Hyderabad: A start-up incubated at the University of Hyderabad has received the United States India Science and Technology Fund (USISTEF) under the COVID-19 inflammatory awards for a new therapeutic strategy to fight the virus. Oncoseek Bio Pvt. Ltd., one of the start-ups of UoH’s ASPIRE-BioNEST incubators, was one of 11 out of 520 proposals selected for the fund.
This is the second competitive award the company has received. Earlier, it received an award from BIRAC, Govt. of India, to develop a platform to investigate the potential drug candidates for Covid 19. Oncoseekbio Pvt Ltd, which has been with ASPIRE-BioNEST since 2019, has a vision to develop in vitro and in vivo platforms for specific therapeutic screening diseases.
To combat the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the US – India Science & Technology Endowment Fund (USISTEF) has called for proposals under the category of COVID-19 Inflammation Awards in April 2020. Following the dual review process, USISTEF announced awards to 11 bilateral teams and proposed ideas that the COVID-19 challenge.
“In the current proposal, Oncoseek Bio Pvt Ltd. to create a therapeutic agent by developing new antibodies targeting the receptor binding domain (RBD) and other epitopes of the dpike protein of SARS-CoV-2. informed in a media statement.
The antibodies are conjugated to drug / Zn nanoparticle (ADCs), which release the drug of choice at the site of action. The company joined hands with prof. August Avery of Cornell University, who will test the effectiveness of these potential ADCs against COVID-19 use of human angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) expressing mouse models.
Dr Suresh Poosala, the lead applicant who envisioned and created the proposal, said that these mouse models are not available in India and that this collaboration will be very useful to do vivo screening.
Prof. Appa Rao Podile, Vice-Chancellor, University of Hyderabad congratulated the team of Oncoseek Bio Pvt. Ltd. and said that this development is well received by the ASPIRE-BioNEST which focuses on quality over quantity and the focus is on paying dividends.