Altheia Science

image_startup_Altheia Science

Startup name: Altheia Science
Registered Office: Italy, Milano
Established in: 1/12/2017
Startup Category: Health
Financing round: yes
(Over 1M)
Working prototype: yes
Competitions/Prizes won: no

Founders: AurorA-TT (, Paolo Fiorina, Alessandra Biffi


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Altheia Science

Altheia Science has been founded by Prof. Alessandra Biffi, MD and Prof. Paolo Fiorina, MD, PhD, together with the technology transfer company AurorA-TT ( Paolo Fiorina and Alessandra Biffi are prominent Italian investigators based at Boston Children’s Hospital and at the University of Milan and Padua.
Altheia Science develops pioneering therapeutic tools for autoimmune diseases and cancer. The modulation of PD-L1 expression at the molecular and protein level is key to devise advanced treatments in autoimmune diseases and this can be achieved by first-in-class molecules controlling the PD-L1 pathway and/or by lentiviral vector-based engineering of patients’ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells.
The primary goal of Altheia Science is, via a one-time stem cell gene therapy aimed at reverting the root cause of the disease, to develop transformative therapies for type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis, characterized by autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing β cells and myelin, respectively, leading to severe clinical sequelae, life-threatening conditions and death. No definitive cure is presently available. In contrast, Altheia Science’s approach should induce a long-lasting control of the auto-immune reaction, eventually inducing tolerance and a correct immune balance, thus potentially offering a definitive therapy.
Altheia Science in-licensed from Children’s Medical Center Corporation – Boston Children’s Hospital the intellectual property rights to develop curative and definitive medicines for autoimmune diseases, first focusing on multiple sclerosis and type I diabetes. Altheia Science’s approach will transform the natural history of autoimmunity by modulating PD-L1 expression in patients’ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, achieving durable clinical benefit (Ben Nasr et al. Science Translational Medicine 2017).
Following the establishment of such a bridge between Boston and Milano, Altheia Science announced last September the subscription of $11M (€9.3M). Investors include seasoned private players with successful track record in the biotech sector (key partners in Advanced Accelerator Applications) and the Rovati family’s Fidim/Rottapharm Biotech group.
To foster its development programs, Altheia Science elected the Empire State Building as site of its new office in New York City, seeding the start of operations in the US. The capital raised in this Series A round, which could be extended up to $17.7M (€15M), gives Altheia Science the means to rapidly translate its science into clinical trials in multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes.
Altheia Science is at preclinical stage and will not produce revenues at least over the next three years, during which the main goal is to obtain regulatory authorization to begin clinical development, by completing several studies to ensure safety and proof-of-concept efficacy of the therapeutic approach (IND-enabling studies). Generation of revenues depends on the outcome of first clinical studies, which, if positive, will set the ground for different exit strategies (out-licensing, M&A, IPO, etc).
Unlike any other company, Altheia Science promotes a gene therapy-based approach that aims at reverting the root cause of type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis, and not just at treating the effects caused by the disease, putting Altheia Science in a unique competitive position.
Altheia Science’s approach can potentially be exploited also in additional autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, SLE, etc), thus applying the concept of genetically-modified autologous PD-L1-expressing stem cells as a technology platform.
Altheia Science’s core expertise includes competences and track record in developing up to market advanced therapy medicinal products in autoimmunity, stem cell transplantation and cell&gene therapy. Altheia Science has now 7 collaborators (MD, PhD and DEc) with integrated competences and experiences extended and coupled with a world-renowned network of professionals and entities.
Altheia Science believe that knowledge, innovative thinking and a pioneering spirit are the ingredients to deliver transformative medicine, paying most attention to scientific rigorousness and patient safety.