Stimulating news from the VIB spin-off front

19 January 2018

​Our spin-offs – 19 in total – are in constant motion. That’s only logical: like every healthy start-up, each is busy building partnerships, looking for additional funding and developing groundbreaking solutions. Let’s take a brief look at what three of them have been up to during the last couple of months.

Confo Therapeutics joins forces with Lundbeck
VIB-VUB spin-off Confo Therapeutics is teaming up with Lundbeck, a global pharma company specializing in neuroscience research and development. Confo Therapeutics was originally founded on its patented Confo technology, which enables the stabilization of active GPCRs, thereby facilitating the drug discovery quest.

The partners aim to use the Confo technology to discover new therapies for schizophrenia, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Johan Cardoen, VIB Managing Director: “This deal is not only important to developing medicines; it is also an appreciation and validation of the technology, knowledge and team of Confo Therapeutics. We are very proud of our spin-off.”

Mycartis’ new evalution technology prepares for take-off
Last August, Mycartis raised EUR 10 million to expand its multiplexed immuno-assay platform. Simultanuously, the company obtained a EUR 1.15 million R&D subsidy from VLAIO – Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

MyCartis was founded in 2014 as a merger between a technological division of Biocartis and the VIB-UGent spin-off Pronota. The diagnostics company develops a platform to simultanuously quantify several biomarkers. Its flagship product is the EVALUTION™ technology, which allows researchers to analyze patient samples more quickly as to identify proteins and monitor diseases in a more efficient way.

Philippe Stas, CEO MyCartis: “The financial injection confirms that our shareholders support the continued development of diagnostic tools. On top of that, the innovative character of MyCartis was recognized in the form of extra funding from VLAIO, allowing us to expand our research efforts.”

(On)curious about next-generation drug development?
Oncurious, a ThromboGenics-VIB joint venture specialized in innovative cancer treatments, acquired exclusive licenses for five next-generation immune oncology assets. Those are based on the work of the Massimiliano Mazzone Lab (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology), the Gabriele Bergers Lab (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology) and the Jo Van Ginderachter Lab (VIB Center for Inflammations research at VUB).

“There are many synergies between the assets, so it makes sense to develop them all within one company,” explains Johan Cardoen. “As a venture partner of Oncurious, we are looking forward to taking the spin-off to the next level.” The VIB Discovery Sciences team will take the lead in the new projects, which are aimed at developing drugs that target a broad spectrum of cancers.