The Company: Fairbanks Pharmaceuticals Inc. was founded in 2014 and was converted to a Delaware C-Corp in 2016.
Opportunity: Approximately 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes, a disease caused by inadequate control of blood glucose due to depleted or poorly functioning beta cells. Beta cells are the body’s sole source of insulin, the primary hormone that controls blood glucose. In type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form and typically found in adults, insulin production is lost when beta cells become exhausted or degenerate over time. In type 1 diabetes on the other hand, beta cells are destroyed by an autoimmune process, typically developing in children. Although many pharmaceutical treatments have been developed for type 2 diabetes, they currently only address the symptoms and cannot cure the disease, which would involve restoring insulin production from healthy beta cells. In both types of diabetes, once beta cells are lost, insulin replacement via injection is the only way to control blood glucose.
Fairbanks’ Solution: Fairbanks Pharmaceuticals is developing novel diabetic therapies based on research that found that the FSTL3-activin pathway could regulate the number and function of beta cells. Our goal is to develop FSTL3 inhibitors that in the short term will restore function to beta cells that have reduced insulin production and in the long term, accelerate beta cell regeneration through transdifferentiation from alpha cells. This treatment, then will provide a short term benefit of increasing natural insulin production and a longer tem benefit of replacing natural insulin production and glucose control while eliminating the need for insulin injections. This will directly address the root cause of diabetes potentially leading to a reduction or elimination of the disease.
Target Markets: The initial target market is the 6.6 million late-stage type 2 diabetics, patients whose beta cell loss has progressed to the point where daily insulin injections are required to control blood glucose: a $24 billion market. Treatment will eliminate or greatly reduce the need for insulin in these patients, allowing them to live relatively normal lives while eliminating the expense and challenge of daily insulin injections. Additional markets include pre-diabetes, or when paired with an immune suppressant, type 1 diabetes. .
Patent Status: Full (PCT) patent application filed October 2017, provisional patent filed October 2016.
• Dr. Alan Schneyer, PhD, CEO, Co-Founder. Dr. Schneyer directed academic research laboratories at Massachusetts General Hospital and University of MA-Amherst where the discoveries on which this therapy is based were made.
• Elissa Brown, MS, Co-Founder and COO has 30 years of experience in program management.
• Melissa Brown, PhD, Consultant and Islet Expert. Has worked with Dr. Schneyer on islet studies for more than 8 years.
• Alexa Lopez, Lab Manager; Nolan Meyer Lab Technician
• Henry Keutmann, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital
• Andrew Stewart, MD, Professor of Medicine, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease and Director, Diabetes Obesity And Metabolism Institute, Mt Sinai Hospital
• Daniel Bernard, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, McGill University
• Laura Alonso, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of Beta Cell Biological Studies, University of Massachusetts Medical School
• Randall Whitcomb, MD, Senior Advisor at Frazier Healthcare Partners
Financing: Fairbanks Pharmaceuticals was initially financed with personal funds and a Phase 1 SBIR grant that totaled $342,000. Based on our progress, we were awarded a $1.9M Phase II SBIR grant that began in June 2018. The focus of this project is to test Fairbanks’ lead antibody in several mouse models of type 1 and 2 diabetes and beta cell regeneration. If successful, we will humanize this antibody and continue optimization and development through IND application. We have initiated discussions with several major pharmaceutical firms to partner with later stages of development and continue to seek private investment. In this regard, Fairbanks Pharmaceuticals was recently awarded The Boston Innovation Prize for 2018 by Boehringer Ingelheim which has led to further discussions concerning partnerships.
Contact: Alan Schneyer, PhD, CEO and Co-Founder - 617-922-5384, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.fairbankspharma.com.