Envisagenics is Awarded Another SBIR Grant From the National Cancer Institute to Commercialize its AI/ML Platform for Immunotherapy Development
August 2, 2022
New York, NY (Aug 2, 2022) – Envisagenics, Inc., a New York-based biotechnology company leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and RNA-splicing analytics for discovery and development of disease specific therapeutics, announced today that it was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Direct to Phase II grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This grant will provide $2 million over 2 years to commercialize Envisagenics’ proprietary drug discovery platform, SpliceIOTM, for the discovery of novel targets for immuno-oncology (IO) therapeutic development. SpliceIO is one of the latest AI drug discovery platforms developed by Envisagenics, which complements the SpliceCore® platform for the discovery of splicing drug targets using RNA-seq data.
“What the SpliceCore platform does for antisense drugs, SpliceIO is doing for IO drugs. SpliceIO discovers splicing-derived neoantigens for immunotherapies using RNA-seq data as a sole input,” said Martin Akerman, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of Envisagenics. “This funding will help scale Envisagenics’ target pipeline by enabling validation of IO targets at the protein level, a critical step for advancing candidate targets to the next stage of development.”
Envisagenics will apply its platform to identify splicing-derived neoantigens in BRCA1/2 carriers at-risk for developing breast cancer and develop a high-throughput approach to validate its findings using proteomic data. Within the scope of this grant, Envisagenics will collaborate with researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine: Dr. Seema Khan (Co-Leader of the Cancer Prevention Program of the Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center and Bluhm Family Professor of Cancer Research) and Dr. Susan Clare (Research Associate Professor of Surgery). “We are excited to collaborate with Envisagenics to apply its innovative technology leveraging splicing analytics for neoantigen discovery in BRCA1/2 carriers, an exemplar population for prophylactic intervention, given their high risk of developing breast or ovarian cancers, and the increasing recognition that immune interventions are particularly appropriate in the cancer prevention arena,” said Dr. Khan.
Envisagenics was previously awarded Phase I and Phase II grants from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS, NIH) to develop the SpliceCore software platform. A Phase I SBIR grant was also awarded by the NCI to expand SpliceCore’s capabilities for discovery of splicing-derived neoantigens. “We are grateful for the NIH’s continued support of innovative technologies and enabling AI-driven biotechnology companies like Envisagenics to continue to develop next generation technologies to accelerate the discovery and development of therapies for patients in need,” said Maria Luisa Pineda, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Envisagenics.
Envisagenics is an Artificial Intelligence-driven biotechnology company that focuses on the discovery of novel RNA splicing events that cause cancer and other genetic diseases. Its principal technology is the SpliceCore® discovery platform. The platform re-envisions the human genome with a validated exon-centric approach, combined with machine learning algorithms and high-performance computing. It is up to 250 times more likely to discover novel targets than gene-centric discovery tools. Using innovative technology and RNA analysis expertise, Envisagenics accelerates the development of highly specific therapeutics that modulate RNA splicing events that drive pathogenesis of oncology, neurodegenerative, and metabolic disorders.
Envisagenics partners with biopharmaceutical companies and research institutions to advance their drug discovery capabilities. Envisagenics also has its own internally developed programs. Envisagenics is a spin-out of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and a proud woman- and minority-led recipient of several grants from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the National Cancer Institute.
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The above referenced grant is issued by the NCI of the NIH under award number 1R44CA265446-01A1.
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