hoffman, Research Bridge Partners uses proprietary data analytics to identify the nation’s leading researchers and translational philanthropy to transform their scientific breakthroughs into investible companies for the benefit of people everywhere.
Erisyon is developing the world’s first single molecule protein sequencer. Inheriting work developed over the course of the past decade at the University of Texas Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology, Erisyon was founded by a group of technologists and entrepreneurs with the ambition to usher in new discoveries that make the world healthier, safer, and more abundant.
-- The Purdue University-affiliated startup is validating a non-immunological targeting agent for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 developed as part of its ongoing focus on ligands and infectious diseases --
AUSTIN, Texas, April 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Research Bridge Partners—a not-for-profit that enhances the societal and economic returns on America's investment in research universities by bridging mid-continent university innovators and commercialization resources nationally—announced the investment of seed capital in Eradivir, Inc.
A spin-out from Purdue University, Eradivir was co-founded by the brother/brother tandem of Philip S. Low, the Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, and Martin Low, former CEO of On Target Laboratories and the co-founder of seven companies.
Building on its extraordinary track record of inventing non-immunological targeting ligands and optimizing those ligands to carry drugs to specific targets, Eradivir has designed two ligands with high specificity and avidity for a unique domain of the spike protein found on most coronaviruses including COVID-19.
"The current leading targeting approaches use monoclonal antibodies to 'decorate' the virus and stimulate the body's immune system to attack the virus and infected cells," said Philip S. Low. "However, there is evidence that over-stimulating the immune system against this virus can cause clinical problems in late-stage COVID-19 infections, including death by cytokine storm. Fortunately, our technology can take advantage of the body's immune system with little concern for overstimulation."
Martin Low added: "Because of our targeting capabilities we can deliver an optimal payload specifically to the virus and potentially host cell with little or no safety concerns."
Research Bridge Partners' initial program-related investment of $100,000, which is the first seed capital raised by Eradivir, will be used to generate additional data demonstrating the validity of these ligands and their degree of optimization for targeting the coronavirus. This validation and optimization exercise will either confirm the potential of these ligands against COVID-19 or will invalidate the opportunity.
"The scientific team has a proven track record of building commercially successful targeting ligands, including Endocyte, which Novartis purchased in 2018 for $2.1 billion," said Isaac Barchas, co-founder and CEO of Research Bridge Partners. "Since early March launch, the team suspended its parallel efforts in influenza, which have show exceptionally strong results in animal models, and has since designed the two ligands with high specificity to coronavirus protein spike."
About Research Bridge Partners
Research Bridge Partners is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) that enhances the societal and economic returns on America's investment in research universities by bridging mid-continent university innovators and commercialization resources nationally. Founded by Isaac Barchas and Reid Hoffman, the organization manages a seed fund that accepts only program-related investment from other charities in furthering its tax-exempt charitable, education and scientific purposes. In so doing, Research Bridge Partners mobilizes mission-focused resources to advance science in the public interest through strategic startup creation at mid-continent research universities.
Eradivir builds specifically targeted therapeutics for infectious diseases. Eradivir spun out of Purdue University in 2020 based on a multi-year research and technology development program in Philip Low's lab there. The company has developed a universal platform against influenza (including strains of H1N1 and H3N2) that have demonstrated 100% survival in 100x LD mouse models. Eradivir is now applying these technologies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
– The Purdue University-affiliated startup is developing a novel injectable-targeted drug for broken and compromised bones –
AUSTIN, Texas, Aug. 8, 2019 -- Research Bridge Partners—a not-for-profit that enhances the societal and economic returns on America's investment in research universities by bridging mid-continent university innovators and commercialization resources nationally—announced the investment of seed capital in Novosteo, Inc.
A spin-out from Purdue University, Novosteo was co-founded by the father/son team Philip S. Low, the Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, and Stewart A. Low, a former postdoctoral staff member in Purdue's Department of Chemistry. The company is developing a novel injectable-targeted drug to accelerate and improve the healing of broken or compromised bones. The drug is unique in that it concentrates at the fracture site following systemic administration.
