Robert Benkowski Presents Opsin Biotherapeutics at LSI Europe '23

Opsin Biotherapeutics is a joint venture that combines the expertise of Nanoscope Technologies with DesignPlex Biomedical to create unique products and alternatives to opioids and spinal cord stimulation for the treatment of chronic pain.
Robert Benkowski
Robert Benkowski
Opsin Therapeutics, CEO



Robert Benkowski  0:05  
Thank you, Dean. As you mentioned, my name is Bob Benkowski, CEO of Opsin Biotherapeutics where we're lighting the path to pain relief. Does anyone here know somebody who's in chronic pain? Do you know those patients, maybe they can't sleep well at night, maybe they have trouble eating. Maybe they've lost their job because they're in chronic pain. The chronic pain epidemic in the United States is huge. And you can see its economic impact bigger than heart disease, diabetes, and cancer combined. And the sad truth is, many of these patients have no relief from any therapy. There's two primary ways you can get relief from your chronic pain. One is through pharmaceuticals. And everybody knows the story of opioids, that's not always a great choice. There's also devices primarily electrical neuromodulation devices. The problem with electrical stimulation is when that electrical current goes out in the spinal column, it hits all the neurons, the ones that block pain, and the ones that transmit pain. And so the electrical neuromodulators, they fiddle with the voltage, the current the frequency to try to have it a little bit more selective. So the neurons that block pain are more reactive than the ones that transmit pain. But it doesn't work very well, the old baseline used to be 50% of the patients received a 50% reduction in pain. That means 50% of the patients had no relief of their pain therapy. There's also other complications, side effects where patients feel like they're being shocked. And in our reality, they are being shocked. So electrical neuromodulation has helped a lot of patients, there's huge room for improvement. In our case, we're using a multi characteristic opsin, which is a photosensitive protein that will put on the neurons in the spinal column, and only the neurons that block pain. And when those photosensitive proteins are on those neurons, we can flash a red LED and trigger those neurons that block pain. Some of you might think, Well, that sounds like science fiction, but that's how your eye works. And in all reality, we have a sister company that uses the multi characteristic option. And they actually inject it into the eye, and have done several fantastic clinical studies to cure blindness, we're using the same therapy, except we're putting it in your spine, and then using light to trigger those neurons. So here's exactly how we do it, we use functionalized gold nanorods. They're functionalized, because they adhere to the surface of the neuron. They're mixed with the plasmid, and they're injected. And then we use a low power laser light, just like a laser pointer, which heats up the functionalized gold nanorods. And it allows the, the gene to get inside of the neurons, we don't edit the human genome, this is just an extra one. And after about two days, it expresses and puts the photosensitive proteins on the surface of the neurons. And then as we flash the LED, it causes those neurons to fire. And it's very specific, the neurons, only the neurons that block pain are the ones that are triggered with our therapy. We've done a whole series of animal studies in mice. And in our case, we're not looking at 80% effectiveness, or 50% of the mice having at work, we got 100% effectiveness on 100% of the mice. So and it's all due to the specificity that we have using the functionalized gold nanorods and the promoters in the plasmid. And you can see on the graph, the animals that were in pain and received the therapy, it's exact, it's as if they were exactly back to normal. We did a lot of research into looking at the safety signals to see if we were causing any kind of cell toxicity if we were causing an immune response, or an inflammatory response, and we saw absolutely no safety signals. As you can imagine, the market for chronic pain is huge. at 1 billion. If you look at the subset that's just spinal cord stimulators, they're implanted today, not not all neuromodulation just spinal cord stimulators. It's already $4 billion market. And if you look at the ones that are failing spinal cord stimulation, it's a 2 billion market all by itself. So there's already a clear regulatory pathway. There's clear reimbursement for electrical for neural modulation. So we think our beach front is going to be those patients ones that have failed electrical, spinal cord stimulators. And ultimately, we want to be the first line care for anyone that needs neuromodulation in their spinal column. When you look at the competitors, there's pharmaceuticals like I mentioned, and also other devices. There's some pros and cons for each one of them. None of them the offer the benefits of our combination therapy, because of the specificity where we're able to target exactly the neurons that can block pain. We've licensed for patents are two most important ones have already been issued the one for the multi characteristic opsin and the one for the optical gene delivery. That's the the laser gene delivery. We've also submitted a new patent with 56 claims we expect that to be split up into several patents, but we'll we'll wait for the first action on that. This is our leadership team myself and Dr. Mohanty formed the company Dr. Narcis. He's a medical doctor and our principal investigator and Mike Patterson, who advises us as well. We also have several advisors, these are the rock stars in the pain management field and electrical spinal column stimulation field. This is just an illustration of our relationships, the company on the left Nanoscope Therapeutics, that's what we call our sister company, they use the multi characteristic option for blindness. We have it exclusively licensed for pain everywhere in the body, except the eye. They wanted to make sure somebody who had pain in their eye, we didn't inject it and we cured their blindness. So we could do it everywhere except the eye. Here's our timeline. We've been self funding the company. We've raised the seed round. This year, just a few months ago, we received a grant from the NIH and we're asked by them to present our technology at their upcoming session in October. We're going to raise a Series A round at the beginning of next year after we do our larger animal models for the look at again, safety and efficacy. And we're hoping our Series A round will take us all the way to our first inhuman implants. So we're what we're proposing is a completely disruptive technology to electrical neuromodulation. And we think with our early results in the preclinical in vivo studies. It looks incredibly promising. If anyone wants to hear more, please come and see me after the session. Thank you

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