Resident Company Profile: AngiexJanuary 09, 2020 | By Lindsay Crockett
We’re excited to launch a new blog series profiling LabCentral resident and alumni companies to showcase the entrepreneurs, scientists, ideas, opinions and breakthrough research that make up our diverse community.
Our first conversation is with Paul Jaminet, CEO of Angiex, a company targeting fundamental aspects of endothelial biology with a focus on angiogenesis. The company’s lead product is an antibody-drug conjugate therapy for cancer.
- Tell us about your company – how did the company get started and what’s your ‘big idea’?
Angiex had its origins in research conducted by our scientific founders, Shou-Ching Jaminet and Harold Dvorak, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School beginning about 2004. Shou-Ching and Hal discovered a protein specific to endothelial cells and tumor cells that has a special internalization biology reaching into the nucleus. They discovered how to exploit this pathway with antibodies to make drug conjugates.
In 2012, they formed a collaboration with Pfizer to make a drug. Pfizer took this drug to the verge of IND before terminating the project in 2015. Angiex acquired the outstanding IP and launched in December 2015 with seed funding from Peter Thiel. Since then, we’ve learned how to substantially improve therapeutic margin compared to Pfizer’s drug, and how to expand our technology to new drug modalities.
Angiex is rich in ideas. Our biggest ideas:
- Nuclear-delivered conjugates. We make drug conjugates that internalize to the nucleus of target cells and then release their payload. This is an entirely new drug modality.
- Nuclear-delivery platform. We’ve developed patented technologies exploiting our special biology.
- Vascular targeting for cancer. We can regress tumors by destroying the tumor blood vessels. This will enable the treatment of cancers in which the tumor cells are inaccessible, such as pancreatic cancer, and holds the promise of a cancer therapy that will never cease to work against returning tumors because the vasculature is an unmutated host system.
- Metastatic targeting for cancer. Metastasis is responsible for 90% of cancer deaths, and Angiex may have found a universal therapy for metastatic cancer.
- How has LabCentral helped you grow as a young company?
LabCentral is a great place to start a company. It’s hard to know where to begin, but here are some elements that are important to us:
- Brightly lit, well supported, lively place to work. Science is hard enough without doing it in dimly lit, unsociable, depressing environments. LabCentral is a fun, healthy, enlivening place to be. The staff is responsive and helpful.
- Well equipped. Angiex makes complex drug modalities (antibody-drug conjugates and nuclear-delivered conjugates) which have protein, nucleic acid, and small molecule components. We need a broad range of technologies. LabCentral has millions of dollars of equipment available for our use. The Agilent Q-TOF and HPLC were important for us.
- Networking. Opportunities to meet business people, technical people, and others in the industry are legion. The events that occur so often in the lobby have been great networking opportunities; our scientists have benefited from conversations and help from peers at other resident companies; we have gained significant help from our Golden Ticket sponsors, Agilent and MilliporeSigma.
- Credibility. LabCentral is respected and our residence here (and Golden Ticket awards) gave a mark of credibility, especially at our founding.
- Holding down costs. Shared equipment, flexible bench space, and below market rents helped us enormously. Angiex needed time to do basic science for our first few years, and we needed to be very frugal while we proved out the science. LabCentral enabled us to keep our burn rate low through those crucial years.
- What do you see as your biggest challenge and your biggest opportunity as a young company? How has LabCentral helped you address both?
Biggest challenge: We are pursuing a novel approach to drug-making that is unfamiliar to investors and potential strategic partners. Our challenge is proving to skeptical investors and partners that our novel delivery pathway will enable the development of transformative drugs.
Biggest opportunity: We have the potential to transform how the industry approaches drug development for solid cancers and potentially other diseases including immunological-inflammatory conditions, tissue repair, eye diseases, and cardiovascular disease.
LabCentral has given us time and opportunity to create a lead drug with compelling preclinical data and to create embodiments for valuable patents around platform opportunities.
- What is your next big milestone in the coming year?
Biggest business milestone: Raising enough capital to get a Phase 1 readout on our lead drug.
Biggest scientific milestones: (1) Finalizing our lead drug with further significant improvement in an already-impressive preclinical therapeutic margin. (2) Validating our platform potential by developing a second drug.
A photo of the Angiex team.
Learn more about Angiex here: https://angiex.com/