Genomics

Apollo Health Ventures and PSI Launch Focal Biosciences

– Newly established Focal Biosciences will focus on bringing together leading experts and scientific discoveries to harness cellular reprogramming in the fight against common age-related diseases

Apollo Health Ventures and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) launched Focal Biosciences. The newly established biotech company aims to redefine the treatment of age-related diseases by reprogramming deregulated cell states that drive the detrimental processes underlying many serious diseases of aging that represent a significant health burden.

Apollo Health Ventures and the Paul Scherrer Institute will join their resources together with scientific founder Prof. G.V. Shivashankar, Head of the Laboratory of Nanoscale Biology, Paul Scherrer Institute and Professor of Mechano-Genomics, ETH Zurich, a recognized leader in mechanogenomics with strong expertise in cellular reprogramming. The newly founded entity will initially operate out of the Paul Scherrer Institute, the largest research institute for natural and engineering sciences in Switzerland that serves scientists around the world by accommodating highly complicated experiments in their industry-leading research facilities. Focal Biosciences thereby has access to PSI’s key infrastructure and expertise as part of Apollo’s venture creation program, “Venture Labs” that sources leading science from scientists and labs in Europe and North America, based on its deep understanding of the biology of aging.

“Our investment approach is focused on identifying outstanding science to catalyze and build transformational companies and taking an active role in their corporate evolution. We have watched the formation and maturation of the cellular reprogramming space for some time,” said Jan Adams, Venture Partner at Apollo Health Ventures. “We are confident that with the expertise and technologies developed by Prof. Shivashankar at PSI, Focal Biosciences is pursuing a unique and innovative approach leveraging an advanced concept of cellular reprogramming, that will enable the development of a novel class of therapies.”

“We value Apollo Health Ventures’ and PSI’s commitment to our scientific vision of how to fundamentally change the treatment landscape for a variety of age-related diseases,” said Prof. G.V. Shivashankar, Scientific Founder of Focal Biosciences, Head of the Laboratory of Nanoscale Biology, Paul Scherrer Institute and Professor of Mechano-Genomics, ETH Zurich. “I look forward to working with the expert team at Apollo to position Focal Biosciences for success and build a company that trailblazes a new path for patients with severe diseases.”

Advances in understanding the biology of aging coupled with emerging technologies have significantly increased pre-symptomatic detection of age-related damage and dysfunction and paved the way for novel interventions. Cellular reprogramming in particular provides a novel approach of resetting damaged or dysfunctional cells to a healthy state, reversing disease mechanisms and stopping detrimental processes to transform the treatment landscape of age-related diseases.

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