Company News: Life Science Inkubator (LSI) Bonn for the first time supports pharma industry spin-out

— Merck spin-off Silvacx receives seed financing of almost EUR 2 million

Life Science Inkubator GmbH (LSI) for the first time supports a research project originating from a pharma company. The project called Silvacx is a spin-off from Merck AG and is developing novel delivery technologies for cancer immunotherapy.

The Silvacx team headed by Armin Kuebelbeck (previously Merck KGaA) also received public funding totaling EUR 1.93 million from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia´s Ministry of Culture and Science, which will be dedicated to further research and development activities over the next three years. Subsequently, clinical evaluation of the platform technology is planned.

The Silvacx technology licensed from Merck is based on silicon dioxide nanoparticles, which will be used as efficient and cost-effective delivery material for therapeutic cancer vaccines. Specific antigens can be attached to the surface of the nanoparticles, thereby triggering a targeted activation of the immune system of cancer patients against tumor cells.

Following promising preclinical studies, the project, which originated at Merck, was discontinued for strategic reasons. Project leader and co-inventor Armin Kuebelbeck and his team subsequently secured an exclusive technology license.

„We are excited that our project can be continued and further advanced at LSI,“ said Armin Kuebelbeck. „We believe there is a broad range of potential application areas for our approach, especially in personalized cancer therapy, and we aim to establish a solid foundation for our technology.“

„We are delighted to provide the Silvacx team with project funding and access to our infrastructure,“ said Dr. Joerg Fregien, Managing Director of LSI. „Following comprehensive due diligence, we concluded that this is a highly attractive platform technology which can be of considerable importance for immuno-oncology and beyond.“

Since its foundation eight years ago, Life Science Incubator Bonn so far exclusively supported projects based on academic ideas and research. One of the first projects –  a spin-out from Goettingen University, Germany – was Neuway Pharma GmbH, a company with a current headcount of more than 20 employees.