Press Release Details
Sapreme Boosts Development of its Endosomal Escape Technology Platform and Proprietary Pipeline with EUR 15M Series A
Utrecht, The Netherlands, October 7, 2021 – Sapreme, a biotechnology company focused on improving the delivery and efficacy of macromolecule therapeutics, today announced that it has closed a EUR 15 million Series A financing round to accelerate the buildout of its endosomal escape technology platform and support the further progress of its proprietary pipeline and corporate development activities. Led by founding investor Aglaia Oncology Funds, together with Aglaia-associated partners, the round follows promising 2020 and 2021 preclinical data demonstrating the effectiveness of Sapreme’s endosomal escape compound, SPT001.
Sapreme was founded in 2016 to develop improved macromolecular therapeutics such as antibody targeted antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) for the treatment of cancer and other indications. Sapreme’s innovative endosomal escape platform is designed to allow therapeutics to reach their target without becoming entrapped by the endosome. Endosomal entrapment poses a significant hurdle for the drug discovery and development industry, currently limiting the development of a broad range of potential macromolecular therapeutics to ‘undruggable’ intracellular targets. An effective solution to endosomal entrapment could be of immense value to the therapeutic landscape, as it enables the development of truly differentiated therapeutics to such novel targets.
“The continued support of Aglaia and its backers is invaluable to us as we continue to showcase the potential of our platform and establish our proprietary therapeutics pipeline,” stated Guy Hermans, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Sapreme. “These proceeds will allow us to mature our platform and to generate preclinical data needed to showcase the full scope of our technology.”
In addition to earlier data supporting the use of its platform in oncology and in combination with various drug modalities, the company recently unveiled new in vivo data demonstrating its ability to significantly enhance delivery of oligonucleotides to the liver using GalNAc targeting – currently a mainstay in the therapeutic oligo development field. The data revealed consistent high levels of gene expression knockdown in the liver at reduced oligonucleotide doses.
“Having engaged in multiple studies with industry players throughout the past year, we see the opportunity to expand these collaborations to a range of new indications and drug modalities in the months ahead. Our current collaborators apply Sapreme’s endosomal escape technology to their proprietary drug candidates to improve intracellular target engagement manyfold, such as we have reported on earlier. We now look forward to further scale the platform and advancing our internal drug development pipeline, which following the Series A, we are well-positioned to do,” commented Henrik Luessen, Chief Business Officer of Sapreme.
Sapreme Presents Promising New Preclinical Data at 17th Annual Meeting of Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society
Utrecht, The Netherlands, September 27, 2021 – Sapreme, a biotechnology company focused on improving the delivery and efficacy of macromolecule therapeutics, will be presenting new preclinical in vivo data on improving oligo delivery to the liver in an online poster presentation at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society (OTS), held virtually from September 26th to 29th, 2021. These data highlight the capability of its proprietary endosomal escape platform to significantly improve intracellular target engagement both in vitro as well as in vivo.
“Returning to OTS this year with promising in vivo data in the liver demonstrates the significant progress Sapreme has achieved in developing and validating its innovative platform,” stated Guy Hermans, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Sapreme. “These proof-of-concept data enable us to confidently accelerate investment in our therapeutics pipeline and improve existing, or to unlock new, macromolecule therapeutics.”
The large majority of therapeutic oligonucleotide formats struggle to achieve sufficient levels of cytoplasmic or nuclear target engagement while maintaining low toxicity due to compounds becoming trapped, and thereby rendered ineffective, by the endosome. Sapreme’s endosomal enhancers strive to overcome this industry hurdle by enabling improvements in potency through efficient endosomal escape and by providing superior tissue- or cell-selective targeting. This is accomplished through use of targeting ligands, including GalNAc for hepatic targeting and antibodies or other ligands for non-hepatic tissues.
Sapreme’s 2020 in vitro data showcased SPT001’s ability to improve intracellular release of targeted antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) and enhance the delivery of other targeted payloads such as antibody-conjugated toxins. Conjugating SPT001 to liver or tumor targeted ASOs led to significantly improved silencing with positive implications for targeted drug development. Building on last year’s data, the new in vivo data revealed high gene expression knockdown levels in the liver at reduced oligonucleotide doses when applying SPT001 conjugation technology. This was confirmed by reduced target protein levels in circulation, as well as by downstream efficacy biomarkers. Persistence of these pharmacodynamic effects throughout the study further indicated that improved cytoplasmic delivery does not necessarily imply more frequent dosing schedules. These data, added to the technology’s demonstrated low toxicity profile, present an attractive and broad development opportunity to improve the macromolecule therapeutic landscape.
