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Startups Meet Pharma Cohort 2020 – The Bayer challenge

With the selection phase over, it is time to meet the Startups Meets Pharma cohort 2020. We break the ice with Bayer’s challenge on gene therapies, cell therapies and delivery technologies for different therapeutic areas and the startup selected for this challenge: Eukarÿs.

Sixteen startups from Germany, Austria, UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Poland, Italy, Finland, Greece, Spain, Estonia and Israel have been selected for the Startups Meet Pharma 2020 cohort. This year, five challenges have been released in collaboration with four EIT Health Partners: Amgen, Bayer, Beiersdorf and Boehringer Ingelheim.

Let’s take a closer look at Challenge#1: Disruptive Gene therapies, cell therapies and delivery technologies for different therapeutic areas by Bayer.

The challenge was set up to identify disruptive technologies useful in the therapeutic areas of cardiology, oncology, gynecology, ophthalmology, hematology and women’s health – or ideally for all of those as a platform technology. A total of 11 applications were received for the challenge, however only one was selected to move to the next phase: Eukarÿs.

The French startup has developed the first ever artificial expression system able to synthesize in vivo autonomously messenger RNA (mRNA) and consequently the protein of interest in mammalian and other eukaryotic cells. Using the C3P3 system, Eukarÿs developed the unique synthetic gene therapy approach, which is a non-viral, safe, non-integrative, efficient, cost-effective, well-tolerated approach to treat human monogenic and multifactorial disorders. Eukarÿs synthetic non-viral gene therapy is designed to resolve the main obstacles that gene therapy must face, in particular safety, tolerance, efficacy, vectorization immunogenicity and production costs.

Find out more about Eukarÿs:

Your solution to the challenge:  

Eukarÿs synthetic gene therapy, recently adapted to synthetic gene vaccination, is a radically novel non-viral therapeutic approach, which is designed to resolve the main obstacles that gene therapy and nucleic-acid based vaccination must face.

 What makes it a good fit? 

 Reciprocal needs: synthetic gene therapy is a solution well suited to a wide use in human therapy as sought by many companies in the pharmaceutical industry, but Eukarÿs needs the experience of such companies to develop and bring these products to the market.

Major expectations from the programme:  

Establish contacts with companies in the Pharmaceutical Industry with the aim of establishing research and then co-development partnerships for synthetic gene therapy.

Long-term vision for your startup:

The main goal of Eukarÿs is to bring its first synthetic gene therapy treatments to the proof of concept in humans, then to establish a co-development agreement with one or more companies in the pharmaceutical industry.