The J.P. Morgan Annual Healthcare Conference is one of the largest and most well-known conferences in the world where the biotech and life science industry meets to identify and build new potential partnerships. Through One-on-One Partnering, it offers attendees the opportunity to interact, network and initiate partnerships with investors and companies. Through the global SPARK network, late-stage SPARK-BIH funded projects had the chance to apply for participation at the JPM BIO Partnering event that took place from January 10th-13th 2022 as online meeting (not in San Francisco as usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Two SPARK-BIH projects were successfully selected to attend the JPM BIO Partnering Event and have also received a pitch training from SPARK Stanford beforehand:
- The ATMP project of PD. Dr. Antonia Busse and Prof. Dr. Antonio Pezzutto on the development of a novel TCR T cell based therapy for the treatment of highly malignant lymphomas. They have successfully received follow-on funding from the Else-Kröner-Fresenius Stiftung for the GMP vector production and are currently in the application process to raise funding for a First-in-Human clinical trial.
- The project of Prof. Dr. Simone Spuler and Dr. Verena Schöwel-Wolf, MBA, on developing an ATMP with muscle stem cells (+/- CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene repair) for the treatment of genetic muscular dystrophies and acquired local and generalized muscle wasting. They have successfully been awarded follow-on funding from the BMBF for their First-in-Human clinical trial, which starts in 2022. The team is currently raising their first investment round to establish the muscle stem cell platform MyoPax.
During the partnering event, both teams had up to 30 meetings with companies, contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) and different investors incl. venture capitalists and family offices to discuss their project and potential partnerships. Discussion partners were not only from Europe, but from all over the world, especially from Asia and the US. Hence, participating at the JPM BIO Partnering Event was a unique opportunity to establish international contacts and to receive valuable project-specific feedback. Overall, it was a unique experience for the SPARK-BIH teams which further supports them in the development of novel innovative therapies.