Bionaut Labs

Space - The Future is Here

It is November 26, 2018, and humankind has just landed the InSight probe on Mars, where it will study the planet’s interior. The landing site – a flat, relatively rock-free area in the western portion of Elysium Planitia – was chosen with pinpoint accuracy, and is centered at 4.5°N 135.9°E. No trial and error here.

This is technology at its best.

 

 

Medicine - The Future is (Almost?) Here

Meanwhile, back on Earth, humankind is develop a technology that can reliably deliver a drug treatment to a specific location in the brain with the same pinpoint accuracy. This technology will revolutionize the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) disorders. There is no doubt that someone needs to introduce a disruptive mindset and flip the current pharmaceutical R&D paradigm on its head.

 

 

Bionaut Agent is the Future

That someone is us. We named our company “Bionaut” to evoke the image of an astronaut moving within a biological environment (much like space). Then, we made this concept a reality, thanks to the development of groundbreaking remote-controlled microscale robots—or Bionauts—designed to deliver biologics, nucleic acids or small molecule therapies locally to targeted CNS disease areas. 

 

Ambitious? Maybe, but our vision is a direct solution to targeting debilitating CNS conditions such as glioma and Huntington’s disease.

  1. Roughly half of all approved medicines treat diseases that are local in nature where precision targeting with Bionaut therapeutics could offer efficacy and safety that can’t be achieved by other modalities.

  2. Existing “precision medicine” treatments are unable to actively move to specific, localized targets in the human body. This means that treatments with good on-target efficacy often demonstrate poor off-target safety.

  3. “Trial and error” based optimization of safety vs. efficacy makes pharmaceutical R&D expensive and inefficient, leaving ~90% of treatment candidates to fall by the wayside during the FDA approval process.

 

For example, one may consider designing a chemotherapy drug wrapped in a layer that preferentially binds to specific cancer cells. The hope in this case would be that the chemotherapy drug will exclusively target cancer cells, and avoid healthy tissue. Unfortunately, evidence shows that this approach is often subpar, as the drug still has to rely on blood flow or diffusion in tissue to reach its target. This lack of precision means that the concentration of drug that actually reaches the target cannot be reliably predicted, and clearance from the body presents a significant challenge. Furthermore, due to the statistical nature of the delivery (via blood flow or diffusion), the drug may accumulate in areas where it is not needed, or completely miss its intended target.

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Bionaut in 3 Questions

01

What is Bionaut?

A Bionaut agent that can be precisely guided to an exact location inside the human body.

 

02

How does it work?

  • An advanced remote control and imaging system precisely guides the Bionaut to its target, tracks its progress, and triggers the payload release at exactly the right place and time.

  • A delivery and retraction system introduces the Bionaut to the body and then removes it in a safe, convenient manner.

  • What about IP? All system components are fully IP protected.

03

What is the value proposition?

  • Enabling existing and future biochemical solutions for precision medicine.

  • Reviving potent drug candidates that were previously discarded due to insufficient localization.

  • Improving the efficacy/safety balance for existing treatments, offering them extended lifetime under patent.

Let’s get specific

The Bionaut breakthrough is a unique locomotion method. The agents move at high speeds (up to 60 cm/hr), and the agent size range permits them to carry both small and large molecules. Bionaut has clearly demonstrated the platform’s technical capabilities, as well as its safety in live animals

 

Bionaut’s technology is being developed in close collaboration with the Max Planck Institute in Germany, with multiple patents protecting the components of the robotic platform. The company has already demonstrated the ability to safely navigate, control, and track the BionautsTM in vivo.

 

Bionaut was founded in 2016 and is currently headquartered in Los Angeles, CA. Its primary backers are Upfront Ventures, BOLD Capital Partners (Singularity University) and Compound VC.

Let’s get personal
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Michael Shpigelmacher

CEO & Co-Founder

 

Robotics/AI expert with specialty in R&D moonshot projects. Two decades of innovation leadership at Government of Israel, PrimeSense (acquired by Apple), McKinsey, Morgan Stanley.

