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BioTech Category: Meet the EIT Health Catapult 2021 regional finalists: Medraxa, Neurevo, Limula and Omicera Diagnostics

Twelve finalists were chosen for this year’s D.A.CH. Regional Selection of the EIT Health Catapult. Here are the shortlisted candidates from the BioTech Category: Medraxa, Neurevo, Limula and Omicera Diagnostics.

On 11 May 2021, we are hosting the D.A.CH. Regional Selection of EIT Health Catapult and this year the exciting pitch competition will include 12 promising startups from Europe. Meet the four BioTech teams and learn more about their projects:

 

Medraxa

Product/service idea in 50 words or less:
Medraxas Vanxines possess unique immuno-modulatory features. Depending on the mode of application, Vanxines may induce or suppress immune responses in an antigen-specific fashion. Two Vanxines are in the pipeline: An immuno-suppressive Vanxine for the treatment of multiple sclerosis as well as an immuno-stimulatory Vanxine for tumour vaccination.

 

Origins of the idea:
In the physiologic situation, the Annexin-Checkpoint-System suppresses auto-antigen-specific immune responses and induces immune tolerance. We aim to direct this suppression towards pathogenic T cells in multiple sclerosis in order to eliminate these T cells and to restore microglia homeostasis in the brain. When combined with adjuvants, Vanxines are immuno-stimulatory and effectively induce a T killer cell-dominated immune response. In a second approach, we plan to direct this T cell response against tumour antigens.

Key differentiated product features:
Medraxas Vanxines are based on proprietary technology. The annexin core domain (ACD), subject to 3 Medraxa patents, bears unique immuno-modulatory features superior to competitive vaccination approaches: 1) Superior cellular targeting combined with enhanced uptake and antigen-presentation enables exquisite delivery of antigenic stimuli to T cells; 2) additional signalling capacity of the ACD enables restoration of microglia homeostasis in the diseased brain and 3) the extraordinary propensity of the ACD to deliver antigens into the cross-presentation pathway enables highly efficient antigen-specific activation of T killer cells. This will be key to induce and enhance tumour-antigen-specific cancer vaccination and tumour rejection.

Reasons for applying to EIT Health Catapult:
Next to the prize money, we expect to gain visibility and we would greatly appreciate the excellent networking opportunities as well as the mentoring options.

Future plans & ambitions. What’s next?
After securing initial funding as of February 2021, we now plan to set up an own wet lab to generate quality controlled material for POC experiments in vivo in 4 relevant pre-clinical MS mouse models as well as 2 relevant cancer models.

 

NEUREVO

Product service idea in 50 words or less:
NEUREVO has identified two innovative neuroprotective therapeutic candidates that effectively protect against neuronal death in multiple neurological disorders. Our therapy has shown to prevent neuronal death and improve symptoms in more than one neurological disease through the protection of mitochondrial function and the regulation of calcium.

 

Origins of the idea:
Our substances were identified approx. 7 years ago at first at the Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden before they were further developed at the Neurological Department of the University Hospital of Munich. The aim of the project was to investigate the role of gene-environment interactions and identify protective compounds. Glycolic Acid and D-Lactate were found during this project. Both substances are the result of a chemical intracellular detoxification reaction, the conversion of the two toxic substances glyoxal and methylglyoxal.

Key differentiated product features:
Our treatment has shown to have a strong neuroprotective effect on several neurological diseases. Preclinical data in ALS shows an approx. 200% delay in the progression of symptoms and enhanced survival of motor neurons in the spinal cord when compared to the standard of care Riluzole. In preclinical models of stroke, our treatment improved the motor function output and significantly reduced the infarct size. In Parkinson´s disease, our treatment was able to completely prevent the death of dopaminergic neurons in mice exposed to an environmental toxin resulting in a normal motor function when compared to untreated animals exposed to the same toxin.

Reasons for applying to EIT Health Catapult:
We would like to expand our stakeholder management through networking activities and relationship management. We would also like to increase the awareness of our product among healthcare experts and investors. The EIT Health Catapult is the perfect platform to achieve our goals and further develop our products to bring them to the patients.

Future plans & ambitions. What’s next?
Our business model is focused on the development of our lead candidates until the clinical Proof-of-Concept and the identification of new medical applications based on the proprietary knowledge of the novel mechanism of action. We aim to test both substances in Clinical Phase I and II Studies. If successful we would partner with a pharmaceutical company to fund a Phase III study and prepare potential product launch activities.

