Within the challenging field of protein misfolding research, there is a company with a unique and competitive edge that is turning heads and making therapeutic strides. Following the 2023 Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) International Convention, the Emerging Start-Up winner, Paradox Immunotherapeutics, was announced.
Paradox Immunotherapeutics is a biotech company based in Toronto, Canada (and a multi-site JLABS resident company at both JLABS Toronto and JLABS Washington, DC). They are focused on the development of monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapies for the treatment of protein misfolding diseases, including amyloidosis. With more than 30 types of protein misfolding diseases, accepted therapy remains in short supply.
Bio.News had the opportunity to catch up with one of the Paradox cofounders, and CEO, Dr. Natalie Galant, who presented the company’s current research as part of the 2023 BIO Start-Up Stadium.
Natalie Galant, Ph.D., and fellow cofounder, Yulong Sun, Ph.D., both received their doctorates in medical biophysics from the University of Toronto.
Galant’s doctoral research resulted in an antibody that was eventually licensed to Prothena Biosciences Inc., and named PRX004, where it not only cleared safety parameters at all doses but was noted to improve cardiac systolic function in patients with transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR), which is a result of protein misfolding. PRX004 entered clinical trials in 2018 and was acquired by Novo Nordisk in a $1.2B acquisition deal in 2021 (recently renamed NNC6019).
Galant describes her doctoral work as “the inspiration for Paradox.” She and Sun used the same foundational science to develop a platform that began with a potential treatment for immunoglobulin light chain (AL) amyloidosis.
They are now aimed to tackle multiple rare protein misfolding diseases, including treatments for chronic renal failure and neurodegeneration.
The deviance of protein misfolding
As Galant describes, “proteins are the building blocks of the body and maintain a typical shape in order to perform specific functions.” She further explains, “when proteins change shape, misfold, or go rogue, they can transform into harmful entities and aggregate, resulting in a debilitating disease, such as heart failure caused by AL amyloidosis.” Amyloidosis affects approximately 300 individuals per million worldwide.
What is the Paradox approach?
According to Galant, Paradox is poised to change the landscape in a field where “crafting a therapy capable of distinguishing between healthy proteins which perform important roles in the body from more deviant forms that cause disease has historically been a daunting task.” She goes on to explain that “where other biotech companies cast a wide net hoping to ensnare potential drug candidates, Paradox uses a precise and strategic approach to engineer a series of drug candidates with [their] innovative drug discovery platform.”
Their groundbreaking structural-based drug discovery algorithm “accurately predicts specific regions on a protein that emerge during misfolding.” This multifaceted tool “identifies features on target proteins and has the ability to create opposing antibodies, which then act to single out and remove rogue, misfolded proteins while healthy proteins remain untouched.”
The Paradox pipeline
Galant describes the Paradox platform as one designed to offer a “faster and more effective pathway in order to bring candidates from conception to clinic.” “Compared with conventional drug discovery methods that are time-consuming and whose antibodies have undesirable off-target effects, the Paradox platform is efficient, has a better safety profile, and an increased likelihood for clinical success.”
Paradox is aiming to “maximize their drug discovery platform while positively impacting the outcomes of protein misfolding diseases which are often thought of as incurable.”
The team at Paradox has a proven track record for success in selectively targeting misfolded proteins with monoclonal antibodies.
They have developed LX-96, a specialized monoclonal antibody to treat AL amyloidosis, KX-99, for kidney amyloidosis (ALECT2), and NX-86 for neurodegenerative disease.
Paradox’s vision for the future
Paradox “envisions leading the global charge against protein misfolding diseases including amyloidosis.” By remaining at the cutting edge of research and development, Paradox aims to continue to “tailor their approach to meet each patient’s specific needs with a goal to unravel protein misfolding.”
In the midst of their immense success, the deliverables expected from their platform have only touched upon their expected potential within the field of drug development. Paradox is clearly setting a new bar within the biotech industry with a newfound hope to patients around the world.
Emerging start-up company recognition
According to Dr. Galant, they “are honored to be recognized amongst a group of highly innovative and ambitious companies.” This achievement is an acknowledgement to the impact of their efforts and strengthens their commitment to make a transformative difference in the lives of patients with protein misfolding diseases and amyloidosis.
The Emerging Start-Up Stage prize
A blog posting by BIO including an interview about the start-up company’s status and mission written by BIO’s communications team and shared via BIO’s social media and listed on BIO’s website
A complimentary one-year membership in the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, including access to benefit from BIO Business Solutions®, the largest cost-savings purchasing program for the life sciences industry. And one complimentary registration with BIO One-on-One Partnering™ access to attend the 2024 BIO International Convention, June 3-6, in San Diego, California.