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UPF spinoff Integra Therapeutics obtains 4.5 million euros to develop its genetic editing technology

UPF spinoff Integra Therapeutics obtains 4.5 million euros to develop its genetic editing technology

Investment funds Takeda Ventures, Advent France Biotechnology and Invivo Capital have invested in the company, which is working on a technology platform to improve the effectiveness and safety of advanced therapies.

02.12.2021

Imatge inicial

The UPF spinoff Integra Therapeutics, which develops state-of-the-art genetic engineering technologies, has received an investment of 4.5 million euros to boost its business. Capital funds specializing in the health sector, Takeda Ventures, Advent France Biotechnology and Invivo Capital, have participated in this round of financing.

The company is working on a technology platform for writing genes for clinical application, which will improve the effectiveness and safety of advanced therapies aimed at both preventing and treating genetic diseases and some types of cancer. It proposes adding a good condition copy of the damaged gene to the genome of the patient so that it regains its normal function and the disease remits.

“Thanks to the investors’ support we can continue to develop this technology with a high potential for curing diseases that currently have no treatment”

The technology has been developed in recent years by the Translational Synthetic Biology Research Group at the UPF Department of Experimental and Health Sciences (DCEXS). The company co-founders are the leader of the research group and Integra Therapeutics scientific director, Marc Güell, and the researcher Avencia Sánchez-Mejías, who serves as CEO and completes the company management team. Carles Taulé, transfer technician of the research group, supports the business area.

Boost to technological development and preclinical validation

The injection of capital will fund the company’s activities over the coming two years, during which Integra Therapeutics will finalize the prototype and both ex vivo and in vivo preclinical validation of the technology platform. “We are very grateful for the confidence of our investors. Thanks to their support we will be able to continue to develop this technology made-in-UPF with a high potential for curing diseases that currently have no treatment”, Sánchez-Mejías states.

The company provides “a response to the need for genomic writing technologies of proven effectiveness and safety”

Thus, the investment will also allow the company access to a committee of specialized advisers, both in technical and business matters, and will also expand its team with business development profiles with experience in the field of advanced therapies”, the CEO explains.

Improving the effectiveness and safety of advanced therapies

Regarding the advanced therapies currently used, Integra Therapeutics’ technology “allows working with large genes more efficiently and also gain precise control of the insertion site”, Marc Güell points out. Thus the company provides “a response to the need for genomic writing technologies of proven effectiveness and safety”, he adds.

How does it achieve this? The company’s proposal “combines the precision of modern systems such as CRISPR with the effectiveness of the most classic gene transfer methods, such as integrases and transposases”, the researcher outlines. It is a “highly universal” system, Güell continues: “it is useful with any type of gene, but we have focused on diseases in which therapy requires the addition of a large gene because our technology has a differential capacity from that currently available”.

Support for technology transfer

UPF has supported the creation of the company in view of its commitment to transfer knowledge and technology to society. It has done so via its transfer office, the Innovation Unit – UPF Business Shuttle, and the innovation management company, UPF Ventures, driven and participated in by the University itself.

In recent years, the technology on which Integra Therapeutics is based has received the impetus of various programmes to promote knowledge transfer, such as the initiatives of “la Caixa” and Caixa Capital Risc Caixaimpulse Validate and Consolidate; the programmes of the Catalan Government Innovators and Knowledge Industry; and the UPF programme to support applied research and proofs of concept UPF INNOValora.

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