JUL 2022

InterAx Biotech, MS Center Amsterdam and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam join forces to unlock a novel target to promote remyelination in Multiple Sclerosis

Villigen – Switzerland, Amsterdam – The Netherlands, July 15th 2022

InterAx Biotech, the MS center of Amsterdam UMC and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam announce that they will combine complementary technologies to design and validate the efficacy of bioactive molecules to promote neuroprotection and remyelination. The efforts will open novel avenues to treat progressive multiple sclerosis.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common diseases of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Today, more than 2.8 million people around the world suffer from MS. In Europe, the incidence it about 1 in every 450 people, of which more than 70% are women [1]. The chronic disease disrupts the ability of the nerves to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain causing various symptoms including fatigue and cognitive and movement problems, resulting in progressive lifelong disabilities.
The goal of the program is to design and validate the efficacy of new compounds to promote remyelination and neuronal function in patients with MS to slow down disease progression. This will be a breakthrough compared to the current standard of care based on reduction of disease activity and management of symptoms.

In the collaboration, partners will optimize hit molecules steered by the InterAx’s artificial intelligence driven discovery platform. Optimization and synthesis approaches, as well as pharmacology and toxicology efforts will be led by Rob Leurs (Medicinal Chemistry) at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. At the MS Center Amsterdam, selected molecules will first be tested by Elga de Vries and Merel Rijnsburger (Molecular Cell Biology and Immunology, UMC) for their effect on remyelination in experimental models. Compounds that show promising effects based on multi-parameter optimization will be chosen for further in vivo studies. An innovative cortical animal model of MS that reflects both neurodegeneration and demyelination, as seen in MS patients, will be used to test the most promising compounds.

With this project, InterAx Biotech, MS Center Amsterdam and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam are further strengthening their successful long-term relationship. The partnership already led to the discovery of first in class drug molecules with high affinity and potency on a novel target that are under further investigation as anti-cancer therapy in animals. Initial promising results in vitro show that the drug molecules block proliferation and migration of breast cancer cells, and also blocks in vivo the receptor target function – thus promising to stop tumor growth and metastasis.

The project is supported by Consortium Knowledge and Innovation (TKI) for high quality and highly promising industry-academia collaborations, a program from Health Holland – Top Sector Life Sciences & Health.

 

 

InterAx Biotech AG

InterAx is pioneering computational pharmacology for drug discovery. The Swiss company focuses on the generation and optimization of drugs which trigger a specific and well characterized effect on signaling pathways, thus leading to higher therapeutic efficacy and safety. The company is specialized in GPCR drug discovery and covers hit-generation, hit-to-lead and lead optimization for all targets including orphans.
InterAx technology platform is combining artificial intelligence, mathematical models of signaling pathways, cellular pharmacology and computational chemistry.
For more information, please visit www.interaxbiotech.com and follow us on LinkedIn @InterAx Biotech

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 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.

About MS Center Amsterdam

The MS Center Amsterdam has an excellent international reputation and is one of the top three MS research centers in the world. The MS Center is a multidisciplinary center within Amsterdam UMC in which more than 100 researchers from different disciplines cooperate. One such discipline is the Neuroimmunology research group, embedded in the Department of Molecular Cell Biology and Immunology. The group focuses on various neuro-inflammatory diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and MS. Using state-of-the-art techniques, the group strives to gain in-depth knowledge on immunological and neurodegenerative processes in order to develop new treatments.
For more information please visit immunologyamsterdam.org.

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FEB 2022

Carola Weiss joins InterAx Biotech AG as VP Business Development

February 2022, Switzerland

Today, InterAx Biotech is pleased to announce that Carola Weiss has joined the company as VP Business Development. Carola Weiss is a Senior Executive with more than 20 years of international experience in the biopharmaceutical industry.

Carola Weiss’ professional career brings deep expertise in business development, marketing & sales, licensing, alliance management, and strategic partnering. Her expertise guided numerous global negotiations, conclusions of partnership agreements, and fostered growth for her employers.

Experience and Outlook

The focus of Carola’s activities has been in pharmaceutical firms, including F. Hoffmann-La Roche and Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd. She joined Actelion as an early-stage company and excelled in business development with key projects in market assessment, product launches, line extensions, licensing deals, strategic partnerships, new market entries, and continuous improvement of marketing and sales. Carola’s responsibilities expanded with the organization’s growth until it was acquired in 2017 by Johnson & Johnson. After the acquisition she integrated the global partnership businesses into the Johnson & Johnson organizations. As an innovative and accomplished global leader focused on impact with long-standing biotechnology experience, Carola Weiss worked in local, regional, and global roles with a track record of creating high-performing teams. 

“We are delighted to officially welcome Carola Weiss as a new member of our management team” said Dr. Aurélien Rizk, CEO of InterAx Biotech. “Carola’s expertise, network and leadership will help to commercialize our unique discovery platform and lead drug candidate for triple-negative breast cancer”

InterAx unique technology for drug discovery has been successfully applied on three biopharma collaborations and one internal oncology drug discovery program. InterAx triple-negative breast cancer drug candidate shows excellent efficacy on cancer cell lines, good pharmacokinetic properties, and target engagement in-vivo. InterAx is now scaling up the commercialization of its platform and seeking a co-development partner for its drug candidate.

“I am excited to support InterAx in commercializing its groundbreaking platform to small, mid-sized and large drug companies to further improve speed and success rates in GPCR-related drug discovery. My role will be to continuously increase the number of mutually productive partnerships, allowing InterAx to position itself as a game changer in this most exciting class of drug targets.”, says Carola Weiss. 

