SynCell Biotechnology – 14 October
SynCell understands the pain and grief of losing a loved one due to antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection which has propelled them on a fight to prevent the crisis that will undoubtedly claim many more lives. Bacteria evolves, while conventional antibiotics don’t. However, SynCell has proposed a solution to this conundrum.
SynCell utilizes the very bacteria that cause infections to produce the very same therapy to treat them. Using bacteria as biofactories, SynCell synthesizes nanomaterials with antimicrobial properties that can be applied as both broad and narrow spectrum antibiotics. The process is cost-effective, eco-friendly, quick and most significantly, prevents further resistance to the treatment.
As of currently, SynCell’s main competitors are traditional antibiotics. Since it is still too early to distinguish the threat that Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) represents, many people are inclined to overuse every kind of antibiotic to treat almost everything. This situation will not be sustainable at a medium period but nevertheless, the use of antibiotics is the only option as there hasn’t been any real competitors without causing resistance, until now.
In SynCell’s similar space, there are few companies that utilize silver for topical bacterial inhibition and wound healing. However, SynCell’s data suggests that they can effectively kill the bacteria all in part due to their selective property, as well as prevent resistance compared to their therapeutic competitions.
SynCell is a start-up originating from Northeastern University, Boston, where many of their co-founders are still currently working/studying. SynCell is still heavily related and supported by Northeastern, but is actively looking to be entirely independent soon.
SynCell has been funded through numerous grants and funds from both the University and National Institutes. These funds have been utilized to finalize proof of concept data package, process and analytical developments, and preclinical completion. SynCell looks to proceed with animal studies very soon, followed by clinical trials within the next couple of years. At the same time, SynCell looks to finalize its independent manufacturing and research space for scale-up and R&D.
Being that SynCell’s product is a drug, it is necessary that it passes through different kinds of test prior to commercialization. Based on the date the lab is obtaining day by day, it will be a question of time, but all the while, SynCell plans to continue working to improve their methods whilst allowing the correspondent agencies to collect as much information and data as needed. For those reasons, SynCell’s biggest hurdles to overcome in the following year involve fast-tracking the regulatory requirements; and in doing so, they plan to expand their ability to generate data. Simultaneously, their other challenge surrounds patient education and acquisition – getting people to understand the problem and recognizing SynCell’s solution.
David Medina, Co-Founder – Equipped with a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineer at Northeastern University in Boston, David has also been studying green nanotechnology and application of nanoparticles onto various biomedical fields, including antimicrobial, anticancerous, and anticorrosive/antioxidative properties.
Denny Truong, Co-Founder – Denny is an MS student in Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston. His acumen of experiences includes Downstream Processing, Formulation, Process Development, and Analytical Development, working with numerous modalities of therapeutics.
Ada Vernet, Co-Founder – Ada is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston. Ada works on a wide array of nanomaterials made of the rare element tellurium, their synthesis approaches, and their applications in cancer research.
Junjiang Chen, Co-Founder – Junjiang holds a Ph.D. at the Department of Chemical Engineering at Syracuse University and did his masters at Northeastern University.
Alfredo Cabañero, Co-Founder – Among his role, Alfredo is also a mechanical engineer, and entrepreneur in Spain in the energy and renewables space.
Thomas Webster, Co-Founder, Director, and Professor at Northeastern University – Professor Webster’s focus of research involve design, synthesis, and evaluation of nanomaterials for various medical applications, including self-assembled chemistries, nanoparticles, nanotubes, and nanostructured surfaces
Gary Magnant – Businessman oriented to bioscience and healthcare, Gary is the currently CEO of Triple Sharp Venture Engineering, LLC, co-Founder and former CEO of Thrive Bioscience, Inc., Sage Science, Inc., and Owl Scientific (now part of Thermo Fisher), having numerous patents and inventions in the biomedical field.
Whitney Herchek, Co-Founder, Advisor and Consultant at Boston MedTech Advisors – Whitney has experience in guiding an innovative idea to product, including 8 years of R&D Director and 2 years of Engineering Consultant.
Although not actively raising capital at the moment, Syncell is in the process of preparing their Go to Market plan along with their detailed business proposal. Afterward, it will become clear when and how they plan to raise capital. With that being said, they are always open to any conversations and opportunities.
SynCell believes in the importance of knowledge. For them, the priority challenge they have to overcome is educating people on the enormous crisis that AMR could present in the near future. Thus, with the secured funding, the company plans to use it to finish the base of the business and reach the general public. Further funding activities would include:
- Marketing/Customer Acquisition
- Infrastructure (Lab Space, Manufacturing space, Personnel, Equipment, etc.)
- Animal Studies (Cytotoxicity and Pharmacokinetics)
- In Vivo Validation
- Clinical Trial Planning
In the beginning, SynCell received small inversion from the iCorps Program to develop customer discovery which was where the team started before having been a company. Following that, they started the business using partners’ capital and intellectual properties, and once they became a company, the opportunity to reach real investors arose. Since their initial launch until now, SynCell’s fundings have been garnered through grants.
Currently, SynCell’s team is composed of diverse professionals, each able to work in multidisciplinary roles. As SynCell looks to launch a space independent of the University, they plan to add further roles in marketing and operations as well as more capacities in the process, analytical, and regulatory sectors.As for their pipeline, SynCell’s first product is a topical patch used to simultaneously prevent and treat infections on open wounds while promoting wound healing in burns, ulcer, lacerations, and chronic conditions. Down the road, they hope to treat systemic infections, such as tuberculosis and fungal diseases. In addition, as their nanoparticles also exhibit anticancer properties, SynCell is also interested in exploring the oncology space.
The company’s proposed business model is based on a traditional retail system. SynCell will act as a provider and work to get the product where it’s needed all while establishing a two-way relationship with their customers to continuously keep improving the drug and adapting to the users’ needs. Currently, SynCell hopes to sell the product through hospitals and pharmacies as per physicians’ recommendations. However, they are also exploring a direct to consumer avenue.
SynCell’s products are tiered, with broad-antimicrobial products going into retailers and narrow-spectrum antimicrobial products going through physicians.
Additionally, the company is also considering other complementary models, such as licensing and joint ventures with other competitors prevalent in the space. With one goal in mind – to prevent the antimicrobial resistance – SynCell believes that cooperation and information sharing is vital to achieving this mission.
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