Emphymab Biotech, a seed stage company created and supported by the
Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. Spin-Up program, has
been named a winner in the 2013 Innovation Showcase.
Emphymab is developing disease-modifying therapeutics for chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease based on research by Irina Petrache, M.D.,
the Dr. Calvin H. English Professor of Medicine and a pulmonary
specialist at the IU School of Medicine, and Matthias Clauss, Ph.D.,
associate professor of cellular and integrative physiology. The company
won “Best Seed Pitch” after more than 60 companies gave 60-second
pitches to compete in the showcase, hosted by the Venture Club of
Indiana. As the winner, Emphymab received a prize worth $60,000, with
$5,000 in cash and the remainder in legal, accounting, communications
and other services from local firms.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, affects more than 10
million people and is the third leading cause of death in the United
States. Often caused by smoking, COPD includes both emphysema and
chronic bronchitis, illnesses that cause breathing difficulty. The
problems get progressively worse, and current treatments provide only
temporary relief of symptoms. If successful, the Emphymab treatment
would be the first to halt or at least slow the progression of COPD by
employing a compound -- a monoclonal antibody -- that blocks a lung
protein that is activated by smoking and contributes to lung damage.
“This is a great example of the powerful benefits we can expect by
leveraging the cutting-edge research underway at the IU School of
Medicine,” said Joseph Trebley, Ph.D., Emphymab business manager who
gave the 60-second pitch, and head of startup support and promotion for
Drs. Petrache and Clauss, co-founders of Emphymab, reported in a 2011
paper in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that they had created the
monoclonal antibody, which had shown significant benefits in mouse
models of smoking and lung disease. Their research has been funded by
the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a division of the National
Institutes of Health, and the Office of the Indiana University-Purdue
University Indianapolis Vice Chancellor for Research.
“We are excited that the Innovation Showcase judges cast their support
for Emphymab and this potential therapy,” Dr. Petrache said.
Margie Smith-Simmons, 317-274-5434 (o)
Source: Indiana University