Orio Therapeutics' innovative technology optimises the delivery of therapeutic treatments
Based at BioArk's technology site in Monthey and at Monash University in Melbourne, start-up Orio Therapeutics is improving the delivery of therapeutic treatments. Thanks to its innovative technology, which modifies therapeutic proteins, it enables controlled localisation of delivery, transmission of a reduced dose and enhanced treatment efficacy. Find out more in this interview with one of the company's co-founders, Ziad Julier.
How did Orio Therapeutics come into being?
The idea came from research conducted by the co-founders, Prof. Mikaël Martino and Dr. Ziad Julier, both from Switzerland, at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash University. Both founders are protein engineering experts from EPFL, Mikaël with an approach focused on tissue regeneration, and Ziad on immune system modulation. Their combined knowledge has led to the development of a platform for modifying therapeutic proteins to increase their efficacy by reducing their side effects, and the first molecule to protect heart muscle following a heart attack, based on the relatively recent discovery that the immune system has a major influence on tissue degeneration/regeneration processes. The technology has been patented by Monash University and its inventors.
In order to take advantage of the favourable Swiss environment for biotech start-ups and the strategic advantages that Australia offers, the founders decided to create Orio Therapeutics in Valais while keeping part of the start-up's activities in Melbourne.
What does the Valais ecosystem and the BioArk Monthey technological site offer you?
The Valais biotech ecosystem in general, and BioArk in particular, is growing rapidly and offers a wealth of opportunities thanks to the ambition of the various local players. The strong presence of BioArk start-ups at BIO 2023 in Boston this year is a good illustration of this ambition. This gives us good exposure and enables us to forge links with other start-ups with the same objective, so that we can help each other.
What's more, access to premises and strategic advice on unbeatable terms thanks to the support of the canton are important elements in the development of the start-up at the moment.
What solution does your start-up provide ?
We are developing a platform for modifying therapeutic proteins so that they can be stabilised at their injection site. This makes it possible to considerably reduce (from 100 to 10,000x depending on the protein) the large doses generally required to compensate for the diffusion of proteins following their administration at the site where they are to be active. These high doses often give rise to significant side effects and high treatment costs. A modified protein using our technology will therefore have a much greater localised therapeutic effect without side-effects and at lower cost because of the low doses required.
As its first application, Orio Therapeutic is developing a molecule that will prevent the majority of cardiac damage following a heart attack. It is to be administered as soon as the patient is admitted to hospital and acts on the major immune reaction that occurs following a heart attack.
In which sector are you active?
The two main sectors in which we are active are drug delivery and regenerative medicine, but our technologies are versatile enough to be used in other sectors, such as oncology,
What are the next steps in Orio Therapeutics' development?
We're currently looking for seed funding so that we can start pre-clinical trials.