Israeli startup SynVaccine, which develops vaccines based on synthetic biology, has raised $1.7 million. The Tel Aviv-based company has developed a proprietary technology that identifies significant parts of viruses and develops vaccines for them containing the significant components for arousing a response from the immune system and excluding any hazardous elements.
David Zigdon, president and CEO of the RAD BioMed incubator where SynVaccine was founded, said, "The process of developing vaccines now is like this: you take a deadly virus, and by trial and error try to kill or weaken it without harming immune activity. SynVaccine, on the other hand, is studying the important characteristics of viruses, and in effect is assembling them from scratch, but without the problem parts."
The company was founded on the basis of commercialized research from Tel Aviv University and Weizmann Institute of Science led by Prof. Tamir Tuller, who mapped 3,000 different viruses. Zigdon added, "The researchers analyzed the DNA areas that have been preserved throughout evolution in all the viruses, or at least in most of them. They concluded from this that these were important areas for the virus's activity. The researchers believe that it is worthwhile making the changes in these areas." The company has already developed an initial product, which it will soon use in animal trials.
SynVaccine sees its future in building "positive viruses" that not only cause the creation of antibodies against one family of viruses similar to them, but also generally strengthen the immune system's activity, so that it can more successfully attack both a variety of entities penetrating the body and dangers inside the body, such as cancer.
The company's list of investors includes Yehuda and Prof. Nava Zisapel from the RAD BioMed incubator; Sapir Venture Partners, which invests in Israeli academic platforms; and Singapore investment company Pix Vine Capital, which has invested in a large number of companies in Israel, including other RAD BioMed portfolio companies.
SynVaccine CEO Dr. Tahel Altman said today, "Only in the past decade were synthetic biology technologies developed that enable us to build and design viruses and complete biological systems - a critical element in the company's activity. We believe that with the help of the current financing round, we will achieve concrete pre-clinical results soon."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on November 6, 2017
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