InterAx Biotech AG

InterAx Biotech AG is pioneering computational pharmacology for drug discovery. The Swiss company developed a proprietary discovery platform to decipher and guide the optimization of intracellular pathways – one of the least understood black boxes in biology and a significant point of failure for new medicines. InterAx applies mathematical models and simulations to in-house derived bioanalytical data in order to address the complexity of drug-induced cellular signaling mechanisms and design new drugs for unmet medical needs. 

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SEP 2021

Early and successful completion of European Union’s H2020 Project 

 

September 2021, Switzerland

 

Today, InterAx Biotech AG, a Biotech company located in Villigen, Switzerland, has completed its two-year Horizon 2020-project “PICARD” successfully and four months in advance to the deadline. The newly developed drug discovery platform combines for the first time classical pharmacology, computational methods, systems biology and artificial intelligence to revolutionise drug discovery.

The European Union’s SME Instrument Horizon 2020 Project PICARD which started on October 1st 2019 was successfully completed by InterAx four months in advance on May 31st, 2021. With a total project volume of 2.49M EUR, InterAx expanded its drug discovery platform and boosted its commercialization efforts with the acquisition of three Pharma collaborations. With the integration of Artificial Intelligence, InterAx is now able to actively determine how to modify the chemistry of compounds to achieve specific cellular responses.

“I am very proud of the whole InterAx team for the successful achievement of the very ambitious goals set in our Picard H2020 project in such short time and with limited resources” explains Dr. Aurélien Rizk, CEO of InterAx Biotech. “The overall assessment of PICARD by the EU experts has been extremely good – the project has delivered exceptional results with significant immediate impact for the industry.”
InterAx has been pushing the boundaries of current knowledge and practice in cutting-edge technologies in an inherently interdisciplinary combination of analytical science, systems biology and machine learning. The ability to predict in vivo activity of novel chemical entities will lead to a reduction of animal testing, an increase of clinical trials success rate and a reduction of time to market for new treatments.

InterAx has established a platform that combines cell-based real-time assays and proprietary computational algorithms to enable intelligent drug candidate design targeting the largest class of drug targets (G Protein-Coupled Receptors, GPCRs) – which counts for more than 30% of all approved drugs.
The company applies mathematical models and simulations to in house-derived experimental data to address the complexity of drug-induced cellular signalling mechanisms. The technology offers outstanding potential to design new medicines that specifically activate the cellular response responsible for the desired therapeutic effect and reduce the cellular response responsible for adverse effects.

The company is currently focusing on further advancements of its technology platform and on in-house drug discovery of next-generation therapeutics for conditions with high unmet medical needs.
The InterAx discovery program to treat several solid tumors is showing promising results. First in class drug molecules with high affinity and potency on a novel target are under further investigation in animals after initial promising results in vitro to block proliferation and migration of breast cancer cells.
The target receptor is essential for the coordination of many physiological processes, in particular the immune cell behavior. Its deregulation is linked with many solid tumors, inflammatory diseases, and neurological diseases.

 

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APR 2021

InterAx Biotech further strengthens its Scientific Advisory Board – welcoming Prof. Dr. Ruedi Aebersold as a member

 

April 2021, Switzerland

 

Today, InterAx Biotech announced that Prof. Dr. Ruedi Aebersold has joined the company Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) as a member. InterAx is a privately held ETH Zurich and Paul Scherrer Institute spin- off reinventing drug discovery with systems biology and artificial intelligence to significantly reduce the time and costs associated with the discovery and development of new drugs for a wide array of human diseases.

Prof. Dr. Ruedi Aebersold is a pioneer in the field of proteomics and systems biology. He co-founded the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle in 2000 – the first-ever institute dedicated to the study of relationships and interactions between various parts of biological systems. He serves on the Scientific Advisory Committees of numerous academic and private-sector research organizations. He received multiple prestigious honors and awards in his career, including being ranked #1 on the 2015 list of “most influential people in the analytical sciences” by the Analytical Scientist and most recently the 2020 Swiss Science Prize Marcel Benoist.

“We are honored to officially welcome Prof. Dr. Ruedi Aebersold as a new member of our Scientific Advisory Board,” said Dr. Aurélien Rizk, CEO of InterAx Biotech. “Dr. Aebersold’s expertise, insights and direction will provide an unmatched mentorship as the company is extending its core technology to predict a broader range of drug responses. This will be especially valuable as InterAx Biotech is entering a new phase – advancing its in-house programs driven by its proprietary technology platform.”
“It is exciting to support a company successfully pioneering the commercialization of mathematical modeling and principles for systems biology-based drug discovery that have been developed in academia in the last decades.” says Prof. Dr. Ruedi Aebersold.

The InterAx Scientific Advisory Board consists of 7 members and includes experts in GPCR pharmacology, computational and structural biology, machine learning, medicinal chemistry, translational medicine in oncology and immunology. These experts provide scientific advice and are involved in strategic discussions about the company’s direction. The main focus is on the advancement of the InterAx technology platform and on the in-house drug discovery of next-generation therapeutics for conditions with highly unmet medical needs.

After having succeeded in acquiring first Pharma and Biotech partners and in securing EUR 2.49M European grant (Grant agreement No 880322), InterAx Biotech is looking forward to further expand its partner base and develop its in-house oncology program. InterAx is planning to grow further and is celebrating its 5-year anniversary with the opening of a new investment round.

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