Ponce Therapeutics, Inc. reunites the team that founded Bellicum Pharmaceuticals and took it public in 2014 with a $161 million IPO. The team is expanding on its retooled, original cell control technology with added, state-of-the-art advances in senolytics and senomorphics, towards their new goal of creating anti-aging products with a solid underlying scientific basis that actually work.
- The science of aging has continued to mature and can now provide a scientific basis for technologies to reverse the aging process in humans.
- Proof of concept data in animal models demonstrates that senolytic therapy, or the removal of senescent cells from organs, improves their function and imbues them with a more youthful profile.
- Targeting senescent cells for elimination via a senolytic peptide is one approach to removing senescent cells from the body
- Targeting p16-expressing cells for apoptotic elimination using our proprietary ApoptiCIDe cell-elimination technology is another approach to removing senescent cells from the body.
- In addition to senolytic therapy, senomorphic therapy, or treating senescent cells to modify their function and behavior, is another approach to longevity therapy.
- Treating senescent cells with a selective JAK2 or JAK2/3 tyrosine kinase inhibitor (“TKI”) to inhibit the production of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (“SASP”), which has a negative effect on the tissue microenvironment, promoting aging effects, is one approach to regulating the SASP while avoiding the negative side effects of approved pan-JAK kinase inhibitors that all have a “black box” warning for serious toxicity from the FDA.
- We have identified several proprietary JAK2 and JAK2/3 TKIs with single nM IC50s that we are evaluating as potential senomorphic product candidates.
- Our lead senolytic product candidate delivers our proprietary senolytic peptide, PTC-2101, both systemically and locally to the skin, to arrest or even reverse aging effects, including those associated with severely UV-damaged skin.
- Additionally, we plan to continue developing our gene therapy lead product candidates that include ApoptiCIDe as a safety switch to improve the safety and reduce the risk of serious adverse events from these types of therapies.
Reuniting the founders of Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Kevin Slawin, M.D. is the Founder and Managing Partner of Rapha Capital Management, LLC (https://raphacap.com). He is a successful and experienced oncologic and robotic surgeon, biotech consultant, investor, and founder focusing on disruptive technologies in oncology, T cells and immunotherapy, as well as other breakthrough healthcare technologies. He is the founder of Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc., leading Bellicum to a successful $161 million IPO in December, 2014. He also plays a guiding role in several of the investments managed by Rapha Capital in certain companies, serving as the board Chairman of FIZE Medical, Inc. (https://fizemedical.com). He served as a board member and interim CEO of portfolio company AsclepiX Therapeutics, Inc. (https://asclepix.com) in 2020, engineering their $35 million Series A financing led by Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund in mid 2020. Rapha Capital Management manages thirteen legacy SPIVs, Rapha Capital Investment I – XIII. Rapha Capital Management offers alternative asset management services to its private equity fund, Rapha Capital PE Life Sciences Fund VI (https://raphacapitalpe.com) which is the current vehicle for all investments managed by Rapha Capital Management.
He is also the founder and CEO of Ponce Therapeutics, Inc. (https://poncetherapeutics.com), which reunites the team that founded Bellicum Pharmaceuticals and that is using advanced technologies to develop novel therapeutics targeting the fundamental mechanisms of aging, and DELiver Therapeutics, Inc. (https://delivertherapeutics.com), which is applying high throughput DNA encoded library (DEL) drug screening combined with other advanced technologies in novel ways to deliver small molecule and peptide therapeutics that address some of the most challenging and, some previously termed “undruggable”, targets in clinical medicine. Both have R&D facilities located at K2Bio in Houston (https://www.k2-biolabs.com/), a coworking research facility for biotech and pharma startups recently opened in Houston, where he is a co-founder, investor, and board member. He is also the Founder, Chairman and CEO of PrintBio, Inc. (https://printbio.com), a commercial stage company with products powered by advanced bio-printing technologies.
Slawin graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemistry from Columbia University, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his medical degree in 1986 from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society. He trained in General Surgery and then Urology at the Mount Sinai Hospital and at Squier Urologic Clinic at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, both in NYC. Later, he was awarded a two-year fellowship, from 1992-1994, as an American Foundation of Urologic Disease (AFUD) scholar at Baylor College of Medicine to continue to study the development and treatment of prostate cancer under the tutelage of renowned prostate cancer surgeon and thought leader, Dr. Peter Scardino. Slawin joined the Baylor College of Medicine as Director of The Baylor Prostate Center in 1994 and was appointed the Dan Duncan Family Professor in Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases in 2003, established by the well-known Houston oil man and philanthropist of the same name. He is co-Inventor of the FDA-approved “prostate health index (phi)” test licensed and marketed by Beckman Coulter and utilized around the world. He has published extensively in top medical and scientific journals including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). He has also been routinely listed in America’s Top Doctors for Cancer (Castle Connolly Medical) and The Best Doctors in America (Woodward/White). In 2003, he was awarded the F. Brantley Scott, Jr., Award for Innovation and Creativity in Urology. He currently lives in Miami, FL where he is Founder and CEO of Miami Medicos (https://miamimedicos.com), a membership organization of physicians, founders, executives, and investors catalyzing the healthcare entrepreneurial ecosystem in Miami and worldwide.
David is an internationally recognized leader in synthetic molecular biology with over 25 years of experience, focusing on biomedical applications with emphasis on regulation of vaccines and T cell immunotherapies. He is the scientific co-founder of Bellicum and its former Chief Scientific Officer. Among his scientific inventions, he conceived of chemically induced dimerization (CID) in the early 90s and is the inventor or co-inventor of most of its initial clinical applications, such as the CaspaCIDe® safety switch and the inducible activation switch, iMC, which was built into the DeCIDe® vaccine platform and the GoCAR-T cell platform, including adapting both technologies for Bellicum’s dual-switch technologies, which have all now been purchased by MD Anderson Cancer Center. CID technology is now in use in 1000s of laboratories worldwide and forms the basis of many switch technologies being utilized in cellular therapies in preclinical work and clinically.
Before joining Bellicum, he served as the Vice Chairman of Pathology and Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine, where he was the Roger D Rossen Endowed Professor of Immunology. His lab focused on anti-cancer vaccination and animal modeling for prostate cancer, but his collaborative interests stretched into most areas of biology, such as Gene Regulation, Development, Cancer, Immunology and Aging. The animal models developed in his lab included the EZC-Prostate™ model for identifying and developing novel androgen axis inhibitors and the JOCK1 inducible prostate cancer model that demonstrated a critical inductive role of the Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 1(FGFR1) Axis in prostate cancer development.
He has published extensively in top scientific and medical journals, including Science, Nature, Nature Medicine, Molecular Cell, and NEJM and is also an inventor on at least 15 patent families, reflecting many areas of regulated cellular therapy. Dr. Spencer earned his BS in Chemistry (magna cum laude) at the University of California in San Diego and his Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He completed his postdoctoral degree at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Stanford University.