Novo Biosciences was founded by Kevin Strange and Voot P. Yin. Strange was president of Mount Desert Island (MDI) Biological Lab from 2009 to 2016 and and Yin was an MDI Biological Laboratory faculty member. Together along with Michael Zasloff of Georgetown University, they are co-inventors of the drug candidate MSI-1436, also called trodusquemine. Strange stepped down as president of MDI Bio Lab to pursue development of MSI-1436 as CEO of Novo Biosciences.
The approach of Novo Bioscience is to study animals with regenerative capabilities and with whom humans share most genes in order to identify regenerative medicine drug targets. The company uses zebrafish, an aquarium fish, as a drug-screening platform. Zebrafish regenerate hearts, spinal cords, kidneys, pancreases and appendages after damage. Humans share the same fundamental genetic machinery that enables zebrafish and other animal to regrow tissues, organs and body parts. Novo Biosciences is investigating the possibility of finding drugs that can unlock innate regenerative abilities in humans or drugs that can reset genetic machinery to allow regeneration.
Voot Yin, Novo Bioscience’s chief scientific officer was awarded a two-year $1.5 million Small Business Innovation Research grant in 2017 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, an institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to study trodusquemine in the pig. The pig heart closely resembles that of a human. The drug is being tested as a treatment for acute heart attack and also for chronic heart injury, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, skeletal muscle injury and spinal cord damage.
In February, 2019, Yin was awarded a $100,000 pilot grant to study the efficacy of trodusquemine as a regenerative medicine therapy for diabetic kidney disease. Novo will study trodusquemine in mice with kidney abnormalities similar to those in human diabetic nephropathy.
Kevin Strange, Ph.D.
Voot Yin, Ph.D.