Erez Livneh spoke about the potential of virus decoys to transform health care. Here’s a snapshot into this moonshotter’s background:
Erez spent a decade conducting and leading bioresearch programs in both academia and biotech companies. Today, he is the Founder and CEO of Vecoy Nanomedicines, a NanoPharma company that develops a new generation of nanomedicines for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis-C, Dengue Fever and other viral infections.
The nanoparticles so far suck up 97% of the viruses outside of the cells before they infect cells.
Vecoy Nanomedicines Ltd., a privately held company, incorporated in Israel in 2010, is a leading company in the application of nanomedicine technologies to the complex issues of viral diseases. The Vecoy technology will fundamentally change the treatment of viral infections by administering novel nano-scale virus-traps that capture and destroy viruses.
Vecoy Nanomedicines Ltd., is a nano-biopharmaceutical (nanomedicine) company whose business goals are to discover, develop and commercialize therapeutics to advance the care of patients suffering from life-threatening viral infections.
Vecoy Nanomedicines presents a novel nano-medical therapy based on various nanotechnology platforms which is essentially a use of tailor-made virus-traps that mimic human host cells to serve as a Virus-Decoy (“Vecoy”).
Virus particles entrapped by the Vecoys are inactivated in the process. This core technology is fundamentally different than any available anti-viral treatment. Unlike existing antiviral treatments that target infected human cells, Vecoys target the viruses before a cellular infection takes place. Furthermore, the Vecoy technology successfully addresses the two major challenges of current medication, namely, virus resistance to treatment and toxicity effects, and is designed to be resistance and toxicity free.
Our in vitro cell culture model – an experiment and a screening process:
On the left pane, the cells are untreated and healthy as could be observed by their elongated shapes and the blue hue diffracting from their membranes.
On the middle pane, the cells are treated by viruses that were added to their media, and as a result are sick and dying. Their shape is altered and inflated by the viral mass accumulated within them.
On the right pane, cells are treated with viruses as was done in the middle pane cells, however the cell exhibit a far healthier appearance, similar to the healthy cells on the left pane. The cause for the difference is due to the addition to the media of the Vecoy virus-traps (visible as small dark spheres, smaller than cells. Indicated by arrows), which have absorbed most viruses from the media before they managed to reach and infect the cells.
While results are easily observed by the appearance of the cells, the assay is not qualitative but rather quantitative, as we use a genetically modified Baculo-virus that expresses a GFP fluorescent signal specifically within infected cells. By measuring the fluorescence signal we gather the amount of infected cells in the culture.
This is therefore more than a mere experiment, it is a screening system by which we empirically evaluate and compare the virus-inactivation capabilities of our numerous formulas of antiviral particles, allowing an efficient and rapid process of selecting for the optimal candidates.
The highly potent Vecoy technology can be utilized for the treatment of a wide range of viral infections of both developed and developing nations.
The Company currently plans to work on several drug development programs with large commercial interest which includes
(1) Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV/AIDS),
(2) Pandemic Influenza including Asian Bird Flu Virus,
(3) Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), and
(4) Hepatitis B Virus (HBV).
To date, we have engaged in organizational activities; sourcing compounds and materials; developing novel compounds and nanomaterials, and experimentation with cell cultures and animals.