BioInnovation Institute (BII), an international enterprise foundation with a non-profit objective incubating and accelerating world-class life science research, announces today that it has accepted a new project into its Bio Studio program. Based on recent breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and protein design, the project is creating a new class of therapeutic proteins to modulate cell signalling using methods pioneered by David Baker’s laboratory at the University of Washington’s Institute for Protein Design. BII’s Bio Studio program aims to foster the creation of new life science start-ups based on research from world-class scientists to benefit people and society.
BII will support the project with an in-kind grant of up to DKK 6.5M per year for a project period of up to three years as well as with business development expertise, intellectual property support, access to investor network and both wet lab and office infrastructure.
Commenting on the project, Markus Herrgård, Chief Technology Officer at BII, said: “We are very pleased to add this cutting-edge project to our Bio Studio portfolio. De novo protein design is an exciting area and one that fits perfectly with our strategy to accelerate the commercialization of state-of-the-art technology. We aim to advance projects that harness technology to address unmet needs in medicine by partnering with leading research institutions and entrepreneurial academics.”
Lance Stewart, Chief Strategy and Operations Officer at the IPD, added: “We are excited to be partnering with BII on the first international translational research project to emerge from the Institute for Protein Design. The IPD’s spinouts have collectively raised over $1B USD to convert protein design technologies into impactful medicines, and we look forward to extending this track record with BII’s tremendous support for entrepreneurial scientists.”
The project was conceived by Christoffer Norn and David Feldman during their tenure as postdoctoral scholars in David Baker’s lab at the Institute for Protein Design, which focuses on the design of macromolecular structures and functions. The Bio Studio 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).
Unlike current biologics based on natural proteins such as antibodies, therapeutic minibinders are designed from scratch to have optimal drug-like properties. While antibodies must be injected, minibinders can be formulated as oral therapies thanks to their exceptional stability.
The Bio Studio program is a recently established BII program with the ambition to build and run a leading life science company creation facility in Europe. This latest project joins collaborations announced this year with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg and Imperial College London.
Since its inception in 2018, BII has supported 70 start-ups and projects with EUR 59 million alongside the venture capital, industry and business expertise it provides to help them accelerate to the next level. In total, BII’s start-ups have raised over EUR 238 million in external funding from both local and international investors. Recent company successes include Adcendo, Stipe Therapeutics, Twelve Bio, Octarine Bio, and Cirqle Biomedical.