News

We are investing in a company that develops a drug for leukemia

08/01/2015
INNOventure together with the Accelerator Foundation of the University of Lodz established GeneaMed, a company responsible for worldwide introduction of dendrimers as a potential drug for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. This is the first investment of the fund.
Dendrimers are nanoparticles that are used to transport active substances under biological conditions. So far they have been used to transport certain drugs in the human body. Dr Ida Franiak-Pietryga, a biologist / biophysicist, specialist in the diagnosis of leukemic diseases, discovered that dendrimers can – after some modification of the chemical structure – themselves cause the death of leukemic cells.
– The innovation is based on the use of dendrimers as active ingredients, per se, which may be the main component of the drug. They do not have to be just a drug transportation tool. The research that I conducted showed that dendrimers with attached sugars on external bonds can force the leukemic cell to suicide, and at the same time are not harmful to healthy cells of the body – explains dr Ida Franiak-Pietryga.
Research on dendrimers is carried out by a research team from the Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection of the University of Lodz under the supervision of prof. Maria Bryszewska. According to Dr. Ida Franiak-Pietryga – director of research and development at GeneaMed – research has already passed a part of the preclinical phase (in-vitro) and now more expensive experiments lie before the scientists.

– The launch of a new drug is an extremely long, complicated and expensive process. Scientists who have ideas and knowledge, need support, both organizational and financial. As the Accelerator Foundation of the University of Lodz, which supports and organizes cooperation between the business world and the academic world, we decided to engage in a research project on dendrimers, because this substance can prevent the development of chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and the current research results are very promising – says Ewa Postolska, President of the Accelerator Foundation of the University of Lodz.
The Accelerator Foundation, as the originator of the dendrimer research commercialization project at the University of Lodz was looking for a fund that would support the venture. It contacted the INNOventure seed fund in Krakow.
– INNOventure specializes in searching for the effects of research and development at Polish universities. Our goal is to support people who conduct very interesting research projects on a daily basis, but are unable or unwilling to exploit their business potential on their own. We help scientists not only in this but also in the construction of an action plan or the preparation of the company’s structure. We provide tools and support of experienced teams in all areas of the company’s operation – says Marcin Bielówka, president of the INNOventure board.
The fund seeks scientists at universities, establishes cooperation with technology transfer centers and SPVs (special purpose vehicles), and takes part in conferences and technology contests. INNOventure representatives look at the projects, talk to their creators and choose the best and most promising from the business point of view.
– We became interested in the commercialization of dendrimers, because it is a very promising project. The research carried out shows that we can deal with a truly breakthrough technology that saves people’s lives. We want to be part of such an important event – adds Marcin Bielówka.

The GeneaMed company was established on June 19th in Łódź. Its shareholders are INNOventure and the Accelerator Foundation of the University of Łódź. GeneaMed will receive assistance from the University of Łódź Business Incubator. The company is managed by biotechnology scientists specializing in leukemic diseases and in medical genetics. The company counts on cooperation with international partners with whom it will launch the invention in the form of a drug for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
– The company’s activities are not limited only to the commercialization of inventions that have already been made. We are planning further R&D activities and we hope to submit another patent later this year. We will conduct research on other medicines and methods of treatment and diagnosis of blood proliferative diseases, including leukemia, which despite the wide range of available drugs are still incurable. We are open to new challenges – says Magdalena Jander, president of the board.
INNOventure is an investment fund whose aim is to support scientists, inventors and engineers in commercial development of their projects, launching them on the market and increasing their value.
The fund has been established as part of the BRIdge Alfa program and is a venture of the National Center for Research and Development, the Seed Fund of the Krakow Technology Park, SATUS Venture and the Krakow Innovative Technologies Center INNOAGH.