MyoPax aims to deliver effective muscle regeneration therapies that restore muscle function. We chatted with the CEO, Verena Schöwel, about the company’s development and how they benefitted from BII’s community.
What is the critical driver for MyoPax?
With MyoPax, we develop targeted therapy platforms for so far untreatable, devastating muscle diseases. For this, we combine proprietary stem cell technology with the latest genetic engineering techniques. We are driven by the medical need and the potential we see in our unique technologies.
What are the problems that you aim to solve?
Muscle diseases are untreatable and affect millions of people only in the EU. Our muscles allow us to laugh and hug each other, lift a cup, swallow, or even breathe. One can picture that, therefore, loss of muscle function forces patients out of work and leaves them facing continuously decreasing quality of life and premature death. Muscle impairment can be a result of congenital malformation, trauma, hereditary muscular dystrophies, as well as critical conditions, including cancer, or in the context of aging.
Until today, most patients’ current standard of care consists of supportive and palliative measures. MyoPax is here to change: We aim to restore muscle function by delivering effective muscle regeneration therapies.
What inspired you to embark on an entrepreneurial journey?
As a physician, I’ve experienced how severely life is affected when your muscle stops functioning. At the same time, I have outstanding colleagues, preceded by my co-founder, who have developed technologies originating from profound science that have preclinically demonstrated regenerative and, in some diseases, even curing potential. We had to pick up on that and do our absolute best to work towards bringing these technologies to patients.
How do you differentiate from others, and how do you anticipate making a difference with your muscle cell and gene therapy platform?
Our team and the science.
The team combines scientific, regulatory, clinical, and entrepreneurial expertise: Thus, we have set up a targeted development strategy for clinical implementation, and first-in-human trials are soon to start. Furthermore, our innovative, patented technology allows us to manufacture pure, high-quality muscle stem cells, leading to unique product quality and regenerative capability. Due to this innovation, we can produce these high-quality cells from patients suffering from genetic muscular dystrophies. We can genetically correct disease causing-mutations, thus “cure” the patients’ cells with new gene repair technologies.
The combination of these components has the veritable power to develop targeted therapies or cures for many unmet medical needs. Last December, the breakthrough potential was acknowledged by Nature Medicine in highlighting one of our soon-to-start clinical trials as one of “11 Clinical trials that will shape Medicine in 2023”.
How do you benefit from being part of BII’s community?
MyoPax is an academic spin-off of Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin. Becoming part of the BII community has been an excellent start for MyoPax in mid-2022.
We have benefitted from the power and push factor of the BII start-up environment. With so many incredibly bright and ambitious personalities, you can mutually benefit from interactions with each other. Furthermore, the BII team and our anchors Matthias Wulf and Hervør Lykke Olsen have been a pleasure for us to work with, as they are always available with advice or for a decisive discussion. Lastly, we have expanded our network, and through BII, we also got access to such great communities as NOME. The European setup of MyoPax has also added to us personally, and Copenhagen immediately made us feel welcome.