QUANTRO Therapeutics GmbH today announced that the company has established its operations with seed financing from Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF) and Evotec. As a research-based company, QUANTRO will combine and exploit innovative functional genetics and transcriptomics technologies to generate an unprecedented drug discovery pipeline transforming the precision and scope of cell-based compound screens. By introducing ‘Transcriptional Fingerprinting’ to drug discovery, QUANTRO intends to revamp the scope of pharmacologic interventions in a variety of cellular, target and disease contexts. A prime focus will be the discovery and development of drug candidates blocking the activity of oncogenic transcription factors, a class of particularly promising therapeutic targets that has so far remained largely unamenable to pharmacological intervention.
The company was founded by Dr. Stefan Ameres and Dr. Johannes Zuber as a spin-off of the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) and the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), both located in Vienna, Austria. Bringing together expertise in time-resolved transcriptomics and functional genomics, the founders have pioneered innovative methodsto study gene regulatory functions of oncogenic transcription factors and drugs in a variety of cellular models. Supported by two Proof-of-Concept grants of the European Research Council (ERC), they explored new applications of these cutting-edge technologies, thereby laying the groundwork for QUANTRO’s discovery pipeline. Meanwhile, the team has been reinforced by extensive pharma R&D and senior executive experience with Dr. Dieter Nachtigall, who is a chemist by training and has been appointed CEO of QUANTRO. Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and Evotec acquired equal minority stakes in QUANTRO and will be represented on the Company’s Supervisory Board by Dr. Sebastian Kreuz and Dr. Dirk Ullmann, respectively. Furthermore, Evotec will provide hit identification services for QUANTRO’s proprietary antitumor projects.
Dr. Dieter Nachtigall, Chief Executive Officer of QUANTRO, said: “QUANTRO Therapeutics has designed and set up a new discovery approach and technology platform based on worldleading scientific expertise by our founders and excellent support from our highly committed corporate venture partners. We are extremely motivated and ambitious to start operations in our facilities at the Startup Labs Vienna Biocenter and turn our vision of identifying and developing new anti-cancer agents with breakthrough potential into a reality.”
Dr. Sebastian Kreuz, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Funds, added: “The BIVF focuses on groundbreaking therapeutic approaches and technologies that have the potential to advance patient care in areas of high unmet medical need. We are looking forward to supporting QUANTRO and its dedicated founders to apply time-resolved RNA sequencing in an industrialized setting with the aim to unlock transcription factors as a highly promising target class for drug discovery in oncology and other disease areas.”
Dr. Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec, commented: “QUANTRO is a very promising academic spin-off company with great potential to lead the way in time-resolved RNA sequencing with a potentially ground-breaking technology to address ‘undruggable’ drug targets. Through our partnership and equity investment, we will further validate QUANTRO’s approach and hope to be able to open many new doors across a broad range of therapeutic modalities together in the future.”
Dr. Stefan Ameres, Founder and Scientific Advisor of QUANTRO, commented: “The definition of direct transcription factor targets and, more generally, the unbiased detection of direct transcriptional effects has remained challenging due to the limited time resolution of conventional techniques for gene perturbation and transcriptional profiling. Overcoming this hurdle adds great possibilities for new therapeutic interventions with previously inaccessible targets in different cancer types and disease contexts.”
Dr. Johannes Zuber, Founder and Scientific Advisor of QUANTRO, added: “Transcription factors shape and maintain the identity of cancer cells and have long been recognized as promising therapeutic targets. After studying these factors and their therapeutic potential for many years, QUANTRO’s discovery pipeline takes an unprecedented approach to finally exploit transcription factors for cancer therapy.”
QUANTRO Management Board and Team
Dr. Dieter Nachtigall, CEO of QUANTRO, holds a PhD in Analytical Chemistry and contributes 23 years in pharmaceutical research and development experience to QUANTRO. Additionally, he brings more than 10 years in senior executive roles at Boehringer Ingelheim.
