02.11.2020 – 09:00
EvoBiotiX collaborates with Boehringer Ingelheim and the University of Salzburg on naturally derived Extracellular Vesicles (EVs)
Swiss Biotech EvoBiotiX SA today announced a multi-year collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim in the field of naturally derived EVs. A significant part of this program will fund research of the drug delivery potential of naturally derived EVs in the group of Prof. Meisner-Kober at the University of Salzburg, Austria. Under the terms of the agreement, Boehringer Ingelheim will provide drug candidates and expertise across different therapeutic areas, while EvoBiotiX will bring their unique know-how in isolating and developing naturally derived biologics to the table.
Biomacromolecules, such as recombinant proteins, DNAs or small interfering RNAs, offer great potential to address intracellular molecular targets that so far cannot be addressed with conventional approaches. However, their inherent molecular features often restrict biomacromolecules from crossing the cell membrane. This is one of the key challenges for the development of new therapies for patients with currently hard to treat diseases, as many relevant drug targets are located inside the cells.
"Drugs of the future are increasingly inspired by naturally occurring biological macromolecules like proteins, antibodies or RNA. These are the molecules most promising but hardest to deliver in an efficient, side-effect free and patient friendly way. EVs are nano-transporters that nature has elegantly devised for shuttling precisely such large molecules like proteins or RNAs into cells, and across biological barriers to the sites where they are needed in our body. We therefore aim to capitalize on nature´s own inventions in order to create a next generation drug delivery platform," explains Prof. Meisner-Kober, who was recently recruited from the pharmaceutical industry to the University of Salzburg to fill a new chair on Chemical Biology and Biological Therapies endowed by Land Salzburg.
The collaboration is part of Boehringer Ingelheim´s Research Beyond Borders (RBB) initiative that explores emerging science and technologies for and beyond its core therapeutic areas to create new opportunities in disease indications of high medical need. The Paris Lodron University of Salzburg (PLUS), with co-funding of the European Union and the federal government (Land Salzburg) and in collaboration with the Paracelsus Medical University (PMU) have recently established a center of excellence for EV Therapeutic research. By a unique coalition between internationally established experts in EV analytics and engineering, drug delivery, pharmaceutical manufacturing and clinical applications of human EVs, the Extracellular Vesicle Theralytics Technology Center (EV-TT) is aspiring to become one of the leading European hubs in the EV field.
Wilfried Haslauer, federal minister of the County of Salzburg, explains the impact of this new collaboration in the context of the regional science and innovation strategy framework (WISS 2025): "Life Sciences was identified as one of Salzburg's strengths which should be further developed and promoted. The field of exosome research opens up the possibility for Salzburg to achieve excellence in this field. We are proud that our investments and efforts in this area, including the opening of the EV-TT center, have been worthwhile. This cooperation of the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg with two important economic partners strengthens Salzburg as a location and increases our international visibility."
Hendrik Lehnert, Rector of the University of Salzburg, adds: "The Paris Lodron University Salzburg (PLUS) currently undergoes an exciting restructuring process that will position this University at the edge of life science research and education. New study programs in Medical Biology and joint projects with the Paracelsus Medical University will place Salzburg on the map of top biomedical research. I am convinced that research on extracellular vesicles bears enormous scientific potential and will not only lead to novel treatment options through exosomal transport, but will foster the bridging of numerous important research areas in biology and medicine. This cooperation with EvoBiotiX and Boehringer Ingelheim will serve as a role model for joint projects between basic research and industry, from the lab to pharmaceutical manufacturing and clinical applications. The PLUS is proud to host this large-scale project and will provide every support to render it a highly successful and long-lasting research program."
Commenting the announcement, Maarten de Groot, Chief Executive Officer of EvobiotiX SA notes: "We are extremely excited to create a partnership with world-class partners in such a dynamic field. By contributing our core competence of linking the food- and pharmaceutical industry and by creating and engineering extracts from natural sources, we hope to overcome some of the critical limitations of traditional EV based approaches".
Commenting the announcement, Detlev Mennerich, Global Head of RBB states: "It is at the heart of RBB to explore new therapeutic modalities beyond common paths which could provide breakthrough innovations for patients. With EvobiotiX and their core partner Paris Lodron University of Salzburg we are confident to leverage their unique know-how in the EV field to generate pre-clinical proof of concept and to pave the ground for highly needed novel therapies."
EvoBiotiX SA, is a Ticino based Swiss biotech company. EvoBiotiX focuses on cross-industry collaborations with food and pharmaceutical companies to create naturally derived, biologically active macromolecular preparations for nutraceutical-, veterinary and human pharmaceutical applications.
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