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Celeris Therapeutics: AI-driven protein degradation

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"It's about benefiting people, about contributing to alleviating incurable diseases - that's the reason we all get up every morning," says Jakob Hohenberger, co-founder of Celeris Therapeutics.

CelerisTx is a global acting biotech company with promising assets and results. CelerisTx uses AI-driven technologies to design molecules to degrade proteins that cause diseases like Parkinson's and various cancers.

"Currently, very few pathogenic proteins are 'druggable,'" says Jakob. "The main approach, occupancy-driven inhibitors, de-activates such 'bad proteins,' but only around 10-20% can be effectively de-activated. We target the other 80-90%, aiming to degrade rather than de-activate them."

Designing such molecules is hard, and our AI-based platform comes into play here. "New chemical entities are difficult to develop for the industry as a whole," he adds.

Using machine learning, CelerisTx designs and develops molecules that will eventually evolve into medicines that, in turn, will cure these debilitating diseases by degrading the proteins that cause them.

"It's 2022, and there's no curative treatment for Parkinson's," Jakob says.

Jakob, who is no stranger to start-ups, has co-founded multiple tech companies and started Celeris in 2020 with the conviction that he wanted to go into life sciences. "I was very interested in life sciences, researched different topics, evaluated the market, and had already made the decision to build a biotech company before co-founding Celeris." Co-founder and CEO Christopher Trummer, who has a background in biotech and computer sciences, "was the perfect match, had a concrete idea and a plan - which fitted with my background - and here we are today."

The team was accompanied from the earliest steps by well-known professors on the Scientific Advisory Board and attracted great talents from across the globe to implement its mission.

The company, which now also has a presence in the Silicon Valley, has just closed a seed funding round that includes an investment from the Luxembourg-based and EIF-backed i&i Biotech Fund, which is dedicated to accelerating the company's R&D efforts toward the preclinical and clinical development: "We started in 2020 in a dry-lab, working on the technology, coding and trying things out. But now we are establishing a wet lab in Graz, and the team is expanding with 25 new employees. We're collaborating with some big pharma companies and co-develop or possibly even independently bring a drug to market one day."


Location: Graz, Austria

Financial intermediary: i&i Biotech Fund

SME: Celeris Therapeutics

Sector: biotechnology

Number of employees: 18

Financing purpose: R&D

EU Financing: InnovFin Equity; EGF

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Austria, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/at

Note: Following the recent withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, we are updating the relevant EIF.org pages.

 
 

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