Start-up EpiBlok founded by SPARKEE Prof. Heilbronn

EpiBlok Therapeutics GmbH is developing a gene therapy for epilepsy

EpiBlok Therapeutics GmbH is a spin-off of Charité and the Medical University of Innsbruck, founded by Prof. Dr. Regine Heilbronn and Prof. Dr. Christoph Schwarzer. The focus of the company is the development of a gene therapy for the treatment of drug-resistant temporal lobe epilepsy. Between 2015 and 2021, Prof. Heilbronn and her team at Charité received funding and mentoring from the SPARK-BIH program, preparing for the foundation of EpiBlok.


Dr. Tanja Rosenmund, head and director of the SPARK program, is pleased by their success: “The team is developing the first gene therapy to be supported with grant funding, coaching, mentoring, and networking from the SPARK program. SPARK’s goal is to promote inventions from the life sciences so that patients can benefit from more new products and therapies. We are pleased that this highly innovative project is now being developed further at EpiBlok.”


The project aims at developing a gene therapy for epilepsy: An adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector will be delivered minimally invasively to the epileptic focus, re-expressing a neuropeptide that will be released in an activity-dependent manner, i.e. in periods of high neuronal activity which precedes the onset of a seizure. Suppression of neuronal excitability thereby suppresses the epileptic event. The team was also supported by GO-Bio funding with 3.3 Mio EUR.


More information about EpiBlok.

For more information, please see BIH press release.

SPARK-BIH is a member of the SPARK Global network