Bioverge Up & Comers: Stelvio Therapeutics (IndieBio)

We’re excited to introduce the BV Network to Stelvio Therapeutics. Stelvio is a graduate of the IndieBio accelerator program and is utilizing epigenetics to develop medicines of value for patients with cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

Epigenetics control the expression of genes. Stelvio’s platform technology is able to recognize the epigenetic patterns in cells and categorize them. In the case of cancer, where conventional chemotherapy drugs attempt to kill cancer cells directly, damaging healthy tissue in the process, Stelvio’s solution works to target select cancer stem cells and differentiate them into new benign cell types that are both non-toxic and will eventually die on their own. Stelvio’s approach is universal, meaning it is applicable to many tumor types including breast, lung and prostate as well as many developmental diseases such as Huntington’s Disease.

Today, we’re excited to have with us Stelvio Therapeutics’ CEO Attila Hadju to share more on the industry and company.

BV: Welcome, Attila! It’s great to have you with us today. For those that may be unfamiliar, can you tell readers more about the overall market you are a player in and the specific problem you are tackling?

We have a technology at our fingertips which will usher in a new wave of therapies that have the potential to cure cancer and prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s. We are talking about cures and prevention of major diseases — the unmet need is huge.

BV: Given the broad applicability of your platform, please tell us more about your current focus.

We’re developing therapies through epigenetics. We have developed a novel platform technology called Microscopic Imaging of Epigenetic Landscapes (MIEL) to unambiguously identify the epigenetic signature of individual cells and thereby categorize populations of mixed cells. MIEL is deeply rooted in machine learning-assisted recognition of epigenetic patterns in single cells. The core of our technology is cell identity. We can visually see the difference between cancer cells and normal cells.

Our approach is amenable to high throughput screening of small molecule libraries. We are 1,000 times more cost effective than conventional sequencing and we can screen 1 million compounds in less than a year. From here, we are able to detect which small molecule(s) of those tested caused the reversion of cancer stem cells back to normal or non-toxic cells.

In September, we joined the Johnson & Johnson Innovation JLABS program and are working on a collaboration with J&J to use our technology to screen their library of 1 million compounds. The aim is to identify hits, which Stelvio will then optimize to deliver a lead therapeutic drug candidate that can be taken into clinical trials. In exchange, Stelvio will receive upfront, milestone and royalty payments.

We have signed an Open Innovation Drug Discovery Agreement with Eli Lilly to screen their drug library for novel molecules. We are also currently in discussions with Sanofi and Abbvie to demonstrate that our MIEL platform can identify novel targets and therapeutics that could be used to treat cancer and neurodegenerative conditions, such as Huntington’s Disease.

BV: What lies ahead for Stelvio over the next 6–12 months?

Over the next 6–12 months, we will continue our partnership with J&J to screen their small molecule library to identify hits, which we will optimize and develop an understanding of the mechanism of action. We can screen their entire library of 1 million compounds in a year. We also hope to engage with Sanofi, Abbvie, and others to identify novel targets and therapeutics that could be used to treat Huntington’s Disease by preventing it from occurring.

BV: We love what you’re working on. As you know, the Bioverge Network has been developed to support emerging medical technologies such as yours. Are there any specific asks of the Bioverge Network to assist in accomplishing these goals?

We will hopefully know this week if we have a lead investor following Indie Bio’s Demo Day. We would appreciate communicating with investors with domain expertise in cancer and neurodegenerative therapeutics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and potential strategic partners in pharma.

If readers are interesting in learning more about Stelvio and staying up to date, where can they go?

For asks of the Bioverge Network, please contact us at info@bioverge.com.

We are in the midst of changing our name from Stelvio Oncology to Stelvio Therapeutics. Interested readers can visit our website www.stelvio-oncology.com or they can visit Johnson & Johnson Innovation JLABS website.Interested readers are also welcome to visit us in sunny San Diego at our JLABS office and see first hand what we are building.

-The Bioverge Team

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