Nucleic acid and gene therapies are the future of medicine. However, current delivery methods pose many limitations when it comes to getting potential therapies where they need to go in a safe, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly way, said Dr. Lindsey Linke, Founder and CEO of SiVEC Biotechnologies, the Emerging Company Finalist of Start-Up Stadium at the 2022 BIO International Convention in San Diego in June.
“This is where SiVEC comes in,” Dr. Linke told Bio.News in an exclusive interview describing the company’s powerful delivery platform for nucleic acid and gene therapies.
“Our cutting-edge delivery platform overcomes the limitations of all other delivery options,” she said.
How SiVEC Biotechnologies’ platform works
“The concept of bacteria as drugs is rapidly gaining traction and we would challenge any viral vector or lipid nanoparticle to do what our bacterial vehicles can do,” she continued. “Theoretically, we can do anything [adeno-associated virus vectors] can do, but better. SiVEC’s bacteria can access a wide range of tissues (beyond the liver), they are engineered to be safe and non-immunogenic, and they have the potential to provide incredible manufacturing efficiency.”
“SiVEC’s platform combines an efficient drug manufacturing system with an ideal delivery vehicle, offering the potential to transform the industry,” she said.
SiVEC’s main asset is SiVEC-IAV™, an influenza-targeting siRNA therapeutic that prevents the replication of the influenza virus when delivered to the lungs. The method has been successfully applied and has shown efficacy in preclinical animal models.
Furthermore, SiVEC’s delivery method has proven to be safe even with repeat dosing, with preclinical data showing no changes to the treated tissues, regardless of tissue type.
“Demonstrating safety upon repeated dosing to the lungs is an important part of our preclinical testing for this siRNA therapeutic. However, the bacteria’s mechanism of action is the same, whether it’s being delivered to the lungs, eyes, or systemically following intravenous injection. We would expect to observe a similar safety profile in different tissues,” Dr. Linke noted.
What makes SiVEC’s platform unique?
SiVEC’s innovation could be used to successfully be applied to a wide range of chronic diseases, infectious diseases, genetic diseases, and cancer. What makes this company unique is the ability to accomplish something other competitors cannot.
Looking at tissue types, SiVEC looks at diseases for which this method is needed.
“For example, lung and pancreatic cancer. We can deliver therapeutic drugs to cancer cells in the lung and pancreas. Therefore, we are using our platform to develop first-in-class therapies for several high-need cancers,” Dr. Linke says.
“Our delivery technology provides significant advantages for CRISPR and other gene-editing therapies. Therefore, gene therapy is another area we feel we can provide significant value.”
2022 Start-Up Stadium recognizes biotech innovators
“This year’s BIO Start-Up Stadium had record-setting participation from the number of start-up applicants, number of start-up’s pitching, number of judges, and sizes of audiences attending since the program launched in 2015,” said Bernard V. Fallon, BIO’s Managing Director of Industry Research, Investor Outreach, and Education.
SiVEC Biotechnologies scored the highest among the emerging start-up companies, in a competition featuring live pitches from 42 finalist competitors.
As the Emerging Company Finalist, SiVEC Biotechnologies will receive a “fast track” application to Illumina Accelerator with a guaranteed interview, a nomination into the final selection phase for a $10,000 sequencing grant, and a one-hour coaching session.
In addition, OncoXome was named the Seed-Stage Finalist. As part of the prize package, the company is awarded fast-track admission in the Fall 2022 or Spring 2023 cohort of The Innovation Space’s Science Inc. virtual accelerator program and/or spotlight position in The Innovation Space’s monthly Spark Factory virtual event. Moreover, OncoXome will also be considered for up to a $200k First Fund investment.
The 2022 Start-Up Stadium is sponsored by Avantor, the City of Phoenix, SVB, and Wilson Sonsini, and supported by Illumina Accelerator, the Innovation Space, SPARK at Stanford, and the California Life Sciences WIB-FAST program.
Applications for the 2023 Start-Up Stadium open in November at bio.org. The 2023 BIO International Convention will take place June 5-8 in Boston, Massachusetts.