MAY 2020

Kurt Kessler joins InterAx Biotech AG as new CEO 

 

Villigen, May 26th, 2020 / InterAx Biotech AG is pleased to announce that Dr. Kurt Kessler has joined the company as their new Managing Director (CEO). Kurt Kessler is a Senior Executive with 30 years of international experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. 

Kurt Kessler’s professional career has been centered in the pharmaceutical industry, with expertise in portfolio strategy, clinical development, go-to-market strategy, positioning, segmentation, and promotional optimization as marketing tools. His expertise guided numerous early stage assets through clinical development to approval, launch, and commercial success. Kurt has been working with both, small pre-clinical start-ups as well as some of the largest pharmaceutical firms in the world from early discovery through full commercialization of their assets. He has been very successful in helping Life Science companies to achieve commercial success.

Experience and outlook

As a senior Principal at ZS, a global consulting firm focused on life sciences, Kurt Kessler led their relationships with several European headquartered global pharmaceutical firms. As a leader for the ZS Marketing Business Area, Kurt also led the creation of new services and worked directly with clients in a wide range of issues in the pharmaceutical industry. Kurt also served on ZS’ Management Committee for each of the past 12 years.
Before joining ZS, Kurt devoted a decade to consulting exclusively with pharmaceutical marketers, designing and conducting hundreds of engagements to develop fact-based commercial actions. For four years he also served a diverse set of clients as a management consultant with PriceWaterhouse.

Jens Gobrecht, Head of the board of Directors of InterAx Biotech says “In the name of the board of InterAx Biotech, I am tremendously pleased to have Kurt on board. We were very lucky to be able to find and engage someone with his knowledge, experience and personality, which come as a perfect fit to the future needs of InterAx for the envisioned growth phase ahead of us. Kurt will motivate and enable the young and ambitious team to further strengthen our unique technologies for advanced drug discovery, thus creating more value for our customers.”
Kurt commented that “I am extremely pleased to join InterAx at such an exciting time in their journey. The unique approach they have already built and demonstrated to improve drug discovery are a fantastic foundation to build on.”


InterAx Biotech AG

InterAx Biotech AG is pioneering computational pharmacology for drug discovery. The Swiss company is uniquely positioned to assist drug candidate selection and design for G protein-coupled receptors in collaborative projects with Biotech and Pharma companies. InterAx applies mathematical models and simulations to in-house derived bioanalytical data in order to address the complexity of drug-induced cellular signaling mechanisms. For more information, please visit www.interaxbiotech.com.

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APR 2020

A Spanish-Swiss Liaison to fight COVID-19

 

Barcelona, Spain and Villigen Switzerland – 14th April, 2020

 

Today, Prof. Jana Selent from the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) in Barcelona, Spain, and InterAx Biotech in Villigen, Switzerland announce a COVID-19 collaboration, funded by the catalán life sciences and healthcare innovation institution Biocat. The goal of this collaboration is to identify antiviral drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 by combining virtual screening of a 3D-structural database and assessing the effectiveness of these compounds to block viral entry.

In December 2019, the highly contagious and pathogenic human CoVs (the SARS-CoV-2) appeared in Wuhan (China), which has led to a pandemic with high morbidity and mortality. Prof. Selent and her team have now joined forces with InterAx Biotech to screen for potential antiviral compounds in a virtual 3D-structrual database by using specific computational algorithms and to subsequently test their effectiveness in a SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus entry blocking assay. The main goal of this project is to identify antiviral drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 by reprofiling existing drugs. Prof. Selent says: ”For this project, we focus on two strategies that interfere with the cell entry of SARS-CoV-2. One is to target the spike glycoprotein S of SARS-CoV-2 and the other one is to tackle the serine protease TMPRSS2. We are excited to team up with InterAx Biotech on testing these compounds in the wet-lab and anticipate that such a dual strategy increases the success rate of discovering effective therapeutic agents against COVID-19.”

The team of InterAx Biotech and Professor Jana Selent’s team hope to test the first antiviral compounds by May 2020. 

