AxoSim Receives Investment from Benson Capital Partners

Benson Capital Partners Announces First Investment in AxoSim, Inc.

AxoSim, Inc, Provider of BrainSim™ & NerveSim™ Neurological Drug Discovery Platforms, and BioFund Portfolio Company, Teams with Benson Capital Partners & Jefferson Capital Partners

Benson Capital Partners announces its first investment from its recently launched fund, Benson Capital Fund I, in AxoSim, Inc., a New Orleans-based neurological drug discovery platform company. AxoSim’s proprietary technologies, NerveSim™ & BrainSim™, empower scientists from leading biopharmaceutical companies to predict how the human nervous system will respond to therapies much earlier in the drug development process. Benson Capital Partners co-invested with Jefferson Capital Partners’ Opportunity Zone fund vehicle. AxoSim’s office and lab spaces are currently housed in the New Orleans BioInnovation Center on Canal St.

The development of new drugs for neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, ALS, Parkinson’s & MS is painstakingly slow and inefficient. Over 94% of neurological drugs that look promising in animal testing fail once they are tested in humans, driving the average cost and time to develop a single new drug to $2.6B and more than 10 years. AxoSim’s revolutionary NerveSim™ & BrainSim™ platforms provide a more clinically relevant way to test drugs by mimicking the structure and function of the human nervous system, accelerating the development of safer and more effective treatments.

“AxoSim’s technologies and team have the ability to accelerate new treatments for debilitating neurological diseases to the clinic. We are excited that Benson Capital Partners’ first investment is in a company with both local and global impact, addressing a large and important market,” says Mike Katz, Managing Director of Benson Capital Partners. “We were impressed by the management team and the impressive roster of global pharmaceutical companies they have already attracted as their clients. Through partnerships like this, Gayle Benson will continue to honor her late husband Tom Benson by fostering entrepreneurship & innovation in New Orleans and the Gulf South Region.”

“We are thrilled to partner with the AxoSim team in advancing critically important neurological drug development,” says Jo Truhe, a Partner with Jefferson Capital Partners. “We appreciate the opportunity to co-invest with Benson Capital Partners. We are completely aligned on the mission of providing much-needed capital to the region, particularly New Orleans.”

AxoSim is lead by CEO Lowry Curley, Ph.D., and Chief Business Officer Ben Cappiello. The company was spun out of the lab of Michael Moore, Ph.D. from Dr. Curley’s graduate research at Tulane University. In 2019, AxoSim significantly expanded its technology portfolio with the exclusive license of the BrainSim platform, pioneered by Thomas Hartung, MD, Ph.D. out of Johns Hopkins University. With the combination of these two platforms, AxoSim has become a premier player in the neurological drug discovery field. Over the past four years, the company has grown to a team of 26 employees and is scaling up its production and service capabilities.

“Translating promising results in the lab to success in humans is the biggest obstacle the pharmaceutical industry faces, and nowhere is that more apparent than neurodegenerative diseases. Our NerveSim™ & BrainSim™ have the potential to bridge that gap and drive the next wave of therapies for patients in desperate need. Working with Benson Capital and Jefferson Capital and their extensive networks will help accelerate our mission to empower advancements in human neuroscience,” says Dr. Lowry Curley. “This investment, along with our growing revenue and new federal grants, provides the capital we need to scale our platforms into industry-leading drug discovery solutions.”

AxoSim works with a growing number of the largest biopharmaceutical companies globally and their platform has a wide range of applications in both safety and efficacy, including neurological disease modeling. Additionally, they have been awarded over $4.2M in federal grant funding to advance and validate their technologies, including their recent announcement of two new grants worth over $870K to develop a patient-derived model of ALS and further expand their BrainSim™ platform.

AxoSim is also a New Orleans BioFund Portfolio company, having won our annual BioChallenge Pitch Competition in 2014, and received their first investment from the Fund in 2016. To date, BioFund Portfolio Companies have created or retained over 400 Full-Time-Equivalent Positions. The BioFund has now directly contributed $4 million to the local economy and has supported the creation of numerous long-term, high-wage job opportunities within and outside of biotech.

