Startups on the menu
Boston University's (BU) Jim Collins presented work from his lab on a network biology approach to antibiotic discovery at the Boston SciCafé, Nature Biotechnology's and Nature Medicine's tri-annual gathering of academic researchers and business people. He's now a cofounder of EnBiotix, a startup focused around this technology, to develop new classes of antibiotics and antibiotic potentiators to tackle multidrug-resistant microbes. Nature Biotechnology talked to him about the company.
Nature Biotechnology: Describe the process for how EnBiotix came together.
Jim Collins: Jeff Wager and I met in the fall of 2011, via BU's Office of Technology Development. Jeff was looking for new commercialization opportunities in biotech, and I was looking to partner with a serial entrepreneur to commercialize our antibiotics platforms. We met extensively over several months, and by the time we headed into 2012, we had already decided to form EnBiotix. Jeff reached out to NAEJA Pharmaceutical and Great Lakes Drug Development and brought them on as cofounders, in addition to Apeiron Partners and BU, and officially named the company and issued shares to co-founders in July 2012.
NBT: What programs are you prioritizing within the company?
JC: Our top priority within the company is our reactive oxygen species (ROS) program—we are working to find small molecules that enhance the endogenous microbial production of ROS and can be used to potentiate the bactericidal activity of existing antibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria.
NBT: What do you most enjoy about starting a company?
JC: I am most intrigued and excited by the challenges of transforming a project into a product.