GHP Q3 2023

24 GHP Q3 2023 Based in Switzerland, Procavea Biotech (Procavea) develops innovative molecular delivery solutions to enable both RNA and small molecule medicines and address unmet clinical needs. We find out more from Senior Scientist, Tom Edwardson, as the firm gains recognition for its work in the Global Health & Pharma Global Excellence Awards 2023. Engineering the Future rocavea Biotech develops innovative molecular delivery technology based on nonviral protein cages. Although its technology platform has broad potential, the firm’s current focus is on RNA-based therapies where there is a desperate need for novel and effective delivery approaches. The protein cages offer distinct advantages compared to the current options as they are non-toxic, biodegradable, compatible with a wide range of cargo, and can be easily targeted to specific cell types. The computationally designed core structure is also extremely stable and tolerant to mutation. “This engineerability of our proteins is a key aspect, allowing extensive modification to optimise pharmacokinetics while retaining the molecularly defined structure,” explains Tom Edwardson. “Cheap, scalable manufacturing, and simple, reproducible formulation are additional practical advantages that are significant from both production and regulatory standpoints.” Tom, a senior scientist in the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences at ETH Zurich, moved to Switzerland six years ago. He is just as passionate about his work, the protein cages, which are very easy to produce in bacteria using biotechnology. The firm’s technology platform stems from more than seven years of focused research at ETH Zurich. The team has extensive expertise in protein engineering and are internationally recognised for their strong track record in the generation and understanding of new protein function. “RNA-based therapeutics have transformative potential in medicine,” Tom elaborates. “However, the limited delivery technologies available to turn these molecules into effective drugs holds back their true potential.” Procavea has developed an innovative solution to this problem: OP, the first nonviral protein cage that carries oligonucleotides into cells to modulate gene expression. When compared to the approved delivery technologies and those in development, OP has distinct advantages in its monodispersity, stability, engineerability, and scalable manufacturing. The modularity of this genetically encoded material also allows economical manufacturing at large scale from microbial fermentation. Its porous structure enables quick and quantitative in vitro loading with diverse biological or synthetic cargo molecules. Importantly, the system is non-toxic and readily enters various cell types, releasing its cargo and boosting biological activity. “If we consider the wide array of tasks that proteins perform in nature, it is clear that developing our own set of protein-based technology will have significant societal impact,” states Tom. “By combining de novo design with rational engineering and laboratory evolution, our group has created a diverse library of encapsulation systems. These protein cages provide technological solutions in molecular encapsulation and delivery, with applications in biotechnology, life science and medicine.” Having recently been bestowed with the prestigious accolade of Ones to Watch for Innovative Protein-Based Delivery Platforms 2023 by Global Health & Pharma, it seems that the sky’s the limit now for Procavea and Tom aims to guide the team to bring a first-in-class protein-based delivery system to the oligonucleotide therapeutics space. The aim is to reach disease targets that are currently intractable with existing technologies. In the long term, Procavea aims to exploit the structural and functional diversity of engineered proteins for diverse delivery applications. Contact Details Company: Procavea Biotech Contact: Tom Edwardson Email: [email protected] Web Address: P May23522