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Meet Emerging Biotech Company Synklino: An Interview With CEO, Thomas N. Kledal

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Below is our recent interview with Thomas N. Kledal, CEO at Synklino:

Q: For those who have never heard of it, how would you describe Synklino?

A: Synklino is an emerging biotech company developing a first in-class breakthrough drug candidate (SYN002) to eliminate cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections in transplant patients. Synklino was founded by Professor Mette M. Rosenkilde in Pharmacology at the University of Copenhagen, Ph.D. in Protein Crystallography, Mads G. Jeppesen, and life science entrepreneur Thomas N. Kledal, PhD and MBA, who is the company’s CEO and former head of Virology DTU, Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark.

The goal is to help organ and stem cell transplant recipients recover from transplantation, by developing a cure for frequent CMV infections which can otherwise cause increased morbidity, mortality, prolonged hospitalization, and poor transplant outcome. Synklino has developed a novel, first in class anti-viral therapy with the potential to not only suppress CMV replication, but also to target and eliminate latent CMV infection, hence having the potential to cure a patient from CMV and dramatically change the current CMV treatment paradigm. No other marketed or pipeline therapy has the potential to eliminate CMV infections.

Since August 2019, Synklino has been incubated at the BioInnovation Institute in its prestigious Creation House program, where we have worked to further strengthen our pre-clinical data package, further detailing our clinical and commercial positioning and opportunities, and we have established an internationally experienced leadership team.

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Q: Who would be your ideal user and why?

A: Patients with a suppressed immune system, especially solid organ and stem cell transplant recipients, are at high risk of developing serious [most people are infected with CMV infections, the issue arises in immunosuppressed patients as a result of a transplant] CMV infection. Our goal is to develop a global anti-CMV drug offering that will give patients a chance to live a full life after receiving a transplant.

CMV is a virus that infects most people in adulthood without causing significant symptoms or disease, but CMV is the main agent involved in infectious complications following transplantation due to the suppression of the recipients immune system as part of the transplant procedure.

Currently, transplant recipients who are infected with CMV suffers major risk of morbidity, transplantation complications/failures and increased hospital readmissions.

Q: Can you describe a typical use case for your solution?

A: A typical case will be a patient who has suffered from a severe debilitating disease for a long time, either due to organ malfunction (e.g. kidney, liver, lung or heart) or with leukemia where they require a hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The only solution for these patients is a transplantation, with either a new organ or with stem cells. This major intervention will require significant immunosuppression in order to be successful [in order to ensure that the immune system is not directly attacking the newly transplanted organ or as part of eradicating malignant blood cells]. The problem with CMV arises in the patient upon immunosuppression and transplantation, where the immune system can no longer keep CMV in check. In organ transplant recipients the biggest problem arises when a CMV infected organ is transplanted into an otherwise uninfected recipient – here the virus can cause uncontrolled damage if not medically inhibited. In stem cell transplantation, the biggest problem comes when stem cells from an uninfected individual is transplanted into a CMV positive recipient. In both cases, clinicians will always test both donor and recipient for CMV [CMV antibodies or DNA] and initiate prophylaxis if patients are at risk. Current standard of care is however associated with significant toxicity, there is reactivation of CMV after cessation of prophylaxis in 30% of patients, increased readmission to hospital and a 30-50% increase in total cost of transplantation, you will need long [100-200days)] treatment – and none of the therapeutic opportunities can eradicate the virus, hence there will always be a risk of reactivation.

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Q: What’s your revenue model? How are you funded?

A: We have just announced a seed financing round led by Eir Ventures with Vaekstfonden. The financing will enable us to advance our lead program towards clinical testing and strengthen the management team with key hires. After phase 1 clinical trial we will evaluate our financing/exit opportunities.

Q: What is next on the roadmap for Synklino?

A: The next big thing for us is to raise a Series A financing in the spring of 2021 which should take us all the way through CMC, preclinical safety (IND) and phase I clinical trial.

Last Updated on November 15, 2020

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