Golden Ticket News

More Important Than Free Lab Space: Golden Ticket Opens the Door to Work With the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

By Niki Borghei.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation team with Chad Miller, co-founder and Principal Scientist at Nosis Biosciences. In 2022, the CF Foundation sponsored a Golden Ticket to Bakar Labs for the company, and has since invested in Nosis and supported their R&D with expertise and resources. ©Majed Photography

Learn more about the 2024 Golden Ticket sponsored by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Apply by Friday, June 14.

Bakar Labs and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation first sponsored a “Golden Ticket” competition in 2022. Nosis Biosciences, a Bakar Labs tenant, won one of the two prizes on offer, which covered free lab and office space for a year. But, it turns out, that was just the beginning. In July 2023, the CF Foundation announced they would invest up to $2 million in Nosis’ promising technology.

“Winning the Golden Ticket has had a major impact on Nosis Bio,” says Chad Miller, principal scientist and a co-founder of the company. “More important than the free lab space, the Golden Ticket opened the door to the Foundation, which has an incredible track record of supporting biotech companies to develop revolutionary therapeutics.”

Nosis uses AI to produce novel drug delivery molecules, called Targeted Delivery Vehicles, aiming to reach specific cells in the lung without triggering an unwanted immune response.

“We are working to develop delivery vehicles targeted to specific lung cell types,” Miller said. “The deep scientific expertise and capability of the Foundation’s scientific team has accelerated this project. Since the Golden Ticket, we have been excited to work with the Foundation on the grand challenge of cell-specific delivery of next-generation genetic medicines with the potential to significantly improve the lives of people with cystic fibrosis.”

Cystic fibrosis causes the body to produce a thick mucus that clogs the lungs, pancreas, and other organs. It can cause difficulty breathing and frequent lung infections, ultimately leading to lung damage, the most common cause of death.

All cases of CF are caused by mutations to a single gene, called the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene. This makes the disease an ideal candidate for gene therapy. However, a key challenge in genetic medicine is delivery to the target tissue. The lungs in particular can be extremely difficult to reach because of the lungs’ immune system response. Nonetheless, genetic medicines offer the best hope for a cure. 

Good news for entrepreneurs developing delivery technologies – Bakar Labs and the CF Foundation have teamed up again, offering another Golden Ticket!

golden ticket
The “Delivering the Cure” symposium brought scientists from academia and industry together with investors and potential industry partners to explore delivery technologies for genetic medicines. ©Majed Photography

The Golden Tickets, and the recent “Delivering the Cure” symposium held together with the Foundation, embody Bakar Labs’ goal of scientific entrepreneurship for public good. They illustrate an increasing trend of forward-thinking patient advocacy organizations employing market-driven strategies to advance desperately needed medical solutions for patients.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to bring great minds together,” said Bakar Labs managing director Gino Segre.

“You never know what groundbreaking connections could come from a single conversation. We’ve seen it happen here before, and it’s bound to happen again.”