Founded in 2020, Asalyxa Bio is a spinout from the University of Michigan, focused on the rapid development of a new neutrophil-targeting drug platform. Neutrophils are immune cells that are involved in the systemic response to infection and injury. Asalyxa’s proprietary platform allows for the direct delivery of microparticles into neutrophils, making the platform suitable for a variety of diseases where treatments are limited or do not exist. The company is initially focused on ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome), with possible follow on indications including acute kidney injury (AKI) and acute liver failure (ALF).
Innovation: Neutrophil-targeting drug platform.
Indications: ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome); Kidney injury (AKI); Acute liver failure (ALF); COVID-19-related ARDS; Inflammatory diseases.
Stage: Preclinical. The lead program, ASX-100, is expected to move into first-in-human trials in 2021.
The company was co-founded by Orange Grove Bio (OGB), a New York-based venture operating company and scientists at the the University of Michigan. Marc Appel, the CEO of OGB, will serve as the CEO of Asalyxa Bio, with Dr. Lola Eniola-Adefeso, a Michigan professor, serving as Chief Scientific Officer.
The company’s lead candidate, ASX-100 is a novel, spherical polymer particle that degrades into salicylic acid – an active metabolite of aspirin – and a food additive that is listed as GRAS (generally regards as safe) by the FDA. The particles, with a size similar to many bacteria, are recognized as foreign by neutrophils in the blood. These neutrophils “eat” (phagocytose) the ASX-100 particles, and degrade them to release the anti-inflammatory agent. This delivers a very high dose of drug directly into the neutrophils, while the systemic dose remains low.
Asalyxa is initially pursing ASX-100 for use in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and other acute tissue injuries which could include kidney injury (AKI) and acute liver failure (ALF). ASX-100 is expected to move into first-in-human trials in 2021.
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