Bio Studio: Yummowia
The Bio Studio Program supports entrepreneurial academic researchers in translating their science into innovative products and solutions.
The Bio Studio program is a program with the ambition to build and run a leading life science company creation facility in Europe. Through this program, BII will host 15-20 top-level entrepreneurial scientists from across the world to translate their science into new solutions. Bio Studio is anchored in our Innovation department.
The Bio Studio Program projects will join BII and establish a team that will work in BII’s office and lab space alongside other Bio Studio projects and start-ups in other BII programs. Bio Studio projects will be supported by a tailored program to develop the teams’ entrepreneurial and commercial competencies and by dedicated BII anchors to help guide project progression.
BII is excited to invite entrepreneurial scientists to submit an Expression of Interest for our Bio Studio program. Bio Studio is a program specifically designed to support leading academic Principal Investigators (PIs) from universities, hospitals and/or research institutions in translating research into innovative products and solutions.
Our programs support life science start-ups operating within human health and planetary health.
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The Yummowia project aims to develop an engineered mycoprotein meat alternative. Called ”Yummowia”, the project is a spin-out from the Technical University of Denmark and will be led by Professor Irina Borodina.
The project takes its name from Yarrowia, the yeast chosen by Prof. Borodina as a meat alternative because of its combination of biological properties and its ease of engineering.
Based on recent breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and protein design, the ‘MODULATE’ project will use protein design to create small therapeutic proteins, called minibinders, that modulate cell signaling by binding the integral membrane domains of key receptors (GPCRs, ion channels, and transporters). The project uses methods pioneered by David Baker’s laboratory at the University of Washington’s Institute for Protein Design (IPD) to create their new class of therapeutic proteins to modulate cell signaling.
MODULATE’s interim Director is Lance Stewart, a strong profile with more than 27 years of experience in protein and drug discovery research, life sciences partnering, and entrepreneurial start-up activities. Lance also manages IPD’s Translational Investigator Research Program, has co-founded several biotechnology companies and is an active angel investor.
The main goal of the ASAI project is to deliver a transformative approach to early diagnostics and monitoring of diseases. The cost-effective diagnostic platform will provide artificial intelligence (AI)-based evaluation of molecular fingerprints to inform clinical decisions to help slow disease progression and improve treatment plans.
The project, a collaboration between BII and Imperial College London, is headed by Molly Stevens, Professor and Research Director for Biomedical Materials at Imperial College London.
Learn more about what Molly expects from the project and her experiences translating research into innovative solutions for the benefit of people and society.
The SpaceM project aims to develop tools for computational biology to picture metabolism in time and space across spatial scales from organisms to tissues to single cells.
The project, a collaboration between EMBL Metabolomics Core Facility and BII, is headed by Theodore Alexandrov. Theodore is a Group Leader at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg and the head of the EMBL Metabolomics Core Facility. He is also an Assistant Adjunct Professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy, University of California San Diego.
The Bio Studio Boisen project, headed by Head of the IDUN Center of Excellence, Anja Boisen, develops a miniaturized tabletop device that can perform therapeutic drug monitoring on a single drop of blood in a matter of minutes. Boisen’s research group will work on a solution available at the point of care without needing specialized personnel and at a fraction of the currently available cost.
Anja Boisen has more than 20 years of experience in sensor development and has managed several larger national and international projects. She has co-founded four spinout companies from DTU and is, among others, the vice-chair of Innovation Fund Denmark, which supports entrepreneurs, researchers, and businesses to develop innovative and viable solutions to society’s challenges.
The Bio Studio Andresen project aims to develop a technology platform for localized gene therapy where the first technological objective is to generate a transfection system for pro-inflammatory cytokines that uses the cellular machinery within tumors to generate the cytokine in situ over a defined time period. Local cytokine secretion will induce a pro-inflammatory condition in the tumor that will aid the immune system in recognizing and eradicating cancer cells.
The project is headed by Thomas Lars Andresen, who has a background in biomaterial and biological engineering. He has started several companies, such as Nanovi in 2012, Monta Biosciences in 2014, and the Boston-based Torque Therapeutics in 2015. Academically, Thomas has received multiple research prizes, including the Elite Research Prize from the Danish Ministry of Science, published more than 160 research articles, and filed approximately 40 patent applications. He spent more than two years in Boston as full-time CSO of Torque Therapeutics, and he was instrumental in merging the company with Cogen to form Repertoire Immune Medicines. He was the lead on three IND filings in the US and one in Europe and led four distinct technologies into clinical trials, one of which is now commercialized in Europe.
Biomia focuses on Monoterpenoid indole alkaloids (MIAs), plant-derived natural products with remarkable structural diversity, and a myriad of applications as therapeutics, nutraceuticals, pest control agents, and materials precursors.
Leading the project is Jay Keasling, Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and a visiting professor at the Technical University of Denmark. Jay Keasling is an expert in engineering microorganisms to produce chemicals such as pharmaceuticals, specialty and commodity chemicals, and biofuels. He has authored over 450 peer‐reviewed publications, has invented over 50 issued US patents, and is the co‐founder of eight biotechnology companies. As principal investigator, Jay Keasling leads the overall scientific and business development efforts.
The Bio Studio Kristiansen project is working on designing consortia of bacteria – termed collaboromes – able to prevent or diminish attacks by pathogens causing significant annual losses of crops. The project will establish a comprehensive catalog of genes, species, and collaboromes characterizing the microbiota in fields with a high or low incidence of diseases due to fungal or bacterial pathogens.
