Today: Apr 17, 2024

NCSU startup nets $2M for next-gen clotting, bleeding control drugs.

4 months ago

Raleigh-based startup, Helixomer, has secured a $2 million federal grant for the advancement of two novel drugs aimed at regulating bleeding and clotting in patients. Key points include:

  • Helixomer, a pre-clinical drug development company established at North Carolina State University, has received a Distinct-to-Phase-2 SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • The funding will be used to generate data to prove the safety and efficacy of an anticoagulant and a complementary reversal agent, which are projected to compete in the $10 billion global market for heparin.
  • Prior to the NIH grant, Helixomer received substantial support from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center including a Flash Grant, Translational Research Grant and two Small Business Research Loans, which totalled $482,949.
  • The startup has also received support from North Carolina State University’s Chancellor’s Innovation Fund, which provides seed funding for university research projects boasting commercial potential.
  • Founded by biochemist professor, Thom LaBean, and post-doctoral researcher, Abhichart Krissanaprasit, Helixomer creates functional RNA ‘origami’ nanostructures that act as effective anticoagulants.
  • The RNA-based anticoagulants developed by Helixomer aim to be more predictable and easier to reverse, therefore reducing the risk of complications and shortening patients’ recovery time.

The RNA technology employed by Helixomer is lauded for its specificity; the molecules bind specifically to a targeted protein, offering greater control of action and subsequently reducing complications. Worthy of note is the granularity of the on-off action of the drug, permitting control as needed. The drug is also expected to be beneficial for patients with heparin sensitivity or kidney failure, eliminating the risk of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia or low blood platelets, and avoiding filtration by the kidneys due to its design.

Founded in 2020, Helixomer is built on an extensive background in biomolecular design and engineering, and is steadily navigating what seems like a successful commercial pathway, facilitated by the succession of grants and loans it has secured.