09 April 2019

BRIC based start-up joins BioInnovation Institute’s incubator program

Ankrin Therapeutics joins the four life science start-ups in BioInnovation Institute’s incubator program Creation House. The company is co-founded by BRIC group leader Professor Anja Groth who holds the chair as CSO and Thomas M. Frimurer from NNF Center for Basic Metabolic Research who brings 15+ years of experience with structure-based chemical design technologies.

“It is a challenging and very different process for basic researchers, taking research to where exciting results can be used clinically or commercially. I am extremely proud when BRIC’s researchers succeed in this, which Anja Groth and her research group have. At the same time this is an excellent example of the fact that free basic research – driven by curiosity – is a cornerstone of innovation.”, says Anders Lund, Director of BRIC                                                                                 

Ankrin Therapeutics
Ankrin Therapeutics aims to create innovation in precision oncology by exploiting inherent DNA repair dependencies.

“We are trying to develop a new type of treatment for cancer patients by exploiting inherent DNA repair dependencies. We are developing inhibitors against essential protein-protein interactions required for homologous recombination repair of toxic DNA lesions and our drug discovery approach combines both structure-based drug design and high-throughput screening strategies. We named the company Ankrin because we work with proteins that have Ankyrin repeat domains.” says Anja Groth, CSO of Ankrin Therapeutics.

Bridging the worlds of basic research and business development
When Anja Groth and Thomas M. Frimurer founded the company, they quickly realized that knowledge of business development and entrepreneurship was crucial for development of the company. Because of this, they contacted Ulrik Sørensen who is now part-time CEO while maintaining his position as COO and co-founder of Acesion Pharma.

As part of the 18 months long incubator program Creation House, Ankrin will relocate to BioInnovation Institute in Copenhagen to work at the institute’s state of the art laboratories and office space surrounded by other life science start-ups. Besides a global network, business development and infrastructure at BII, Ankrin has been offered a convertible loan of DKK 10M. With this, BioInnovation Institute, a Novo Nordisk Foundation initiative, has awarded a total of DKK 67.5M to life science entrepreneurs in 2018.

“I know people in my field who have benefitted from being part of international incubator programs, so I was very interested when I learned that BioInnovation Institute would offer the Creation House program in Denmark. At the very early-stage Ankrin is at, it is difficult to bring in investors, and we cannot find the same infrastructure, expertise and network under one roof as we can here at BII. Everything is very new to us, but we are already beginning to understand what the entrepreneurial environment at BII can bring us.” says Anja Groth, CSO of Ankrin Therapeutics.

Anja states that she is excited to get this chance to translate her basic research discoveries towards benefiting patients and creating jobs. Anja and her group will continue their basic research in chromatin replication and epigenetic cell memory that Ankrin is founded on at BRIC. She underscores that our society relies on basic science to identify new strategies for treatment of disease and create jobs in the biomedical industry.