Dr. Stefan Ameres, Founder and Scientific Advisor of QUANTRO, is a distinguished expert in RNA biology and transcriptomics and has since 2012 held the position of group leader at the IMBA, Vienna. Dr. Ameres has a track-record of highly ranked publications in Nature, Cell, Science and other peer-reviewed journals.
Dr. Johannes Zuber, also Founder and Scientific Advisor of QUANTRO, is a licensed MD and renowned expert in functional cancer genetics. He has been a group leader at the IMP, Vienna, since 2011, and his outstanding scientific accomplishments are documented in more than 160 publications in highly ranked journals.
For detailed CVs of the QUANTRO management board and Team, please visit website.com/management.
About QUANTRO Therapeutics GmbH
QUANTRO Therapeutics (“QUANTRO”) is a research-based entity that strives to discover and develop novel therapeutics interfering with disease-causing transcriptional programs in cancer and other diseases. QUANTRO will assemble a highly innovative drug-discovery pipeline that employs time-resolved RNA sequencing and comparative transcriptomics to identify and develop drug candidates interfering with transcriptional regulators. The first focus will be on cancer-associated transcription factors, which so far have been unamenable to pharmacologic intervention. QUANTRO was founded as a spin-off of the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (“IMBA”) and the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (“IMP”), both located in Vienna, Austria. Seed investors are Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and Evotec. For more information: www.quantro-tx.com
About Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF)
Created in 2010, the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund GmbH (BIVF) invests in groundbreaking therapeutics-focused biotechnology companies to drive innovation in biomedical research. BIVF is searching for significant enhancements in patient care through pioneering science and its clinical translation by building long-term relationships with scientists and entrepreneurs. BIVF’s focus is to target unprecedented therapeutic concepts addressing high medical needs in immuno-oncology, in regenerative medicine or infectious diseases. These may include novel platform technologies to address so far undruggable targets, new generation vaccines and/or new biological entities, such as oncolytic virotherapy as well as Digital Health.
BIVF takes an active role within its portfolio companies – delivering significant added value through its own extensive drug discovery, scientific and managerial expertise. BIVF has € 300 million under management and currently supervises a portfolio of 29 companies. For more information, please visit www.boehringer-ingelheim-venture.com.
About EVOTEC SE
Evotec is a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company focused on rapidly progressing innovative product approaches with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academics, patient advocacy groups and venture capitalists. We operate worldwide with more than 3,000 employees providing the highest quality stand-alone and integrated drug discovery and development solutions. We cover all activities from target-toclinic to meet the industry’s need for innovation and efficiency in drug discovery and development (EVT Execute). The Company has established a unique position by assembling top-class scientific experts and integrating state-of-the-art technologies as well as substantial experience and expertise in key therapeutic areas including neuronal diseases, diabetes and complications of diabetes, pain and inflammation, oncology, infectious diseases, respiratory diseases, fibrosis, rare diseases and women’s health. On this basis, Evotec has built a broad and deep pipeline of approx. 100 co-owned product opportunities at clinical, pre-clinical and discovery stages (EVT Innovate). Evotec has established multiple long-term alliances with partners including Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, CHDI, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Sanofi, Takeda, UCB and others. For additional information please go to www.evotec.com and follow us on Twitter @Evotec.
About IMP, IMBA and the Vienna BioCenter
The Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna is a basic biomedical research institute largely sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim. With over 200 scientists from 40 countries, the IMP is committed to scientific discovery of fundamental molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying complex biological phenomena. www.imp.ac.at
IMBA - Institute of Molecular Biotechnology - is one of the leading biomedical research institutes in Europe focusing on cutting-edge stem cell technologies, functional genomics, and RNA biology. IMBA is a subsidiary of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the leading national sponsor of non-university academic research. http://www.imba.oeaw.ac.at
Both IMP and IMBA are part of the Vienna BioCenter, one of Europe’s most dynamic life science hubs with 1,800 employees from 70 countries in four research institutes, three universities and around 30 biotech companies. www.viennabiocenter.org