March 18, 2014 – Apta Biosciences with offices in the U.K. and Singapore is a spinoff of a decade of research at Fujitsu Laboratories. The company recently raised about $2.7 million U.S., 106% of its financial target through the Syndicate Room, a biotech equity crowdfunding site.
Apta is the developer of a line of adaptamers combining nano and biotechnology. This puts them on the leading edge of synthetic biology. Adaptamers mimic proteins such as antibodies and can be used to fight bacterial and viral infections in the body. The ones created by Apta are 1/5th the size of the antibodies you produce in your own body. They can be generated to target specific viruses, or can serve to help the body fight a wide spectrum of diseases.
An adaptamer is a chemically synthesized substance in which amino acid side chains are deployed on one end of a strand of natural DNA to increase affinity for particular biological molecules, giving them properties similar to antibodies. Adaptamers are stable at room temperature, maintain their integrity in blood for up to 200 hours (the limit of testing so far), and have shown considerable promise in inhibiting viruses from entering cells. At Fujitsu early in the research adaptamers were developed to create biomarkers for prostate cancer and West Nile Virus.
The company hopes its adaptamers will be widely used for combating disease as well as other applications such as performing diagnostics, developing designer drugs and vaccines, personalized cancer therapies, and biomarkers for nuclear imaging. The company holds 25 patents in the field.
No wonder it attracted lots of investors at the crowdfunding site.