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50 Most Admired Companies of The Year 2018

A Start-Up Dedicated To One Thing: Making the Struggle of Conjugating Things to Your Protein a Thing Of The Past: VALANX Biotech

thesiliconreview-l-to-r-michael-lukesch-ceo-patrik-fladischer-cso-valanx-biotech-2018Protein Conjugation. Specific, fast and cost-effective.

VALANX is giving you chemical handles specifically placed into your protein for you to make a connection precisely where you want to. No side reactions, no undefined species. What you want, where you want it. The firm does this by placing our patented, reactive amino acid at defined sites into your protein. The site is encoded on the DNA level and is freely selectable.

The conjugation reaction VALANX uses is the fastest click chemistry reaction described to date. This means cutting the time that your precious protein has to be exposed to the raging elements significantly. The reaction is irreversible and proceeds to completion.

Who is best at making amino acids? Exactly. Nature. So, VALANX decided to let it make theirs as well. The firm uses enzymes to produce its reactive amino acid to reduce costs compared to its competitors by several orders of magnitude. Where VALANX’s competitors use costly and inefficient organic synthesis to add reactive groups to their amino acids, the firm works with water, add a protein and wait for the magic to happen. VALANX transfers the upsides of this magic to you - in the form of significantly reduced costs to get your protein conjugate.

VALANX: Superpower Your Protein

Antibody Drug Conjugates: Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs) are one option to treat cancer and potentially other diseases, by combining an antibody, which delivers a homing function, and an active ingredient, which adds the desired pharmacological effects.

Currently, ADCs are mainly investigated in cancer, where the antibody is raised against a tumor marker, which is specifically overrepresented on cancer cells. Attached to the antibody is then a cytotoxic agent that is able to eliminate the cancerous cells. ADC efficacy depends on the drug-to-antibody (DAR) ratio i.e. how many cytotoxic molecules are attached to the antibody, as well as their location on the antibody.

VALANX Technology enables the tuning of both parameters. Along with the speed of our conjugation reaction and the cost efficiency of our technology, we aim to be a major driver in the speedy development of ADCs, cutting the time from research to actual patient benefit.

PEGylation of therapeutic peptides and proteins:

Therapeutic peptides and small proteins often suffer from low half-life and inherent instability in the bloodstream. This is due to their small size, which makes them susceptible to increased renal clearance compared to larger proteins. Additionally, proteases present in the body often decompose them very quickly. Antigenicity and immunogenicity are further issues that drug developers face.

All of these challenges can be addressed by conjugating the candidate to PEG polymers. PEG polymers increase the hydrodynamic radius of the whole molecule and therefore decrease the rate of renal clearance. Additionally, they shield the candidate from proteases and from recognition by the immune system.

 The VALANX Technology is based on a novel proprietary amino acid that can be used in peptide synthesis to introduce a click-reactive moiety site specifically. We can also express your small protein candidate with this amino acid installed at specific sites for targeted, fast and cost-efficient PEGylation.

Directed immobilization for biosensors: For this one, we will let Redeker et. al.* speak: " [For biosensors] it is crucial that the receptor molecule is bound to the transducer surface in a highly controllable way so that the orientation is optimal for the specific biomolecule without affecting its activity. This is one of the crucial concerns in order to obtain a selective and sensitive detection in a reproducible way. This optimal orientation is however highly specific for the biomolecule of interest."

VALANX Technology enables the cost-efficient production of receptor proteins with site-specific chemical handles attached. This enables the rapid, reproducible, site-specific immobilization of the protein which in turn enables rapid development of reliable biosensors.

Oriented immobilization of biocatalysts: The orientation of an enzyme immobilized onto a support surface crucially influences the biocatalysts activity and stability. Controlled, orientated immobilization is, therefore, a highly attractive method to optimize a biocatalysts process performance.

 The VALANX Technology enables the introduction of a chemical handle at defined sites. The handle can then be reacted with solid supports to obtain an active and stable biocatalyst that is specifically optimized for your process conditions.

The Founding Duo

Michael Lukesch, MSc., CEO and Co-Founder: Michael studied Chemistry, followed by a Ph.D. in Biotechnology. He is a motivated, optimistic self-starter person and likes to innovate and bring new ideas and concepts to reality. Through various activities, he acquired education and experience in project management, communications, team leadership, and business. He likes to spend his free time in nature, exploring and meeting new people.

Patrik Fladischer, PhD., CSO and Co-Founder: Patrik has worked with our technology now for more than four years and holds a Ph.D. in biotechnology. He knows the ins and outs of biotechnology and has a knack to come up with out-of-the-box innovative solutions to scientific problems. As a volunteer at the Austrian Red Cross Patrik has additional training in communication, team building, and leadership. He likes hiking, soccer and exploring new things.