3 Juni 2015

BIO Innovation Zone company snapshot: Arytha Biosciences

Interview with Che-Ming Jack Hu, PhD, the Director of Engineering for Arytha Biosciences, LLC

Next month in Philadelphia at the BIO International Convention, BIO will be partnering with the National Science foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to host the 2nd annual, newly-expanded BIO Innovation Zone. The Zone will feature Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funded early-stage biotech companies.

The SBIR/STTR program provides U.S. federal funding to small businesses engaged in research with the potential for commercialization. Each of the companies has been rigorously vetted through the SBIR/STTR review process prior to receiving the non-dilutive funding to engage in R&D that has the potential for commercialization. The NIH and NSF invest a combined $940 million annually in the programs.

Today, we spoke with Che-Ming Jack Hu, PhD, the Director of Engineering for Arytha Biosciences, LLC, a San Diego-based biotechnology company supported by NSF’s SBIR program.

What is your company’s lead product or technology?

Our company’s lead product is a proprietary nanoparticle platform consisting of a 100 nm particle core coated in the membranes derived from red blood cells. Owing to their biomimetic nature, the particles have unparalleled circulatory performance and unique biological properties. Our primary efforts at the present moment is focused on translating the platform as a universal anti-venom. The nanoparticles have been shown to absorb and neutralize a large number of animal venoms and bacterial toxins that are known to attack cell membranes. The nanoparticle-stabilized cell membranes in our platform are able to entrap and detain these toxins from inflicting injuries to other cellular targets.

How has the NSF SBIR program helped your company grow?

The NSF SBIR program has been immensely helpful to our company’s development. We were fortunate to be selected as a Phase I grantee in 2014 to conduct proof-of-concept experiments to validate our platform’s capability in neutralizing venomous toxins. Currently, we are supported by the Phase II award to develop a scalable and GMP-compatible manufacturing process for our nanoparticle production. The fundings have been critical for us to meet our milestones toward clinical translation.

What are the upcoming milestones and long-term priorities for your company?

Our immediate goal following the SBIR Phase II award from the NSF is to optimize the production process of our red-blood-cell membrane cloaked nanoparticles, following which we will work with a GMP-certified manufacturer for large-scale manufacturing. The product will subsequently be applied for preclinical testing and we intend to initiate an IND filing by the end of 2016.

What do you hope to gain out of your participation at the 2015 BIO International Convention?

As our nanoparticle platform has immense implications in the treatment of animal envenoming (such as snake, scorpion, and spider) and bacterial infections, we hope to increase exposure of our technology and awareness of its disease indications at the 2015 BIO International Convention. We also look forward to the opportunities to network with other biotech and pharmaceutical companies for potential collaborations that take advantage of the unique strengths of Arytha Biosciences’ cell-membrane cloaked nanoparticle technology.

Tell us something about your company that investors might not know.

Arytha Biosciences is spun off from a research laboratory at the University of California, San Diego, and our proprietary nanoparticle platform has been published in renowned journals including Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences and Nature Nanotechnology. The platform has numerous application areas in oncology, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, and autoimmune disease. We look forward to the opportunity to work with interested parties in developing this novel nanotechnology to address the many urgent, unmet medical needs.

Source: BIOtechNOW, 2015-05-28.

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