Ascenion's Portfolio Company WBC Acquired by Klaria

New drug delivery system, developed by researchers at HZI and HIPS, could make injections superfluous

Ascenion GmbH, technology transfer partner of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), announces the take-over of its portfolio company WBC Drug Delivery Technologies (WBC) by Klaria Pharma Holding AB in an all-stock deal. WBC was founded earlier this year to further advance a new drug delivery technology that was co-developed by scientists at the HZI and the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), a HZI branch. The researchers coated liposomes with invasins, proteins that enable bacteria to penetrate eukaryotic cell membranes. The resulting carrier system combines the safety and versatility of liposomes with the unique capacity of bacteria to invade human cells. It holds strong potential to improve the treatment of many diseases, also intracellular infections caused by pathogens "hiding" in membrane-bound vacuoles.

WBC_590x240.jpg© HZI/Hallbauer&Fioretti Ascenion’s team has closely worked with the inventors to secure patent protection as a basis for future commercialisation and helped negotiate an exclusive licence between the institutes and WBC. "The take-over by Klaria paves the way for translating the invention into application," Christian Stein, CEO of Ascenion, comments.

Klaria intends to combine the invasin-coated liposomes with its proprietary alginate-based film technology. Taken together, the two approaches can enable the effective delivery of various drugs – including anti-infectives, vaccines and peptides – via the mucosal route, i.e. without injection. ‘It is a perfect match that can deliver significant advantages for many patients,’ Christian Stein adds.

It is the second successful trade sale Ascenion has supported for the HZI within the last year.

Prof. Dirk Heinz, Scientific Director of HZI, said: "HZI's core mission is the translation of the results from infection research into medical applications for the benefit of patients as quickly as possible. The strategic cooperation with world-class partners from industry is therefore a crucial element of our mission. We are very pleased that the technology developed at HZI and our HIPS institute in Saarbrücken together with WBC Drug Delivery is now quickly being put into practice with a strong partner such as Klaria. This will also offer new cooperation opportunities for the HZI on innovative drug release solutions and new vaccination strategies."

The major share of future proceeds Ascenion may receive from the sale of its equity position in Klaria will be passed on to the LifeScience Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Research. The foundation will make the funds available for research projects of the endowing institutes, particularly the HZI.

About Ascenion GmbH
Ascenion is an independent technology transfer company focussing on the life sciences. It is partner to over 30 research organizations, universities and university hospitals in Germany and Europe the Hannover Medical School. Ascenion’s multidisciplinary, industry-experienced team works closely with its partners to tap the potential of their research by identifying promising results, obtaining patent protection, and turning pure science into applied technology. Particular strengths are spin-off support and project development, where early-stage projects are transformed into assets that attract potential investors and licensees. This has led to the founding of numerous new companies and the transfer of innovative medical approaches into approved drugs, changing the lives of thousands of patients. Profits from Ascenion’s operative business and exit proceeds flow via its parent company, the LifeScience Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Research, to fund further translational research at its partner institutes. Further information at: www.ascenion.de

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