In September 2023, metaLead joined BII’s Venture Lab program and they are currently developing revolutionary therapies to treat metal-related diseases, focused on Wilson disease and lead poisoning. We had a chat with the CEO, Michal Shoshan, to get to know more about the company.
Which problems do you aim to solve?
metaLead aims to revolutionize the way we treat metal-related diseases. We are currently focusing on two conditions: lead poisoning and Wilson’s disease. Lead is a systemic and neurotoxicant widely distributed in our environment. 16% of the children in the US and every third of children globally are poisoned with lead, but most of them cannot receive any remedy. We work on changing that.
Wilson’s disease is a rare genetic disorder causing the accumulation of copper in the liver and brain in toxic amounts. While patients of this disease can receive drugs called chelating agents, which expel the metal from their bloodstream, these medications are often inefficient and bear many side effects. metaLead wishes to improve and save the lives of people who suffer from both conditions.
What inspired you to embark on an entrepreneurial journey?
We realized that our technology has great potential to positively improve the lives of people with needs. Additionally, it became clear that as an academic group, we were constrained with our capabilities of promoting the technology and bringing it to the market. Thus, we decided to switch direction and move into the entrepreneurial world.
How do you differentiate yourself from others, and how do you make a difference?
Our main difference is related to the chemistry; while all chelating agents in the clinic are small molecules used to tackle various metals that are quite different from one another, we use bio-inspired short peptides explicitly tailored for the metal of interest. Our unique peptide class enjoys both worlds’ benefits; they are stable and orally available as small molecules but selective and effective as proteins used by nature to address metal regulation. Our approach is then translated to superiority in efficacy and safety with a patient-centric treatment modality.
Which milestones do you need to achieve during the Venture Lab program?
We want to validate our unique selling proposition for both disease areas, which require additional in vivo studies. Furthermore, this should lay the foundation for securing seed financing to enable us to develop our drug candidates for first-in-human trials.
How do you benefit from being part of BII’s community?
BII is a unique and powerful community encompassing professionalism, knowledge, and a strong network. I am still amazed by the support we receive from BII and how their team is genuinely interested in our success and in working together to reach our goals.