Pharma Focus Europe

EureKARE co-founds EonBio to revolutionize drug discovery with pioneering cell-free technology on a chip

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

eureKARE, an innovative investment company for disruptive synthetic biology applications, announces the second company to be supported and housed in its biomedical start-up studio in Brussels, Belgium. EonBio is developing a cutting-edge platform to address high unmet medical needs by reconstructing intricate bioproduction systems akin to the ones found in living cells. By engineering living material on silicon chips, the complex synthesis of proteins, metabolites, and other useful biomaterials can be streamlined and scaled. Referred to as “cell-free technology on a chip”, this cutting-edge platform has multiple potential applications in drug discovery, design and development as well as in biomanufacturing.

EonBio was co-founded by eureKARE and Yeda, the commercial arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. The company has an exclusive license from Yeda for the "cell-free technology" platform developed by world-renowned synthetic biology leader, Prof Roy Bar-Ziv, and his team, including senior staff scientist Dr. Shirley Daube, and other colleagues. Prof Bar-Ziv was the winner of the eureKAWARDS 2021, a science-based pitch contest aimed at discovering and supporting pioneering synthetic biology projects. His lab’s project, integrating physics and biology, was praised by the jury for its scientific excellence and highly disruptive approach to many medical challenges. By being able to recreate some of the specific pieces of cellular machinery on silicon chips without the unwanted interferences usually found in real, living cells we can expect to drastically accelerate the pace of therapeutic innovation.

Drug discovery, the process of exploring potential new medicines, is at the heart of R&D efforts of pharma and biotech companies around the world. Although the global drug discovery market is expected to continue growing — with projections to reach $120.8 billion by 2030 at an annual growth rate of 9.16% —, finding and developing novel and effective drugs is still costly and time consuming. But what if it didn’t have to be? Experts have realized that new tools and methodologies have the potential to revolutionize drug discovery, design and development, enabling the industry to produce more effective medicines faster and more economically.

eureKARE’s Biomedical Start-up Studio
eureKARE’s biomedical start-up studio is focused on creating the next generation of cell and gene therapies using disruptive synthetic biology tools and approaches. The studio in Belgium is part of eureKARE’s synthetic biology studio network, a new model of start-up creation and development which nurtures high-quality European synthetic biology. It acts as a catalyst, enabling scientists to transform their discoveries into ground-breaking businesses. eureKARE aims to nurture young innovations into successful companies, empowering scientists with the right resources, access to funding, as well as both academic and scientific know-how.

Alexandre Mouradian, Chairman, Founder, and Chief Executive Officer of eureKARE, commented: “I am delighted to welcome EonBio and Prof Bar-Ziv to our biomedical start-up studio. Beyond investing in scientific projects and building new start-ups, eureKARE seeks to build synergies with leading institutions and researchers that share similar values, mission and vision to make an impact on tomorrow through synthetic biology.”

Dr. Georges Rawadi, Chief of Biotech Studio Development at eureKARE, commented: “I am thrilled to be working with the highly-talented Prof Bar-Ziv and the Weizmann Institute of Science − one of the world’s leading research institutions with a long and extremely successful history of technology transfer. I look forward to equipping EonBio with the necessary resources and business expertise to boost it from proof-of-concept to industry game-changer.”

Prof Bar-Ziv, Department of Chemical & Biological Physics at the Weizmann Institute of Science, commented: “After many years of dedicated research, we are honored to join forces with eureKARE in launching EonBio. Our mission is to apply insights from our lab to drive advancements in Pharma R&D. EonBio’s advanced synthetic cell-free platform has the potential to transform the way pharmaceutical companies approach drug discovery, vaccine development, and bioproduction, making it a valuable tool in the pursuit of more effective therapeutics.”

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