Otomagnetics, a University of Maryland College Park spin-out, is developing a non-invasive method to effectively deliver drugs and other therapeutic payloads to the inner and middle ear and to the eye.
The inner ear is behind the blood-labyrinth barrier – vessels that supply blood to the inner ear have walls that are impermeable to most drug molecules, and thus it is a challenge to deliver therapy to treat inner ear diseases. In animal models, Otomagnetics’ proprietary magnetic injection system has demonstrated drug delivery to the inner ear. It has also shown improved dosing and therapeutic effect in preclinical models of tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss, and prevented hearing loss due to chemotherapy regimens.
In animal models, Otomagnetics’ technology has further shown drug delivery to the middle ear, without the need to puncture the ear drum. Magnetic delivery to the middle ear is being considered as a potential non-invasive treatment option for otitis media (middle ear infections). Magnetic forces have also delivered therapy into the eye, without needles.
Otomagnetics is developing and commercializing a magnetic injection delivery system that can safely, effectively, and non-invasively deliver therapy to targets in the body that are currently not effectively reached by the standards-of-care, or that otherwise require surgery to reach.
The product combines our proprietary device (a magnetic injector) with bio-degradable magnetic particles (composed solely out of materials approved by the FDA for injection into the body). These particles can carry essentially any therapy (drugs, proteins, or genes).
There are multiple large markets with unmet medical needs that this technology addresses. The cochlea is not adequately reached by current administration methods (e.g. by oral or trans-tympanic administration methods).
Magnetic injection can deliver therapy to both cochlear and middle ear compartments. Animal studies have shown safety and efficacy for treating hearing loss, tinnitus, middle ear infections, and for protecting hearing from chemotherapy regimens. Delivery into the eye to the retina (e.g. for macular degeneration), currently requires needle insertions into the eye. Magnetic injection can deliver therapy to the retina, without needles.
To reach first-in-man trials as quickly as possible, Otomagnetics is first pursuing an orphan ear indication (sudden sensorineural hearing loss). The same device and particles have also shown efficacy for treating noise induced hearing loss, for reversing tinnitus, for protecting hearing from cisplatin chemotherapies, and for clearing middle ear infections. Eye indications include macular degeneration, glaucoma, and treatment of corneal conditions.
Company thus has a platform technology, and has already garnered interest from multiple pharmaceutical companies who see a competitive advantage (and thus increased market share) in being able to non-invasively deliver their proprietary compounds to ear and eye targets.
President & Co-Founder
Dr. Benjamin Shapiro, PhD, is a Full Professor at the Fischell Department of Bioengineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the inventor of the magnetic injection technology and is currently responsible for the operations for Otomagnetics. He has helped raise over $6M in non-dilutive grant funding for the effort thus far.
Ting Pau Oei
Chairman of the Board
Mr. Ting Pau Oei, MBA, has extensive operating and investing experience in the healthcare industry and over 20 years as a life sciences venture capitalist. Mr. Oei has been a venture capital partner in both a corporate strategic venture capital firm and in an independent venture capital partnership. He was a Vice President of Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, J&J’s venture capital arm. He has invested in over 50 life sciences, medical device and healthcare information technology companies and served on the board of over 25 of these portfolio companies over the years.
Chief Business Officer
Ms. Abhita Batra, MS, MBA, serves as the Chief Business Officer at Otomagnetics. Abhita is the Founder and Managing Director of Advanced Biopharma Consulting (ABC), a strategic advisory firm that offers business development and commercialization services to life science companies. Previously, she served as the Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at Admac Group of Companies, wherein she managed a product portfolio encompassing 150 generics. She is a co-founder and former COO of Navya, a biotechnology company developing and commercializing PHF for destruction of solid tumors. Abhita completed her Global MBA at UCLA Anderson and NUS, and has a Masters in Biotechnology with specialization in Pharmaceutical Sciences from University of Pennsylvania.
Chief Scientific Officer & Cofounder
Dr. Didier Depireux, PhD, is member of the faculty at the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland. As co-founder and chief scientific officer of Otomagnetics, he is the hearing and neuroscience expert, leading the animal model research.
Mr. Beylin, MS, MBA, is co-founder of Otomagnetics and serves on the company's board of directors. Mr.Beylin is a CEO of Brain Biosciences, Inc., a medical imaging company, which he co-founded. Previously, Mr.Beylin served as a Program Director at the National Cancer Institute, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at X/Seed Capital, and a VP of Research at Naviscan PET Systems. Specialties: Medical technology start-ups, university spin-outs, commercialization of medical devices, early stage fund-raising.
Dr. Jerome Lewis, MBA PhD, is co-inventor of all three AMAG approved drug products, Feraheme, Feridex I. V. and GastroMark and several other drug products at various stages of development. Feraheme and Feridex are FDA-approved nanoparticle products, and have been used to treat millions of patients. At AMAG, Dr. Lewis was Head of Chemistry R&D and was responsible for product development,scale-up, and manufacturing of all products during development and for commercial sales. He was responsible for the manufacturing and microbiological sections of NDAs and INDs, both US and foreign.
Partner, Goodwin Proctor Law Firm
Mr. Mark Heller, BA, JD, serves as chair of the Goodwin Proctor's FDA Group and is a member of the Life Sciences Practice. He focuses on the Food and Drug Administration’s and Federal Trade Commission’s laws and regulations, and in the FDA context, assists clients with strategy development, the premarket submission process, compliance issues, enforcement matters, development of legislation, and administrative and judicial appeals. He has prior experience with the FDA and Federal Trade Commission.
Medical Officer & Cofounder
Dr. Irving Weinberg MD, PhD, is the President of Weinberg Medical Physics and a Cofounder of Otomagnetics. Dr. Weinberg has spent two decades launching startups in the medical device field. He has had a part in launching four FDA-approved products and he served as Chief Technology Officer and President of Naviscan PET Systems, Inc. His early career began as an experimental plasma physicist at the University of California at Irvine. He is a member of advisory boards at UCLA and George Mason University.