Nanosynex aims to solve antibiotic resistance

Michelle Heymann and Diane Abensur / Photo: private photo
Michelle Heymann and Diane Abensur / Photo: private photo

The company has developed a way of precisely adapting antibiotics to infections.

Like climate change, the problem of antibiotic resistance has turned in the past decade from a worry for the future into something that affects our lives now. Also like the climate crisis, human society will have to deal with the antibiotic resistance crisis with restraint and moderation, two characteristics for which it has has not been noted up to now

Nanosynex hopes to make restraint in the use of antibiotics simpler and free of cost for the end consumer. Based on discoveries by renowned Israel Institute of Technology cell researcher Prof. Shulamit Levenberg, the company has developed a method that makes it possible to detect exactly to which antibiotic a specific infection is most sensitive. This saves on treatment with ineffective antibiotics, and facilitates the replacement of broad spectrum antibiotics with drugs that work more narrowly but more effectively, because they have not previously been used excessively. The aim is to obtain more effective and faster treatment without encouraging the resistance of bacteria to the most widely used antibiotics.

CEO Diane Abensur and VP marketing and business development Michelle Heymann founded Nanosynex. They met when they were studying for MBAs at the Technion, shortly after immigrating to Israel: Abensur from France and Heymann from Brazil. Before they met, each of them served in various positions in international consultancy and financial companies.

Their meeting made Abensur and Heymann want to work together. "We realized that we complement each other in capabilities and culturally," they say. They decided on medical innovation as a good basis for a company, and decided to look for technology to develop in their backyard - at the Technion.

Levenberg is a scientist in cell therapy and stem cells. Technologies that she has developed were the basis for Aleph Farms' cloned meat. Levenberg has also developed technologies for restoration of the spinal column in order to enable the paralyzed to move, and technologies for restoration of the heart.

"We wanted to solve a big problem"

Nanosynex acquired the development rights for a laboratory device though which hundreds of nanoliter-sized samples taken from a patient with a bacterial infection flow. Special technology is required to enable samples to move within the nanoliter-sized containers, because there is a limit on the size of the sample that can be taken from each patient. A unique method is used to pour the samples, so that each of them meets one of out of hundreds of possible antibiotic combinations, until the most effective treatment is selected within a short time. In comparison with other antibiotic matching methods, there is no need to know the bacteria's genetic genome, or to map its shape precisely. The information lies in the response by the bacteria. "We chose this product because we wanted to solve a big problem," Heymann says.

The company was officially founded in 2017. It joined the MassChallenge accelerator, while simultaneously negotiating with the Technion to acquire the franchise. During that year, six employees with a scientific background were recruited to supplement the founding team, which came from a business background.

Within a short time, an agreement was signed with French company Biosynex, which develops and markets rapid laboratory tests. "Biosynex helped us select the best of the products we developed," Heymann says. Nanosynex has raised $1 million to date from the Lamed Holdings fund, which specializes in life sciences, and it received a $2.5 million grant from the European Union Horizon 2020 program and $500,000 from the Israel Innovation Authority. The company believes that this will suffice for two more years. Nanosynex likes accelerators; in addition to MassChallenge, it participated in the MedTech Raanana and IBM Alpha Zone accelerators.

Initially, the product will be developed to detect urinary tract infections. The product will be marketed first to hospitals, and then to health funds and private clinics. The product is designed to shorten the waiting time for the test results from up to 48 hours in a culture, the currently prevailing method, to a net 4-5 hours. In the future, the company plans to shorten the time for the test to two hours, which will make it also suitable for use in emergency cases.

Nanosynex hopes to perform a clinical trial in 2021 and reach the European market in 2022.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on November 28, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

Michelle Heymann and Diane Abensur / Photo: private photo
Michelle Heymann and Diane Abensur / Photo: private photo
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