The company declined to disclose the amount raised in its the funding exercise, which was led by M Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Merck, with contributions from Nottingham, UK based, BioCity, and UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund.
In terms of how much NanoSyrinx has raised to date, the startup was equally non-committal: “NanoSyrinx’s total capital comprises our first pre-seed equity investments plus good traction with non-dilutive grants from MICRA and InnovateUK.”
NanoSyrinx is the first company to engineer ‘nanosyringes’; the company intends to focus on direct cytosolic delivery of genome editing enzymes and therapeutic proteins in vivo, with key applications in the cell and gene therapy space.
The system was first identified by the Waterfield Lab based at Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick; the team wanted to commercialize their research and, so, the startup was founded this year following the completion of an extensive international market validation exercise under the ICURe program, funded by Innovate UK.
Overcoming current biotech industry challenges
The nanosyringe based platform is said to overcome challenges such as payload limitations and manufacturing complexities, which have limited the adoption of other intracellular delivery approaches .
NanoSyrinx says it has already engaged with a number of leaders in the cell therapy field.
In terms of the key cell and gene therapy applications for its nanosyringes, Dr Joe Healey, CEO/CSO, NanoSyrinx told BioPharma-Reporter:
“We are currently in active discussions with a number of potential partners, who have highlighted interests in delivering, for instance, nucleases and other DNA modifying enzymes in a transient manner.
"A ‘light touch’ to create cell and gene therapies with subtler approaches, avoiding issues with existing technologies is highly desirable for a wide range of ultimate therapeutic applications.
"NanoSyrinx’s IP and proof-of-concept work to date has already shown the amenability of the system to deliver DNA modifying payloads, though we are not currently wedded to specific therapy applications and are focusing on demonstrating the platform’s versatility and capabilities.”
Nor is the application currently wedded to specific disease areas. “Rather, we are proving the platform’s versatility and ease of use across a broad application space at this stage,” said Healey.
The team maintains that its tightly controllable biologic delivery system could be transformative.
“The vast majority of biologics developed to date, particularly antibodies, address cell surface targets, meaning the intracellular environment is largely ‘undrugged’ and a rich seam of potential novel intervention opportunities remains untapped. Many projects sitting in the IP vaults of pharma companies have failed because a molecule could not be targeted to the interior of a cell adequately.
“NanoSyrinx is bringing a completely unique approach to the market which we believe will redress this. Once these intracellular pathways are unlocked, we could see a new wave of biologics geared toward these applications that are currently considered out of reach.”
The startup says it is planning another equity financing round in Q1 2021 to further support development.