Evotec SE Sartorius announced that they have entered into a partnership with the recently established Curexsys GmbH, a Goettingen, Germany-based technology leader specialising in the emerging field of therapeutic exosomes.
Curexsys delivers a proprietary isolation technology for exosomes based on a traceless immune-affinity process. This process is different from commonly used antibody-based processes and enables the company to overcome a key hurdle in exosome preparation, i.e. remaining antibodies in the final preparation. Curexsys is founded by Herbert Stadler, a serial biotech entrepreneur, and Jens Gruber, a former group leader of Medical RNA Biology who is going to lead Curexsys as Chief Scientific Officer.
Under the terms of the agreement, Evotec and Curexsys will collaborate with the production of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells (“MSCs”), which serve as a source for exosomes. These are small vesicles that are naturally released from a cell. They contain proteins, nucleic acids and metabolites, which carry information from secreting to receiving cells. Exosomes have immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects, which makes them a promising novel approach for innovative regenerative therapies, as therapeutics in age-related conditions, but also for diagnostic purposes. Curexsys aims to develop targeted approaches for a variety of diseases, initially focusing on Sicca Syndrome, commonly known as “dry eye”, an inflammatory condition affecting 14% to 17% of the adult population for whom there is currently no effective treatment available.
The collaboration combines Evotec’s industry-leading induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (“iPSC”) platform with Curexsys’ proprietary technology to selectively isolate exosomes. Sartorius will support Curexsys to set up a GMP-compliant and scalable manufacturing platform.
Furthermore, Evotec and Sartorius have formed a consortium to jointly invest in Curexsys’ € 8.2 m seed financing round with Evotec acquiring an equity stake of approx. 37% in Curexsys and Sartorius of approx. 21%.
Dr Cord Dohrmann, Chief Scientific Officer of Evotec, commented: “Therapeutic exosomes hold significant promise for regenerative medicine and beyond. Steadily increasing evidence suggests that exosomes derived from stem cells can aid tissue repair and engineering vesicles could carry drugs to diseased tissues. These efforts have been held back by a dearth of standardised methods to isolate and study vesicles. Combining Evotec’s industrial-grade iPSC and PanOmics platforms with Curexsys’ proprietary exosome isolation technology and Sartorius’ ability to translate these into a fully GMP-compliant process is a unique opportunity to build the leading exosome company in the industry.”
Dr René Faber, Head of Sartorius’ Bioprocess Solutions Division, said: “With our integrated portfolio of manufacturing solutions Sartorius is the ‘go-to’ partner for developers of such new modalities when it comes to implementing GMP-compliant, flexible production processes. We are very much looking forward to contributing our proven and scalable technology platform to Curexsys process and help them achieve their next milestones faster.”
Dr Jens Gruber, Chief Scientific Officer of Curexsys, added: “We are very happy that we were able to form such a consortium with industry leaders in their field. This unique constellation gives Curexsys an optimal starting position to advance our technologies for highly specific isolation of exosomes and to rapidly approach therapeutic applications.”