Antibiotics developer utilizes novel riboswitch-based drug discovery platform
Connecticut Innovations (CI), the state’s quasi-public authority responsible for technology-based economic development, today announced that it has made an investment of $500,000 in antibiotics developer BioRelix Inc. (BioRelix) of New Haven, Conn., through its Eli Whitney Fund. This investment is part of a $4.244 million round of funding for the company.
BioRelix is developing antibiotics using a new riboswitch-based drug discovery platform. Riboswitches are short stretches of messenger RNA (mRNA) that bind small molecules and control genes that are essential for the survival of many human pathogens. First identified in the laboratory of Prof. Ron Breaker at Yale University, several different classes of riboswitch mRNAs have been identified and each potentially could serve as a novel anti-infective drug target.
The company’s most advanced initiative is an antibiotic for a hospital-acquired infection. BioRelix is also involved in a research collaboration with a subsidiary of Merck & Co. to identify new antibacterial drug candidates.
“We are extremely pleased to add Connecticut Innovations to our top-tier investor team,” stated Brian Dixon, chief executive officer of BioRelix. “The additional resources they provide will help us in the discovery of new, much needed antibacterial medications.”
The BioRelix team, which includes several scientists that formerly worked at Bayer Pharmaceuticals and Yale University, has extensive scientific and drug development experience. The team has successfully secured technology licenses from Yale University and other institutions.
“As we work to reinvent Connecticut, this investment further highlights the state’s commitment to the bioscience sector,” said Governor Dannel P. Malloy. “With the Bioscience Connecticut initiative and a renewed push to partner with businesses across the state, Connecticut is demonstrating our leadership in the field and sending a clear message that the state is open for business. This Connecticut-based company is an excellent example of the remarkable talent and innovation available right here at home.”
Peter Longo, president and executive director of CI, noted, “We are excited to be investing in BioRelix, which we believe shows a great deal of promise of developing a new generation of antibiotic drugs using its novel riboswitch-based mechanism of action. The company has many strengths, including its experienced team, strong and growing intellectual property portfolio, and novel approach to antibiotic development. It is also addressing a sizeable, $37 billion global antibiotics market, which is growing steadily.”
About Connecticut Innovations Inc. Connecticut Innovations (CI) is a quasi-public organization dedicated to driving a vibrant, entrepreneurial, technology-based economy in Connecticut. CI stimulates high-tech growth by investing in early-stage Connecticut technology companies, university/industry research collaborations and technology transfer and collaborating with government, business, nonprofit and academic organizations to advance technology growth and promote public policies consistent with CI’s mission. For more information on CI, please visit www.ctinnovations.com.
About BioRelix Inc. BioRelix Inc. is a drug discovery and development company focused on identifying new anti-infective drug treatments. BioRelix is building a portfolio of products based on novel patented RNA targets, termed riboswitches, which were identified by the laboratory of BioRelix co-founder, Ronald Breaker, Ph.D., Howard Hughes Investigator and Henry Ford II Professor at Yale University. BioRelix owns a worldwide license to develop and market riboswitch targeted medicines. Our investors include CHL Medical Partners, Novartis Bioventures, New Leaf Ventures, Aisling Capital, Elm Street Ventures, Alexandria Equities and Connecticut Innovations.