Astellas and LabCentral Announce Golden Ticket Winners - Helping Emerging Biotechs Accelerate Growth of Innovative Science
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 8, 2020 /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 AXONIS Therapeutics, Inc. and Tenza as the winners of the Astellas-sponsored "Golden Ticket Competition". A Golden Ticket award 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.
AXONIS and Tenza were chosen for the strength of the innovation in their approach, the therapeutic potential of their research and alignment of their novel technological platforms with Astellas' research and development (R&D) Focus Areas.
"In awarding these Golden Tickets, we are reinforcing Astellas' ongoing commitment to discovering and advancing innovative science for the potential future benefit of patients worldwide," said Maruyama, President, AVM. "We applaud the efforts of AXONIS and Tenza in the advancement of potential treatments for CNS disorders and mucosal disease respectively, and we look forward to helping them realize their potential in these complex and underserved therapeutic areas."
AXONIS Therapeutics, Inc. is advancing research for spinal cord injury and other neurological disorders. AXONIS is currently conducting pre-clinical studies on its novel small molecule technology. The technology is being studied to reactivate spared neural tissue at a spinal cord injury site and help alleviate neuropathic pain and spasticity through upmodulation of KCC2 protein activity.
"We are honored to be awarded an Astellas Golden Ticket," said Joanna Stanicka, Ph.D., CEO of AXONIS. "Combining Astellas' CNS disorder expertise with LabCentral's exciting incubator space will further validate our KCC2-targeted programs that we are investigating to treat not only spinal cord injuries but a host of other neurological conditions in areas of high unmet patient need."
Tenza is developing orally available therapeutics for mucosal disease by engineering probiotic microbes to produce and deliver drugs directly to gut tissue – with the goal of boosting bioavailability and therapeutic efficacy while reducing systemic side effects.
"Gaining access to Astellas' R&D and clinical expertise is a fantastic opportunity, for which we are most grateful," said Anik Debnath, Ph.D., co-Founder & CEO of Tenza. "In conjunction with the lab space from LabCentral, it will allow us to accelerate the pre-clinical development of our lead programs and pursue additional indications that leverage our platform's capabilities across mucosal disease more broadly."
"We are very pleased by Astellas' support of LabCentral and the Golden Ticket program," said Johannes Fruehauf, LabCentral co-Founder and President. "A Golden Ticket gives 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. Both are integral to these companies realizing their dream to help patients in their chosen field of research."
Both AXONIS and Tenza 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 Golden Ticket Competition
About Astellas Venture Management LLC
Information about pharmaceutical products (including products currently in development) which is included in this press release is not intended to constitute an advertisement or medical advice.
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SOURCE Astellas Pharma Inc.