NEWSKorea’s leading media group, JoongAng News interviewed SHIFTBIO

6 Jul 2022

Shiftbio, MD Ph.D. Co-founders Won-Yong Lee, Gi-hoon Nam, and In-San Kim (from left to right).

The interview grabbed the attention of how SHIFTBIO has gained ground since its establishment. Prof. Kim, Co-founder of ShiftBio, was the first to publish in exosome-based cancer immunotherapeutic research by expressing therapeutic proteins on the exosomal membrane (Mar 2017, Biomaterials). The research overcame prevailing cancer immunotherapy problems like resistance and significantly increased the therapeutic effect. The same year, Prof. Kim’s research group was the first to publish cell membrane editing using fusosomes. (Apr 2017, Advanced Materials) These results were evaluated as an avenue for treating previously incurable membrane protein defect diseases such as cystic fibrosis. In addition, this technology shows significant worth in the direct delivery of genetic materials and therapeutic proteins through cell cytoplasm by evading endolysome pathways.  

Based on these remarkable results, Shiftbio was established in November 2020 with the great belief and support of Dr. Lee, CEO of Shiftbio, who invested his business capital and executive know-how, which is the experience of many years.

Unrivaled technological prowess for such a young company is drawing the attention of the bio-industry in Korea. Shiftbio has received an investment of 6 billion won until recently. Its exosome technology is being recognized for its value also overseas. In March, 'SBI-101', a key source technology for anticancer immunotherapy using exosomes, was patented in several countries. Moreover, SHIFTBIO is developing patent portfolios for other platform technologies.

In the case of biopharmaceutical startups, it is common to survive on investment for an extended period without sales because their focus is only on R&D. However, Shiftbio has developed a new business model, "Customized CSO (Contract Science Organization) Service" based on its knowledge and skill in translational research and non-clinical pharmacology studies.

Customized CSO refers to providing services tailored to the client's specific needs. It is necessary to develop promising early drug candidates using platform technology and the research know-how of biopharmaceutical companies. It is a business model to manage the high risk of new drug development stably, the main business of bio startups. Shiftbio is expected to generate 700 million won as a CSO only in Korea for 2022 and plans to expand its business to 5 billion won a year by 2025 worldwide. Dr. Nam said, "Sales from the CSO business will cover the company's operating funds, and all the capital investment will be devoted to R&D for exosome treatment."

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