Be sure to keep up with Benson Capital Partners HERE.

Be sure to keep up with AxoSim HERE.

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NOBIC Tenant AxoSim Awarded $870K in Federal Funding

PRESS RELEASE: AxoSim Announces the Award of Over $870K in Federal Grants

 

Overview

–Two grants from the DoD Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program and the National Institutes of Health awarded to AxoSim–

–The CDMRP grant will support the development of a ALS NerveSim™ model to mimic the pathology of human motor nerves of patients–

–The NIH SBIR grant will be utilized to expand the BrainSim™ platform in multiple species

Press Release

AxoSim is excited to announce the award of two federal grants from the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) totaling over $870,000. The CDMRP grant involves utilizing the company’s NerveSim™ platform to establish a clinically-relevant model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), specifically mimicking the human pathology of ALS. The NIH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant will utilize the company’s existing BrainSim™ platform to expand into multiple species, allowing the company to now compare chemical and drug effects across human and rodent species.

Using the existing NerveSim™ platform, the ALS NerveSim™ model will mimic the pathology of human motor nerves of patients suffering from ALS. ALS is a notoriously difficult condition to treat and more than 50 clinical trials have yielded only two therapies for the treatment of ALS, though neither is disease-modifying. With no translatable preclinical models available to drug developers, this project aims to fulfill a significant unmet need for a clinically-relevant model of ALS. The project employs patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) with a SOD1 genetic mutation, the most common gene associated with the familial form of the disease.

AxoSim’s BrainSim™ platform will be further refined to mimic the developing rodent brain and will be used for screening of potentially neurotoxic compounds. Using 3D image analysis and genetic assays, this model can also quantify the individual cell types in the spheroids, such as neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. By evaluating myelin levels, BrainSim™ can be used for screening compounds that impact myelination. Electron microscopy (EM) can analyze cellular features and microelectrode arrays (MEA) can test the electrical activity of neurons.

Support from federal grants including the NIH has been crucial to the development of the NerveSim™ and BrainSim™ platforms. Past grants awarded by the NIH include Phase 1 and 2 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grants from the National Center for Advancing Translation Sciences, an SBIR Phase 1 Grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and multiple NIH grants while still in their academic laboratories at Tulane University and Johns Hopkins University prior to AxoSim’s licensing of the technologies.

About AxoSim, Inc.

AxoSim, Inc. is a premier provider of neurological drug discovery platforms. The company’s proprietary BrainSim™ and NerveSim™ platforms provide accurate, predictive models of the human peripheral and central nervous systems, rapidly delivering clinically actionable human data early in the drug development process. AxoSim’s platforms have applications for drug efficacy, disease modeling, and toxicology. Learn more at axosim.com.

Press Contact: pr@axosim.com

General Inquiries: info@axosim.com


AxoSim Webinar: Human Schwann Cells

Join AxoSim Scientist, Dr. Anup Sharma, on Wednesday, September 30th to learn about the use of Human Schwann Cells in preclinical peripheral neuropathy research. Dr. Sharma will present on AxoSim’s human peripheral co-culture assay, which recapitulates peripheral neuropathy in small molecules and antibody-drug conjugates. 1:00-1:45pm ET, register here: https://bit.ly/33KCON

AxoSim’s NerveSim™, powered by Nerve-on-a-Chip®, and BrainSim™ platforms are revolutionizing the way that biopharmaceutical companies develop neurological drugs, and empower advancements in human neuroscience so that patients in need can get the care they deserve.

AxoSim reduces clinical failure and enables companies to develop effective drugs more quickly and at a lower cost. They work with clients to become an integral part of the drug development process, fostering #innovation and facilitating breakthroughs in the treatment of the world’s most devastating diseases.

Learn more about their exceptional team, a little bit about life at AxoSim, and other career opportunities!


