PRAMOMOLECULAR, a biopharma start-up based at BioCampus Berlin-Buch, spun off from TU Berlin in October 2021, is developing novel active ingredients to down-regulate disease-causing proteins such as cancer and metabolic disorders. In summer 2023, the young high-tech company was able to achieve several breakthroughs at once: The three founders, Dr Merle Fuchs, Dr Thomas Hiller and Ida Shaef, filed a second international patent application to protect an innovative class of active agents against one of the most important families of cancer proteins, were able to achieve significant therapeutic success with good tolerability in animals suffering from lung or colon cancer, and started a feasibility study with an international biotechnology company to jointly develop new cancer active agents. They have also received funding approval from Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) from the "Programme for the Promotion of Research, Innovation and Technology" (Pro FIT). Pro FIT supports small or medium-sized technology-oriented companies and research institutions in particular in financing ambitious innovation projects.
"We are particularly pleased," emphasizes Managing Director Merle Fuchs, "that the preclinical development of our first own drug candidate is now also secured by the IBB funding commitment, supplemented by equity financing from a business angel." The volume of this new round of funding, which will be used to preclinically develop a lead structure to downregulate one of the most important cancer proteins from the class of KRAS oncoproteins, is around €700,000.
"KRAS proteins are the most important cancer drivers in non-small cell lung cancer, colon cancer and pancreatic cancer," explains Thomas Hiller, technical director of PRAMOMOLECULAR. The scientific director, Ida Shaef, adds: "Due to the special protein structure of these oncoproteins, particularly dangerous forms of lung, colon and pancreatic cancer still cannot be effectively treated by classical pharmaceutical agents. This is one of the reasons why, for example, around 90% of patients with pancreatic cancer still die within the first year of diagnosis." The Berlin-based startup wants to change this.