First innovators selected by INCATE
A total of four ventures, three from Germany and one from Finland, have been selected by the Swiss-based AMR-focused incubator INCATE. They will receive up to 10k Euros and importantly will get continuing advice and other support to develop their businesses.
More than a million people die because of antimicrobial resistance each year and new approaches to combat resistant bacteria are therefore urgently needed. INCATE (INCubator for Antibacterial Therapies in Europe) is a new initiative launched in August 2021 that supports early-stage innovators in this fight against drug-resistant bacterial infections. The four ventures selected by a committee of industry, scientific and entrepreneurial experts will receive up to 10k Euros and importantly will get continuing advice and other support to develop their businesses. It is the first non-dilutive investment made to help build the pipeline of therapies and diagnostics in the AMR area.
The ventures are:
• VIRI – a company from Aalto university, Finland, developing an anti-virulence molecule with a dual mode of action for Gram-negative bacteria.
• INVITRIS – a company with a Phage “Phactory” to bring scalability to the promising field of Phages. It is a spin-off of the successful iGEM (“international Genetically Engineered Machine Competition”) Munich Team of 2018, jointly supported by TU Munich and LMU.
• Smartbax – a seed funded company started by the team of Prof Sieber at TU Munich is developing small molecule antibiotics with a multi-target mode of action and with potent activity against Gram-positive, multi-drug resistant bacteria.
• Myxobiotics – a spin-off around a team of Thomas Hesterkamp, Prof Müller and Jennifer Herrmann from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) with a natural product inspired molecule targeting Carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii (CRAB) infections.
INCATE is a partnership between academic partners, several pharma companies and further partners to support innovators in the fight against AMR. Without support new ventures will likely not be bold enough to start and survive long enough to reach the market. It supports early-stage innovators to develop a business case, support R&D, and gather the evidence and connections needed to convince further funders.
INCATE will select therapies and diagnostics on a quarterly basis for support. In selected cases INCATE will provide further non-dilutive funding of up to 250k euros. ”We joined forces at INCATE to help convert early stage innovation into investment-ready ventures and it is great to see how things are coming together with selection of the first innovators to be supported,” says Philipp Mueller, Executive Director at Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, a member of the selection committee. The selection committee includes representatives from industry partners and also independent members from the support ecosystem working on the problem of AMR.
Patrick Grossmann co-founder at INVITRIS, one of the winners already sees value, “INCATE already provided us invaluable support through world-class advice and networking. The award, together with further advice, will help us to advance our phage technology platform as well as the drug pipeline resulting from it. We are very much looking forward to fostering our collaboration!”