TECHNOLOGY SPONSOR: Gene Therapy
Inceptor Bio, one of That's Nice's Road to 2021 sponsors, discusses how the company is envisioning the future of the pharma/biopharma industry.
We believe that the biotech industry is in the early stages of a 50-year healthcare transformation led by gene and cell therapy. With the advent of a host of synthetic biology platforms, such as RNAi, CAR-T, gene editing, and viral vector delivery, we are beginning to unlock the secrets of addressing difficult-to-treat, intractable diseases. We anticipate an ongoing wave of approvals for cell and gene therapeutics — up to 10 approvals per year over the next decade — which will have many downstream effects on the rest of the life sciences ecosystem, particularly manufacturing, which is a well-known bottleneck.
The biotech industry’s rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic will have an outsized impact on humanity. It’s quite remarkable that biotech companies were able to develop a therapeutic approach two months after the COVID-19 sequence was deciphered. The biotech community’s renewed sense of responsibility and ability to function as a positive agent for society is the most important trend from 2020.
New Technologies on the Horizon
Biopharma is in the early stages of discovering approaches to synthetic biology and leveraging these approaches to treat areas of critical unmet need. We are particularly encouraged by advances in fourth-generation CAR-T programs, DNA editing, RNA editing, gene therapy for rare diseases, and novel TCR approaches. While there are a number of approved drugs that validate these synthetic biology approaches, the greatest innovations are forthcoming.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are still widely misunderstood. Many biotechs talk about their AI/ML capabilities, but when we look at the underlying approaches, they’re using relatively simple models. A number of leading companies are doing very interesting work in this field but — for the majority of early-stage companies — it’s currently more aspirational rather than truly impacting their company’s development.
Our vision for INCEPTOR BIO is 20:20 in 2020 — we want to launch 20 biotechs in 20 years starting in 2020.
Our first platform is a novel CAR-T technology, which addresses the large unmet needs in solid tumors. CAR-T has shown great applicability for B cell lymphomas. The work in solid tumors has been limited due to the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment, trafficking issues, tumor antigen escape, and tumor heterogeneity.
These issues lead to T cell exhaustion, which our novel platform addresses. We have compelling in vitro data and in vivo data for renal cell carcinoma. Additionally, we’re researching ovarian cancer and triple-negative breast cancer. These three indications have high incidence and prevalence in the United States and poor current treatment options.
Transforming the Patient Experience
Autologous CAR-T therapy, while transformational, has many limitations, including cost, manufacturing challenges, quality control, and other factors. The rise of allogeneic (“off the shelf”) CAR-T therapy will enable more patients to afford life-changing therapies at a more realistic price.
Lasting Impact of COVID-19 and Predicted Growth
One lasting impact of the pandemic is that work from home will remain popular in the United States for years to come. One of our core values at Inceptor Bio is maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit, which we applied when assessing how the COVID-19 pandemic would impact our short-term, day-to-day approach.
Our vision for Inceptor Bio is 20:20 in 2020 — we want to launch 20 biotechs in 20 years starting in 2020. We’re well on our way to this goal. We’ve already launched and funded two biotechs so far in 2020. There is no shortage of technologies to invest in. Our goal is to progress science to find cures for cancer and for neurodegenerative and rare diseases.