Eris Biotech - Our drugs engage the immune system to fight tumors

Eris Biotech: Pioneering Safe and Effective Cancer Therapies

What is Eris Biotech?

Eris Biotech is a pioneering start-up focused on revolutionizing cancer treatment. Founded in 2023 in American Fork, UT, Eris Biotech is the brainchild of Rachel Garlick and Evita Weagel. With a team of just two highly skilled and dedicated individuals, this start-up is already making significant strides in the field of cancer therapeutics. Their mission is to develop small molecule drugs that inhibit immune suppression, engaging the immune system to fight tumors more effectively and safely. The company's innovative approach involves the use of hypoxia-activated prodrugs (HAPs), which become active in the low-oxygen environment characteristic of most solid tumors. This unique delivery mechanism aims to reduce systemic toxicity, a common issue in traditional cancer treatments.

Who Are the Founders?

The active founders of Eris Biotech are Rachel Garlick and Evita Weagel. Rachel Garlick holds a PhD in Immunology from Dartmouth College and has a wealth of experience in engineering cancer immunotherapies. Her expertise lies in developing hypoxia-activated prodrugs that disrupt immune communication to reduce cancer growth. Evita Weagel, a first-generation immigrant from Peru and a mother of two, holds a PhD in microbiology and molecular biology with an emphasis in cancer immunology. She has a robust background in drug development from her postdoctoral work and career in big pharma. Together, Rachel and Evita combine their extensive knowledge and experience to lead Eris Biotech in its mission to develop safer, more effective cancer treatments.

How Did Eris Biotech Start?

Eris Biotech was born out of a shared vision and collaborative spirit. Rachel and Evita met while working at the same lab at BYU, where Rachel was an undergraduate and Evita was a Ph.D. student. Their professional relationship blossomed into a friendship as they collaborated on a peer-reviewed paper and conference presentations. After completing their studies, Rachel went on to work at a start-up developing cell therapies, and Evita pursued a career in drug development in big pharma. Both noticed a critical issue in their respective fields: many promising drugs failed to progress due to toxicity concerns. This realization led them to explore strategies to make therapeutics safer, ultimately leading to the foundation of Eris Biotech.

What Problem is Eris Biotech Addressing?

Eris Biotech is tackling one of the most significant challenges in cancer treatment: systemic toxicity. Traditional cancer therapies often involve a delicate balance between efficacy and safety. The drugs need to be potent enough to kill cancer cells but not so toxic that they harm the patient. This issue is particularly pronounced in the treatment of mesothelioma, a type of cancer with a dismal five-year survival rate of less than 13%. Current treatments for mesothelioma are not only ineffective but also come with severe systemic toxicity, leading to a high mortality rate within 14 months of diagnosis. Eris Biotech aims to address this problem by developing drugs that specifically target the tumor site without affecting healthy tissues.

What is the Solution Offered by Eris Biotech?

Eris Biotech's solution lies in the development of hypoxia-activated prodrugs (HAPs). These drugs are designed to activate only in low-oxygen (hypoxic) environments, which are characteristic of most solid tumors, including mesothelioma. By targeting the hypoxic conditions within tumors, Eris Biotech's drugs can deliver potent therapeutic effects directly to the tumor site, minimizing systemic toxicity. This targeted approach allows for the use of more aggressive drugs that can effectively combat cancer cells without causing harm to the rest of the body.

How Does Eris Biotech Develop Their Drugs?

Eris Biotech employs advanced AI drug discovery tools and AI-designed compounds to develop their hypoxia-activated prodrugs. Their first HAP was selected from a library of over 2.6 million compounds. This drug works by blocking the communication between the tumor and its surroundings, effectively isolating the tumor from essential resources and engaging the immune system to fight the cancer aggressively. This innovative approach not only enhances the efficacy of the treatment but also reduces the risk of systemic toxicity, making it a safer option for patients.

What is Hypoxia-Activated Prodrug (HAP)?

A hypoxia-activated prodrug (HAP) is a type of drug that remains inactive until it reaches a hypoxic (low-oxygen) environment, such as that found within solid tumors. Once in the hypoxic environment, the prodrug is converted into its active form, allowing it to exert its therapeutic effects directly on the tumor cells. This targeted activation helps to minimize the impact on healthy tissues and reduce systemic toxicity, a common issue with conventional cancer therapies. Eris Biotech's HAPs are specifically designed to exploit the hypoxic conditions of tumors, providing a more effective and safer treatment option for cancer patients.

Why Focus on Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a particularly aggressive and challenging type of cancer that affects the pleura, the thin layer surrounding the lungs. With a very low five-year survival rate and a high mortality rate within 14 months of diagnosis, there is a critical need for more effective and less toxic treatments. Eris Biotech has chosen to focus on mesothelioma because it represents a significant unmet medical need. By developing hypoxia-activated prodrugs that specifically target the hypoxic environment of mesothelioma tumors, Eris Biotech aims to provide a new and promising treatment option for patients suffering from this devastating disease.

What Are the Benefits of Eris Biotech's Approach?

The primary benefit of Eris Biotech's approach is the reduction of systemic toxicity. Traditional cancer treatments often have severe side effects because they affect both cancerous and healthy tissues. By using hypoxia-activated prodrugs, Eris Biotech can deliver powerful therapeutic effects directly to the tumor site, minimizing harm to the rest of the body. This targeted approach not only enhances the efficacy of the treatment but also improves the overall safety profile, making it a more viable option for patients.

What is the Future Vision for Eris Biotech?

Eris Biotech envisions a future where cancer treatments are both highly effective and safe for patients. Their innovative approach to developing hypoxia-activated prodrugs represents a significant step towards achieving this goal. By continuing to leverage advanced AI drug discovery tools and collaborating with leading experts in the field, Eris Biotech aims to expand their therapeutic portfolio to address a broader range of solid tumors. Their commitment to reducing systemic toxicity while enhancing treatment efficacy positions them as a leader in the next generation of cancer therapeutics.

How Can You Support Eris Biotech?

Supporting Eris Biotech can take many forms, from investing in their innovative research to raising awareness about their mission and goals. By sharing their story and advocating for safer, more effective cancer treatments, you can help Eris Biotech continue their groundbreaking work. Whether you are a potential investor, a healthcare professional, or simply someone passionate about advancing cancer treatment, your support can make a significant difference in the fight against cancer.

In summary, Eris Biotech is at the forefront of developing innovative cancer therapeutics that engage the immune system to fight tumors more effectively and safely. With a focus on reducing systemic toxicity through the use of hypoxia-activated prodrugs, Eris Biotech is poised to transform the landscape of cancer treatment and improve the lives of countless patients.