The Groningen-based company Lanthio Pharma has won the Gouden Kiem, a prize awarded to the best new company in the Chemistry top sector. During the CHAINS cemistry conference , the company was proclaimed the most successful example of a new company dedicated to converting the results of academic research into commercial products or services.
‘This prize is a tribute to the synergy between the University of Groningen and our company’, says Prof. Gert Moll, honorary Professor of Protein Modification and Functionality at the University of Groningen and CSO of Lanthio Pharma. ‘This is a perfect example of highly successful knowledge valorization. The valorization that ultimately led to the formation of Lanthio Pharma started in 2000. The company itself was founded in 2012 and currently employs ten people.’
Lanthio Pharma came about after two research groups from the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute (GBB) of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences combined and valorized their knowledge. The company is the result of a research project designed by Prof. Oscar Kuipers (Molecular Genetics) and Prof. Arnold Driessen (Molecular Microbiology). This project was based on high-quality knowledge and expertise relating to genetics, biosynthesis and the transport of lanthionine peptides. Both professors are co-inventors of the first patents of Lanthio Pharma and are still actively involved via collaboration and advice.
The powerful technology deployed by Lanthio Pharma came about thanks to the valorization of academic knowledge. The technology involves introducing lanthionine rings into peptides. Moll: ‘In a nutshell, we stabilize medicines and make them more receptor-specific. We prevent peptide medicines from being broken down inside the body, thereby prolonging their effect. This stabilization can improve the effect of drugs administered orally, a method that patients prefer over injections. Furthermore, the introduction of lanthionines means that we can limit the conformational freedom of these peptide-medicines allowing them to stimulate a receptor more specifically, and reduce or banish side-effects altogether. These unique properties of lanthionine peptides are greatly increasing the therapeutic potential.’
Lanthio Pharma was presented with a KIEM grant worth € 18,750 during the CHAINS chemistry conference. The funding will be used to boost collaboration with the University. ‘It’s very good news’, claims Moll. ‘We intend to use our recent experiences to extend the technique for use in other applications.’
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