CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Astellas Venture Management LLC (President: Kazunori Maruyama, Ph.D., "AVM"), a wholly-owned venture capital subsidiary of Astellas Pharma Inc., and LabCentral, a launchpad for early-stage life-sciences startups, today announced Thymmune Therapeutics and M13 Therapeutics as the winners of the Astellas-sponsored "Future Innovator Prize" at LabCentral. A Future Innovator Prize offers entrepreneurial scientists or emerging biotechnology startups one-year usage of LabCentral's state-of-the-art lab facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as access to Astellas' research and development (R&D) capabilities and business leaders.
Thymmune and M13 were chosen for the strength of the innovation in their approach, the therapeutic potential of their research and the potential expandability of their technological platforms.
"We applaud the efforts of Thymmune Therapeutics and M13 Therapeutics in the advancement of potential cell therapeutics for immunologic disorders and monogenic disease indications that may be treated through gene therapies respectively," said Maruyama, President, AVM. "We look forward to helping them realize their potential in these underserved therapeutic areas. In awarding these Future Innovator Prizes, we are reinforcing Astellas' ongoing commitment to discovering and advancing innovative science and to providing VALUE for the future benefit of patients worldwide."
Thymmune Therapeutics is a preclinical biotechnology company applying its proprietary thymic engineering platform to develop and commercialize cell therapy products addressing significant opportunities with unmet clinical need across immunology.
"We are grateful to be awarded an Astellas Future Innovator Prize," said Stan Wang, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Thymmune Therapeutics. "Combining Astellas' cell therapy and immunology expertise with LabCentral's exciting incubator space allows us to push forward faster towards addressing immunologic disorders in a variety of therapeutic areas."
M13 Therapeutics is a non-viral gene therapy platform working to overcome the limitations of the current gene therapy landscape by harnessing phage-derived-particles (PDPs). M13 Therapeutics' mission is to offer accessible and scalable genomic medicines across a wide range of rare and common genetic disease indications.
"Gaining access to Astellas' R&D and clinical expertise in gene therapy is a fantastic opportunity, for which we are most grateful," said Lavi Erisson, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., CEO and Co-Founder of M13 Therapeutics. "In conjunction with the lab space from LabCentral, it will allow us to accelerate our pre-clinical development of potential therapies in cystic fibrosis, hemophilia and other therapeutic areas such as oncology"
"The Astellas Future Innovator Prize can give these emerging companies a leg up in their development process by giving access not only to our supportive environment, but also some of the brightest pharmaceutical minds in the industry at Astellas," said Johannes Fruehauf, LabCentral co-Founder and President. "The combination of these two opportunities may allow these companies to realize their dream of helping patients in their chosen field of research."
Both Thymmune Therapeutics and M13 Therapeutics will continue their residence at LabCentral with the next year sponsored by Astellas. Both will be closely supported by the team from AVM and the Astellas Biomedical Innovation Hub organizations in the Boston area to maximize their progress.
About the Future Innovator Prize
Astellas' sponsorship of the Future Innovator Prize follows AVM obtaining Gold Sponsorship of LabCentral in October of 2019. Companies awarded an Astellas Future Innovator Prize will gain one year's priority admission or renewal to LabCentral's state-of-the-art laboratory and access to Astellas' R&D scientists and business leaders. The decision to award any Future Innovator Prize, and the assessments underlying such decision, are solely within the judgment of Astellas and LabCentral, and are not subject to any objection or appeal. Please access here for further information.
About Astellas Venture Management LLC
AVM is the wholly-owned venture capital organization within Astellas, dedicated to supporting pre-clinical, cutting-edge science that can bring VALUE to patients. For over 15 years, AVM has provided equity investments to private, early-stage companies developing therapeutic programs and platform technologies, helping them to advance their innovations faster. AVM is a strategic investor, making investments in science that will enhance the current Astellas R&D pipeline or that could catalyze new directions in discovery research.
Astellas Pharma, Inc., is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are promoting the Focus Area Approach that is designed to identify opportunities for the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs by focusing on Biology and Modality. Furthermore, we are also looking beyond our foundational Rx focus to create Rx+® healthcare solutions combine our expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology in different fields of external partners. Through these efforts, Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into value for patients. For more information, please visit our website at https://www.astellas.com/en
A private, non-profit institution, LabCentral was founded in 2013 as a launchpad for high-potential life sciences and biotech start-ups. Operating a total of 100,000 square-feet in the heart of Kendall Square in Cambridge, Mass., LabCentral offers fully permitted laboratory and office space for as many as 70 start-ups comprising approximately 500 scientists and entrepreneurs. More information is available at www.labcentral.org and @labcentral.
In this press release, statements made with respect to current plans, estimates, strategies and beliefs and other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements about the future performance of Astellas. These statements are based on management's current assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: (i) changes in general economic conditions and in laws and regulations, relating to pharmaceutical markets, (ii) currency exchange rate fluctuations, (iii) delays in new product launches, (iv) the inability of Astellas to market existing and new products effectively, (v) the inability of Astellas to continue to effectively research and develop products accepted by customers in highly competitive markets, and (vi) infringements of Astellas' intellectual property rights by third parties.
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SOURCE Astellas Pharma Inc.