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Macomics

Macomics

Macomics

Case Study

Path-breaking immuno-oncology spinout Macomics is developing novel therapeutics to modulate the activity of macrophages, increasing the body’s immune defence against tumours in cancer sufferers.

Macomics

Outsmarting cancer

Cancer cells are known to be able to evade destruction by the immune system, and tumour associated macrophages (TAMs) are a key component of this immuno-suppressive and pro-tumoral ecosystem. The ability to modulate TAMs would alter the tumour microenvironment and thus enhance the body’s ability to fight cancer.

Professor Jeffrey Pollard, Director of the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh, is a pioneer of the study of TAMs and his research team was the first to demonstrate that they promote tumour progression and malignancy. The ground-breaking research he was conducting attracted future Macomics co-founder Dr Luca Cassetta, who was a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the time, and in 2013 the team transplanted Professor Pollard’s laboratory from New York to The Queen’s Medical Research Institute at the University of Edinburgh. The move proved pivotal, as access to the University’s state-of-the-art research facilities enabled the team to successfully profile human TAMs and identify several targets for the first time.

The company formation journey

It was at this crucial stage in Professor Pollard and Dr Cassetta’s research that they started considering the prospect of commercialisation, and they began discussions with Edinburgh Innovations. Neither founder had experience of forming a company and Dr Cassetta admits that while the idea had been in their minds, “the reality of creating a company was quite different, involving shares, negotiations, lawyers, plans, due diligence and a very rigorous process to evaluate the business plan. These are all aspects of company formation which need to be considered and understood. They take time, patience and a degree of flexibility.”

The Edinburgh Innovations team were on hand to provide tailored expertise at every stage, assisting the founders with licensing technology, consultancy contracts, patent submissions, event promotion, as well as overall project management of the company formation process. This support empowered the academic founders to persist with forming Macomics, and the rigorous process ensured that the company was built on solid foundations and would serve the aims of all involved long term.

Investing in our future

Macomics harnesses world-leading expertise in macrophage biology, which in combination with the company’s proprietary technology will provide insights into TAMS and the tumour microenvironment, and lead to therapeutic discoveries that will increase the body’s immune defence against tumours across various cancers.

In service of this aim the company has secured an investment £3.2 million in a seed round led by Epidarex Capital, a transatlantic life science VC that invests in early-stage, high-growth companies in under-ventured markets, along with the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.

“The macrophage-based approach that Macomics is pioneering has significant potential in the treatment of cancer, as recent deals in the tumour-associated macrophage area indicate. We look forward to working with the team to support Macomics’ growth and to help it realise the potential of its world-class science.”

–Dr Elizabeth Roper, Partner at Epidarex Capital & Investor Director at Macomics.

Related Links

Discover more about the University of Edinburgh’s therapeutic discovery capability at Bench to Bedside — Edinburgh Innovations

Find out how to collaborate with the Univerity of Edinburgh

Macomics

Epidarex

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Rational CHO Cell Engineering

Rational CHO Cell Engineering

 Microscope image of cells with stable GFP expression

Rational CHO Cell Engineering for Stable Recombinant Protein Expression and Production

Many of the bestselling medicines are recombinant proteins produced by CHO cells with many more mammalian-cell-derived recombinant therapeutic proteins in development.

Progressive improvements in manufacturing technologies — from genetic vector engineering to process engineering — have substantially intensified production processes, enabled control of product molecular heterogeneity and importantly, reduced development time. A key issue for CHO cell utilization is genome plasticity, rearrangement and instability that often result in the loss of the transgenes. We have discovered a number of robustly stable, highly-expressing genomic sites into which we have engineered a landing pad platform. 

APPLICATION


Potential to improve industrial recombinant protein production. 

DEVELOPMENT STATUS


We have demonstrated efficient site-specific recombinase mediated insertion of genetic constructs into the landing pad site on a CHO chromosome to enable the stable expression of proteins for an extended period of time:

  • Stable protein expression observed > 1 CHO cell line
  • Proof of concept demonstrated with a marketed monoclonal antibody therapeutic: stable protein expression seen for >120 generations.
  • Easily adaptable recombinase system to test production of any target protein.

IP STATUS


Patent application filed 10 December 2020. 

COMMERCIAL OFFERING


We welcome approaches from interested parties to discuss collaborative research and licensing opportunities.

