Brittany-based biotech startup SeaBeLife has been awarded €1.37 million from Bpifrance, as part of the French government’s deeptech plan initiative. Niche to say the least, but if successful, SeaBeLife’s approach to blocking the death of cells in order to protect or even regenerate organs affected by severe diseases could be, quite literally, a lifesaver. The funding will be used to further the startup’s research into treatments for acute liver, kidney, and brain ailments.
While the SeaBeLife is currently focusing on pathologies of the liver and kidneys, a side shoot of this research also sees potential for applications in other fields, including ocular and degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Macular Degeneration, conditions for which at present, there are no cures.
The crux of the matter that SeaBeLife is taking on is the process whereby when a cell is ready to die, there are a number of ways in which it can do so, one of which is by a process known as necroptosis. This form of cellular death doesn’t just simply fade away into the background, no, it becomes inflamed, an action that can have damaging effects on the cells around it.
Another neighbourhood damaging process, ferroptosis involves iron accumulation (as the name would imply) and lipid peroxidation, a process that sees free radicals "stealing" electrons from the lipids in surrounding cell membranes, resulting in cell damage. Not good.
SeaBeLife has developed over 45 biologically-active molecules that inhibit both types of these surrounding cellular damaging processes to occur, with four patents already filed.
“We are thrilled to have received this strategic financing from Bpifrance, which will provide us with a real springboard to continue developing. It is also wonderful to see the potential of our unique pipeline, which targets two regulated cell death pathways, being recognised in this way,” commented CEO and co-founder Morgane Rousselot. “This year, we will also be continuing our series A funding round, which will allow us to progress our preclinical trials and prepare for the clinical launch of our flagship molecules for the treatment of acute liver and kidney disease.”
Founded in 2019, to date, the biotech company has raised a total of €3.9 million in private equity and grant funding and is comprised of a team of six.