Dr. Kambiz Shekdar in Abu Dhabi, UAE
Secondcell Bio is scaling up implementation of biotechnology originating from The Rockefeller University for drug discover at Scale.
INVENTED AT THE ROCKEFELLER UNIVERSITY, CHROMOVERT® TECHNOLOGY PERMITS HIGH-SPEED PURIFICATION OF DESIRED CELLS. 1) One or more target genes are added to cells to generate a mixed population of cell some of which contain target genes (or a mixed populatio

Rockefeller University biotech inventor at Arab Health in Dubai to advance partnership discussions with Emirati stakeholders on biotech sector in the UAE.

The UAE’s next gusher may be biotech. With no legacy pharma, the UAE is free to cherry pick from its choice of modern biotechnology platform biotechnologies to leapfrog the pharmaceutical industry.”
— Rockefeller Alumnus & Biotech Inventor Dr. Kambiz Shekdar, PhD.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, January 28, 2023 /EINPresswire.com/ — Rockefeller University alumnus and Secondcell Bio CEO Dr. Kambiz Shekdar attends Arab Health in Dubai to raise funds for new Emirati joint venture in the UAE to discover and commercialize 100 new drugs. Termed Emirati Cell Bio, the partnership is based on proprietary biotechnology originating from a Nobel & King Faisal Prize winning laboratory at The Rockefeller University. The developments are based on the UAE’s goal to expand the biotech sector in the country.

Emirati Cell Bio discovery engine has already been successfully commercially validated in diverse fields of use and lines of business.

Chromovert® was used to discover and develop a novel non-addictive pain killer that was the subject of a January 11, 2023, IPO filing by Chromocell Therapeutics. The pain killer was fast-tracked by the FDA and featured at Gov. Chris Christie’s panel on the opioid epidemic at The White House as one of a handful of products in pipeline to address the calamity.

Chromovert® was also used to discover and commercialize the first-ever natural salty-taste enhancers and new natural sweeteners to cut both salt and sugar in the diet. The flavors research was partnered with world-leading food and beverage companies The Coca-Cola Company, Kraft Foods & Nestle. From blocking pain to cutting dietary salt and sugar, these diverse applications of the same underlying platform discovery engine demonstrate the breadth and range of Chromovert® technology.

More than $100 million USD in private funding (and $0 in venture capital or U.S. government grants) was invested to pioneer the unencumbered technology. Chromovert® Inventor Dr. Shekdar is now transitioning the technology for Drug Discovery at Scale to the UAE via Secondcell Bio.

The competitive advantage of the joint venture is based both on the proprietary Chromovert® technology as well as on the opportunity for scale in the UAE. High cost for scale-up and fear of obsolescence among entrenched teams remain as barriers to scale up demonstrated disruptive technologies like Chromovert®. With no legacy pharma industry in the UAE, a large-scale public-private partnership (PPP) including Emirati stakeholders can be used to leap-frog the industry and achieve the national goal of expanding the biopharma sector.

Dr. Shekdar seeks seed funding of $50M USD to establish an operational Chromovert® drug discovery “Engine” and laboratory infrastructure in the UAE. An additional $100 to $950M USD is sought to operate the engine to produce 100 or more new drug candidates for commercialization over 3 to 5 years. In addition to ongoing discussions with sovereign wealth funds in the UAE as strategic partners, prospective individual investors may also participate via a customized form of the SAFE model innovated by the Y Combinator incubator in the U.S.

Whereas Secondcell Bio is primarily focused on drug discovery applications of Chromovert®, non-drug applications that do not require human clinical trials will also be pursued for faster overall commercialization timelines, including the discovery of natural volatiles to modulate the aroma of consumer good products similar to the taste research previously conducted with Coca-Cola, Kraft and Nestle. Consumer liking of aromatic goods is driven by scent and aroma. However, compared to human taste biology where 30 to 40 taste receptors are involved, the biology of human scent and aroma perception is mediated by over 400 odorant receptors, putting it out-of-reach from traditional cell-based discovery approaches. Chromovert® has already been demonstrated to enable physiological access to this complex biology where the scale of investment available in the UAE permits the development of new consumer goods applications (see the “The Nose, Accessing the Biology of Human Olfaction: New, All-Natural Fragrance Ingredients; Novel Consumer Fragrance Experiences and Applications” in Harry’s Cosmeticology, 9th Edition).

The Emirati joint venture aims to create multiple billion-dollar commercial entities. Drug makers earn an estimated average $18.6 billion USD in global revenue per new drug. However, at a staggering 98%, the current failure rate in the industry to discover and develop new drugs points to a dire need for improvements at all stages of the process. The high failure rate also drives up the average cost of making each new drug to over $1.8 billion USD. The automated and improved Chromovert-enabled process enables a paradigm shift: for less than the cost of producing one new drug, numerous drug discovery programs with increased overall likelihood of success and cost-effectiveness will be implemented in parallel to develop at least 100 new drug candidates each of which may be IPO’d via its own dedicated entity and/or partnered for further development with Big Pharma. Once first established in the UAE, the same infrastructure may also be franchised, e.g., Saudi Cell Bio, etc.

For more on the growing biotech sector in the UAE, see Dr. Shekdar’s first hand account “From Oil to Medicine” in the front-page report published in Manhattan’s WestView News in January 2023 at the following link: https://westviewnews.org/2023/01/17/from-oil-to-medicine/james/


Biological science deals with the human cell. Cells that exactly mimic human disease are fundamental for discovery of new drugs. However, in a sea of cells engineered to model disease, only a tiny number are suitable. Detecting and isolating the optimal cells is extraordinarily difficult. Chromovert® facilitates the detection and purification of even exceedingly rare, desired cells. Applicable to any gene and any cell, the platform technology opens new applications in flavors and drug discovery, biologics manufacturing, cell and stem cell therapies, and crop engineering. Chromovert® was invented by Dr. Kambiz Shekdar, PhD in the laboratory of his late mentor and PhD advisor Rockefeller University Professor Dr. Gunter Blobel, MD, PhD. The scientific publication of the technology is available at this link: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10529-021-03101-5

Secondcell Bio is a life sciences company established to realize the fullest possible potential of Chromovert® Technology for science and human health. The company was formed by the Dr. Kambiz Shekdar, inventor of Chromovert® technology.

Kambiz Shekdar
Secondcell Bio
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Dubai Science Park Director Marwan Abdul Aziz

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U.S. Biotech Inventor Exports IPO-Enabling Technology to the UAE

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