Eisbach Bio is a biotechnology start-up that develops a new class of novel medication, that targets the molecular vulnerabilities in human disease. The company originally focused on its main pipeline in oncology, by using its unique screening and cellular platforms to develop selective drugs that attack tumors directly. The scientists identify oncogenic helicases that can be allocated by small-molecule inhibitors targeting specific chromatin remodeling enzymes. When the threat of the new coronavirus approached in February 2020, Eisbach Bio quickly rose to the challenge and started the development of an inhibitor of the SARS-CoV-2 helicase Nsp13, which is critical for viral replication. Prof. Andreas Ladurner, CSO of Eisbach Bio, described the approach: “Our drug blocks viral replication through a novel, targeted mechanism that is fully conserved across all known virus variants. We are determined to deliver a sustainable drug with a good safety profile that should allow treatment of anyone testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, especially high-risk patients.”
In early July 2021, Eisbach Bio announced that the company received EUR 8 Million funding from the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) for the clinical development of the SARS-CoV-2 helicase inhibitor. After the recent completion of its preclinical development, which started in February 2020, Eisbach Bio now looks forward to putting the additional financial support to use and accelerate the clinical development. “We are very thankful to receive BMBF support for the clinical validation of our drug candidate, which allows for convenient oral administration. As the tablets can be easily manufactured and shipped, our drug candidate not only offers broad potential to alleviate disease symptoms but also to globally reduce COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.”, commented Eisbach’s CEO, Dr. Adrian Schomburg. The company currently expects to initiate Phase I clinical trials for its COVID-19 asset in the first quartal of 2022.
The Bavarian Therapy Strategy and the BMBF’s Federal Funding Programme “Research and Development of Urgently Needed Therapeutics Against SARS-CoV-2” tackles potentially life-threatening courses of infections with the Coronavirus, by promoting the development of innovative drugs. Bavaria’s Minister of Economic Affairs Hubert Aiwanger believes in the strength of Bavaria’s biotech and pharmaceutical companies and aims to give particularly innovative research projects financial support. In addition to successfully developing vaccines against COVID-19, the availability of effective therapeutics is critical to addressing the current pandemic. The present funding guideline of the BMBF aims to strengthen the clinical development of promising therapeutic approaches against COVID-19. In this way, candidates for new therapeutics that have been successfully tested preclinically should reach the patients as quickly as possible and the treatment repertoire against COVID-19 should be expanded as needed.
The innovative biotechnology start-up Eisbach Bio was founded in 2019 as a Spin-out of the Biomedical Center Munich. With the Center’s startup initiative Genwerk, Prof. Andreas Ladurner, and Dr. Adrian Schomburg won the 1st Prize in the Acceleration Day of the EIT Health BioEntrepreneur BootCamp in July 2018. The company is privately held and backed by various international investors. Eisbach Bio was a winner of the EIT Health Headstart Award 2019, one of the support programmes that EIT Health offers to emerging companies and SMEs within Europe. The purpose of the programme and the award, which contained a 50.000 EUR prize, is to accelerate market entry and the introduction of new products and services, thus driving new economic activity.