HemoGenyx Develop Breakthrough Treatment For Blood Cancers

HemoGenyx Develop Breakthrough Treatment For Blood Cancers
Blood cancer affect millions around the world, and every year over 150,000 people are diagnosed in the US alone. After exhausting all options, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy, a bone marrow transplant is typically the only remaining treatment option for patients. However, such transplants have a high failure rate due to the body’s rejection of the transplant, complications from the procedure or a relapse of the disease. In addition, it is estimated that 65% of patients who require a bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor are unable to find a match.

The London and New York-based startup HemoGenyx is determined to change how bone marrow/hematopoietic stem cell transplants are performed and aim to improve its efficacy. Their technology is based on research by the founder of the startup, Vladislav Sandler, who found that cells similar to progenitors that gave rise to blood stem cells during mammalian developments exists in adults. It also became clear that these cells, called Postnatal Hemogenic Endothelial Cells (PHEC) or Adult Hemogenic Endothelial Cells (AHE) could be used for regeneration of the blood system, generating new cancer free stem cells.

Their method starts by conditioning the patient prior to transplantation, providing adequate immunosuppression and allow transplanted cells to engraft in the recipient. Traditionally, this has been achieved by administering a cocktail of chemotherapeutical agents, often together with radiation. However, these have severe side effects that can be life threatening. HemoGenyx has developed highly specific CDX antibodies that selectively eliminate hematopoietic stem cells without the side effects traditionally associated with the preparation. In addition, the antibodies have shown promise to eliminate malignant leukemic cells.

Then AHE cells are extracted and isolated, either from the umbilical cord and placenta of a donor, or from the liver of the patient. These cells are activated and when intravenously transplanted to the patient, they start to make new blood stem cells that regenerate the entire blood system of the recipient. The approach has shown exciting results in animal experiments, where the procedure has rescued mice from certain death due to bone marrow failure caused by radiation and chemotherapy.

The startup has the potential to revolutionize how bone marrow and hematopoietic stem cell transplants are performed, offering an innovative solution that reduce the limitations of the current standard of care. Their pioneering treatment for multiple blood diseases, including leukemia and lymphoma, will improve treatment efficacy for patients who wouldn’t otherwise be able to find a matching donor. In addition, it could significantly reduce side effects and improve quality of life for patients around the world, giving new hope to patients who have exhausted all treatment options.

HemoGenyx was founded in 2013 and is part of the Downstate’s Biotechnology Incubator. They won the 2014 43North business competition, where they were awarded $250,000, and in 2016 raised $1 million from the private investment firm Bonsai Capital. In addition, Vladislav Sandler has received the Daedalus Award for Innovation, a $100,000 one-year grant for the development of the HemoGenyx technology.