Novo Nordisk Foundation’s innovation initiative, BioInnovation Institute (BII) has awarded EUR 14 million to eight early-stage life science start-ups and research projects.
BII has accepted five early-stage start-up companies into the Creation House life science incubator program with EUR 1.3 million in funding for each start-up company. Among the new life science innovations that have received funding and access to BII’s office and laboratory facilities are three university-based research projects that will be part in BII Faculty. The projects will establish a team that will work alongside the projects and start-ups in the other BII programs. Each Faculty project has been awarded up to EUR 2.4M over three years.
Therapeutics, health tech and bioindustrials
The start-ups and research projects work within the three life science industries: therapeutics, health tech and bioindustrials. The start-ups and projects are developing a diverse range of products and solutions ranging from using an innovative approach to using CRISPR Cas-12 variants to be safely used in gene-editing, a new amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) treatment, a gut approach to treating osteoporosis, a range of biological products against aquatic pests and diseases, and the development of new therapies for diabetic retinopathy to prevent vision loss and blindness in patients.
“BII helps early-stage start-ups become investment ready by bridging the gap between academia and business. I am happy to welcome the new high-potential companies and research projects in BII’s community to provide them with the best opportunities to develop their innovation. I am looking forward to following the companies’ accelerated path towards the market with the knowledge, network, funding, and infrastructure required for start-up success,” says Jens Nielsen, professor, and CEO at BioInnovation Institute.
Creation House participants
Ciana Therapeutics is a clinical development-stage company led by an experienced team developing new therapies for diabetic retinopathy (DR). DR is a serious condition that afflicts 30% of patients with diabetes and leads to vision loss and blindness. Ciana is a spin-out from Zealand Pharma A/S that originally developed their lead drug therapy, Danegaptide. Danegaptide has a proven safety profile in humans, strong efficacy in pre-clinical DR models and can uniquely address the need for more effective and earlier treatments in DR.
Twelve Bio uses state-of-the-art techniques in structural biology to manipulate and improve the abilities of CRISPR-Cas12a to recognize and cleave specific DNA sequences. Our goal is to obtain new CRISPR-Cas12a variants that can be safely used in gene-editing for therapeutical purposes.
Bainan Biotech is developing a first-in-class bone-strengthening drug. The drug’s effect arises from boosting the body’s naturally occurring bone-strengthening response to a healthy meal. Not only nutrition and minerals in the food but also the body’s hormonal response to eating is very important for maintaining strong and healthy bones. Bainan Biotech’s drug stimulates the body’s bone-strengthening hormonal response to eating as a new way of treating osteoporosis.
Sundew is developing a range of biological products against aquatic pests and diseases. Its products are effective, affordable and environmentally benign. Sundew’s first product is for the prevention and treatment of ‘Ich’, a protozoan parasite of freshwater fish, including key aquaculture species such as carp, tilapia and catfish. Ich also affects many fish species that are found in public aquaria or ornamental ponds, or that are kept domestically. Key early markets are ornamental fish and Asian aquaculture.
2N Pharma is developing a disease-modifying new drug for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and is building its case on 10 years of research led by Co-founder John Nieland. The participation in the Creation House program will allow 2N to optimise its lead molecules and take significant steps towards clinical testing.
BII Faculty projects
Professor Anja Boisen, DTU. BII Faculty project: “Therapeutic drug monitoring”. Professor Anja Boisen Is developing a miniaturized tabletop device that can perform therapeutic drug monitoring on a single drop of blood in a matter of minutes. The group will be working on a solution available at point of care without the need for specialized personnel and at a fraction of the currently available cost.
Professor Henriette Svarre Nielsen, Hvidovre Hospital. BII Faculty project: “Early diagnosis of pregnancy loss”. Professor Henriette Svarre Nielsen aims to increase live birth rates by developing a comprehensive diagnostic test that can inform couples after a pregnancy loss. The product combines a test that both diagnoses the fetus and the parents using paternal and maternal biomarkers to guide relevant actions.
Professor Thomas Andresen, DTU. Faculty project ”Locally Sustained Gene Therapy”. Thomas Andresen’s project will use the team’s expertise in image guided local injections, biomaterials and gene delivery, to create systems that can induce local cell transfection, and use the cells as therapeutic factories to reprogram local tissue microenvironments. Such reprogramming of local tissues has highly impactful treatment possibilities in cancer, autoimmune, and infection disease.
About BioInnovation Institute
BioInnovation Institute is an incubator supported by the Novo Nordisk Foundation to accelerate world-class life science innovation that drives development of new solutions by early life science start-ups for the benefit of people and society. BII, located in Copenhagen, Denmark, offers start-ups and early-stage projects within health tech, therapeutics and bioindustrials 2300 square-meters of state-of-the art labs, vibrant office facilities, business development, start-up business incubation, access to high-level mentoring and international networks plus unique funding opportunities of up to EUR 1.3 million per start-up and EUR 2.4 million per project. BII also regularly hosts highly recognized international speakers within life sciences as part of the ‘Talks at the Square’ event series. Since the inauguration of BII in November 2018, BII has awarded 45 million euro to innovative entrepreneurs.