Anchor Biologics wins the 2019 Cade Prize

The Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention announced Anchor Biologics as the first place winner of its 2019 Cade Prize. Anchor Biologics is a collaboration of UF biomedical engineering researchers that aim to create a new treatment for inflammatory diseases. The Anchor Biologics team, Dr. Benjamin Keselowsky, professor, and Dr. Gregory Hudalla, assistant professor, accepted the $25,000 Cade Prize award.

Anchor Biologics’ mission is to control inflammatory diseases with their patent-pending technology IDO-GATER that combines a new way to turn off inflammation and a new approach to localize drug action.

Chronic inflammation underlies onset, progression, and pain of numerous diseases affecting the lives of millions of people each year. Current treatments, such as steroids and antibodies, use unnatural mechanisms that come with terrible side-effects including infection, lymphoma, diabetes, and weight gain. Keselowsky and Hudalla’s invention resolves inflammation only at the site of the disease by mimicking a natural mechanism of localized immunosuppression.

Keselowsky and his team investigate the enzyme IDO to suppress inflammation. IDO is a natural regulator of the immune system that works by converting the essential amino acid tryptophan into kynurenines.

Unmodified IDO injected into any tissue is cleared within a few hours, which only provides limited effectiveness. To solve this problem, Hudalla and his team developed GATER, “Galectin Anchors for Therapeutic Enzyme Retention”. Specifically, they connect IDO to galectin-3, a protein that binds to sugars decorating every tissue in our bodies. Binding to tissue sugars anchors IDO at the injection site, keeping it there for up to one week.

Combining IDO and GATER provides a powerful new therapeutic to locally quiet inflammation. IDO naturally regulates the immune system to restore healthy tissue function. GATER restricts IDO distribution to avoid off-target side-effects. Anchor Biologics sees IDO-GATER opening the door for enzyme therapy to treat various inflammatory diseases, including osteoarthritis and periodontal disease.

The annual Inventivity Bash celebrates ideas and innovations that have the potential to transform lives and communities. For 2019, the theme was prolific creativity & inventiveness of the early Greek & Roman cultures. The Cade Prize, established in 2010, has become Florida’s pre-eminent invention and innovation competition.  It rewards entrepreneurs, inventors, researchers, and pre-seed and early-stage companies with an original idea that has market potential. For Keselowsky and Hudalla, “the Cade Prize is so important in raising our profile. Our goal is to find business partners and compete for the capital needed to get our new localized anti-inflammatory to market. We are incredibly grateful for this enabling support.”