SEMARION | Function-First Drug Discovery

Semarion is an early-stage drug screening and lead identification company focused on the discovery of first-in-class, GPCR-targeting oncology drugs. Our SemaCyte Platform, developed using advances in microchip technology and nanomagnetism, is a function-first phenotypic screening platform which enables cell-multiplexed screening of drug libraries toward the rapid discovery of functional drug leads.

Vision

 
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Probing 1,000s of therapeutic candidates against multiple cell types simultaneously, including cell lines, disease models, and primary and patient-derived cells.

 
 
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Functionally profile all drug candidates in naive compound libraries for features such as ligand type, cell signalling responses, disease phenotype rescue, and cytotoxicity.

 
 
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High content cell-multiplexed screening early in the drug discovery cycle ensures better drug lead identification, shorter development timelines, and reduced downstream failure costs.

 
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Application

 

Semarion is putting the functional screening of drug libraries, including small molecules and biologics, at the forefront of the drug development cycle. This allows for the development of agonists, antagonists, or modulators for high-value but elusive disease-relevant cell surface receptors such as GPCRs and Tyrosine Kinases.

 
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By focusing on cell signal pathway modulation and disease phenotype changes we can identify first-in-class molecules that operate through known or novel disease targets. This approach overcomes target and affinity biases often seen in early stage drug development.

 
 
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Technology

As a spin-out of Cambridge University, Semarion developed its SemaCyte platform by leveraging on advances in microchip and nanomagnetism technologies. SemaCyte microcarriers are highly tailored and highly functional cell carriers made on silicon chips and released into suspension as dispersed microchip-based particles.

Feature of the SemaCyte microcarriers:

(1) Effectively Flat - ideal for adherent cells
(2) Optical Barcode - enables multiplexed cells screens
(3) Fast Functionalisation - enables anti-fouling and active layers
(4) Enhanced Fluorescence - imrpoives assay sensitivity
(5) Ferromagnetic - enables sorting and 3D orientation/tilting

 
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Semarion’s novel SemaCyte microcarriers can attach 10-20 live cells each. The beads are uniquely barcoded for the cell type that they are carrying. This allows Semarion to pool different cell types - including primary cells and reporter lines - to perform multiplexed cell-based assays on large compound libraries. Fluorescent imaging informs on cell signal pathway activation, protein up/down-regulation, and disease phenotype rescue, among other hallmarks.

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TEAM

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Jeroen Verheyen

Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) - Jeroen has a background in drug development for CNS and worked on nanocarrier-based drug delivery and stem cell therapy. He was also a Biopharma Principal at Cambridge Innovation Consulting and active in Cambridge startup ecosystem.

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Tarun Vemulkar

Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer (CTO) - Tarun is an applied physicist and worked on novel magnetic nanotechnology solutions for the treatment of glioblastomas. He has extensive experience with industrial-scale semiconductor manufacturing.

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Russell Cowburn

Chief Technology Advisor (CTA) - Russell is the Professor of Experimental Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory and a Fellow of the Royal Society. His research is focussed is on biotechnology applications of nanomagnetism. He runs two instrumentation companies: DMO & Ingenia.

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Contact

If you want to know more about our technology or for any other questions you might have, feel free to contact us.

Email us at info@semarion.com or fill in the contact form below.

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