Asterion is a privately held biopharmaceutical company dedicated to bringing biotech ingenuity with a strong focus on premature skin ageing. Our goal is to turn the whole paradigm of traditional molecule discovery on its head, with human genetics informing the entire pipeline. Where one used to start with pre-clinical models to identify new targets and then advance promising candidates to human clinical trials, which often fail, we now begin with human genetics to identify superior targets and then validate these discoveries in preclinical models before moving into clinical trials.
Through its proprietary plant-based protein expression platform, Asterion produces recombinant proteins, transiently expressed in non-transgenic Nicotiana Benthamiana plants. Backed by extensive knowledge of molecular biology, biotechnology, genetics and proteomics, we introduce high-tech, innovative molecules for dermo-cosmetics, aesthetics, and medical device classified products.
In early 2016, the multi-disciplinairy team at Asterion began to map out a scientific strategy, collaborations and operational plan. Each member brought a unique perspective and skill set to the internal collaboration. Many other colleagues and partners; from business development to human resources to legal to finance — also contributed time and perspective, highlighting the focus on cross-functional partnership that is a hallmark of Asterion's culture.
What the public needs to understand is that recombinant DNA technology, allows scientists to bypass biological boundaries alltogether.
Jeroen Hofenk, Founding CEO & Chief Scientific Officer
TURNING PLANTS INTO BIOFACTORIES
Asterion uses a proprietary gene expression technology that causes non-transgenic Nicotiana Benthamiana plants to rapidly produce high levels of target proteins.
HOW IT WORKS
Plants are highly efficient at producing proteins of varying complexity, serving as bioreactors - or mini factories - for our protein-based therapeutics. Asterion's plant-based production platform demonstrates better agility, accuracy, and speed compared with other manufacturing technologies by eliminating the risk of pathogens and contamination during production, and significantly shortening production timelines. Our platform scaleability is quite simple; one plant or 10,000 plants require the same growth conditions whereas the capacity is adjustable to market needs.
SYNTHETIC GENE CLONING
Target gene of interest
INSERT + GROW AGROBACTERIUM
Containing gene of interest sequence
NATURAL SYNTHESIS OF PROTEIN
DNA transcript is amplified in plant
5 - 6 days
Gene introduction by vacuum infiltration
Leaves are harvested and grinded
ISOLATION AND PURIFICATION
Sequential chromatography steps
LYOPHILIZATION AND PACKAGING
Activity and seriological identification
1 - 2 days
ENGINEERED TO INCREASE SKIN PERMEATION
Proteins, due to their large size and hydrophilic nature, are normally precluded from effective delivery such as cell entry or tissue diffusion. Among the transport barriers, the skin poses as a formidable challenge to proteins due to the impermeable stratum corneum. The existing techniques for percutaneous protein delivery must rely on sophisticated delivery systems, such as the use of complicated nanocarriers or mechanical devices, to overcome the skin barrier for noninvasive delivery. A challenge in manufacturing of such systems is their complicated processes and potential negative impact on protein drug stability. Moreover, the high manufacturing cost of these advanced systems often offsets their remarkable advantages.
To circumvent these problems that confront the current methods, we developed the concept of “skin-permeable proteins” which possess skin penetrating ability, and thereby eliminate a need for a transport vehicle. Our Transderm® technology features a conjugation of a recombinant protein to a skin permeable peptide (SPP), which displays a profound penetration effect on the stratum corneum barrier, and transports the attached recombinant protein into the skin via the transcellular pathway. The peptide also exhibits increased penetration into various cells including keratinocytes, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells, likely through a macropinocytosis pathway. It does not alter the skin lipid barrier. It interacts with skin proteins and induces changes in protein secondary structures (alpha-helices, beta-sheet, random coils and turns).
A DEEP AND DIVERSE PIPELINE
Our current pipeline includes therapeutic developments within the field of inflammatory skin diseases, UV-induced DNA damage repair, and premature skin aging
Protein-based therapeutics promise to significantly improve therapeutic outcomes, but many are expensive to produce in recombinant form or difficult to safely isolate from natural sources. At Asterion, we are solving this problem by producing highly pure, biologically active recombinant therapeutic proteins with high efficiency. Asterion has a deep and diverse pipeline at various stages of development, for both cosmetic and medical device classified applications.
IN VITRO/EX VIVO
Anti-oxidant, NRF2 inducer
Bonta light chain-Pn1a-EGF
UV damage repair
MSC stem cell derived
Anti-wrinkle, MMP inhibition
MEDICAL DEVICE - AESTHETICS
Integral DNA - HA
Integral DNA - Sacran
Melatonin - 6HITC
GPI anchored TXNIP/TIMP1
Diabetic Foot Ulcer
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PARTNER WITH US
We are dedicated to identifying partners who share our vision for the future of recombinant DNA technology in dermatology. Our corporate development team works closely with our research, development and commercial groups to carefully identify and evaluate prospective opportunities that are strategically aligned with our objectives.
Our aim is to become the partner of choice for innovation in recombinant DNA technology in dermatology. This is at the heart of how we approach partnerships and collaborations. At Asterion, innovation extends beyond our excisting programs to partnerships in which we engage. We look forward to learning more about your opportunity and discussing how we can partner with you.
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