In selecting our portfolio companies, we consider programs related to Biogen Idec’s internal areas of focus (neurology, immunology, oncology, and cardiopulmonary) while also looking for ideas that provide us a way to move efficiently into new, emerging biologies that address significant unmet medical needs.
Each of our current investments represents an ideal fit for thebi³model: innovative biology with a precise therapeutic focus; a program beyond the basic research phase but still on the early side of venture capital investment; and a disciplined research plan that is aimed at getting a novel molecule into the clinic within two to three years.
Escoublac was founded based on the discovery by Gerard Karsenty, MD, PhD, professor and chair of Genetics & Development at Columbia University Medical Center, of a new link between bone biology and metabolism. The company’s objective is to explore whether this finding can be translated into new treatments for metabolic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Escoublac’s research focus will build on Dr. Karsenty’s discovery that osteocalcin, a protein found in bone and dentin, plays a role in energy metabolism and related disorders. The results of his research, published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Cell , demonstrated that osteocalcin stimulated the production of insulin, encouraged weight loss, increased the production of insulin-generating beta cells, and improved sensitivity to insulin. This research suggests a paradigm shift in the treatment of diabetes, and Escoublac is interested in the commercial value of developing a drug to support this shift.
For more information about Escoublac, please visit www.escoublac.com .
Provasculon was founded to exploit the discovery by Richard Lee, MD, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School, and Vincent Segers, MD, a researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, of novel forms of the growth factor Stromal Cell-Derived Factor-1 (SDF-1).
SDF-1 is a well characterized chemokine for attracting stem cells and represents a novel approach for tissue regeneration. A key limitation for therapeutic use of SDF-1 is that it is inactivated by enzymes that are present in injured tissues. Provasculon has licensed new forms of SDF-1 from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital that in a paper published in the scientific journal Circulation have been shown to resist inactivation. These new forms represent potential therapies for cardiovascular disease and diabetic ulcers, among other indications.
For more information about Provasculon, please visit www.provasculon.com .