Sapreme Appoints Henrik Luessen as Chief Business Officer
Utrecht, The Netherlands, January 21, 2021 – Sapreme, a biotechnology company focused on improving the delivery and efficacy of macromolecule therapeutics, today announced the appointment of Henrik L. Luessen, Ph.D., as Chief Business Officer. In this role, Dr. Luessen will advise Sapreme in its business development, partnerships and funding activities, and will report to Guy Hermans, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer.
“Henrik brings strong experience with emerging biotechnology companies to Sapreme including licensing, portfolio strategy, financing and strategic development which are critical aspects for Sapreme at this stage of development,” commented Guy Hermans, Chief Executive Officer of Sapreme. “Over the past year, we have been building a strong foundation for our proprietary endosomal escape platform and we look forward to working with Henrik as we discover its extensive applications, both for our internal pipeline and through partnerships.”
“In just one year, Guy has built a strong team and rapidly advanced a unique platform that has the potential to improve the therapeutic profile for a broad range of medicines,” said Henrik Luessen, Chief Business Officer of Sapreme. “It is this broad potential that attracted me to join the company and I am looking forward to contributing my skills and experience to help Sapreme execute on its mission to develop improved therapeutics by circumventing endosomal entrapment.”
Henrik Luessen joins Sapreme through Tytonis B.V., an advisory company specialized in accelerating life science companies, expediting product development and facilitating the introduction of life sciences products. Dr. Luessen previously was Chief Business Officer at Promethera Biosciences, a Belgian biotechnology company focused on cellular and antibody-based treatments to reduce the need for liver transplantation. At Promethera, he was responsible for the scouting and execution of strategic corporate development initiatives, as well as licensing opportunities. Prior to this, Dr. Luessen was Director Business Development at Activaero, a German pharmaceutical company focused on the development of a proprietary smart nebuliser-based technology, and OctoPlus, a leading European provider of advanced drug formulation and clinical scale manufacturing services. Earlier in his career, he was Manager Corporate Development at LTS LOHMANN Therapie Systeme AG. Dr. Luessen is also co-founder of a number of other companies including Dendropharm, Atriva Therapeutics and ICA Aesthetic Navigation.
Dr. Luessen holds a Ph.D. from Leiden/Amsterdam Center of Drug Research in Pharmaceutical Technology, funded by the German National Scholarship Foundation. He graduated as a Pharmacist at University of Hamburg and holds a certification as a Dutch Pharmacist.
Sapreme Appoints Björn Cochlovius as Chairman of its Board of Directors
Utrecht, The Netherlands, December 17, 2020 – Sapreme, a biotechnology company focused on improving the delivery and efficacy of macromolecule therapeutics, today announced the establishment of its independent Board of Directors by the appointment of Björn Cochlovius, Ph.D., as Chairman of the Board, effective immediately.
“Björn is a pharma industry veteran with both a deep understanding of oncology research and antibody engineering as well as a strong track record of creating value by leading and executing business transactions. Björn’s appointment is particularly timely as his extensive knowledge will aid the advancement of our technology platform through late preclinical development. He will be key in advising the Company in ongoing interactions with potential partners and identifying strategic opportunities that will further validate our approach,” stated Guy Hermans, Chief Executive Officer of Sapreme.
“Sapreme is developing a unique technology that has the potential to be applied to both antibody-conjugated toxins and oligonucleotide therapeutics,”stated Björn Cochlovius, Chairman of Sapreme’s Board of Directors. “I have observed the rapid evolvement of the Company and am impressed by how far the team has come to date. I look forward to supporting the accelerated development of Sapreme’s promising technology with vast potential.”
Dr. Cochlovius brings over two decades of drug discovery, clinical development, commercial and business development experience from the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board at Isogenica, an antibody discovery biotechnology company specialized in single-domain antibody therapeutics. Additionally, Dr. Cochlovius is Acting Chairman at Karolinska Development, the investment arm of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and Associate Professor Immunology at the Reprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg. Earlier in his career, he held various senior research and development positions, as well as business development and strategic positions at Abbvie Inc., Otsuka, Roche AG, Affitech AS, and others. Dr. Cochlovius began his career developing diabodies and tandem diabodies, or fully recombinant bispecific antibodies, and holds a PhD in Immunology and Oncology from the Universität des Saarlandes.
