Start-up competition winners develop innovative tumor antibody penetration technology

· Customer Testimonial

Start-up competition winners develop innovative tumor antibody penetration technology

Creasallis was founded in 2021 to find solutions to overcome the limitations of antibody therapies by improving solid tumor penetration. The young start-up has already made significant progress in this research area, by developing the groundbreaking CreaTap (Creasallis Tumor Antibody Penetration), a patented, plug-and-play technology that can be incorporated into any existing antibody. Dr Joyce Ratti, Head of Protein Sciences, explained: “Antibody therapy is a revolutionary solution for oncology, but one of its major limitations is that antibody-based drugs have an inadequate ability to penetrate tumors, so often only treat the surface of the mass. Creasallis was therefore created to research and develop a novel platform of antibodies with increased penetration capabilities, and we are in the process of creating proof-of-concepts for a number of molecules currently in clinical use. It’s still early days, but our hope is that this technology could potentially bring several benefits to cancer treatment, such as reducing the volume of a tumor before surgical removal, lowering drug doses, treating later-stage cases and improving patient outcomes.”

A small but mighty team

Creasallis has a small, dedicated team with over 20 years of experience in developing antibody-based therapeutics, and hopes to grow quickly in the future as the group finalizes its business plan. The company is currently operating in a shared laboratory facility at the Babraham Research Campus, which has pipettes that are shared between several startups. The team therefore wanted to obtain its own set of pipettes, as Joyce explained: “We have access to a communal set of pipettes that is shared between different researchers, which is not ideal, particularly as we work on biologics. I am often reluctant to use a pipette for tissue culture that was previously used for bacteria, for example, as it’s not worth running the risk of contamination. We ideally need to have enough equipment to designate pipettes to each specific task, such as cell culture or protein work.”

The company applied to the ‘INTEGRA supports start-ups’ competition – which closed in April 2023 – to help resolve this issue. Joyce commented: “I applied to INTEGRA’s competition because I have worked with its products previously, and had a great business relationship with the company’s account manager in Cambridge, who was always very dependable and willing to give advice when I needed it. I think good customer service is what really sets INTEGRA apart from other companies, so I was keen to work with them again.”

competition winner
Photo courtesy of Creasallis

Supporting business growth

The company was very excited to win the competition and receive 50 single and multichannel EVOLVE manual pipettes and $1000 worth of ECO rack GRIPTIPS, plus lab accessories, allowing them to accurately pipette volumes from 0.2 to 5000 μl. “It is a very generous prize, far greater than I expected,” Joyce continued. “A total of 50 brand new pipettes will mean that we will have more than enough to designate a set to each task, helping to prevent contamination. Having access to different volume ranges is also hugely beneficial. Most importantly, we now have the resources to expand our capabilities in the lab, and take on more employees in the future when we are ready, accelerating this novel area of research.”