AxoSim is Hiring

AxoSim is Hiring

Are you looking for a fulfilling career in neurological drug discovery at a rapidly growing startup? AxoSim is looking for a Postdoctoral Researcher and a Research Associate! Learn more and apply: https://bit.ly/2VVpLnY

AxoSim’s NerveSim™, powered by Nerve-on-a-Chip®, and BrainSim™ platforms are revolutionizing the way that biopharmaceutical companies develop neurological drugs, and empower advancements in human neuroscience so that patients in need can get the care they deserve.

AxoSim reduces clinical failure and enables companies to develop effective drugs more quickly and at a lower cost. They work with clients to become an integral part of the drug development process, fostering #innovation and facilitating breakthroughs in the treatment of the world’s most devastating diseases.

Learn more about their exceptional team, a little bit about life at AxoSim, and other career opportunities!


An Interview with Dr. Lowry Curley, Co-Founder and CEO of AxoSim

Xiomara Jefferson, an aspiring young scientist, recently sat down to speak with Dr. Lowry Curley, co-founder and CEO of AxoSim.

 

 

 

Dr. Curley co-founded AxoSim in 2014 after winning the annual BioChallenge competition hosted by the New Orleans BioInnovation Center. Since then, AxoSim has been awarded numerous grants and prizes including the Coulter IDEAPitch and a grant from the National Institute of Health.

Xiomara: When did you realize you wanted to be a scientist?

Dr. Curley: I guess it was kind of a long process. In middle school and high school, I was good at math and science, so that lead me to apply for a degree in engineering. What really pushed me away from engineering, and more towards biology, was that I had a little bit of a health scare when I was a sophomore in college, and it made me realize that there’s a lot of treatments out there. There are a lot of people who put a lot of hard work into doing things that really help people. That was where I made the decision that I was going to focus on science and try to make a difference.

In the Spotlight: Dr. Lowry Curley
Dr. Lowry Curley, Co-Founder and CEO of AxoSim

Xiomara: What kind of science do you participate in?

Dr. Curley: Neuroscience is, broadly speaking, the science that we’re working in. We do a lot of stuff with cells, biology, testing of those cells, but broadly, its neuroscience.

Xiomara: Who does your research and technology benefit?

Dr. Curley: We’re trying to help people who have diseases like multiple sclerosis, ALS, Alzheimer’s. Ultimately, we hope that what we’re doing will help improve their lives.

Xiomara: What exactly are you guys doing?

Dr. Curley: We’ve developed, essentially, a tool to help pharmaceutical companies do better research and development, and we’re trying to help them develop drugs for multiple sclerosis and ALS. For multiple sclerosis, for instance, there are some drugs that are available that slow down the disease, but none of them stop it or reverse it. So we’ve got this tool that we’re hoping to make next-generation, better versions, of these drugs that will stop or cure the disease.

There’s small wins and there’s big wins. You have to make sure you celebrate the small wins.

Xiomara: Wow, that’s so cool! So what motivates you and keeps you inspired, especially given the lengthy and difficult process of developing these tools?

Dr. Curley: Being able to think about and see the difference that we can ultimately make. We’re now working with some big companies, and we’re actually starting to see how our tool is helping them make better decisions. So yeah it’s a long and lengthy process, but there are little things along the way that you count as successes that help you remember that you’re making progress and doing good things. There’s small wins and there’s big wins. You have to make sure you celebrate the small wins.

Xiomara: What challenges do you face in your field?

Dr. Curley: There’s a lot of them. I would say the biggest one is that we’re dealing with biology and neuroscience and it’s very complicated. We might do an experiment one day and then do it next week and its completely different, so it’s kind of difficult when you’re working with complex tests to make sure you’re doing it the same way over and over again.

Xiomara: Do you think being located in New Orleans has helped you in advancing your research?

Dr. Curley: I think it has because, in part, we’re able to work with some of the universities around here, like Xavier, Tulane, and LSU a little bit, so we can kind of draw on their knowledge. But then also, one of the good things about New Orleans is that people are always very willing to help here versus somewhere like Boston. Boston is very cutthroat, so people aren’t as willing to spend their time on you because they’re out trying to some of their own things; it’s a different culture.

