23 of Aalto Startup Center’s ecosystem startups are attending the Arctic15 event. Arctic15 is a Startup Investor Event and a meeting spot for startup entrepreneurs, investors, corporates and media from 60+ countries.
Who are you and what do you do?
Arivin Therapeutics: Arivin Therapeutics Oy is a key innovator in the field of antimicrobial therapies, originating from two leading Finnish institutions: Aalto University and University of Helsinki. Arivin therapeutics serves as the Finnish National Coordinator on AMR and has previously also been a part in the first-ever round of the elite AMR incubator for companies.
What kind of team do you have at the moment?
Arivin Therapeutics: ATX (Coordinator) combines academic founders with business and industrial drug development expertise. Prof. Tuula Heinonen (Drug Development Lead) has extensive experience in regulatory affairs (board of FIN3R, safety study reporting, both FDA & EMA scientific advice), as well as drug and diagnostic development, including leading 52 non-clinical and 3 clinical studies in antimicrobials. Chris Jonkergouw (CEO) is an experienced entrepreneur with background in biotechnology. Dr. Ekaterina Osmekhina (Discovery Lead) has a background in automation of microbiological lab assessments and construction of novel in vitro screening platforms. Serial entrepreneur Dr. Katarzyna Leskinen is a medical microbiologist with extensive experience with antimicrobial resistant pathogens.
What is your innovation?
Arivin Therapeutics: The increase in antibiotic resistance and failure of the antibiotic business model has created a global demand for new anti-infective therapies and new business models that incentivize development. At Arivin therapeutics we develop high-potential strategies that directly targets the toxins that pathogens utilize to establish and spread their infection. Targeting the toxins directly, serves as an effective strategy to directly lower the host inflammatory responses and overall burden of the infection, which 1) strengthens immune responses and 2) synergizes with/potentiates standard-of-care antibiotics. The anti-toxin strategies aim to reduce and mitigate the frequency and severity of pulmonary exacerbations in difficult to treat infections such as Cystic Fibrosis and non-CF bronchiectasis.
What kind of problem does your innovation solve?
Arivin Therapeutics: The scope of current antibiotic targets is extremely limited, with the vast majority of approved treatments targeting either DNA synthesis, protein synthesis, membrane integrity or cell-wall biosynthesis, all of which are counteracted by numerous and increasingly prevalent resistance mechanisms. On top of this, we have exhausted most traditional screening efforts, resulting in a collapse of the anti-infective development pipeline. The ensuing imminent global health crisis has been documented from several perspectives in recent reportings, with a predicted death toll of 10 million people annually by 2050 (from 1.27 million directly attributable deaths currently) and has prompted the World Health Organization to create a priority pathogen list. This pressing global challenge emphasizes the need for the discovery of novel therapies with unique molecular scaffolds and/or mechanisms of action that evade existing resistance mechanisms and are less likely to lead to drug resistance.
What is your idea’s impact?
Arivin Therapeutics: The landscape of drug development for antimicrobial therapies will have to adjust dramatically to meet the challenge of rapid bacterial resistance. Arivin therapeutics consists of a uniquely qualified multidisciplinary team to tackle these challenges, fostering a collaborative spirit between grade A academics and a highly innovative SME. Anti-toxin therapies have the potential to drastically improve clinical outcomes on several fronts: the therapy (1) directly sequesters bacterial toxins and virulence factors that cause inflammatory responses and tissue damage, reducing the frequency and severity of exacerbations in vulnerable patients such as CF and NCFB suffering from chronic infections; (2) likely results in lower antibiotic doses and reduced resistance rates against the prescribed antibiotics; (3) more broadly, will give society a powerful tool against bacterial resistance. Given the pervasive threat of MDR bacteria, such a tool is sorely needed.
What are your main Sustainable Development Goals?
SDG 3. Good health and wellbeing*. AMR infections result in 1.27 Million directly attributable deaths, a number that is expected to rise to 10 Million deaths per year in 2050.
*Source: United Nations: sdgs.un.org/goals
What are your next steps in the near future?
Arivin Therapeutics: We are currently raising a €900K seed round.