The project is headed by Karsten Kristiansen who has worked in molecular biology since the late 70s. He is a Professor at the Laboratory of Genomics and Molecular Biomedicine in the Department of Biology at the University of Copenhagen. Karsten has served as a member of Scientific Advisory Boards in several life science companies such as Evolva and research institutions worldwide such as The National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research in Norway. In 2001, he co-founded the start-up BioLigands.
The Bio Studio Svarre Nielsen project aims to develop a diagnostic test that can inform couples after a pregnancy loss to guide relevant actions.
Henriette Svarre Nielsen leads the project, and she is a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology and an expert in reproduction and recurrent pregnancy loss. Parallel to her clinical and academic career focusing on pathophysiology in reproduction and women’s health, Henriette Svarre Nielsen has successfully founded and chaired Maternity Foundation and co-founded OvaCure. Maternity Foundation aims to save lives in childbirth, develops evidence‐based solutions, and is a strong actor within the emerging health tech field. The Safe Delivery App developed by the Foundation has successfully instructed over 160,000 healthcare workers in Sub‐Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.
Natural proteins evolved over millions of years to solve the most complex challenges on Earth, but we face new and pressing challenges today. The Institute for Protein Design aims to create a new world of synthetic proteins to address these challenges. To achieve this, we are marshaling deep institutional strengths in our faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students, as well as partners from collaborating institutions, innovator networks, and the computer and biotechnology industries. We are bringing extraordinary expertise to bear on a singular focus to advance the potential of protein design.
EMBL, Europe’s flagship laboratory for life sciences, is an intergovernmental organization established in 1974 and supported by 27 member states, two prospective member states, and an associate member state. EMBL performs fundamental research in molecular biology, studying the story of life. It offers services to the scientific community, trains the next generation of scientists, and helps integrate the life sciences across Europe.
Rigshospitalet is the University Hospital of Copenhagen with specialized treatment, research, and education at the highest international level. Through a strong focus on innovation and developing new treatments, services, and solutions for better healthcare, the hospital seeks to benefit patients across the world by being a global pioneer in future healthcare.
The hospital has established a structured process for innovation support, where clinicians receive help from a dedicated team of innovation consultants to convert their research into new medical solutions. The aim is to help design and develop future healthcare solutions with startups and the industry that can bring products to market and scale to make a global impact.
Bispebjerg Hospital is one of the hospitals in the Capital Region of Denmark. Along with several other hospitals and the University of Copenhagen (the Faculty of Health Sciences), Bispebjerg Hospital forms part of the Copenhagen University Hospital.
Technical University of Denmark – DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programs, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today.
The University of Copenhagen was founded in 1479 by the Danish king Christian 1, and today has 37,500 students and 9,000 employees – of whom some 5,000 are researchers – and revenues of DKK 9.1 billion. The University of Copenhagen consistently ranks as the top university in Denmark and Scandinavia. The quality of the University of Copenhagen is underlined by the fact that its researchers have received nine Nobel Prizes.
Aarhus University (AU) is one of Denmark’s largest research and teaching hubs, with its main campus in downtown Aarhus. Rooted in strong disciplines, researchers and students have been generating new knowledge here for over 90 years. Aarhus University has 38,000 students, five faculties, research activities all over the country, and campuses in Aarhus, Herning, and Emdrup.
Research and education of the highest international quality are at the core of our mission, and strong partnerships with our society are at the heart of our activities. Thanks to its size and reputation as a leading research-intensive university, Aarhus University has a strong impact and influence across the entire spectrum of disciplines, locally, nationally, and globally.
Among more than 17,000 universities worldwide, Aarhus University is in the top 100 on several international rankings. With its recently launched business collaboration and innovation initiative, Aarhus University will create even more tangible value for society.
Bio Studio supports ambitious translational projects that address major challenges with substantial societal and health impact and target a significant current or future market need. Currently, we have an open call focusing on projects within the potentially curative field of cell & gene therapy as well as biobased materials and their potential as alternatives to fossil-based materials.
It is not a requirement to have existing IP to apply for Bio Studio. If there is existing IP relating to the project (background IP), this must be licensable to the future spin-out company on market terms. Any IP generated during Bio Studio remains the property of the host institution but must also be licensable to the spin-out company. BII’s IP specialist can assist in devising and advising on IP strategy while in the Bio Studio program.
The goal of each Bio Studio project is to create a viable startup by the end of the program that can raise seed or Series A financing.
Bio Studio focuses on translating world-class research into a company within three years by establishing a satellite group at BII that will form the basis of the future spin-out company. For the Venture Lab program, applicants must reach critical inflection points within team development, research maturation, and business model development that can lead to additional financing within one year.
As part of the Bio Studio program, you will receive help with scientific maturation, development of IP, entrepreneurial training, extensive in-kind partner services and preparation for fundraising.
No, it is not a requirement that you are a Danish researcher. The PI does not relocate and will stay at the home institution. BII will assist with relocating existing team members and hiring new team members from abroad to undertake the Bio Studio project based in Copenhagen. It is an advantage – but not a requirement – if you have a key researcher who can relocate to Denmark for technology transfer.
Established PIs with at least three years of experience of leading an independent research group from across the world with a strong academic track record and demonstrated experience in translating research and/or commercialization.
The project teams will reside in Copenhagen. Year one will be a transitional year for establishing the team and facilities. When the first year ends, the majority of operations and the team will reside at BII in Copenhagen.
Bio Studio projects are expected to run for up to 3 years and the funding is awarded in sequential 1-year in-kind grants of up to DKK 7,86M pending on annual approval of extension based on the milestone plan.
Funded projects will be incubated at BII’s state-of-the-art facilities in central Copenhagen. PIs themselves are not expected to relocate to BII and will remain at their host institution. Any IP generated during the Bio Studio project will remain with the PI’s host institution or with the inventors depending on appropriate legislation.