HUNTSVILLE, Ala.—Late June saw Van Heron Labs, a startup formed in Houston, forge a strategic alliance with Huntsville-based Foresight Biosciences aimed at “surpassing the boundaries in a burgeoning field: biotechnology.”
Foresight Biosciences works in the field of glycoscience and enzymatic assay development. Their technologies advance glycobiology research and improve the production of glycoprotein therapeutics.
As the company notes, the current production of biologics is not only complex and costly, but also plagued with common issues like high immunogenicity and poor shelf-life, which hinder protein-based drug development. Foresight’s proprietary platform reportedly revolutionizes therapeutic protein production to yield higher quality biologics by inducing protein modifications necessary to create more effective human biopharmaceutical therapies.
Van Heron’s mission is to “reframe the understanding of organismal and cellular performance.” The company has created a novel pipeline that uses genetic analysis to design a customized procedure for optimizing metabolism for a particular organism or cell, maximizing growth and product output.
According to the company, their platform “has the potential for astounding flexibility, ranging from increasing the production of valuable cellular products, to directly selecting for organisms in complex nutritional environments, to even other more niche applications spanning nearly every industrial, medical and research sector.”
The new partners say that the strength of this relationship lies not only in the their shared multi-disciplinary vision for the future, but also in the complementary aspect of their two technological platforms.
Foresight, like many companies who utilize cellular products, relies on the fidelity of the culture media they use. While industry standards for culture media have largely stagnated of late, Van Heron Labs aims to enhance standard media with their customized formulas that robustly increase a cell’s capabilities and therefore the quality of high-value cellular products. This provides the perfect opportunity for Van Heron Labs to add substantial value for Foresight, while simultaneously demonstrating viability at industry scale. The companies add that their partnership offers mutual benefits for both companies and the field of biologic production as a whole.
Right now, prospective collaborative projects will aim to impact and ameliorate fields like drug and enzyme discovery, development and production as well as industrial fermentation, bioremediation, cell culture and beyond.
Both companies are currently using their platforms to develop technology to help battle COVID-19. In anticipation of continuing collaborative work with Foresight, Van Heron Labs plans to move a significant portion of their laboratory operations from the Texas Medical Center in Houston to the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology located in Huntsville, Ala.