BioInnovation Institute has recently opened a call for the PreSeed program in all Nordic countries for start-ups and academic projects in therapeutics, health tech and biotech.
Earlier this year, Filipe Pereira from Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine at Lund Stem Cell Center received a PreSeed grant of DKK 3.5M for his project in dendritic cell therapy.
Filipe Pereira’s research lab at Lund University focuses on understanding the molecular determinants underlying cell reprogramming. The group aims to advance cancer immunotherapies by developing a paradigm-shifting gene therapy that reprograms tumors’ cells into immune cells to trigger an antitumor immune response.
In late 2018, the group published a foundational article in Science Immunology detailing how three transcription factors were necessary and sufficient to reprogram fibroblasts into functional dendritic cells. The group has shown, for the first time, that antigen presentation can be programmed by a small combination of transcription factors, providing evidence that immune cells and corresponding immune response can be modulated through cell reprogramming.
An investor that can follow through
Prior to joining the PreSeed program, Filipe Pereira was granted DKK 500.000 in the Exploratory PreSeed program which is awarded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.
“Novo Holdings, the Novo Nordisk Foundation and BioInnovation Institute are some of the best investors in the Nordics and it was important for our team to engage with an investor that can follow us all the way through to the development of a solution although it is extremely costly. The Novo group can foster development through various instruments to help early-stage biotech companies grow”, says Filipe Pereira.
Jens Nielsen, CEO of BioInnovation Institute, has spent several years at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, where he founded the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering.
He is very pleased to see projects and start-ups from the Nordic countries look to BioInnovation Institute not only for funding, but also for the global network and support in business development.
”I am happy to see that we are attracting projects from Sweden to our programs. It is a project based on top-level science addressing a large unmet medical need and with a very high innovative potential. It is exactly the kind of project we want to see from all the Nordic countries at BII”, says Jens Nielsen.
Spin-out preparing for clinical trials
By the end of the program in early 2021, Filipe Pereira expects that the start-up Asgard Therapeutic which is spun out to commercialize the technology will be ready for GMP manufacturing and pre-clinical safety and toxicity studies required before entering clinical trials.
“In addition to the experimental validation that includes in vitro and in vivo experiments, we also have support in business development and strategy in the PreSeed program. This includes defining a regulatory strategy for our therapy and defining a plan of what we need to do to protect our intellectual property” says Filipe Pereira.
Are you part of a Nordic research project or early-stage start-up? Apply for DKK 3.5 M in funding and business development.