Eisbach Bio receives €6.7M grant for the development of targeted SARS-CoV-2 antivirals

At the end of October 2021, Eisbach Bio announced the receipt of a €6.7M grant from the Bavarian Government for the development of targeted SARS-CoV-2 antivirals.

The Planegg-based biotechnology start-up develops a new class of novel medication, that targets the molecular vulnerabilities in human disease. Eisbach Bio originally focused on its main pipeline in oncology, by using its unique screening and cellular platforms to develop selective drugs that attack tumors directly. However, when the threat of the coronavirus pandemic arose in 2020, the company started the development of an inhibitor of the SARS-CoV-2 helicase Nsp13, which is crucial for viral replication. Prof. Andreas Ladurner, CSO of Eisbach Bio, described the approach back then as:

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.

Accordingly, Eisbach Bio plans to bring a safe, sustainable and targeted antiviral drug with specific activity against the SARS-CoV-2 virus into the clinic with the aim to lower disease progression and to support the fight against the global pandemic. Relying on its molecular machine expertise, the company already developed the above-described EIS4363, a small molecule inhibitor of the SARS-CoV-2 helicase enzyme Nsp13. The aim of this project is to further develop the chemical structure of the preclinical candidate EIS4363 and to further increase the efficacy in animal models. Further research will be aimed at developing a highly effective, oral combination therapy with drugs targeting the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP), such as molnupiravir.
The newly acquired funding of EUR 6.7 million will support the development of Eisbach Bio’s COVID-19 therapeutics and maintain the competitiveness of the biotech scene in Bavaria as part of the BayTherapie 2020 program. The CEO of Eisbach Bio, Dr. Adrian Schomburg, commented on the funding:
“Our team is grateful to receive state support for the development of our drug candidates. The biotech scene in Bavaria and beyond will benefit from this project. Our research progress illustrates how Bavarian companies joined the fight against COVID-19, taking a leading role in driving innovation and identifying therapeutic solutions.”
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, which involved a 50.000€ prize as well as an acceleration for market entry.