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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