FutuRx, together with Ramot at Tel-Aviv University and Glasgow University, Launches Epeius pharma to develop treatments for complex neurological diseases

FutuRx, Israel’s leading biopharmaceutical incubator, a partnership of OrbiMed Israel Partners, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, and Takeda Ventures, Inc, operating under a tender from the Israeli Innovation Authority (IIA) has recently launched a new portfolio company – Epeius Pharma in collaboration with Ramot at Tel-Aviv University and Glasgow University.


Epeius pharma develops next generation biological vehicles for delivery of therapeutic proteins into the central nervous system (CNS). Efficient and predictable therapeutic delivery is particularly challenging in neurological diseases due to the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which tightly regulates the transport of molecules to the brain, and blocks the transport of most large, charged and hydrophilic molecules, which are common features of therapeutic agents. The lack of efficient CNS delivery methods limits protein replacement therapy and remains to be one of the greatest unmet medical needs preventing successful treatment for debilitating neurological disorders.

The developed technology will utilize a novel biological platform and apply cell and gene therapy approaches to overcome these challenges. This platform will enable the introduction of therapeutic proteins into the CNS thereby potentially treating and even reversing the devastating effects of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases.

Epeius pharma will focus on development of the novel drug delivery platform and its combination with several therapeutic candidates with an aim to be clinically tested and validated in relevant patient populations. Some of the clinical conditions to be targeted are orphan diseases with no alternative treatment methods available.

Epeius Pharma was founded based on the joint research efforts of Prof. Oded Rechavi and Shahar Bracha, of the Department of Neurobiology, Wise Faculty of Life Sciences & Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel Aviv University, and Dr. Lilach Sheiner, Senior lecturer and Research Fellow at the Wellcome Center of Integrative Parasitology (WCIP), University of Glasgow, and was licensed from Ramot, the technology transfer company of Tel-Aviv University and Glasgow University. “It’s amazing to see how an idea becomes a reality. We started from a very basic question: can we make-use of Toxoplasma’s unique features so that it would secrete human proteins into neurons? I’m thrilled that the answer was ‘yes’, and that this concept is now being translated into a drug delivery platform,” said Prof. Rechavi.

“Toxoplasma naturally crosses the BBB and secrets molecules into neurons in the brain. By taking advantage of these features we can turn Toxoplasma into an efficient currier for molecules needed in the brain to alleviate and reverse the symptoms of harsh neurodegenerative diseases,” added Dr. Lilach Sheiner.

“We are delighted to partner with FutuRx to launch Epeius Pharma which will leverage the natural pathways of the brain parasite Toxoplasma gondii to deliver therapeutics into the brain,” said Rechavi and Sheiner.

Epeius Pharma is the 18th portfolio company incepted by FutuRx since its formation in 2014. “Epeius Pharma’s novel technology is based on cutting edge scientific research and once approved will be a first of its kind treatment modality,” said Dr. Kinneret Savitzky, FutuRx’s CEO. “This type of high-risk high-reward project for unmet medical needs perfectly exemplifies the merit of FutuRx which leverages a combination of seed stage funding, infrastructure, expertise and hands-on mentorship from its partners and management team to effectively translate innovative academic research into impactful clinical treatments. We are excited to work with the inventors and the company team to bring this treatment to fruition.”

About FutuRx
FutuRx is the leading Israeli biotechnology incubator, established in 2014 by Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, OrbiMed Israel Partners, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, through its venture group Takeda Ventures Inc., after winning the tender of the IIA. The incubator is focused on innovative, early stage therapeutic technologies, and has established 19 companies to date.
For more information about FutuRx, please visit https://www.futurx.co.il

Contact information:
Vladislav Krupalnik
Chief Scientific Officer Epeius Pharma
vladik@epeius-pharma.com | +972-89553100
For more information visit: https://www.futurx.co.il/portfolio/epeius-pharma/

Ramot is the Technology transfer Company of Tel Aviv University, Israel’s largest research and teaching university. Rooted in both academic and corporate arenas, Ramot is uniquely positioned to cultivate the special relationships between these two compelling worlds, creating win-win connections that support fertile, groundbreaking research while providing companies with discoveries that give them a crucial competitive edge.

About the University of Glasgow
As one of the top 100 of the world’s universities, we deliver world-class, world-changing research and education with impact. We are a member of the prestigious Russel Group of leading UK Universities with annual research income of more than £179m. We’re currently investing £1 billion in our estate to create spaces and opportunities that will allow us to remain at the forefront of change excellence and innovation. Our Research and Innovations Services team supports academics transfer novel and innovative technologies from an academic setting to a commercial environment through licensing or by establishing spin out companies.

Forward-Looking Statement
This press release contains statements that are or may be forward-looking statements, including statements that relate to the company’s future prospects, developments and strategies. The forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance and achievements to differ materially from current expectations. These forward-looking statements are based on assumptions regarding the present and future business strategies of the company and the environment in which it will operate in the future.

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