August brought us exciting news from 3 VUB spin-offs: eTheRNA, Fertiga and Precirix. They are active in the health sector and develop life-changing innovations. With this pioneering research and through the support of VUB TechTransfer, the VUB tackles today’s challenges and creates an impact on society.

Picture: Precirix CEO Ruth Devenyns with CSO/Co-founder Tony Lahoutte.

Off-the-shelf products for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases

eTheRNA is a clinical-stage company developing mRNA-based immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Its mission is to satisfy poorly met medical needs in global cancer and infectious disease patient populations through research and development of RNA-based therapies. A team of biotech professionals wants to expand and apply its proprietary technologies to discover and develop patient-friendly and cost-effective treatments.

The spin-off is now expanding its international presence with the opening of a new office in Hong Kong, to support and build on its growing activities in China and broader Asia-Pacific.

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One try, one child

Fertiga is a spin-off company from one of the global IVF leading centers, UZ Brussel in Belgium. UZ Brussel has been pioneering in IVF, with the first ICSI baby worldwide born in 1992 from the Center of Reproductive Medicine of UZ Brussels.

Fertiga is developing the Aurora test that doubles the chances of becoming pregnant after just one fertility treatment: it improves the prediction of which egg has the highest potential to pregnancy. 

The company is currently planning a large-scale randomized clinical trial with patients from fertility centers in several different countries. The results of this study will hopefully help convince governments to make the test refundable for would-be parents.

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Precision radiopharmaceuticals for cancer treatment

A new drug that can identify tumors, trace metastases, and treat cancer all in one? Precirix is aiming high with its lead compound – a precision radiopharmaceutical using camelid antibodies to bind to, and irradiate, cancer cells. The company is part of a shift in oncology from classical treatments towards targeted therapies; radiation delivered through drugs (radiopharmaceuticals) which are capable of accurately binding to cancer cells and killing them, while leaving healthy tissues alone.

Precirix now signed an agreement with 3P Biopharmaceuticals S.L.U. (3P), a leading CDMO based in Spain specializing in process development and GMP manufacturing of biological products, for the clinical manufacturing of a camelid single domain antibody fragment (sdAb), the backbone of Precirix’ next product candidate to enter the clinic. 

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