Swiss Accelerator: Three successful submissions in first round
We are thrilled to share the exciting news of our clients’ success in the Innosuisse Swiss Accelerator. Innosuisse launched a call for projects for the Swiss Accelerator in 2022 as a transitional measure for Horizon Europe. Following a three-stage evaluation process, Alentis Therapeutics, Planted, and Gain Therapeutics were awarded funding by Innosuisse for their innovation projects. Catalyze is proud to have supported these successful submissions to the Swiss Accelerator program. You can read more about these highly innovative projects below.
Over 890,000 people are diagnosed with squamous head and neck cancers (HNCs) worldwide every year with a median survival rate of just 6-15 months following diagnosis. In the last 10 years, Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors (ICPIs) have improved treatment for advanced/metastatic cancers like HNC, delivering greater survival benefits than the conventional standard of care. Patients who are not responsive to these therapies undergo systemic therapy with checkpoint inhibitors (CPIs) solely or in combination with chemotherapy. While ICPIs like Keytruda and Opdivo have shown some promise, 80-85% of patients do not respond due to tumour resistance and patients experience serious side effects, while over half will relapse within two years.
Biopharmaceutical company Alentis will use Swiss Accelerator funding to conduct a Phase 1b clinical trial to develop its proprietary, first-in-class monoclonal antibody, ALE.C04, to treat improve the efficacy of ICPIs and better treat HNC patients. This novel therapeutic antibody selectively targets and reprograms solid tumours via multiple mechanisms of action to reduce cancer progression. ALE.C04 can be scaled in future to effectively treat other cancer types including colorectal, non-small-cell lung and oesophageal, bringing life-saving treatments to patients suffering from these lethal cancers.
Planted is a Swiss FoodTech startup founded in 2019 that combines proprietary structuring and fermentation technologies to produce meat from plant proteins, focusing on delicious taste, meaty and juicy texture, while only using natural ingredients. Planted meats have already seen remarkable success and are available in over 5000 restaurants and more than 6000 retail outlets across Europe.
With a vision to go beyond state-of-the-art and drive a significant shift in consumer choices, Planted is setting a completely new standard in the plant-based category by firstly focusing on using no additives in all their products and secondly developing technologies further to produce clean-label whole-cut meats.
Their awarded Swiss Accelerator project, a plant-based steak, will allow Planted to further push acceleration of this latest fermented clean label whole-cut product. With the Swiss Accelerator support, Planted’s biotech team will be able to further prove scalability and enable soon-enough market launch.
Since 2017, GAIN Therapeutics has been at the forefront of treating protein misfolding diseases. Using a proprietary computational drug discovery platform (SEE-Tx®) GAIN can identify novel allosteric target sites that have high therapeutic potential, leading to a diversified pipeline for diseases with a high unmet need for revolutionary therapeutics.
As part of their GBA1 project, GAIN is targeting Parkinson’s Disease (PD) associated with misfolded Glucocerobrosidase (GCase) enzyme. GAIN has created a brain penetrating small molecule oral drug (GT-02287) that restores GCase function, enabling a neuroprotective effect that delays onset and slows progression, with the potential to help over 10 million PD patients globally.
With the award of their Swiss Accelerator grant, GAIN can continue the further development of GT-02287 with activities necessary to begin first-in-patients clinical trials. This was the third successful collaboration between GAIN Therapeutics and Catalyze after winning two Eurostars grants in 2019 and 2022.