Curreio Inc. raised approximately 260 million yen through a third-party allotment of new shares to funds managed by Beyond Next Ventures Inc., T&D Innovation Fund, Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation, 3S Capital, Inc., U-Tokyo Entrepreneur Supporter’s Club Incubation Fund, IKERUNippon Capital Partners, DOJIN Capital, Ono Venture Investment, Inc., and others. This significantly contributes to strengthen our financial base for further acceleration of R&D expansion moving forward.
With this financing, we will further expedite drug discovery business utilizing structural analysis by Cryo-Electron Microscopy, Cryo-EM, and strive to create better drugs through our R&D pipelines.
From Left：T&D Innovation Fund Mr. Kamada, and Mr. Ueki, Curreio Inc. SVP Yuichi Matsubara, CEO Motoki Nakai, Beyond Next Ventures Mr. Yato, and Mr. Sawabe
Cryo-Electron Microscopy, known as Cryo-EM, is a technique that rapidly attracts attention in the pharmaceutical industry, for its ability to accurately visualize complex interactions between drugs and receptors.
As a powerful technique for the structural characterization of macromolecules, Cryo-EM enables structural analysis of integral membrane protein families, such as G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), ion channels, and transporter proteins, which are known to comprise a large proportion of druggable targets. Pharmaceutical industry had an interest in the structural analysis of these drug targets for many years, however the traditional structural analysis methodology well known as X-ray crystallography poses particular challenges, and Cryo-EM is now making a major impact in bringing critical solutions to the market.
Curreio Inc. is a biotechnology company found in 2019, Tokyo Japan, specialized in Cryo-EM structural analysis technology. The origination of Curreio’s Cryo-EM technology is based in the Nureki Laboratory of The University of Tokyo, led by Professor Osamu Nureki, well-known as the leading researcher in protein structural analysis using Cryo-EM. Although Cryo-EM has received a lot of attention, it is far from a common technique due to the difficulty of target protein preparation, other preparative steps, and manipulation, which are main reasons why many pharmaceutical companies are having difficulties in implementing Cryo-EM structural analysis for their pipelines.
Based on our specialized technology around Cryo-EM structural analysis, we have been working on over 20 protein targets in the past 3 years and have successfully solved structures for over 80%, which is significant in speed and accuracy. The targets which we have worked on are combinations of in-house and partnership pipelines with other pharmaceutical/biotech companies, and roughly 70% of targets are from integral membrane protein families.
Our company specializes in drug discovery powered by Cryo-EM structural analysis platform. This is far beyond powerful compared to X-ray crystallography, and thus we are capable of visualizing the structure of disease target protein and bioactive ligand complex which could be further applied for drug designing processes. Our scientists have developed technology to promptly determine the structures of proteins of interest, which provide us an advantage to observe multi-conformations and realistic interactions between target proteins and ligands. Using this technology platform, we have successfully revealed the interactions between full-length disease target proteins and designed ligands, which are reflected in our 4 ongoing R&D projects.
We also apply our Cryo-EM structural analysis platform to AI driven computational chemistry to increase our hit rate while lowering our time and R&D cost. This is possible as we have the ability to obtain dynamic and detailed protein target structures, which are in good match with capabilities of computational chemistry.Additionally, we are working to strengthen our Cryo-EM platform to make this technology applicable to a wide range of proteins, from low molecular weight proteins to large complex proteins. The majority of our R&D currently focuses on integral membrane protein families, which are large in molecular weight; however, there are a lot of low molecular weight (<100kDa) disease-target proteins, which is known to be one of the least weaknesses for Cryo-EM. We have recently resolved this matter and achieved structural analysis of target protein with approximately 60kDa with its bioactive ligand (publication in preparation).
Through this round of financing, we will further accelerate our R&D programs and further develop our technology platform to strengthen our drug discovery capabilities. Curreio strongly believes our continuous challenges make Cryo-EM structural analysis methodology significantly more popular for drug discovery and we will lead this field across the world.