 

For further information, please contact:

Dr. Jana Selent, Head of GPCR Drug Discovery Lab   |   IMIM, 08003, Barcelona, Spain.  |   Tel. 0034/933160648  

Dr. Maria Waldhoer, Chief Science Officer  |  InterAx Biotech, 5234 Villigen, Switzerland  |  contact@interaxbiotech.com

 

Links:

Webpage IMIM: www.imim.es

Webpage Funding agency: www.biocat.cat

Webpage Selent Lab: COVID-19 project progress

Movie: Target modelling

APR 2020

Virus

InterAx Biotech supporting the COVID-19 initiative

SARS-CoV-2/ACE-2 pseudovirus entry blocking assay

 

The spike glypcoprotein S of SARS-CoV-2 uses the human Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) as an entry receptor and recognizes it with a similar affinity to the 2002–2003 SARS-CoV isolates, which suggests it can spread efficiently in humans, in agreement with the numerous SARS-CoV-2 human-to-human transmission events reported to date (Walls et al., 2020).

 

In collaboration with its academic partners at the PSI, InterAx Biotech is establishing a pseudovirus entry assay using murine leukemia virus based pseudotyped particles expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (and other relevant SARS-CoV-2 envelope proteins). The assay is described in detail in Walls et al. (2020) and Millet et al. (2016, 2019) and will enable a medium-throughput (96 well format) screen for blocking the interaction of the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein (and other envelope proteins) and the human ACE2 expressed in a host target cell line. This assay is suitable to be performed in the BSL-2 facilities at PSI and non-infective compounds ranging from small molecules to antibody sera can be tested. For detailed information please send an Email to contact@interaxbiotech.com with COVID-19 in the header.

InterAx

 

References

Walls AC, Park YJ, Tortorici MA, Wall A, McGuire AT, Veesler D. Structure, Function, and Antigenicity of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Glycoprotein. Cell. 2020 Mar 6. pii: S0092-8674(20)30262-2. 

Millet JK, Tang T, Nathan L, Jaimes JA, Hsu HL, Daniel S, Whittaker GR. Production of Pseudotyped Particles to Study Highly Pathogenic Coronaviruses in a Biosafety Level 2 Setting. J Vis Exp., 2019 Mar 1;(145). 

Millet JK, Whittaker GR. Murine Leukemia Virus (MLV)-based Coronavirus Spike-pseudotyped Particle Production and Infection.  Bio Protoc. 2016 Dec 5;6(23). pii: e2035

 

SEP 2018

InterAx listed for the second year in a raw as TOP 100 Swiss Startup!

 

September 2018, Switzerland : A jury composed by professionals ranked the companies for the TOP 100 Swiss startups award. The profiles of the selected startups are published in a special edition of the Handelszeitung, the most renown Swiss business and economy weekly newspaper.

JUL 2018

European Union awards InterAx with Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Phase I

July 2018, Switzerland-Belgium: InterAx Biotech AG today announces the support of the highly competitive European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program for Small to Medium-Sized Enterprise (SME) for the development of its discovery platform.

MAY 2018

InterAx Biotech and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam enter a collaboration to unlock novel chemical space for chemokine therapeutics

 

Villigen – Switzerland, Amsterdam – The Netherlands, May 31 2018

InterAx Biotech and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam announce that they will combine complementary technologies to design bioactive molecules – so called POLYPHARMACOLOGICALS – that simultaneously target multiple chemokine receptors.

In the collaboration, InterAx Biotech and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Prof Rob Leurs and Prof Iwan de Esch) will combine their expertise in systems biology, virtual screening and novel protein-based biosensor assays to design and synthesize new chemical modulators with well-defined polypharmacological effects that can serve as new therapeutics. This unique process will accelerate drug discovery for unmet needs in oncology.

Maria Waldhoer (CSO, InterAx Biotech) said: “We are excited to complement our capabilities on identifying and optimizing lead compounds with superior chemical and biological properties with the strength and know-how on virtual screening and medicinal chemistry of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The funding support from Eurostars significantly facilitates this collaboration, which was initiated and co-designed by Dr. Chris de Graaf, who recently joined Heptares Therapeutics as Head of Computational Chemistry.

Rob Leurs (Professor of Medicinal Chemistry of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) adds: “Combining our long-standing expertise in GPCR drug discovery with a new biosensor-based screening platform and systems biology approach is very appealing. Moreover, targeting more than one GPCR is a really interesting challenge, but with the increasing availability of structural information and the latest computational technologies this should be within reach”.

Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
PROTEUS is a project co-funded by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and the European Union.


