UoH startup bags grant from US-India R&D fund
- The proposal by Novel Oncoseek Bio Pvt Ltd., was one of the eleven that were selected from 520 proposals that were received and evaluated by US-India Science and Technology Endowment Fund
Hyderabad: A start-up company incubated at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) has won a US-India Science and Technology Endowment Fund (USISTEF) ignition grant for its "Novel therapeutic strategy to fight against Covid-19". The proposal by Novel Oncoseek Bio Pvt Ltd., was one of the eleven that were selected from 520 proposals that were received and evaluated. The company is one of the start-up companies of ASPIRE-BioNEST at UoH had earlier received a grant from BIRAC, Government of India to develop a platform to screen the potential drug candidates for Covid-19.
The UoH statement said that in its present proposal, Oncoseek Bio is proposing to create a therapeutic by developing neutralising novel antibodies directed against the receptor-binding domain (RBD) and other epitopes of the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. The antibodies are conjugated to drug/Zn nanoparticle (ADCs), which would release the drug of choice at the site of action.
The company is joining hands with Prof. August Avery, of Cornell University who will test the efficacy of these potential ADCs against Covid-19 using human angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) expressing mouse models. Dr. Suresh Poosala, the main applicant, who has envisioned and created the proposal, said: "These mouse models are not available in India and this collaboration will be very helpful in doing in vivo screening."
The other partners include Oncosimis Biotech Pvt Ltd., which will synthesize the novel antibodies, Reagene Biosciences Pvt Ltd., which will create the ADCs and IgY Pvt Ltd., which supports the nanoparticle portion of this project.