MagGenome On Path To Nanoparticle Adjuvant, Founder Seeks Investment Opportunities
MagGenome, an Indian biotech which develops nanoparticle-based products, is in the early stage of research for a vaccine adjuvant. Scrip spoke to founder Sam Santhosh and CEO and chief scientific officer C N Ramchand to gauge the promise of nanotechnology and the environment in India for cell and gene therapies, among other topics, in this wide-ranging audio interview.
MagGenome Pvt. Ltd., an Indian biotech which primarily develops magnetic nanoparticle-based products for therapeutics and molecular diagnostics, is in the early stages of research for a nanoparticle-based adjuvant for vaccines.
In a podcast interview with Scrip, CEO and chief scientific officer C N Ramchand said the adjuvant offers potential to partner with vaccine companies on account of its ability to make vaccines more stable, eliminating the need for a cold chain.
In recent times, the most talked about use of the nanoparticle technology has been in Novavax, Inc.’s recombinant COVID-19 vaccine Nuvaxovid, a licensed version of which is sold in India under the Covovax brand by Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd.
Novavax has also developed a proprietary adjuvant Matrix-M that is used in its own products like the flu vaccine NanoFlu (currently in Phase III) and those of others - like University of Oxford’s malaria vaccine.
Along with Ramchand, founder Sam Santhosh, who has also set up other companies (MedGenome, AgriGenome and Sasken Lifesciences) via incubation vehicle SciGenom Labs Pvt Ltd, spoke to Scrip about the enabling environment being built in India for cell and gene therapy companies, the increasing linkages between novel drug discovery and diagnostics and the promise of nanotechnology.
SciGenom also offers genetic sequencing and bioinformatics analysis to R&D institutions in India and the US. Santhosh intends to further develop an integrated incubation center by leveraging SciGenom’s data centers and R&D labs.
SciGenom Research Foundation (SGRF), set up to promote science education and research in India, has entered a tie-up with the Charotar University of Science and Technology (CHARUSAT) with an aim to jointly offer knowledge sharing opportunities, grants and PhD programs to bridge the industry-academia gap.
Despite start-ups receiving $42bn in funding in 2021, less than 15% of the unicorns were from healthcare, Santhosh points out, indicating enough headroom for healthcare start-ups to grow.
02:13 Setting Up A Genomics Incubator
03:07 Plans To Fund, Nurture Start-Ups
04:11 Challenges faced by cell and gene therapy companies in India
05:22 The promise of India
07:00 CHARUSAT's proposition
08:46 Handholding scientists to commercial success
10:36 Where does the IP rest?
11:27 Changes in investment climate, enabling factors
13:50 Ease of exit in India
15:00 Why Are Drug Companies Investing In Diagnostics?
17:02 The Connect Between Diagnostics And Therapeutics
19:35 Genomics As Building Blocks For Better Drugs
23:30 Post COVID-19 Opportunities, Competition For MagGenome
27: 19 Investor/Venture Capital Interest?
28: 57 Nanotechnology in precision medicine
30:33 Nanoparticle adjuvant in development for vaccines