The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth will be a new home and primary area of growth for CAGE Bio Inc., a privately held clinical-stage company, currently a resident company at Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS@MBC BioLabs, that is expanding to Texas from California.
The emerging biotech company will operate out of laboratory space on the HSC campus. The company will use HSC resources while also exploring research partnerships and student engagement opportunities, HSC said in a news release.
“We are excited to be able to support CAGE Bio and look forward to exploring collaborations,” said Robert McClain, Ph.D., Associate Vice President of Research & Innovation at HSC.
CAGE Bio is using a proprietary drug-delivery platform to develop novel products for dermatology, inflammation and immunology. The company’s mission is to develop highly effective topical products for localized treatment while minimizing the side effects from systemic exposure.
“We are excited to become a part of the vibrant and rapidly growing Dallas-Fort Worth biotech ecosystem,” said Nitin Joshi, CEO of CAGE Bio. “The caliber of scientific professionals and academic institutions coupled with the entrepreneurial spirit of the DFW area is a huge attraction to us. HSC offers the perfect launchpad for companies such as ours to establish and grow.”
CAGE Bio’s unique technology exhibits broad spectrum antimicrobial action in addition to exceptional capabilities to carry drugs across the human skin barrier, including the ability to deliver proteins (e.g., insulin) and charged macromolecules (e.g., siRNA), HSC said in the news release.
“Ionic liquids are an emerging class of materials that can solve some of the previously unsolved problems in medicine. Their tunability and scalability make them particularly appealing as novel therapeutic substances” said Professor Samir Mitragotri, one of CAGE Bio’s co-founders and a renowned scientist in drug delivery science and technology.
CAGE Bio’s technology was licensed from the University of California, Santa Barbara. The company is expanding its business from San Carlos, California, to Fort Worth.
CAGE Bio was founded in 2018 by three scientists with extensive biotech and start-up experience.
– Nitin Joshi, Ph.D., is the CEO of CAGE Bio and has experience with Elan Pharmaceuticals, Alkermes, and ALZA/J&J. He co-founded Incline Therapeutics, later acquired by The Medicines Company.
– Samir Mitragotri, Ph.D., is the inventor of the ionic liquid technology. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering. He is the Hiller Professor of Bioengineering and Hansjorg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. He has been involved with the founding of multiple companies based on his discoveries and inventions.
– Ravi Srinivasan, Ph.D., is the chairman of the board and also a founder of OncoNano, a North Texas biotech company.
“CAGE Bio was founded by a team with remarkable industry and entrepreneurial experience,” McClain said. “CAGE Bio is an impressive addition to the Fort Worth entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
CAGE Bio is the latest company to join HSC’s efforts to promote innovation.
The university has taken a leadership role in Fort Worth to spark innovation and entrepreneurship, launching the Innovate Fort Worth podcast, teaming up with Fort Worth venture capital firm Bios Partners to create an Entrepreneur-in-Residence program to assist the University with technology commercialization and entrepreneurship, and partnering to restart Global Entrepreneurship Week in Fort Worth, HSC said in the news release.
HSC was recently recognized for being more productive at impacting the economy and society through innovation than any other U.S. medical school, in a report by the George W. Bush Institute and Opus Faveo Innovation Development.
Experts at HSC have developed and licensed new technologies expected to change the way some of the most pressing health issues are treated.
For example, technology that utilizes a blood-test based biomarker to screen elderly patients in a primary care setting to detect Alzheimer’s Disease or early cognitive loss has been exclusively licensed by HSC to Cx Precision Medicine Inc., a Fort Worth startup firm, for development and commercialization.
HSC also has licensed cancer drug treatment technology that uses nanoparticles to specifically target cancer cells while sparing healthy cells, and a novel methodology and treatment process that could restore vision to patients with macular degeneration through the engineering of a patient’s own skin cells into photoreceptor-like cells that can be transplanted into the retina.
– FWBP Staff