Biotech By Bill Gates Aims To get rid Of Skin Disorders To Cancer
Chicago-based Exicure is a clinical stage biotechnology company developing a new class of immunomodulatory and gene silencing drugs against validated targets.
Their platform, the spherical nucleic acid (SNA™) centres on two classes of oligonucleotides: immunomodulatory (which includes immunostimulatory and immunoregulatory effects) and antisense molecules to develop drugs and strategies.
Backed by Bill Gates, the biotech is aimed at developing therapies that could treat everything from skin diseases to cancer.
The platform originated in the lab of Professor Chad A. Mirkin at the Northwestern University International Institute for Nanotechnology.
In September, Exicure, led by 36-year-old David Giljohann, raised $20 million from investors including Gates, AbbVie Ventures, Groupon cofounder Eric Lefkofsky, and retired Microsoft executive Craig Mundie, among others. In total, Exicure has raised $62 million. Giljohann is one of Business Insider’s top leaders under 40 in biotech and pharma.
The aim is to use the structures to deliver the DNA or RNA directly into cells virtually “anywhere your inside touches your outside,” so your skin, lungs, eyes, and gastrointestinal track, Giljohann said.
The hope is that by treating diseases locally, they might work better than a drug that’s swallowed or injected and spreadaround the entire body. “We’re leveraging the fact that we can get into so many cells and tissues to go after local delivery,” Giljohann said.
The 3-dimensional, spherical nucleic acid architecture unlocks the potential of nucleic acid therapeutics in multiple organs. Their lead programs address diseases from inflammatory disorders to oncology. SNA constructs overcome one of the most difficult obstacles to nucleic acid therapeutics: safe and effective delivery into cells and tissues.
SNA constructs exhibit unparalleled transfection efficiency into numerous cell and tissue types including the skin without carriers or transfection agents. Moreover, SNAs can be used as potent immunotherapeutic agents for the treatment of cancer or infectious disease.
Exicure’s intellectual property portfolio currently includes 125 pending patent applications and 45 allowed or issued patents. These filings impact numerous jurisdictions worldwide, and they cover a range of inventions, including fundamental nanoparticle manufacturing breakthroughs and numerous application-specific improvements.