Published 12/3/19 on PRNewswire
PALO ALTO, Calif. and BALTIMORE, Dec. 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — GEn1E Lifesciences Inc., a Y Combinator-backed biotech startup focused on curing inflammatory and age-related diseases, announced today that it has acquired an exclusive, worldwide and all-fields license to the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) specific and function selective p38a kinase inhibitor program.
GEn1E is developing cures for inflammatory diseases based on a next-generation p38a kinase inhibitor program. The first indication is acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) followed by other disease areas. ARDS is a life-threatening inflammatory condition with no FDA-approved treatment and a 40% mortality rate. ARDS will be followed by development of programs for other inflammatory and age-related diseases.
“UM Ventures originally invested in the specific p38a kinase inhibitor program to help advance it to a licensable stage,” said Phil Robilotto, Associate Vice President, Office of Technology Transfer at UMB and Director of UM Ventures. “To have GEn1E, a Y Combinator-backed company, see the potential in this therapeutic program and develop it is very exciting for the UMB team.”
Y Combinator is a startup accelerator involved in the launch of 2,000+ companies including Airbnb, Dropbox, DoorDash, and biotech startups like Atomwise, Gingko, Verge Genomics. GEn1E emerged from Y Combinator in August 2019.
“We’re tremendously excited about GEn1E’s partnership with UMB, which we believe will bring the breakthrough work initiated at the university to patients in the clinic, with potential to treat many thousands of people affected by the devastating disease of ARDS and other inflammatory diseases,” said Jared Friedman, Partner at Y Combinator.
“After vetting the technology, we decided to acquire full and exclusive rights, and are excited to create a portfolio of p38a inhibitors to treat various inflammatory diseases,” said Ritu Lal, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of GEn1E Lifesciences. “UMB has been a terrific partner for a high velocity startup like GEn1E. Furthermore, we have also partnered with SilcsBio – another UMB licensee – which will help further accelerate our roadmap of specific p38a kinase inhibitors.”
In addition to licensing technology from UMB, GEn1E has established a strategic partnership with UMB licensee SilcsBio, a drug design software company offering software and services to increase the speed and efficiency of finding potent, high affinity and selective molecules. SilcsBio’s computational drug design technology provides detailed information on the specific p38a kinase inhibitor program. GEn1E will use this technology to augment work on preclinical models and identify high probability candidates for next-generation specific and function selective p38a kinase inhibitors.
About the p38a Kinase Inhibitor Program
Paul Shapiro, PhD, Professor and Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (SOP), and Jeffrey D. Hasday, MD, Professor of Medicine and Division Head of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in the University of Maryland School of Medicine, developed the specific and function selective p38a kinase inhibitor program along with SOP faculty members Alexander D. MacKerell Jr., PhD, the Grollman-Glick Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Director of the Computer-Aided Drug Design Center, and Steven Fletcher PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences. The technology received UM Ventures funding through the Center for Maryland Advanced Ventures Life Sciences I.P. Fund, which supported steps to strengthen the technology and enhance its commercial viability.
About GEn1E Lifesciences
GEn1E Lifesciences is a next-gen biotech company working on treatments for inflammatory and age-related diseases. The first indication is acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). ARDS is a life-threatening inflammatory condition with no FDA approved treatments and a 40% mortality rate. ARDS will be followed by development of treatments for other inflammatory and age-related diseases. For more information, visit www.gen1e.com
About the University of Maryland, Baltimore and UM Ventures
The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) is a fast-growing biomedical research center with nationally ranked professional schools of dentistry, law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work, and an interdisciplinary graduate school. UM Ventures commercializes UMB’s breakthrough therapies, diagnostics and devices, fuels the creation of innovative start-up companies, and attracts industry leaders and entrepreneurs to the University’s thriving downtown campus. A wide portfolio of technologies is available for licensing at www.umventures.org
SilcsBio started operations in April 2013 based on licensed intellectual property developed by Dr. MacKerell at the University of Maryland, Baltimore where he is the Grollman-Glick Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Director of the Computer-Aided Drug Design Center. SilcsBio offers commercial software and services based on their software for structure-based drug design and has customers in the US, UK, Japan, and Europe. The company is headquartered in Baltimore. For more information, visit www.silcsbio.com