Companies

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PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapies to treat orphan diseases, with an initial focus on cardiopulmonary indications. PhaseBio was founded in 2002 by Prof. Chilkoti and went public on NASDAQ in 2018 (PHAS) after raising $135 M in VC funding. The elastin-like polypeptide (ELP) technology, developed in our laboratory at Duke was licensed by PhaseBio and serves as the engine for PhaseBios’ preclinical pipeline. The company develops ELP fusions to improve the stability, bioavailability, activity and ease of administration of proteins and peptides, with the goal of achieving greater potency, fewer side effects and better patient compliance. 

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Sentilus

Sentilus was launched in 2012 by Ashutosh Chilkoti and Angus Hucknall. Sentilus focuses on the use of a “nonfouling” polymer brush technology developed in the Chilkoti Group for detection of protein analytes that radically departs from conventional technology.  This polymer coating eliminates the largest source of assay noise –non-specific binding– and thereby maximizes signal-to-noise (S/N) in heterogeneous immunoassays.  By doing so, it allows clinicians to “see” proteins at levels previously too small to observe by standard immunoassays from blood, serum, urine, or saliva.   A novel assay design also extends the reach of the platform into the arena of point-of-care tests (POCT) by design of a self-contained chip that quantitatively measures multiple analytes from a drop of blood. This technology platform is also useful for isolation of rare cell types; the coating of implants and biomedical devices; and the development of vastly improved biotechnology tools and reagents such as magnetic capture beads, affinity chromatography media and filters.  Sentilus was acquired by Immucor  (Links:  MarketWatch, NCBiotech, Pratt) on October 1, 2014.

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Isolere Bio

While chromatography has been a mainstay for small molecules, large and bulky biologics require a new approach to downstream manufacturing. ​Isolere Bio is developing a low-cost, high throughput, and scalable purification platform for the purification of Fc fusion proteins and adeno-associated virus (AAV), as well as enveloped viruses, nucleic acids, and enzymes. The technology uses a recombinant fusion of an antibody binding domain and a stimulus responsive biopolymer and works on the basis of affinity/phase separation -- simple and scalable unit operations. Isolere Bio was acquired by Donaldson Company, a global maker of filtration products, in February 2023.

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Insoma

inSoma Bio

inSomaBio is developing their core protein biomatrix, which they call Fractomers, composed of carefully controlled ratios of structured physical cross-linking domains, bio-active sequences (when desired), and unstructured regions which control their thermo-responsiveness. This design translates into a system which forms fractal-like porous networks with excellent material properties only after injection and exposure to body heat. As a result, these materials can be handled as simple, low-viscosity fluids, easily adaptable to current state-of-the-art procedures.