OPPORTUNITY


Existing technology relies on the biologic expressing transgenes integrating randomly into the host chromosome which results in highly variable protein expression between transfectants. The advantages offered by the genomic locations identified enable the stable expression of proteins over many generations which is critical for replicable industrial protein production processes.

TECHNOLOGY


Edinburgh researchers have engineered CHO cell lines to stably produce high quantities of protein through the identification of novel hot spots to enable exogenous nucleic acid sequences to be targeted to these sites for stable protein expression.

BENEFITS


  • Potential to increase protein expression levels resulting from the identification of more suitable locations for stable protein expression.
  • Stable protein expression has been observed over multiple generations.
  • Genetically stable sites which are free of silencing.
  • Confidence in replicable protein titres over a high number of generations and between batches.
  • Increased cell line growth rate observed in one cell line.

Contact

Amy Lam

Technology Transfer Advisor
Edinburgh Innovations Ltd
The University of Edinburgh

amy.lam@ei.ed.ac.uk

 

Header image: Microscope image of cells with stable GFP expression at one of our newly defined genomic locations.

 

Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity (PIMs)

Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity (PIMs)

Black carbon fiber composite product material background

Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity (PIMs): easily processed Molecular Sieves

A new data compression framework for single photon lidar offeringPolymers of Intrinsic Microporosity (PIMs) are a relatively new class of macromolecule, with unique structural features that give rise to a number of distinct properties, including the combination of solution-processability and microporosity. step-change efficiency gains in data processing and on chip memory requirements without any significant loss of depth information.  This innovative approach overcomes restrictive data transfer and computation bottlenecks to enable advances in lidar time-of-flight (ToF) imaging systems.

 

APPLICATION

Potential applications in the fabrication of selectively permeable membranes for gas separation, sensors and adsorbents.

DEVELOPMENT STATUS

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have developed methods for preparing PIMs using step-growth polymerisations, based on reactions that provide non-linear linking groups based on Tröger’s base (TB).

IP STATUS

Method for producing polymers comprising multiple repeat units of bicyclic diamines:

  • US 9,018,270B
  • EP 2616493B

Polymers, their method of manufacture and use thereof:

  • US 9,862,801B
  • EP 11761110.3A

COMMERCIAL OFFERING

Technology available for licensing

OPPORTUNITY


The technology of polymerisation using Tröger’s base formation allows the ready formation of step-growth polymers, which have unusual combinations of physical properties, from a single diamine monomer.

TECHNOLOGY


Polymer rigidity and fixed chain conformation results in solution processable materials with very high glass transition temperatures.

Solids possess large amounts of free volume, which is freely accessible to smaller gas molecules via diffusion but high rigidity reduces transport of larger molecules producing high size selectivity.

BENEFITS


  • Microporosity due to highly rigid structures: high free volume
  • Freely soluble in organic solvents at ambient temperatures enabling processing into a variety of membranes, fibres and objects.
  • Glass transition temperature >350°C

PUBLICATIONS


Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity (PIMs), McKeown N B., Polymer 2020, 202: 122736.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polymer.2020.122736  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0032386120305668

Contact

Amy Lam

Technology Transfer Advisor
Edinburgh Innovations Ltd
The University of Edinburgh

amy.lam@ei.ed.ac.uk

 

Please note: header image is purely illustrative. Source: D3Damon via Getty Images

Reduced Data Transfer Framework for Single Photon Lidar

Reduced Data Transfer Framework for Single Photon Lidar

Black carbon fiber composite product material background

Reduced Data Transfer Framework for Single Photon Lidar

A new data compression framework for single photon lidar offering step-change efficiency gains in data processing and on chip memory requirements without any significant loss of depth information.  This innovative approach overcomes restrictive data transfer and computation bottlenecks to enable advances in lidar time-of-flight (ToF) imaging systems.

 

APPLICATION

Single photon lidar systems

DEVELOPMENT STATUS

Prototype in development

IP STATUS

Priority patent application filed 2021

COMMERCIAL OFFERING

Commercial licensing and/or development collaboration

OPPORTUNITY


Single photon lidar is rapidly becoming a key enabler for emerging applications requiring depth imaging information, including autonomous driving, advanced robotics, defence systems, smart retail and home solutions, and industrial automation. These use-cases are driving bigger and faster detector systems, which in turn are generating massive and ever-expanding amounts of data at increasing frame rates. Conventional ToF lidar systems involve generation of a histogram on-chip, however this now represents a critical data transfer and computational processing challenge. Alleviating these bottlenecks requires an unwanted trade-off – sacrificing potentially important depth resolution to reduce the amount of information to be transferred and processed. To exploit modern high rate, high resolution ToF image sensors we require a new paradigm for the processing of imaging information.  

