Press Release: AXOSIM EXTENDS LEADERSHIP IN HUMAN ORGANOIDS FOR NEUROLOGICAL DRUG DISCOVERY WITH ACQUISITION OF STEMONIX MICROBRAIN™ TECHNOLOGYNews and Blog
New Orleans, La. ─ October 24, 2023 ─ AxoSim, Inc., a leader in the development and application of live biomimetic human drug discovery platforms for neurological diseases, today announced completion of its acquisition of the microBrain™-associated assets of Vyant Bio’s StemoniX subsidiary.
The StemoniX acquisition includes the microBrain™ drug discovery platform, a 14,000 square foot R&D and manufacturing facility near Minneapolis, nine patents and associated intellectual property, and veteran scientists who helped develop the microBrain™ technology and are experts in its application. Linked by the Mississippi River, the New Orleans headquarters of AxoSim, coined the company’s “Downriver” location, is now joined by colleagues and capabilities ‘Upriver” in Minnesota.
“Our goal of delivering human data faster to transform neurological R&D takes a major step forward with the addition of the microBrain™platform, team and facilities,” said Lowry Curley, PhD, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of AxoSim.
“Neurological disorders cause enormous suffering and harm to patients, families, and society. Unfortunately, new drug R&D for neurological diseases is among the slowest, most expensive, and least effective, reflecting their complexity and the lack of predictive animal models. Our advanced platforms empower scientists to generate functional, clinically relevant human data years earlier in the process, a potentially revolutionary change that we believe will accelerate the efficient development of new drugs for these devastating diseases with few current treatment options.”
The new microBrain™ technology joins AxoSim’s NerveSim® and BrainSim® platforms, which use human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to develop live 3D models of the human brain and nerves, also known as organoids or live biomimetic models. With NerveSim®, AxoSim can study whole nerve conduction to support drug discovery efforts in chronic pain, neurotoxicity, and peripheral neuropathy, while BrainSim® includes key brain cell types for the study of myelination-related conditions such as multiple sclerosis. The addition of the microBrain™ technology, with its ability to chart electrical activity in the brain, supports research efforts in disorders such as epilepsy, Rett Syndrome, and Parkinson’s disease.
AxoSim is viewed as one of the leading biotechnology innovators in the New Orleans region and it benefits from broad community support. Among its early investors is Gayle M. Benson, founder of Benson Capital Partners and perhaps best known as the owner of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans. Mrs. Benson noted, “AxoSim’s groundbreaking advancements in neuroscience have proven to be industry leading and remarkable. AxoSim’s dedication to innovation and their unwavering commitment to improving our understanding of the human brain are truly inspiring. Through their cutting-edge technology and acquisitions like this one, AxoSim is paving the way for transformative changes in medicine and our community. We are thrilled to have such an extraordinary company headquartered right in our backyard at the New Orleans BioInnovation Center.”
Thomas Hartung, MD, PhD, is a pioneer in the development of brain organoids and inventor of one of AxoSim’s core technologies. He is Doerenkamp-Zbinden Chair and Professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University and head of the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, as well as the Consulting Vice President of Scientific Affairs at AxoSim. Dr. Hartung noted, “This acquisition brings together the knowledge and intellectual property of some of the most advanced brain organoid models with AxoSim’s broad experience in their commercialization and dissemination. Brain organoids are the future for drug development in brain disorders and the de-risking of drugs and chemicals in general.”
This is an especially promising time for the adoption of human biomimetic organoid platforms. There is broad and growing regulatory support for the use of alternatives to animal testing, including the FDA Modernization Act 2.0, and human organoids are ideal for this application. Brain organoid pioneer Dr. Hartung and his colleagues are leaders in this movement. Second, the increasingly sophisticated capabilities and growing automation of biomimetic technology, areas in which AxoSim is committed to leadership, are driving greater use. Third, the accelerating pace of adoption by major pharmaceutical firms is spurring others to innovate with biomimetic models. It is notable that AxoSim already counts 20 of the top 25 pharmaceutical firms as customers.
AxoSim Board Member David Weiner, MD, has almost three decades of neurological and other drug discovery and development experience at leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Weiner commented, “Having three leading biomimetic organ models under one umbrella enables AxoSim to provide greater value to its biopharmaceutical clients with a wider range of integrated products, services, and partnership opportunities. Having experienced first-hand the high unmet patient need in neurology as well as the frustration of failed R&D efforts, I am excited by the possibilities for significant advances offered by the AxoSim platforms.”
Jones Walker LLP served as legal counsel to AxoSim, Inc., and LifeSci Capital and Lowenstein Sandler LLP served as advisers to Vyant Bio, Inc.