Baxter, Harvard launch Opsonix
Cambridge, Mass.-based Opsonix has launched with an $8 million Series A financing to develop a pathogen-extracting therapy designed to remove infectious pathogens and toxins from circulating blood.
The treatment potentially offers a new broad-spectrum approach to treat blood-borne infectious diseases, including sepsis. Opsonix will use the proceeds from the financing to advance the development of its extracorporeal pathogen-extracting therapy. The Series A financing was led by Baxter Ventures, alongside of investment by private investor Hansjörg Wyss.
Opsonix’s core technology is based on proprietary pathogen-capture proteins. Its lead molecule is a recombinant human protein derived from mannose binding lectin (MBL) fused to the Fc region of human immunoglobulin (FcMBL). When Opsonix’s FcMBL is attached to the membrane of a dialyzer-type device, it can remove a broad range of bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses and toxins responsible for initiating the sepsis cascade, including antibiotic-resistant organisms. Opsonix’s pathogen-extracting therapy has been designed to work in synergy with conventional antibiotic treatments.
Opsonix’s scientific founders, Donald Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., and Michael Super, Ph.D., carried out the original protein engineering and initial design and experimental validation of the FcMBL-enabled pathogen-extracting therapy at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Ingber and Super are pioneers in translating innovative design principles into healthcare products. They are also co-Principal Investigators on a project for sepsis treatment funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Dialysis-Like Therapeutics Program, which led to the technology that Opsonix is commercializing.