TECHNOLOGY


To overcome this challenge, researchers at the University of Edinburgh have developed a new technique which allows massive compression of single photon lidar data without any significant loss of information. Fundamentally, the Edinburgh approach completely by-passes the need for the on-chip histogram generation which gives rise to data and computational bottlenecks. The technique builds on recent advances in compressive learning – sampling the characteristic function of the ToF model to build a compressive statistic of the time delay distribution, from which spatial distance and intensity of the object can be determined. The statistics are updated with each photon arrival with minimal computational overhead, eliminating the need to construct a histogram. Unlike conventional frameworks, here complexity scales independently of both photon count and depth resolution parameters and can be made effectively blind to photons originating from background sources. The technology can directly replace histogram generation in existing sensor technology and has been tested on real life datasets of complex scenes where compression rates of 1/150 have been demonstrated without sacrificing the overall resolution of the reconstructed image.

BENEFITS


  • >100x data compression rates achievable
  • Computational complexity independent of photon count and depth resolution
  • Intrinsic elimination of background noise
  • Readily implemented with existing sensor technologies

PUBLICATIONS


Michael P. Sheehan, Julián Tachella, and Mike E. Davies, “A Sketching Framework for Reduced Data Transfer in Photon Counting Lidar”, https://arxiv.org/pdf/2102.08732.pdf

Contact

Angus Stewart-Liddon

Technology Transfer Manager
Edinburgh Innovations Ltd

+44 (0)131 650 9090
angus.stewart-liddon@ei.ed.ac.uk

 

Pheno Therapeutics

Pheno Therapeutics

Pheno Therapeutics

Case Study

Combining world-class clinical and drug discovery expertise, the team behind University of Edinburgh spinout Pheno Therapeutics is uniquely positioned to provide novel treatments that could halt the progression and alleviate the debilitating symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

PhenoTherapeutics

Perfect partnership

Pheno Therapeutics exploits the peerless clinical insight and vast drug discovery expertise of its two distinguished founders. Professor Neil Carragher is a phenotypic screening pioneer with over 25 years of translational research experience from within the pharmaceutical industry and academia; Professor Sidharthan Chandran is a world-leading regenerative neurology specialist and Director of both Edinburgh Neuroscience and the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic. The founders’ joint skillset, their utilisation of Professor Carragher’s Phenomics Drug Discovery (PDD) platform, and access to world-class facilities within the Edinburgh Medical School have combined to create the ideal conditions for accelerated novel discovery.

A regenerative approach to MS

MS is a destructive and unpredictable chronic disease characterised by the immune system attacking and damaging the myelin sheaths that protect nerve cells in the central nervous system. It affects 2.5 million people worldwide and is the leading cause of disability in young people. Recently developed MS therapies can address the immune system aspects of the disease and reduce the frequency and severity of relapses, but no current treatments can halt disease progression or reverse on-going neurodegeneration. Pheno Therapeutics is poised to address that urgent and unmet clinical need. By employing the astounding capabilities of the PDD, and using a unique human stem cell model to identify novel remyelinating agents, the company aims to develop transformational therapeutics that repair damaged myelin sheaths, thus reversing the effects of the disease and significantly improving quality of life for MS patients.

Support at every stage

Pheno Therapeutics has been facilitated and championed from its inception by Edinburgh Innovations (EI), the University’s commercialisation service. EI was instrumental in the formation of Pheno Therapeutics, helping to shape original pitches, establishing the scope of the company, and by introducing the academic founders to financial partner Advent Life Sciences to launch the company. Since then EI has continued to assist the company by negotiating all commercial, consultancy and license agreements, and by working in close partnership with both the company and its investors. Dr Andrea Taylor, Head of Business Development at EI for the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, has provided continuous guidance, and currently sits on the board in order to support Pheno Therapeutics as it continues to execute its operational plan and bring novel treatments for MS patients from bench to bedside.

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