According to a 2017 report published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, "one in three adults aged 50 and older die within 12 months" from fracture-related complications following a bone-breaking fall. Medicare alone paid $31 billion in hip fracture treatment in 2015.
Novosteo has already completed preclinical studies that successfully demonstrate how the new targeted drug heals bone fractures faster and better than the same untargeted drug. The research findings were published in the June 2018 edition of the Department of Defense Spotlight article "Fracture-targeted drugs for accelerated bone repair," authored by the Lows.
"We employ proprietary analytics to identify and connect world-class researchers operating at heartland universities," said Isaac Barchas, co-founder and CEO of Research Bridge Partners. "Phil, Stewart and their team unambiguously emerged as national leaders not simply on the strength of their research, but also because their lab culture and personality traits further enhance their potential for extraordinary human impact and economic output."
Research Bridge Partners' initial investment of $500,000 is the first seed capital raised by Novosteo. The Research Bridge Partners investment is designed to activate the venture cycle for Novosteo by allowing the company to build out the business infrastructure that will allow it to compete for industry-leading business talent and capital in global markets.
"We're investing in the business-side of the business, while playing a hands-on role in setting up an independent company to succeed long term," said Barchas, who joins Novosteo's board of directors as part of Research Bridge Partners' program-related investment.
The senior Low added: "Our research holds enormous potential to significantly improve the lives of many, many people. We have an obligation to build a business that is equal to that science. Research Bridge Partners gives us a trusted partner, on our side of the table, who helps us find, partner with, and pay for access to the best know-how, professional services, capital providers, and business talent in the nation."
Novosteo was founded to reduce the morbidity, mortality and loss of productivity associated with bone fractures. Based on discoveries of agents that accelerate bone regeneration and breakthroughs in methods to target these agents selectively to fracture surfaces, Novosteo has designed a series of fracture-targeted drugs that concentrate a drug's healing power specifically at the fracture site, thereby greatly accelerating and improving the healing process. The mission of Novosteo is to reduce the debilitating and often life-threatening effects of bone fractures.
AUSTIN, Texas, July 16, 2019 -- Research Bridge Partners—a not-for-profit that enhances the societal and economic returns on America's investment in research universities by bridging mid-continent university innovators and commercialization resources nationally—has launched a program-related investment (PRI) seed fund to invest in promising university spinouts.
Over the past five years, 75 percent of federal research funding has gone to institutions outside of California, Massachusetts and New York, while nearly 80 percent of venture investment went to companies located in those three states.
"Silicon Valley's unique capabilities and culture are a powerful engine for new company creation and scaling, but it's essential that the benefits of that engine not accrue only a handful of zip codes. That's why I'm excited to work with Research Bridge Partners to enable researchers working at universities in the middle of the country to access commercialization ecosystems on the coasts in bringing their innovations to market," said Reid Hoffman, Chairman of the Board of Research Bridge Partners.
"This seed fund will further our goal of bridging leading edge research labs in the mid-continent to the mature networks of capital, talent, and services based in coastal venture clusters," said Isaac Barchas, CEO of Research Bridge Partners. "This complements our ongoing efforts to support and enable academic innovators in the middle of the country by funding foundational corporate activities to activate the downstream venture cycle."
To identify exceptional researchers across a distributed geography, Research Bridge Partners has developed proprietary algorithms and statistical models in examining publicly available information it has compiled for more than 50,000 principal investigators nationwide.
Likewise, Research Bridge Partners' PRI fund structure is designed for scale, prioritizing creating sound, investment-worthy startups over maximizing financial returns to the portfolio, consistent with the PRI nature of the fund.
Barchas added, "With the support of the fund's limited partners and our network of service partners, including law firms and executive search firms with long track records of supporting scaling technology companies, we expect to significantly increase the impact of mid-continent university spin-outs."
CONTACT: Bob Knott, (443) 604-3476, firstname.lastname@example.org