Sapreme Appoints Miriam Bujny as Chief Development Officer
UTRECHT, The Netherlands, October 27, 2020 – Sapreme, a biotechnology company focused on improving the delivery and efficacy of macromolecule therapeutics, today announced the appointment of Miriam Bujny, Ph.D., as Chief Development Officer. With over ten years of experience in drug discovery, translational science and early stage clinical development, Dr. Bujny will apply her expertise in RNA and antibody therapeutic development to further advance Sapreme’s proprietary endosomal escape platform through preclinical development. Dr. Bujny will be based at Sapreme’s headquarters in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and will report to the CEO.
“Throughout my career, I have seen the limitations of developing promising therapeutic candidates due to the lack of delivery into key cells,” commented Dr. Bujny, Chief Development Officer of Sapreme. “Sapreme is developing a promising platform, that has the ability to improve the delivery and thereby the efficacy for a broad range of macromolecules such as antibody-conjugated toxins and antisense oligonucleotides. I look forward to applying my experience and knowledge toward Sapreme’s mission of developing next-generation macromolecule therapeutics.”
Commenting on the appointment, Guy Hermans, Chief Executive Officer of Sapreme said, “After recently announcing positive preclinical data on our proprietary endosomal escape platform, we are now concentrated on building out our team to accelerate the development of our compounds and identifying the full potential of our platform in the different therapeutic areas. Miriam’s experience in drug discovery and development as well as her demonstrated ability to strategically and operationally lead projects toward the next stage of development will be a valuable asset to us. We welcome Miriam to the team and look forward to working with her.”
Over the last ten years, Dr. Bujny has held leadership positions in various drug discovery and clinical development roles. Prior to joining Sapreme, Miriam worked at ProQR Therapeutics, a Dutch biotech company developing RNA therapies for severe genetic disorders, as Senior Director R&D. During her time at ProQR, she led the early development activities for a novel RNA therapy for Fuchs’ endothelial corneal dystrophy, a common inherited eye disease, from lead candidate optimization toward clinical development preparations. She also headed the Translational Science department and oversaw biomarker and assay development activities across a variety of RNA therapy programs for rare diseases. From 2012 to 2016, she worked in various roles for Janssen, part of the Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, where she established and headed the predictive biomarker department at the Janssen Prevention Center. Before that, she worked on anti-viral antibody therapy development and contributed to early clinical development as preclinical in vitro lead. Prior to this, Miriam worked at Crucell, before its acquisition by Johnson & Johnson, in the Innovation & Discovery Labs on antibody discovery and engineering.
Dr. Bujny holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Bristol with a specialization in endosomal transport. She completed postdoctoral training in the lab of Dr. Xiaowei Zhuang at Harvard University, specializing in developing imaging methods in order to apply them to biomedical questions.
Sapreme Unveils its Proprietary Endosomal Escape Platform in Presentations at 16th Annual Meeting of Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society
UTRECHT, The Netherlands, September 28, 2020–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sapreme, a biotechnology company focused on improving the delivery and efficacy of macromolecule therapeutics, today announced positive preclinical data on its proprietary endosomal escape platform in two presentations at the 16th Annual Meeting of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society (OTS), held virtually from September 27th to 30th, 2020.
Sapreme is developing macromolecule delivery methods based on compounds that release therapeutic cargo from the endo-lysosome, improving access to intracellular targets and enhancing the therapeutic window for these therapeutics. Current macromolecular biologics rely on receptor-mediated endocytic uptake into the endosome and inefficient passive release from these vesicles into the cell to achieve therapeutic efficacy. The company’s presentations demonstrate that Sapreme’s SPT001 compound improves intracellular release of targeted antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) and thereby also their therapeutic efficacy. In addition to ASOs, SPT001 has also been demonstrated to enhance delivery of other targeted payloads such as antibody-conjugated toxins.
“The data presented today underscore the broad potential of our platform to overcome endosomal entrapment and improve the therapeutic window of macromolecule therapeutics,” stated Guy Hermans, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Sapreme. “We are encouraged to see that conjugating SPT001 to liver or tumor targeted ASOs leads to significantly improved silencing, with positive implications for development of metabolic syndrome and oncology targeting drug developments. These results support the further development of SPT001 as the delivery mechanism of choice for future intracellularly active macromolecular drug candidates.”
The presentations are available on demand at the 16th Annual Meeting of the OTS conference website through this link.
The full text press release is available here.