Guru sat down with Andrew Gray, CEO of Karma Biotechnologies. In this interview, Andrew talks about developing vaccines for auto-immunity to train the immune system to stop attacking the patient's body, the future of personalized medicine, Xavines and much more.
How Karma Biotechnology got started?
Andrew shares with us his compassionate motivation for starting Karma Biotechnology. At the age of 8, his mother was diagnosed with Myasthenia gravis which is an autoimmune disease. The doctor told him there is no cure for this disease and Andrew couldn’t understand why that was. This was the seminal moment that triggered his interest in Science.
Future is personalized medicine
Andrew states that the future of medicine is in vivo, not ex vivo. He describes the ideal approach in the future would be to go to the doctor and get a shot that will engineer the T-cells inside your body. This would be less risky, take less time and also be economical.
Vaccines are not universally beneficial
Andrew brings up a very interesting point here. How do you create a vaccine for someone whose immune system is attacking something off the wall? In this case, we’ll have to test the patient’s T-cells and figure out what is being attacked, and personalize the treatment accordingly
The easier the treatment the more the adoption
Andrew talks about the advantages of driving the adoption of treatment if it’s simple. He tells us about statins used for controlling high cholesterol. You pop a pill and it reduces your risk. If we can get to this point with things like autoimmunity and cancer, then the adoption would increase fundamentally.
What is “Xavines”? How do they work?
Andrew describes Xavines as a tolerogenic vaccine that is novel. In comparison to a traditional vaccine, like the Covid vaccine that teaches the immune system to attack the “bad guy”, Xavines can be used to train the immune system to not go into attack mode and be able to tolerate tolerogenic vaccines or reverse vaccines or negative vaccines
How Karma biotech is different from the competition
Karma is built like a “true startup”, says Andrew.
This means that everything is made in-house from scratch. They have complete ownership of the technology and have gone through many iterations of the technology to settle on one that is safe, scalable, and extremely flexible