New Anthrax Therapy Propels KGI’s Klondike Therapeutics Team to Semi-Finals of OBR Competition
At KGI, students and faculty are interested in using the life sciences to find solutions to real-world problems-and it's hard to get more real-world than the threat of bioterrorism and biodefense. So, it's no surprise to us, that Klondike Therapeutics, a team dedicated to providing new therapies against anthrax was chosen as semi-finalists in the OneStart Americas business plan competition. The Klondike team is led by Dr. Mikhail Martchenko, a recent addition to KGI's faculty, and is comprised of PhD candidate William Leonardi and Master of Bioscience students Kevin Kim and Leeor Zilbermintz.
Hosted by Oxbridge Biotech and SR One, the venture capital arm of GlaxoSmithKline, OneStart is a competition focused on finding young bio-entrepreneurs with early stage startups that may have more difficulty getting support from typical venture capital firms or through traditional sources of funding.
Almost 130 teams submitted proposals, with Martchenko, Leonardi, Kim, and Zilbermintz being one of 35 teams to reach the semifinal round. As semi-finalists, the team got to attend the OneStart Bootcamp held at Stanford on February 8. The camp included workshops and networking events with experienced entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and other leaders in the life sciences. Of the 35 remaining teams, 10 finalists will be selected with the winner receiving $150,000 in cash, free lab space for a year in San Francisco, as well as additional business and legal support. According to Martchenko, the team has a good chance of success due to the effectiveness of its product. "Bacillus anthracis is the bacterium that causes anthrax. The lethal effects of anthrax are due to its spores and the toxins they produce. We have discovered a single molecule which inhibits anthrax toxin and kills Bacilli spores, without affecting host cell growth," he explained. GO KLONDIKE!!!!!