Paul Scherrer Institute and Apollo Health Ventures Launch Focal Biosciences
The Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and Apollo Health Ventures have launched Focal Biosciences. The newly established biotech company aims to redefine the treatment of age-related diseases by reprogramming deregulated processes in cells that cause the detrimental processes underlying many serious diseases of aging that represent a significant health burden.
The Paul Scherrer Institute and Apollo Health Ventures will join their resources together with scientific founder G.V. Shivashankar who is head of the Laboratory of Nanoscale Biology at the Paul Scherrer Institute and Professor of Mechano-Genomics at the ETH Zurich, a recognized leader in mechanogenomics with strong expertise in cellular reprogramming. The newly founded entity will initially operate out of the Paul Scherrer Institute, the largest research institute for natural and engineering sciences in Switzerland that serves scientists around the world by accommodating highly complicated experiments in their industry-leading research facilities. Focal Biosciences thereby has access to PSI’s key infrastructure and expertise as part of Apollo's venture creation program, “Venture Labs” that sources leading science from scientists and labs in Europe and North America, based on its deep understanding of the biology of aging.
“Our investment approach is focused on identifying outstanding science to catalyze and build pioneering companies and taking an active role in their corporate evolution. We have watched the formation and maturation of the cellular reprogramming space for some time,” said Jan Adams, Venture Partner at Apollo Health Ventures. “We are confident that with the expertise and technologies developed by G.V. Shivashankar at PSI, Focal Biosciences can pursue a unique and innovative approach leveraging an advanced concept of cellular reprogramming, that will enable the development of a novel class of therapies.”
“We value Apollo Health Ventures’ and PSI’s commitment to our scientific vision of how to fundamentally change the treatment landscape for a variety of age-related diseases,” said G.V. Shivashankar. “I look forward to working with the expert team at Apollo to position Focal Biosciences for success and build a company that unlocks new approaches for patients with severe diseases.”
Advances in understanding the biology of aging coupled with emerging technologies have significantly increased pre-symptomatic detection of age-related damage and dysfunction, and paved the way for novel interventions. Cellular reprogramming in particular provides a novel approach of resetting damaged or dysfunctional cells to a healthy state, reversing disease mechanisms and stopping detrimental processes to transform the treatment landscape of age-related diseases.
Text based on a press release by Apollo Health Ventures
About Focal Biosciences
Focal Biosciences is redefining the treatment of age-related diseases by applying its deep scientific expertise in the mechanisms of cellular reprograming to reverse detrimental disease processes and restore health.
About Apollo Health Ventures
Apollo Health Ventures is a transatlantic venture capital firm specialized in developing and investing in data-driven biotechnology and health tech ventures. Apollo Health Ventures invests in game-changing companies at the seed or early stage and builds companies within the aging sector. Apollo’s team consists of entrepreneurs, seasoned biotech investors and scientists with remarkable track records in life science investments and venture creation.
The Paul Scherrer Institute PSI develops, builds and operates large, complex research facilities and makes them available to the national and international research community. The institute's own key research priorities are in the fields of matter and materials, energy and environment and human health. PSI is committed to the training of future generations. Therefore about one quarter of our staff are post-docs, post-graduates or apprentices. Altogether PSI employs 2200 people, thus being the largest research institute in Switzerland. The annual budget amounts to approximately CHF 400 million. PSI is part of the ETH Domain, with the other members being the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne, as well as Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology), Empa (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology) and WSL (Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research). (Last updated in May 2021)