You’re going to have a lot of setbacks throughout your life, throughout your career, throughout your studying, but as long as you keep going, that’s the important part.

Xiomara: Ok, last question. If you could give me one piece of advice, what would it be?

Dr. Curley: One piece of advice, that’s hard. One of them that might sound obvious but isn’t is never give up. You’re going to have a lot of setbacks throughout your life, throughout your career, throughout your studying, but as long as you keep going, that’s the important part. And realize, everyone else has had setbacks also. You know, it’s easy to look at people who have done great things and assume that they got there easily, but that’s definitely never the case. And I guess the parallel of that, which I already mentioned, is celebrate the small wins. So you might have a five-year goal, but there’s a lot of things you have to accomplish along the way that are not easy but you should stop to remember that it’s a big win.

Xiomara: Alright, thank you so much!


Learn more about Dr. Curley and AxoSim here: https://neworleansbio.com/?s=AxoSim
Check out Xiomara’s Meet the Team interview here: https://neworleansbio.com/meet-the-team-xiomara-jefferson/


AxoSim Wins the Coulter IDEAPitch

AxoSim, client and tenant of the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, won the top $100,000 investment prize at the Coulter IDEAPitch. AxoSim has created a patented “nerve-on-a-chip” technology that helps pharmaceutical companies discover new drugs. AxoSim’s technology will drastically reduce the time and money required to discover new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS and MS. This technology can also test the neurotoxic side-effects of chemotherapy treatments and similar drugs, all while minimizing inaccurate animal testing. AxoSim plans to build a personalized medicine platform that will be the future of drug discovery and treatment, and they plan to build it in New Orleans. They’ve already created over half a dozen high-tech jobs for the local economy and they’re just getting started.

Congratulations AxoSim!

https://bit.ly/2GtoKOh


AxoSim Receives $1.7M Grant from the National Institutes of Health

Tenant startup AxoSim has been awarded a two year NIH Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant for $1,770,000 to advance their nerve-on-a-chip technology for predictive preclinical drug testing. AxoSim is developing clinically relevant models of human neurological tissue to bring much needed therapies to market faster and more efficiently. In partnership with Tulane, this project will further validate the company’s proprietary peripheral nerve model for screening drugs against neurotoxicity. Peripheral neuropathy manifests itself in up to 40% of patients receiving chemotherapy and is the number one reason patients stop receiving treatment. The startup will also develop machine learning algorithms to improve the model’s predictive power over time. AxoSim has grown to 11 team members since launching in 2014 and beginning to receive Commercialization consulting assistance.

September 21, 2017 — Read more at New Orleans CityBusiness


AxoSim Receives $450,000+ NSF and CASIS Grants

Nerve-on-a-chip startup AxoSim has recently been awarded two grants from the National Science Foundation and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space to accelerate their efforts. The first from NSF is a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant for $225,000 to conduct research and development work to improve the development of treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. The second grant from CASIS will provide $230,000 to ready the technology for experiments on the International Space Station, for testing the effects of microgravity on the human nervous system.

August 11, 2016 — Read more at The New Orleans Advocate


AxoSim Receives $225,000 STTR Grant

Startup AxoSim Technologies has been awarded a $225,000 Small Business Technology Transfer grant by the NIH. This one-year grant will fund additional research to demonstrate that AxoSim’s novel nerve-on-a-chip technology can improve drug development in the pharmaceutical industry and in the chemotherapy space in particular.

March 9, 2016 — Read more in the Times-Picayune


AxoSim Technologies Wins 3rd Annual BioChallenge

Nerve-on-a-chip startup AxoSim Technologies has won $25,000 in the 3rd annual BioChallenge pitch competition for Louisiana life sciences companies. The novel technology reduces the costs and length of preclinical drug development. The other three finalists were Crescentium, a critical care medical device firm, coastal resiliency and living shoreline company ORA Estuaries, and Taxor Diagnostics, the developers of a diagnostic test that predicts whether taxane chemotherapies will be effective for breast cancer patients.

November 18, 2014 — Read more at The Times-Picayune/Nola.com