About InterAx Biotech AG
InterAx is a technology-focused spinoff company from the ETH Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute. InterAx has built a unique drug discovery platform for identification of functionally optimized drugs with improved efficacy and reduced side effects for the largest class of human receptors: The G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The discovery platform consists of three core assets: Virtual screening, state-of-the-art cell-based signaling assays including IP-protected protein-based biosensors, and mathematical modelling for identification of most informative drug screening assays and prediction of in vivo effects. This unique combination ensures a highly efficient process for identification and IP-protection of novel GPCR lead compounds. InterAx unique drug discovery platform will dramatically reduce costs for the development of novel drugs with reduced side effects, thereby benefiting patients with unmet medical needs. For more information, please visit interaxbiotech.com.

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, department of Medicinal Chemistry
The Medicinal Chemistry group of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has a long-standing expertise in the area of GPCR drug discovery with an emphasis on histamine and (viral) chemokine receptors. Next to detailed pharmacological and cell signaling studies of these GPCRs, the group targets various of these GPCRs by means of fragment-based approaches and structure-based design, combined with state-of-the-art synthetic approaches. The group is integral part of the Amsterdam Institute of Molecules, Medicines and Systems, one of the high-profile research institutes of the Vrije Universiteit. For more information, please visit aimms.vu.nl.

 

APR 2018

New immune oncology drug molecules expected to result from leadXpro / InterAx partnership

 

Villigen, Switzerland, April 18 2018
leadXpro AG and InterAx Biotech AG, join forces to discover and optimize new drug lead molecules targeting G-protein coupled receptors.
The collaboration brings together leadXpro’s strong expertise in structure-based drug discovery on G-protein coupled receptors with InterAx’ validated cell-based kinetic signaling assays for compound characterization. The partners aim to identify lead compounds targeting certain G-protein coupled receptors that are involved in cancer. Their complex biology so far has hampered previous lead discovery efforts.
“Structure-based drug discovery in combination with cell-based kinetic measurement is a powerful approach to unlock GPCR targets and guide compound design and optimization. We are very pleased to see encouraging cellular activity with compounds resulting from leadXpro’s discovery platform.”, explains Sandra Markovic, Discovery project leader at leadXpro.
“We aim to identify and optimize lead compounds with superior chemical and biological properties with unprecedented efficiency”, says Maria Waldhoer, CSO at InterAx.
Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

About leadXpro AG
leadXpro is a lead discovery company focusing on membrane protein drug targets. We are committed to the application of biophysical and structure-based methods for the discovery and optimization of next generation lead compounds. leadXpro’s technology platform enables structural determination of membrane proteins where classical crystallographic techniques fail, unlocking structure-based drug discovery for challenging targets. We capitalize on the knowledge regarding membrane protein structural biology and facilities of the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) with premium access to the synchrotron Swiss Light Source (SLS) and the Free Electron Laser (SwissFEL). Core expertise beyond X-ray include single particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) using the research facilities of the University of Basel. For more information, please visit www.leadxpro.com. leadXpro is a registered trademark in the EU, Switzerland, US and Canada.

About InterAx Biotech AG
InterAx is a technology-focused spinoff company from the ETH Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute. We have built a unique drug discovery platform for identification of functionally optimized drugs with improved efficacy and reduced side effects for the largest class of human receptors: The G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The discovery platform consists of three core assets: Virtual screening, state-of-the-art cell-based signaling assays including IP-protected protein-based biosensors, and mathematical modelling for identification of most informative drug screening assays and prediction of in vivo effects. This unique combination ensures a highly efficient process for identification and IP-protection of novel GPCR lead compounds. Our unique drug discovery platform will dramatically reduce costs for the development of novel drugs with reduced side effects, thereby benefiting patients with unmet medical needs. For more information, please visit interaxbiotech.com.

 

DEC 2017

InterAx achieves milestone that triggers second part of seed investment ahead of schedule

 

December 2017, Switzerland-Boston: InterAx announced today a successful milestone achievement to trigger the second part of the seed investment led by a team of Boston-based Biotech investors. Martin Ostermaier, CEO of InterAx said: “Our investors were impressed by the speed and quality of how the set goals for 2017 have been achieved, in particular with our success in identifying first hits in our in-house drug discovery program.”

SEP 2017

September 2017, Switzerland: 100 investors and experts selected InterAx as one of the most innovative and promising Swiss startup of the last 5 years! The seventh edition of the TOP 100 Swiss startup ranking was disclosed yesterday. As new entry, CEO Dr. Martin Ostermaier had the chance to pitch in front of more than 700 people, including more than 200 investors from Switzerland and abroad.