Over the years, members of the HBI have contributed to the generation of real companies and licensed biotech. See examples below.
2017-18: CAR-T for solid tumors
Raqia is a newly formed company focused on harnessing the immune system to target solid tumors with engineered CAR-T cells, a therapy currently used for the treatment of liquid cancers. Raqia’s CAR-T’s target cell surface proteins highly expressed on tumor cells, tagging them for destruction with unparalleled specificity and minimal off-target effects. The modular nature of the company’s platform technology has the potential to treat a wide-range of solid tumor cancers. Raqia is currently in talks with early investors and is continuing to develop its technology from the preclinical stage into clinical trials. The company will focus its efforts on product candidates that will provide oncologists with novel immunotherapies to treat patients where the current standard of care is ineffective. With a thorough analysis of the market, regulatory strategy, competition, and intellectual property, Raqia will consider expanding its portfolio with the end goal of having commercially-available and clinically-meaningful tools to address unmet medical needs in solid tumor cancers.
2015-17: Epigenetic engineering platform
The HBI focused on a platform technology for reprogramming the body’s own pre-existing genome to permanently correct aberrant gene expression that leads to abnormal function and disease. Using epigenetic engineering, the scientists at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Dr. Carl Novina’s lab designed a split enzyme methylase system (“SEME”) that can be used both ex-vivo and with systemic administration to alter the expression of genes that can cause a wide range of diseases from blood disorders to cancer. Working with this epigenetic reprogramming platform technology developed in Dr. Novina's laboratory, HBI members performed due diligence on genetic targets and indications and presented their findings. Product profile sheets were produced for the leading indications and a business plan was completed for this novel first-in-class epigenetic engineering platform. The work of HBI members helped contribute to the technology eventually being optioned to Flagship Pioneering.
2014-15: Engineering the gut microbiome
SanaRX is a newly formed company that has acquired the worldwide intellectual property rights for the use of naturally occurring bacteria molecularly engineered for detection and treatment of diseases of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. SanaRX’s strategy is to modify bacterial membranes with specific proteins that bind specifically to diseased tissues sparing normal healthy tissue. SanaRX’s bacteria are further modified to carry a wide range of payloads such as light-emitting molecules for direct visualization; non-invasive imaging dyes for virtual imaging including PET, CT, and MRI scanning; molecules that modulate inflammatory states; and chemotherapeutic compounds. SanaRX’s platform technology enables detection, imaging, and treatment of a wide range of conditions caused by inflammation, erosion, abnormal cell growth, and cancer.