Leiden, 15 October 2021 – BIMINI Biotech, an innovative therapeutics start-up that develops new cancer drugs, raised an investment of €250,000. The seed funding is provided by Libertatis Ergo Holding B.V. (LEH), a wholly owned subsidiary of Leiden University which supports and invests in spinout companies associated with Leiden University’s activities. BIMINI Biotech will leverage the capital injection to initiate a research program together with The Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR).
BIMINI’s technology is based on pioneering research by Professor Ger Strous at UMC Utrecht and has shown promising results in the preclinical phase. The company leverages the growth hormone receptor (GHR) via a unique mode-of-action to inhibit cancer cell growth. BIMINI moved to Leiden in 2020 to continue preclinical research. The company will use the investment by LEH to initiate a research program together with The Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR), the centre of excellence for multidisciplinary research on drug discovery and development. Together with the group of Prof. Bob van der Water (head of the Cancer Therapeutics and Drug Safety group), BIMINI will further accelerate preclinical development and validate compound safety and efficacy.
Dr. Digvijay Gahtory, CEO of BIMINI Biotech: “We are grateful for the support provided by LEH and will use the investment to bridge the gap to Series A funding, thus bringing our innovative technology one step closer to patients.”
Rob Mayfield, Director of LEH: “We are happy that Bimini has chosen to work with Leiden University, we believe the Bimini technology has exciting potential as a cancer therapeutic, and we look forward to helping Bimini progress the development and validation of the research.”
TARGETING THE GROWTH HORMONE RECEPTOR
Human growth hormone (GH) modulates cellular metabolism, leading to cell growth, cell reproduction and cell regeneration through the GHR. GH also stimulates the production and secretion of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in many tissues. GH and IGF-1 both promote cell proliferation and suppress apoptosis. The scientific literature and numerous animal studies and retrospective human studies indicate that this GH/IGF-1 axis, via the GHR, plays an important role in cancer development. Overexpression of the axis in various types of cancer leads to explosive cellular growth. The GH/IGF-1 axis is therefore the ideal focus for anti-cancer drug development.
Using this axis as a target, BIMINI’s strategy is based on a new mechanism that renders the GHR dysfunctional. This approach elegantly mimics nature by making cells less sensitive to growth hormone as seen in Laron syndrome (a specific type of dwarfism). People with this condition, characterized by GHR deficiency, have been found to be resistant to diseases like cancer. Three small molecules (BM001-003) have been identified and patented by BIMINI, of which BM001 is the lead compound currently being used in the preclinical phase. This compound has shown, both in vitro and in vivo, promising anti-cancer effects for different types of cancer with major unmet medical needs, including colorectal cancer (CRC), triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Despite some major advances in oncology therapeutics in the last decades, there are still several cancers today for which no effective treatment is available. BIMINI Biotech wants to change this. The company is an innovative spin-off of UMC Utrecht based on pioneering research by Professor Ger Strous and aims to develop a portfolio of novel therapeutic strategies for cancer. BIMINI Biotech was founded in 2019 and is located in Leiden, the Netherlands.
Libertatis Ergo Holding B.V. (LEH) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Leiden University which supports and invests in spinout companies associated with Leiden University’s activities.
For more information on this topic, please contact:
BIMINI Biotech BV
Digvijay Gahtory PhD
Tel: +316 1772 3268