Scientists at VU Amsterdam launch spin-off Incircular

February 25, 2021

Incircular BV was founded by three (bio)chemists at VU Amsterdam who have developed a novel technology for stabilizing proteins: INCYPRO. In their recently launched spin-off, Saskia Neubacher, Sven Hennig and Tom Grossmann will use this technology to stabilize proteins for applications in drug development, diagnostic testing, and biocatalysis.

INCYPRO-stabilized proteins
Proteins are a class of large, natural molecules produced in all organisms. They include enzymes, antibodies, hormones and many more, and are involved in all cellular processes. The 3D structure of proteins is essential for their specific function and performance but many proteins lose their function outside of the natural environment because their 3D structure is fragile. This led the VU Amsterdam scientists to develop the INCYPRO protein stabilization technology. INCYPRO supports the natural 3D structure of proteins through a design process that enables the precise chemical modification of a protein and thus allows novel applications.

The development of novel drugs
Most drugs on the market today target disease-associated proteins. To enable an efficient drug development process for currently untreatable diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, it is important to isolate the disease-associated proteins for in-depth analysis and screening. INCYPRO-stabilized proteins can thus be very useful for the development of safe and efficient novel drugs. Incircular will use the INCYPRO technology to deliver solutions for its clients, which include companies in the pharmaceutical sector whose applications are adversely impacted by the instability of their proteins. The company provides these clients with robust proteins that they need to facilitate their application. Neubacher: “The INCYPRO technology has the potential to enable the discovery of future drugs. It would be truly amazing if our work could improve the quality of life of many patients.”

The scientists from the Department of Chemistry & Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Amsterdam Institute of Molecular & Life Sciences launched their new company under the guidance of Innovation Exchange Amsterdam (IXA) and the Demonstrator Lab. In addition, the team of scientists has received funding from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and the European Research Council (ERC). In 2019, the INCYPRO technology reached the finals of the competition for the Amsterdam Science & Innovation Award.