Apta have created a new generation of special molecules – a type of ‘affinity reagent’ – called Seligos and are in the process of using their advantages to create new products across the life sciences. Affinity reagents bind to specifically targeted cells in order to identify, track, capture and influence their activity for the benefit of identifying and treating disease.
Medical research, diagnostics and therapeutics are multi-billion dollar markets, into which Apta Biosciences is bringing breakthrough, disruptive technology that has the potential to transform the life sciences and healthcare industries.
The team developing this market-leading technology is not only highly experienced but has a very strong global network, meaning Apta has already formed numerous partnerships – with Sysmex in Japan, Karolinska in Sweden, CRT UK and the Danish Cancer Society, to name just a few. Apta seeks to retain core IP around end products, even if they are developed in collaboration with others.
Prof Teodoro Forcht-Dagi – an Executive Director of Apta – has held a number of high profile positions spanning academia, clinical medicine, biopharma and venture capital. He holds academic appointments at Harvard Medical School, Harvard Business School, MIT and Queen’s University Belfast and has chaired scientific advisory boards of large corporations in North America and Europe such as Lundbeck and Dupont. Prof Dagi has been an incredibly successful venture capitalist, investing £17m in 11 early-stage companies focused on healthcare and the life sciences, yielding more than a 300x increase in value. Just four of these companies returned over $6 billion in value to investors as public companies. Sacrificing current commitments, he will spend 1/3rd of his time with Apta Biosciences.
Current affinity reagents technologies rely heavily on antibodies – a 40 year old technology – which suffers from inefficiencies of cost and production scale, and a number of further limitations that restrict their application. Nevertheless, the top 15 antibody-based drug providers earned a combined $150bn in 2014 – and when you add that to antibodies used across research and diagnostics – it’s a large market that Apta Biosciences is looking to disrupt.
Apta have developed a new class of bespoke synthetic molecules called Seligos that are demonstrably advantageous over current affinity reagents for many applications. It is chiefly because of Seligos’ ability to bind and influence targets of interest in unique ways, enhanced by the ease of customisation and design, that makes them superior to other affinity reagents for many applications. Other benefits include more rapid results, increased sensitivity and accuracy, temperature stability, lower component and reagent costs and a longer shelf life.
Seligos offer the scope to considerably advance global research capabilities and enable the discovery of new drugs, for example antibiotics.
Apta listed its last funding round on SyndicateRoom at a valuation of £3m. Apta are on track with their business plan, with the company continuing to go from strength to strength, to justify its now £7.1m valuation. The lead investor from the last round – Ranworth Capital – are following their money again in this round. This round, however, is being led by investors new the company: The Danish Business Angels Fund, which includes members of the Business Angels Copenhagen, as well as senior executives from the life sciences.
John Bo Jacobsen, on behalf of the Danish Business Angel Fund (London), says of Apta:
“Apta is an extremely exciting approach, with the potential to spawn an entire new area of biology. Much as antibodies did 40 years ago. What they’ve basically done is to replicate all the good things about antibodies – their precise binding activity and basic performance – but worked out how to make them totally synthetically, which immediately means huge cost savings in a c.$100bn industry. But really excitingly, that they can design and engineer their molecules to go after totally new targets in a way we’ve never done before, and is impossible with protein-based approaches. Any one of which could deliver enormous returns.”