Sapreme was founded in 2016 by Aglaia Oncology Fund II. The Company develops new technologies within the field of macromolecule therapeutics such as antibody-drug conjugates and oligonucleotide-based therapeutics, based on intellectual property originating from the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Charité) and Freie Universität Berlin (FUB). Sapreme develops a proprietary technology to ensure efficient escape of macromolecule therapeutics from endosomes (ENDOSCAPE®), currently the major hurdle in efficient drug target engagement. Sapreme R&D facilities are located at the Life Science Incubator in Utrecht at the Utrecht Science Park. The company has R&D partnerships with Charité, FUB and University of Ghent (VIB).
Ruben Postel, CSO
Ruben is the scientific founder of Sapreme and was previously CSO of the biotech company SomantiX. He worked as a postdoc at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI-AvL) and holds a PhD in molecular biology and genetics from the Hubrecht Institute.
Ernst Geutjes, acting Managing Director
Ernst is associate at Aglaia and was in his previous role as business developer involved in the formation of a number of biotech start-ups. He holds a PhD in molecular cancer genetics from the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI-AvL).
1. Endolysosomal trapping of macromolecules
Macromolecule therapeutics targeting intracellular targets are usually dependent on receptor-mediated endocytosis and consequent release from the endo-lysosomal compartment. The therapeutic efficacy of such drugs is therefore strongly dependent on sufficient release of these drugs from endo-lysosomal vesicles before degradation. The endo-lysosomal membranes, however, are evolutionary conserved barriers that prohibit efficient cytoplasmic access of such foreign substances. Therefore cytosolic delivery of macromolecule therapeutics requires very challenging technical optimizations, or specialized drug delivery platforms, if feasible at all. For most oligonucleotide-based therapeutics, delivery remains an unsolved problem.
2. ENDOSCAPE® technology
Researchers at the Charité and FUB have discovered a class of non-immunogenic saponins, glycosylated triterpenoids, that can selectively permeabilize endo-lysosomal membranes to enhance endosomal escape of trapped cargo without affecting plasma membrane integrity in a pH-dependent manner. Up to 1.000.000 fold increase in cancer cell killing activity, whereas up to 100-fold increased efficacy in tumor reduction have been observed in various mouse tumor models when these proprietary saponins were combined with antibody-conjugated toxins. In collaboration with the Charité, FUB and others, Sapreme is developing a proprietary module (ENDOSCAPE®) that can be incorporated in the design of current and future targeted cancer therapeutics as well as other non-oncology therapeutics that could benefit from enhanced cytoplasmic delivery (e.g. gene therapy).
3. Biotechnological production of SPT-001 and SPT-003
Sapreme’s saponins SPT-001 and SPT-003 are purified from plant material using proprietary isolation methods. Sapreme is collaborating with the research group of Prof. Alain Goossens at the University of Ghent (VIB) to further optimize large scale production of SPT-001 and SPT-003.
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Sapreme is collaborating with the research group of Prof. Hendrik Fuchs at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin in Berlin. His group has strong expertise in targeted delivery of macromolecular drugs into the cytosol of cells by use of endosomal escape enhancers. Sapreme is working with Charité to develop the ENDOSCAPE® technology for delivery of targeted toxins.
Sapreme is collaborating with the research group of Dr. Alexander Weng at the department of Prof. Matthias Melzig at the Freie Universität in Berlin (FUB). The group of Dr. Weng has considerable expertise in identifying and characterization of novel endosomal escape enhancers from natural sources and the development of non-viral gene carriers. Sapreme is working with the FUB to develop the ENDOSCAPE® technology for targeted delivery of DNA/RNA.
Sapreme is collaborating with the research group of Prof. Alain Goossens at the University of Ghent (VIB). His group has a long-standing trackrecord in developing plant cultures that produce high levels of secondary metabolites such as saponins via metabolic engineering. Sapreme is working with the VIB to develop plant/root culture lines that produce high amounts of Sapreme’s proprietary saponins.
Aglaia is an investment firm with a 100% focus on oncology. Aglaia provides extensive know-how in cancer drug development and closely collaborates with inventors and entrepreneurs to develop early-stage technology into clinically and commercially successful biotech companies.
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