CSO: Dr. Haim Belinson
Bsense Bio Therapeutics is developing small molecules for the treatment of neuropathic pain. Bsense is pioneering a novel approach targeting multiple pain-related mechanisms using a single compound, to achieve greater efficacy and safety.
Bsense Bio’s approach is based on the targeting of two cation channels, a ligand-gated and a voltage-gated potassium channel, respectively, TRPV1 and Kv7.2/3, which are co-localized on sensory nociceptive neurons and are widely recognized as prominent players in pain signaling. The company is financed by Takeda Ventures Inc., OrbiMed Israel Partners, and Johnson & Johnson Innovation (JJDC) and the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA), and was founded in September 2018 at the FutuRx biotech incubator.
Neuropathic pain is caused by hyper-excitability of the somatosensory nervous system, which is caused by trauma, or by diseases such as diabetes, herpes, or late-stage cancer. The heterogenous etiology, symptoms, and underlying mechanisms of neuropathic pain make the condition exceedingly challenging to manage. Recent research in neuropathic pain suggests that a systems-based approach involving multi-target drugs should be used to advance treatment and improve patient outcomes, suggesting moving away from single-target-drugs that have shown insufficient efficacy in the clinic. Bsense Bio has an innovative approach to target the voltage sensor domain (VSD) of two cation channels, TRPV1 and Kv7.2/3, which play a key role in pain signaling. Targeting the VSD provides greater selectivity than targeting the channel’s pore, as this domain is located at the heart of the gating machinery which initiates channel opening or closing. While TRPV1 activation triggers pain, Kv7.2/3 activation inhibits pain. Thus, our product featuring a single molecule that activates Kv7.2/3 while inhibiting TRPV1 will generate an additive effect of pain alleviation, providing a multi-target therapy with an improved safety profile due to lower and less frequent dosing.
Neuropathic pain affects approximately 3-8% of the population worldwide and leads to a substantial economic and social burden. The global treatment market for neuropathic pain is estimated at $ 5.5 billion. The market is expected to grow at a rate of 3-5% in the coming years, mainly as a result of population growth, an increase in diabetic patients (and therefore in diabetic neuropathy), and the launching of several new drugs. However, the increased uses of generic medications are expected to moderate market growth. Patients with neuropathic pain require more analgesic treatment and suffer from lower quality of life, even compared to other chronic pain patients. Despite multiple available treatments, 40-50% of patients do not achieve satisfactory pain relief or suffer from severe side effects. Taken together, these highlight a significant unmet medical need for effective treatments of neuropathic pain and the very attractive commercial opportunity.
Bsense is currently assessing in depth the specificity and selectivity in vitro of 3 lead compounds with the purpose of progressing into in vivo safety and efficacy studies. In addition, we are performing structural activity relation studies to assess whether we can improve the compounds characteristics to achieve backup compound series.
The Company is comprised of individuals with experience in the neurobiology and pain research, as well as pharmaceutical drug development.
Prof. Bernard Attali: Inventor
Professor, Department of Physiology & Pharmacology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University. Prof. Attali is the inventor of the technology and as such will serve as a consultant to the company. Prof. Attali published over 100 research papers in leading journals in his field. In addition, he was awarded several awards, including the Israel Cancer Research Fund and the Shtacher award from the Tel-Aviv University.
Dr. Asher Peretz: Co-Inventor
Department of Physiology & Pharmacology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University. Dr. Asher Peretz holds a Ph.D from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a co-inventor of the technology and will share his comprehensive knowledge and experience in the field of electrophysiology of ion channels.
Dr. Haim Belinson: CSO
PhD in Neurobiology from Tel-Aviv University, Israel; post-doctoral research at the Department of Pediatrics, Institute for Human Genetics, UCSF. San Francisco, CA, USA. Dr. Belinson has more than two years of experience in the development of drugs for neurodegenerative diseases and pain at Teva pharmaceutical, where he dealt with both scientific aspects as well as leading the stages of drug development and decision-making regarding the choice of medical indications, relevant animal models etc. Dr. Belinson has over 15 years of experience in Neurobiology research.
Dr. Adi Raveh: Senior Scientist
PhD in life sciences, Bondi Prize for outstanding PhD work from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Department of Biomolecular Sciences. Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Basel, Switzerland, in the Department of Biomedicine. Comprehensive knowledge and experience in protein-protein interactions, GPCRs, calcium signaling and ion channels physiology.
Dr. Alon Silberman: Senior Scientist
M.Sc. in Medicinal Chemistry and PhD in Biological-Chemistry at Bar Ilan University, Israel. Post-Doctoral training in cancer metabolism at the Weizmann Institute of Science (Rehovot, Israel) where he developed a small molecule inhibitor for an SLC mitochondrial protein being overexpressed in cancer. Dr. Silberman brings over 10 years of academic experience, in which he acquired diverse multidisciplinary expertise in rationale drugs design and synthesis, cell and molecular biology and various in-vivo/ex-vivo models.