MorphImmune, Inc., a Research Bridge Partners Portfolio Company, Appoints Ronald Martell as President and CEO

— The former President and CEO of Nuvelution Pharma also served as the CEO of three public biopharmaceutical companies, including Sevion and NeurogesX, and has overseen billions of dollars in industry transactions —

AUSTIN, TX (June 8th, 2021) – MorphImmune, Inc., a Research Bridge Partners portfolio company that is advancing a highly specific targeting technology that uses a ligand-linked payload to reprogram the immune system, announced the appointment of Ronald Martell as the company’s President and CEO effective April 12, 2021. A biopharma entrepreneur who has founded, led and managed companies for more than 30 years, Martell has overseen business development agreements and transactions worth billions of dollars.

A serial entrepreneur, Martell has founded five biopharmaceutical companies and served on the boards of directors of several others. Prior to joining MorphImmune, Inc., Martell served as the President and CEO of Nuvelution Pharma. He was also Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Indapta, Orca Bio and Co-Founder and CEO of Achieve Life Sciences, where he led the merger of the company with Oncogenex. Martell has served as the CEO of three public biopharmaceutical companies, including Sevion and NeurogesX, and has overseen billions of dollars in industry transactions.

Earlier in his career, Martell served as Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations at ImClone Systems, where he was instrumental in deals with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck KGaA, and built ImClone Systems’ worldwide operations to market and commercialize Erbitux®. He also served in various leadership positions with Genentech where, as Group Manager, Oncology, he was responsible for building the company’s oncology franchise, including the launch of Herceptin® and Rituxan®.

“Ron’s track record demonstrates that he has the entrepreneurial vision, leadership and management skills necessary to optimize the value of a company’s intellectual and human assets,” said MorphImmune Founding Board Chairman and Research Bridge Partners Co-Founder and CEO Isaac Barchas. “His intimate understanding of the R&D process, along with his deep relationships with Silicon Valley and Wall Street, will help create highly favorable market opportunities for MorphImmune.”

Barchas added: “He will bridge our technology and people with the scaling resources required to deliver MorphImmune’s therapies to those in need.”

Research Bridge Partners worked with Purdue University and Philip S. Low, PhD, the Presidential Scholar for Drug Discovery and Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Purdue University, as well as the named inventor of more than 500 patents and patents pending, to found MorphImmune, Inc.

In addition to making a seed capital investment in February 2020 and follow-on investment in November 2020, Research Bridge Partners built out MorphImmune’s business infrastructure to compete successfully for industry-leading business talent and capital in global markets.

“We were in search of an industry leader whose entrepreneurial acumen is equal to the potential of our technology, and we found just that in Ron,” said Low, the Scientific Founder of MorphImmune, Inc. and various startup companies including Endocyte, Inc., which Novartis acquired for $2.1 billion in October 2018. “I trust in him to help us realize our goal of saving lives by reprogramming the immune system in multiple disease settings.”

“At a time of extraordinary opportunity in the biopharma world, what draws me to MorphImmune is the strength and platform nature of its science, the rigor of the lab’s science, culture and Phil’s drive to address diseases that have claimed the lives of people he cares about,” said Martell. “The work of Phil and his team is emblematic of the preeminent innovation birthed at the nation’s midcontinent research universities, and MorphImmune the investible opportunities identified and readied by Research Bridge Partners.”

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.

 

About MorphImmune, Inc.

MorphImmune, Inc. is a private platform company that is advancing a highly specific targeting technology that uses a ligand-linked payload to reprogram the immune system. The MorphImmune Chemistry Platform enables physicians to drug previously undruggable physiological pathways in treating an array of cancers, chronic diseases and other conditions mediated by the immune system. We design targeted drugs to reprogram specific immune cell types (macrophages, T cells, antigen presenting cells, Fc receptor expressing cells) for treatment of malignant, CNS, infectious, autoimmune and fibrotic diseases and develop ligand-targeted chemotherapies, radiotherapies, and immunotherapies of cancer.

The company is led by a team with extensive accomplishments in discovering and advancing biopharmaceutical innovations. Our Scientific Founder, Philip S. Low, PhD, the Presidential Scholar for Drug Discovery and Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Purdue University who is the named inventor of more than 500 patents and patents pending, established various technology companies including Endocyte, Inc., which Novartis acquired for $2.1 billion in October 2018. President and CEO Ronald Martell has served as the CEO of three public biopharmaceutical companies, including Sevion and NeurogesX. Our Chief Scientific Officer, Sunil Singhal, MD, MBA, is the Director of the Thoracic Surgery Research Laboratory and the William M. Measey Associate Professor of Surgical Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Our Directors include Isaac Barchas, JD, Co-Founder and CEO of Research Bridge Partners, and Franklyn Prendergast, MD, PhD, the former Edmond and Marion Guggenheim Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the Mayo Medical School, Mayo Distinguished Investigator, Emeritus Director at the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center and Mayo Center for Individualized Medicine, and a former Director for Eli Lilly.

To learn more, visit www.morphimmune.com.


Research Bridge Partners’ Portfolio Company, Novosteo, Inc., Closes $5.5 Million in Series A Financing

– The Purdue University Spinout’s NOV004, the first-ever targeted bone anabolic agent, has shown promise in accelerating fracture healing – 

AUSTIN, Texas, (Date TBD) — 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 that one of its portfolio companies, Novosteo, Inc., closed $5.5 million in Series A financing to further its development of the first-ever targeted bone anabolic agent NOV004.

