Member profile: Mediphage Bioceuticals
Mediphage Bioceuticals is a biotechnology company in the life sciences sector. With limited or no treatment options available for some genetic diseases, Mediphage is developing genetic medicines to treat these conditions. Mediphage has developed a novel DNA-based gene therapy technology designed to overcome critical challenges in gene therapies that rely on engineered viruses. Gene therapy replaces a faulty gene or adds a new gene to treat or cure the root cause of a genetic disorder. Mediphage’s flagship technology was invented at the University of Waterloo, spinning out in 2016.
In a short pitch, how would you describe Mediphage’s offerings (products and services)? What makes it innovative? What industry sectors and/or customers are you focused on?
Mediphage develops gene therapies for diseases with little or no treatment options. Mediphage’s technology is a novel non-viral gene therapy platform called ministring DNA (msDNA). msDNA is a versatile platform technology that can accommodate inserts or therapeutic elements larger than 4.7kb (kilobases - units of measure for DNA), significantly larger than the most commonly used gene therapy methodologies on the market. Without these capacity limitations, msDNA can safely and effectively tackle a much broader range of genetic conditions. Mediphage is developing msDNA-based gene therapies for ocular diseases with minimally invasive administration procedures. Mediphage is also working with large pharma, biotechnology companies, and institutional partners to co-develop msDNA-based gene therapies for liver and blood disorders, neurological disorders, and gene editing treatments that can repair faulty genes.
Providing more detail, what is the value proposition of Mediphage’s offerings? Examples could include the underlying technology, new capabilities, cost reduction, risk reduction, improved performance, new business model, etc.
Mediphage’s msDNA platform technology is safe and versatile. msDNA can accommodate inserts larger than the most commonly used gene therapy technologies and is devoid of elements derived from bacteria or viruses. Unlike commonly used viral-based gene therapies, msDNA’s safety profile and large gene capacity allow for redosable treatment of a wide range of genetic diseases. Meaning a msDNA-based therapeutic can be administered more than once, allowing for enhanced personalized treatments.
Internally, Mediphage is actively developing msDNA-based therapies for ocular diseases. Additionally, Mediphage out-licenses msDNA to pharmaceutical partners to develop msDNA-based therapies in non-competing spaces.
What is Mediphage’s biggest achievement/success story to date?
Mediphage has designed, produced, and delivered large polygenic constructs (containing multiple genes) into an animal model and successfully expressed both genes. This accomplishment represents a significant step forward in expressing massive genes that cannot be safely and/or effectively addressed with current gene delivery methods. This is a breakthrough in targeting multi-gene, or polygenic disorders, which are notoriously difficult to treat.
What does the future hold for Mediphage?
Mediphage is rapidly growing. It is expanding manufacturing to meet its own production needs and those of its growing list of partners. Mediphage’s partnerships facilitate the development of much-needed therapeutic options for patients. Mediphage will focus on the 2nd and 3rd generations of msDNA, providing greater precision delivery and expression of therapeutic genes.
What is Mediphage’s connection to the University of Waterloo?
Mediphage is a University of Waterloo spin-off company. Mediphage’s Founder, Dr. Roderick Slavcev, is a professor at the University’s School of Pharmacy. Mediphage’s msDNA co-inventor, Dr. Nafiseh Nafissi, is a UWaterloo alumnus who completed her Ph.D. at Dr. Slavcev’s lab. In addition, Mediphage’s first employee and current COO, Lee Bowman, is a UWaterloo alumnus. Mediphage continues to hire UWaterloo students and alumni.
Why did you decide to join the GEDI Exchange? What are you looking for? What do you want get out of it?
Mediphage is eager to connect with GEDI’s partner network to identify opportunities for co-development and collaboration in therapeutics development and biomanufacturing. Mediphage looks forward to contributing back to the UWaterloo ecosystem, providing advice, collaboration, and mentorship.