“In the News”

May 20, 2019  |  Jola Glotzer

CBC Accelerator Award helps Enzyme By Design win Pitch Perfect!

Arnon Lavie, UIC, founder of the Pitch Perfect-winning startup Enzyme By Design, acknowledges CBC as contributors to the company success

Congratulations to Arnon Lavie, UIC, founder of a UIC spin-off company called Enzyme By Design. The company won first place in 2019 MedCity INVEST Pitch Perfect Startup Contest, BioPharma category. Being a pre-clinical stage company, it aims to develop a humanized enzyme therapy for treatment of adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and potentially other cancers in the future. Enzyme by Design has been successful in fundraising securing already over $2 million in varied funds. Among the early sources is a CBC Accelerator Award of $100,000 that Lavie received in 2018 for the project: “Increasing the in vivo Stability of L-asparaginase through Interactions with HSA.” The CBC is proud to have supported such an effective entrepreneurial activity in Chicago.

Enzyme By Design in the News

Enzyme By Design is MedCity INVEST Pitch Perfect Startup Contest, Winner 2019, Biopharma

UIC News  |  April 29, 2019

From left: MedCity News Editor in Chief Arundhati Parmar, Enzyme by Design CEO Arnon Lavie and MHIN President Dennis Depenbusch

Dr. Arnon Lavie, a UIC faculty member and founder of a UIC spin-off company called Enzyme By Design, has won first place in the BioPharma category at an entrepreneurship pitching contest held at the 2019 annual MedCity INVEST meeting. This annual event held by MedCity INVEST is a Chicago conference that provides investors an opportunity to meet with potential partners and companies seeking funding.

Enzyme by Design (EbD) is a pre-clinical stage company with a humanized enzyme therapy for treatment of adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), an orphan indication. The therapy builds upon the established science of depleting asparagine from the blood to starve cancer cells. With its lead biologic, EbD-1117, the company aims to help patients with ALL achieve cancer remission without toxic side effects of current therapies. EbD has evaluated EbD-1117 in T-cell and B-cell ALL mouse models showing efficacy equal to current therapies with significantly less weight loss and less fatty liver symptoms. In addition to ALL, the company plans to expand use of EbD-1117 to solid tumors that lack good treatment options such as pancreatic, ovarian, and brain cancers, where current L-asparaginases cannot be used due to toxicity. EbD is seeking funding to optimize its lead biologic, complete toxicology studies, and prepare for IND enabling studies.

Enzyme by Design has been successful in securing non-dilutive funding and now has two employees. Dr. Lavie has raised >$2 million in funds to advance the research towards development of a clinical candidate through both UIC and EbD. Funds have included $200,000 in Proof of Concept through the UIC Chancellor’s Innovation Fund, $100,000 from the Chicago Biomedical Consortium Accelerator award given by the Searle Family for translational research, and $600,000 from two NIH small business grants. EbD is advancing their effort through participation in the NIH funded I-CORP program by meeting with companies and potential partners to better understand the value proposition of the company.

Adapted (with modifications) from the UIC News, published on April 29, 2019.