 

Limula

Product/service idea in 50 words or less:
Limula provides enabling technology to all actors of the cell and gene therapy value chain. It is a robust and scalable solution, facilitating the transition from pre-clinical R&D to routine use in the clinic. Limula’s product is composed of a device and the associated single-use consumables.

 

Origins of the idea:
The concept behind Limula’s platform technology was born after we identified a clear technology gap while talking to clinical researchers involved in the development of revolutionary cell therapy products for the treatment of refractory cancers. They shared their frustration of having no reliable and scalable source of high-quality cell products, calling for automated and standardized manufacturing methods. We invented, prototyped and further patented a device with the complex process of cell therapy manufacturing in mind, leading to a highly customizable solution that has the potential to unlock the full potential of personalized cancer treatments.

Key differentiated product features:
The key differentiated features of our product rely on the unique design of the bioprocessing unit and its resulting properties. These features allow carrying out every step of the production of ex vivo gene-edited cell therapies in a single container, removing the need for multiple devices and manual interventions between steps. This significantly reduces costs, complexity, and risks associated with cell therapy manufacturing. Limula’s solution is based on a technology that is less complex than that of competitors, providing a user-friendly and affordable alternative to existing solutions.

Reasons for applying to EIT Health Catapult:
Limula is dedicated to making it a priority to have an impact in Europe. The EIT Health Catapult is a unique opportunity to promote our vision and showcase our technology in front of an audience of potential partners and investors. Our founding team is fully committed to the program and sees significant value in participating, especially because we believe it will give us visibility and mentorship that will be critical to the success of our project.

Future plans & ambitions. What’s next?
We are currently performing a Proof of Concept using our device for the production of a benchmark CAR T cell therapy. We are also in the process of conducting an extensive user requirement identification campaign, with key opinion leaders from academia and industry. We are finalizing our investors’ case and will be raising EUR 1M in 2021 in order to bring our product to a stage ready for industrialization. We plan to have an MVP ready for commercialization in 2023.

 

OmiCera Diagnostics

Product/service idea in 50 words or less:
OmicEra.Platform enables the highly parallelized analysis of hundreds of proteins from a drop of blood. As a CRO, we enable clients to identify biomarkers for their needs in a B2B business. In the future, we will digitalize the blood proteome of every individual reflecting their health states in a B2C business.

 

Origins of the idea:
More than 17 million individuals die of too late diagnosis, frequently caused by the lack of early disease biomarkers. By reinventing blood tests and offering reliable and early disease biomarkers, OmicEra is dedicated to improving health by proteomics. We focus on mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics, as proteins are the key molecular drivers of cellular function in health and disease as well as the main targets of drugs. Mass spectrometry is the technology of choice to analyze the proteome in an unbiased fashion.

Key differentiated product features:
We focus on mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics, as proteins are the key molecular drivers of cellular function in health and disease as well as the main targets of drugs. Mass spectrometry is the technology of choice to analyze the proteome in an unbiased fashion. Together, the founding team has 50+ years of experience in MS-based proteomics and thus is well suited to apply it for medical diagnostics.

Reasons for applying to EIT Health Catapult:
OmicEra Diagnostics aims for more visibility in the European start-up scene and we are seeking for professional mentorship to extend our business and acquire more B2B clients, learn how to develop new business opportunities, and facilitate B2C business with end customers or patients in the clinic. Furthermore, the EIT provides an excellent opportunity to be exposed to a strong and dynamic VC ecosystem, which will further allow us to pursue our enterprise development.

Future plans & ambitions. What’s next?
OmicEra’s future plans include a B2C business model: OmicEra.Diagnosis and OmicEra.Me. We have shown that using our OmicEra.Platform we can track proteomic changes of each individual in a single drop of blood. As the proteome is highly dynamic and alters with lifestyle changes, such as diet, physical exercise or disease, this also means that our clients would profit from longitudinal testing, which is in strong contrast to genetic B2C business suppliers as the genome is stable over time. OmicEra.Diagnosis will be a driver of personalized medicine in the clinic by assisting physicians in choosing the perfect treatment option. OmicEra.Me will enable individuals to regularly track their health status remotely.

 

Good luck to the teams!