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Alex Kiseylov

Chief Science Officer

An expert in Drug Development with decades of experience across multiple therapeutic areas at Amgen, Lilly and others, holder of multiple patents.

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Aviad Maizels

Executive Chairman and Founder

 

Former CEO and Founder of PrimeSense (acquired by Apple), serial entrepreneur and the visionary behind the Bionaut concept. World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, International Board Member of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

William Loudon, MD, PhD

VP Neuroscience

 

Board certified General and Pediatric Neurosurgeon, 20 years of clinical and biomedical research experience. Graduate training at NINCDS/NIH and MD Anderson Cancer Institute. Clinical focus: stereotactic surgery and radiosurgery, endoscopic surgery and other novel approaches for the treatment of complex hydrocephalus, brain tumors and neuro-trauma.

Board
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Michael Shpigelmacher

CEO & Co-Founder

 

Robotics/AI expert with specialty in R&D moonshot projects. Two decades of innovation leadership at Government of Israel, PrimeSense (acquired by Apple), McKinsey, Morgan Stanley.

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Kevin Zhang

Partner, Upfront Ventures

 

Partner at Upfront Ventures, BS Biology, Neuroscience from Harvard. 10+ years in healthcare and tech operations and investing.

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Aviad Maizels

Executive Chairman and Founder

 

Former CEO and Founder of PrimeSense (acquired by Apple), serial entrepreneur and the visionary behind the Bionaut concept. World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, International Board Member of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Samir Kaul

Managing Partner, Khosla Ventures

 

Samir is a founding general partner at Khosla Ventures, where he focuses on health, sustainability, food and advanced technology investing.

Medical Advisors

Errol De Souza, PhD

Head of Advisory Board

 

Dr. De Souza has substantial experience as an executive in the biopharmaceutical industry, having founded and served as Executive Chairman for a number of successful companies. He has worked in senior leadership roles across multiple pharmaceutical companies, including Neurocrine, Aventis and Merck.

Dr. Santosh Kesari, MD

Neurology Advisor

 

Board-certified neurologist and neuro-oncologist, currently Chair and of Neurosciences and Neurotherapeutics, John Wayne Cancer Institute. Internationally recognized clinician, serving on multiple medical advisory boards, and author of over 250 scientific publications, reviews, and books.

Dr. Gary Schwartz, MD

Senior Medical Advisor

 

World-renowned Oncology KOL, Head of Oncology/Hematology at Columbia University. Previously Chief of the Melanoma Sarcoma Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. Member of White House Cancer Moonshot Initiative 2020. Co-editor, Journal of Clinical Oncology and Clinical Cancer Research.

Jay D Kranzler, MD, PhD

Senior Medical Advisor

 

Jay D Kranzler, MD, PhD has been a Founder, CEO, Board Member, and Advisor to leading life science companies for over 30 years, most recently serving as Global Head of External R&D Innovation for Pfizer. He also provides consulting services to multiple biotechnology companies, investment banks, and investors.

Anita Gupta, MD

Pain Management/ Anesthesiology Advisor

 

Expert in pain management and a thought leader, featured as speaker on CNN, Forbes and others. Healthcare provider for over 20 years, served as advisor to the FDA, received the Learner Award from AAMC, and authored multiple books. PhD in Pharmacy at Rutgers University, MD from UMDNJ (now Rowan University), residency in anesthesiology at Georgetown.

Regulatory / Scientific / Business Advisors
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Dr. Susan Alpert

Regulatory Advisor

 

A worldwide expert in Regulatory Affairs with a focus on Medical Devices. Dr. Susan Alpert has held a variety of senior positions at the FDA, including as the Director of the FDA’s Office of Device Evaluation. Dr. Alpert has  also held the positions of senior vice president and chief regulatory officer at Medtronic until 2012 and had a similar role at C.R. Bard.

Marlene E Haffner, MD, MPH

Senior Regulatory Advisor

 

CEO of Haffner Associates, LLC a firm dedicated to the strategy, development and policy of drug development with a special emphasis on rare diseases and the products that treatment them. For 20 years, Dr. Haffner served as Director of the Office of Orphan Products Development (OOPD) of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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