In August 2019, Research Bridge Partners announced a seed capital investment in the Purdue University spinout 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 Series A financing subsequently raised by Novosteo, Inc. came from Kairos Ventures, as well as BioCrossroads VenturesElevate Ventures and Purdue Research Foundation.

Novosteo, Inc.’s NOV004 has shown promise in live animals in the acceleration of fracture healing when delivered systemically. The compound is unique in that it concentrates at the fracture site while avoiding accumulation in the rest of the body. Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance NOV004 into clinical development that will begin in the first half of 2021.

Bone injuries and disease are one of the most challenging health issues facing all ages, especially for the elderly. Despite the advent of preventive measures, one in three hip fracture patients who are 65 and older will die within a year; many deaths occur as a result of the complications due to slow fracture healing and long-term immobilization.

About 40% of those who survive fractures require assistance to walk, according to the National Institutes of Health. Across the U.S., there are about 6 million fractures annually, 3.5 million emergency room visits and direct health care costs of near $30 billion related to bone injuries. In addition, bone fractures represent 26% of combat extremity wounds.

“Research Bridge Partners’ initial investment, as well as their sweat equity in helping to build out our business infrastructure, have been critical to the company’s evolution,” said Dan Hasler, Novosteo chairman of the board and past chief marketing officer of Eli Lilly and Co.

“Philip and Stewart Low are evidence of the preeminent innovators operating at midcontinent universities and NOV004 the potential impact of their scientific breakthroughs,” said Research Bridge Partners co-founder and chief executive officer Isaac Barchas.

Barchas, who previously served as a member of Novosteo, Inc’s board of directors, now serves as a board observer.

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 Novosteo, Inc.

Novosteo, Inc. is a startup developing and delivering new drugs for the treatment of bone injury and diseases that impact patients’ morbidity, mortality and loss of mobility and productivity associated with bone fractures, bone metastasis and infection. Scientific co-founders Stewart Low and Philip Low of Purdue University have created a proprietary chemistry approach to bone targeting and have discovered novel biologics that accelerate bone regeneration by delivering anabolic agents preferentially to fracture surfaces. With its operations in Indiana, 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 and minimizing loss of mobility, prolonged time away from work, physical pain/discomfort. The targeting of drug compounds to the fracture microenviroment modifies the pharmacology of non-targeted approaches and allows for improved efficacy and safety.


Research Bridge Partners’ Seed Capital Investment in Asalyxa Bio Advances Dr. Lola Eniola-Adefeso’s Immune Cell Targeted Therapeutic Platform

— University of Michigan BioInterfaces Institute spinout has developed a technology to treat a wide range of life-threatening inflammatory diseases, including Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)—

AUSTIN, TX, March 9th, 2021 – 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 seed capital investment in Asalyxa Bio, a University of Michigan spinout that has developed a drug-delivery technology to treat a wide range of inflammatory diseases. The company also announced the designation of Dr. Lola Eniola-Adefeso, Asalyxa Bio’s Chief Scientific Officer, as Research Bridge Partners Fellow.

Research Bridge Partners’ program-related investment will help the company fund development of core technologies and intellectual property, while supporting IND-enabling studies required to obtain the permission of regulatory authorities to begin human clinical testing. With this investment, James Graham, Research Bridge Partners Managing Director of Investments, has joined the company’s board of directors.

Asalyxa Bio’s lead program, ASX-100, delivers an anti-inflammatory agent directly to overreactive neutrophils—a long-ignored white blood cell that may be implicated in the immune system overreaction known as a “cytokine storm.”

Dr. Eniola-Adefeso, the University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan, explains: “Neutrophils are the most common, yet least glamorous white blood cells. Their lack of specialization makes them good ‘first responders’ in the body when something is wrong, but trouble comes when they don’t get the signal to stop responding so other cells can step in and repair the damage. ASX-100 has the potential to manage that response.”

The company’s first indication is in ARDS—a condition that affects 500,000 Americans annually, roughly half of whom die as a result. There are no approved drugs for ARDS, which is a leading cause of death from influenza and SARS-CoV-2 (Covid.)

“Asalyxa’s technology has true life-saving potential,” said Graham, “and a clear mechanism of action that will help accelerate program development and commercialization.”

“We are excited to work with James and the team at RBP to advance this research to clinical studies and, ultimately, into medical practice,” said Dr. Eniola-Adefeso

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 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


Research Bridge Partners Makes Seed Capital Investment In Erisyon, Inc.

— 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.

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.

About Erisyon

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.


Research Bridge Partners Makes Seed Investment in Eradivir, Inc.

-- 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 501 (c) (3) organization that bridges preeminent innovators at mid-continent research universities with the commercialization resources of Silicon Valley—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, 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 Eradivir
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.


Research Bridge Partners Makes Seed Capital Investment In Novosteo, Inc.

– 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 501 (c) (3) organization that bridges preeminent innovators at mid-continent research universities with the commercialization resources of Silicon Valley—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."

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 Novosteo
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.


Research Bridge Partners Launches Seed Fund To Catalyze Commercialization Of Mid-Continent Research

AUSTIN, Texas, July 16, 2019 -- Research Bridge Partners—a 501 (c) (3) organization that bridges preeminent innovators at mid-continent research universities with the commercialization resources of Silicon Valley—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."

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

 

CONTACT: Bob Knott, (443) 604-3476, bob@timbrestratgies.com