Discovering Biotech Startups: A map for Selling to Abtelum Biomedical


Written by:
David Wilkerson

We are going right along with the new branch of the Sponsor Atlas series, which focuses on young pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that are in early stages or stealth mode. In the next edition of Sponsor Atlas: Discovering Biotech Startups, we’re looking at Abtelum Biomedical, exploring the current affairs and future orientation of this emerging Massachusetts - based stealth biotech startup. To accomplish this, we will give a business overview of their current operations, summarize their outsourcing needs, map out their development goals and decision-makers, and highlight their current strategies for capturing innovation. If you haven’t already read our other blogs on new biotech startups, be sure to check them out here

Abtelum Biomedical, Inc. is a Boston University spinout developing ABTM-468, a lead hinge-stabilized IgG4S228P humanized-optimized antibody therapy that inhibits a novel protein target, Dual Endothelin-1/signal peptide Receptor (DEspR), and exhibited preclinical survival benefit and safety in models of pancreatic carcinomatosis and spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (sICH). [1] We’re excited about this company and from first glance, we believe they are going to have some very successful clinical trials in the near future. 

Business Overview

Abtelum Biomedical, Inc. does not currently have any registered trademarks, or even an operating website other than a simple landing page with contact information for when they do decide to go public. Abtelum’s principal place of business is 175 Briar Ln., Westwood, MA 02090. Abtelum Biomedical is located in Westwood, Massachusetts. This company primarily operates in the Proprietary Drug Products industry, and our current estimates show they generate $171,329 in annual revenues, and employ approximately 4 people at this single location. 

The business was registered in Massachusetts as a C-Corp with an incorporation date of 7/23/2015, and a registered agent address through United States Corporation Agents, Inc. in MA. During stealth mode, Abtelum was awarded a Phase 1 SBIR grant of $299,979 on 4/1/2018 for developing a novel targeted therapy for pancreatic cancer. Vitalex has already received this award to further their research efforts, and we believe they are in a decent position to outsource some of their downstream development and manufacturing work in the upcoming months.

Outsourcing History

Abtelum Biomedical doesn’t have a lot of information on their current outsourcing needs, but considering their recent grant funding, they are in a great position to outsource a ton of work. The company is still early in development but they do have a lead candidate, ABTM-468, already progressing through their pipeline, with more on that in the next section. Their prospective pipeline will consist of therapies for treating multiple types of cancerous, traumatic, and cardiovascular diseases. Any experience with these types of conditions and the technologies around it would be of tremendous benefit to Abtelum at this point in time.   

While they begin working through the usual steps to reach IND, we think business development teams in the realms of large molecule CMOs, custom antibody development and manufacturing services, and preclinical CROs specializing in animal model development for pancreatic cancer and sICH-stroke should have Abtelum on their radar over the next few years.  

Abtelum’s Pipeline and R&D Focus

Abtelum Biomedical, Inc. is a Boston University spinout developing ABTM-468, a lead hinge-stabilized IgG4S228P humanized-optimized antibody therapy that inhibits a novel protein target, Dual Endothelin-1/signal peptide Receptor (DEspR), and exhibited preclinical survival benefit and safety in models of pancreatic carcinomatosis and spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (sICH). DEspR promotes maladaptive survival of cancer stem cells underlying metastasis and of rogue activated neutrophils driving secondary brain injury in hemorrhagic stroke, actions blocked by ABTM-468. Backed by four patent families, ABTM-468 is ready for preclinical and clinical development. With an NIH SBIR Phase I grant for pancreatic cancer, Abtelum is seeking partners for funding and/or collaborations to accelerate IND-enabling experiments and clinical development of a potential first-in-class antibody therapeutic for pancreatic cancer and sICH-stroke. [2]  

Looking towards an IND filing, Abtelum will test whether ABT-468 dose-dependently increases overall survival better than the standard of care drug gemcitabine as well as placebo controls, and even more importantly, whether DEspR mechanism-based biomarkers correlate with any treatment response, to facilitate translation into the clinic. Survival-efficacy studies will be done in two CSC-derived xenograft (CDX) PPM nude rat models in both sexes. Abtelum will also work towards studying the anti-DEspR ABT-468 mechanism of action in vivo by elucidating its target engagement on tumor cells, microvessels, and neutrophils in advanced stage primary PDAC+PPM tumors, and also by determining the tumor bioeffects on induction of apoptosis in invasive and bulk tumor cells as expected from ABT-468's mechanism of action. Completion of these aims will attain IND-enabling experiments to advance ABT-468 as a novel therapy for PDAC with no chemotherapy-like toxicities and for other cancers as well.

This research aims to advance the translation to the clinic of a potential first-in-class fully humanized anti- DEspR antibody, ABT-468, as novel cancer therapy with a three-pronged mechanism of action which inhibits key players in metastasis: cancer stem cells (CSC), tumor blood vessel formation, and activated neutrophils which promote tumor cell invasiveness and immune-evasion. We propose to rigorously test ABT-468 in a CSC-derived xenograft tumor model pancreatic peritoneal metastasis, which has no curative- intent therapy. Completion of this SBIR Phase I will attain key milestones towards IND-filing for ABT-468, in order to advance translation to the clinic for PDAC, and in the future, therapy for other metastatic cancers. [3]

Some of the ways business development teams can get their foot in the door at Abtelum, besides the early development work, would be to help with their preclinical portion of the research, including animal model development, continued toxicology and safety assessments, as well as bioanalytical testing, formulation development and even early pilot manufacturing for any of their potential drug candidates. 

Decision Making

  • Dr. Nelson Ruiz-Opazo - President of Abtelum Biomedical, is professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University. His expertise includes molecular biology and genetics, and he’s authored over 100 scientific publications of his own research at Boston University as well as with other research teams from around the world. [4]
  • Dr. Victoria Herrera - Scientific Director of Abtelum Biomedical, is professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Herrera’s laboratory studies the basic molecular mechanisms regulating hypertension. She’s authored close to 50 scientific publications with over 3,000 citations within the current scientific community. [5

Innovation

Abtelum’s cutting edge technology is held to date by the Trustees of Boston University with the principals of Abtelum Biomedical as the designated inventors. Backed by four patent families, ABTM-468 is ready for preclinical and clinical development. With an NIH SBIR Phase I grant for pancreatic cancer, and Abtelum is seeking partners for funding and or collaborations to accelerate IND-enabling experiments and clinical development of a potential first-in-class antibody therapeutic for pancreatic cancer and sICH-stroke. With their deep knowledge of antibody development and by using many of the new technologies in their field, Abtelum Biomedical is going to make some unprecedented discoveries in cancer and cardiovascular fields. 

While it’s still fairly difficult to determine what Abtelum Biomedical will have to offer during stealth mode, they have a nice amount of funding, and with the scientific backgrounds of the executive team, we think they are on track to create some major breakthroughs in the biotech industry over the next few years. Be sure to keep Abtelum on your contact list and look out for our next edition in this series coming soon.

How can I find new biotech startups?

If you would like a simple solution for keeping an eye on drug sponsor companies, like Abtelum Biomedical, without relying on a database and generic lists of leads each week, we at Zymewire are here to help. Reach out today, and stay tuned for the next installment of the Sponsor Atlas: Discovering new Biotechs. If you enjoy these articles, please feel free to give them a share through the social links below!

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