Its unique drug candidate discovery process caught the attention of Néovacs (Euronext Growth Paris: ALNEV), a French biotechnology firm specialized in therapeutic vaccines targeting the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Néovacs decided to invest €1.3 million in the Lyon-based biotech firm. Furthermore, its Vice-President of Pharmaceutical Development, Bernard Fanget, has been appointed to Signia’s Strategy Committee.
Signia Therapeutics has opened a funding round to secure €16 million to increase the capacity and predictivity of its platform.
“Our approach enables a rapid response to emerging viral infectious diseases. Around forty new viruses are expected to emerge in the next ten years, mainly respiratory viruses. It is therefore crucial that we can identify new drug candidates very quickly,” says Angelita de Francisco, CEO of Signia Therapeutics.
The platform analyzes all the RNAs in the infected or diseased cell, as well as the expression profile of molecules (drug candidates) in the host cell. All the data are entered into a bioinformatics database using algorithms and artificial intelligence tools to screen candidates. The aim is to identify molecules with an expression profile that is completely different from the viral infection signature. “Our approach is very interesting, especially when it comes to infectious disease management. Rather than attack the virus, we try to induce a cellular state that is refractory to infection,” explains Angelita de Francisco, CEO. “Our platform not only enables rapid identification of broad-spectrum antiviral candidates, but it also circumvents growing resistance to conventional antivirals.”
These tools are also useful for the pharmaceutical industry, to identify new applications for compounds whose clinical development has been discontinued.
Several infection or disease signatures have already been established (flu, Covid-19, respiratory syncytial virus, etc.). A first broad-spectrum antiviral candidate, identified through the platform, is expected to enter phase II b clinical development for Covid-19 by the end of 2021.