Launch of BioLynx provides a boost for the international malaria research community
New National University of Singapore spin-off company launches at TechVenture 2011
12 October 2011, Singapore – A new biotech company has been spun off from the National University of Singapore (NUS), to provide research tools, targeting the international malaria research community. BioLynx Technologies Pte Ltd (BioLynx) has been founded by two NUS faculty members: Dr Martin Lear from the NUS Department of Chemistry and Dr Kevin Tan from the NUS Department of Microbiology. The company will focus on further developing and commercialising its LynxTagTM technology platform to other drugs and diseases. BioLynx is launching its presence at TechVenture 2011, Asia’s premier event for the finance community to engage with the latest high tech innovations.
As part of a NUS research project, Dr Martin Lear and Dr Kevin Tan successfully tagged a fluorescent marker to chloroquine, a drug that has been used in the treatment of malaria since 1947. The fluorescent-labelled chloroquine molecule, known as LynxTag–CQTM, demonstrates the same biological activity as normal chloroquine. Due to the fluorescent tagging, researchers can now visualise intracellular drug-cell interactions, in an easy and cost-effective manner. Malaria researchers will find LynxTag–CQTM a useful research tool for studying topics, such as chloroquine resistance, drug uptake, mechanism of drug action, or chemo-sensitization.
“We already validated LynxTag-CQTM as a research tool for malaria research. In addition, we believe it has greater potential and can be used to study mechanisms of other diseases at a cellular level. For example, chloroquine is also used in treating immune diseases, cancer and some viral infections. Moving forward, we plan to go beyond just chloroquine, to have a pipeline of products, synthesizing chemical tags for other high value drugs,” said Dr Kevin Tan, Director (Biology) and co-founder of BioLynx, and an Assistant Professor at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.
LynxTag-CQTM is currently the only chloroquine-based fluorescent probe on the market and is available in a blue or green fluorescent form. The use of the LynxTag-CQTM has been reported in two articles published in Cell Death & Disease, a prestigious journal belonging to the Nature Publishing Group1. To introduce LynxTag-CQTM to the research community, BioLynx are providing some 100 free samples internationally. Each sample will contain 50 tests, and researchers can register for free samples at www.biolynxtech.com. BioLynx plans to commence sales of LynxTag-CQTM by the start of 2012, pricing it at around S$500 per box (with 100 tests per box).
“To date, Kevin and I have raised some S$1 million in funding for our work, including research grants from Singapore government agencies and our own personal investments into BioLynx. This funding is being used to commercialise the technology and bring it to market. In addition, we will need to raise more investments to grow the company and market our product internationally. We hope to excite some of the VC community, through participating in TechVenture 2011,” said Dr Martin Lear, Director (Chemistry) and co-founder of BioLynx, and an Assistant Professor at the NUS Faculty of Science.
The NUS Industry Liaison Office (ILO) has filed a PCT patent application for this fluorescent-labelled chloroquine molecule, and has licensed the technology exclusively to BioLynx. ILO was instrumental in facilitating Dr Lear’s and Dr Tan’s entrepreneurial journey, having provided support for their grant applications, as well as introduced the researchers to their third co-founder, Mr Theodore Tan, from the Biofactory. BioLynx is now located and incubated at the Biofactory and also benefits from the NUS Enterprise incubation ecosystem.
1Ch’ng et al. Cell Death Dis. (2010), 1, e26. and Ch’ng et al. Cell Death Dis. (2011), in press
About the National University of Singapore (NUS)
A leading global university centred in Asia, the National University of Singapore (NUS) is Singapore’s flagship university which offers a global approach to education and research, with a focus on Asian perspectives and expertise.
NUS has 16 faculties and schools across three campuses. Its transformative education includes a broad-based curriculum underscored by multi-disciplinary courses and cross-faculty enrichment. Over 36,000 students from 100 countries enrich the community with their diverse social and cultural perspectives.
NUS has three Research Centres of Excellence (RCE) and 21 university-level research institutes and centres. It is also a partner for Singapore’s 5th RCE. NUS shares a close affiliation with 16 national-level research institutes and centres. Research activities are strategic and robust, and NUS is well-known for its research strengths in engineering, life sciences and biomedicine, social sciences and natural sciences. It also strives to create a supportive and innovative environment to promote creative enterprise within its community. For more information, please visit www.nus.edu.sg .
About NUS Enterprise
NUS Enterprise was established as a University-level cluster to provide an enterprise dimension to NUS teaching and research involving the University’s students, staff and alumni. The functions of the Enterprise Cluster complement the academic cluster of the University to nurture talents with an entrepreneurial and global mindset. NUS Enterprise promotes the spirit of innovation and enterprise through Experiential Education, Industry Engagement & Partnerships and Entrepreneurship Support. The NUS Industry Liaison Office is a division of NUS Enterprise. www.nus.edu.sg/enterprise
The Biofactory is a biomedical incubator that catalyses the commercialisation of innovative technologies. With qualified professionals in a wide number of areas, the Biofactory has the technical expertise and experience to bring technologies to market at an accelerated pace. www.thebiofactory.com
BioLynx is a spin-off company from the National University of Singapore that provides high quality, multifunctional, fluorescent-tagged drugs. The company’s first product is its proprietary LynxTag-CQTM, a fluorescent chloroquine-based probe, which is initially targeted at the malaria research community. www.biolynxtech.com
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