Amgen And MBC BioLabs Announce Winners Of The Amgen Golden Ticket
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The 2019 Amgen Golden Ticket winners were chosen by a team of scientific leaders who evaluated the strength and novelty of their scientific rationale, subject matter expertise, and business plan viability.
“Amgen is dedicated to addressing important scientific questions to advance care and improve the lives of patients with serious diseases, including oncology, cardiovascular, immunological and neurological diseases,” said Saptarsi Haldar, vice president of research at Amgen South San Francisco. “Regencor and Nitrome Biosciences are doing extraordinary work in these therapeutic areas and funding such early-stage innovation is critical. We are happy to support their efforts as they tackle complex research problems and work to resolve unmet medical needs. Congratulations to both companies and to the promising scientific entrepreneurs that represent them.”
Regencor Inc. is focused on developing a new therapy to regenerate the human heart after a heart attack. The therapy is delivered by existing standard of care coronary revascularization procedures. The company has discovered that a hypo-glycosylated variant of the human protein, Follistatin-Like 1 (hgFSTL-1), regenerates lost cardiac muscle and blood vessels, and significantly reduces scar volume when delivered to the adult mammalian heart after infarction. This structural regeneration translates into sustained and clinically significant improvement in left ventricular performance measured by echocardiography and MRI imaging.
The therapeutic protein is packaged into two alternative biodegradable, sustained release formulations that allow delivery to the heart at the time of coronary revascularization: the EpicaPatch and the MyoBeads. The EpicaPatch is a compressed collagen matrix containing hgFSTL1 that is fixed to the surface of the heart overlying the infarct zone at the time of coronary artery bypass graft placement. The MyoBeads are microparticles containing hgFSTL1 that are infused via the infarct related artery through the same catheter used to perform the balloon angioplasty/stent placement at the time of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). The goal of the therapy is to regenerate cardiac muscle, restore contractile function and prevent progression to heart failure after myocardial infarction.
“We are excited to receive Amgen’s Golden Ticket Award, which will support our laboratory bench work at the San Carlos MBC BioLabs facility,” said Tom Okarma, chairman and chief executive officer of Regencor. “We look forward to interacting with Amgen’s Cardiometabolic R&D group to help us advance our mission: to regenerate the human heart after a heart attack, thereby restoring cardiac function, reducing progression to heart failure, and improving the quality of life for heart attack patients worldwide.”
Nitrome Biosciences is developing a platform around a newly identified class of enzymes. These enzymes catalyze protein post translation modification(s) that underpin neurodegenerative diseases and age-related disorders. The company is currently developing drugs targeting an enzyme to treat Parkinson’s Disease. Moving forward, they will apply their proprietary platform to validate additional targets and develop medicines for neurodegeneration, inflammation and age-related disorders.
“We are thrilled to have won Amgen’s Golden Ticket,” said Irene Griswold-Prenner, chief executive officer and chief scientific officer of Nitrome Biosciences. “This comes at a critical juncture for Nitrome Biosciences as we are currently initiating discussions with venture firms for Series A funding. Amgen’s interest in our approach provides important additional validation for Nitrome. MBC BioLabs’ facilities and support continue to be instrumental in fostering Nitrome’s rapid research progression.”
“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Amgen in providing entrepreneurial scientists with the resources they need to drive success of some of the most innovative ideas,” said Doug Crawford, manager and founder at MBC BioLabs. “Amgen delivers the deep industry insights and expert guidance and MBC BioLabs provides a platform to get experimental results quickly. Our expanding incubator network, now with locations in San Francisco and San Carlos, provides fully-equipped, state-of-the-art facilities that allow early-stage companies to focus on what matters most – generating the hard data that transforms an idea into tangible proof.”
Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology.
Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people’s lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be one of the world’s leading independent biotechnology companies, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.
About MBC BioLabs
MBC BioLabs is dedicated to helping life-science startups succeed. By renting space as small as a single lab bench and providing entrepreneurial scientists with access to millions of dollars of equipment, we allow companies to be fast, focused, and frugal. We now have two sites: one in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood and an expanding campus in San Carlos. Each site has a complete molecular biology core facility that allows companies to do experiments on day one, not year one. We also have partnerships with AbbVie, Amgen, Celgene, Eli Lilly, GE, J&J/JLABS, Nitto, Toray, and Tosoh, and a built-in VC, Mission Bay Capital. This access provides our entrepreneurs with valuable insights about where to focus their efforts and speeds the pipeline of innovation for our partners. These labs have truly enabled awesome: Since our opening in 2013 we have helped launch 128 companies, and these companies have gone on to raise over $3.2B.