March 6, 2021 Your Source for Brentwood News

Local Startup MAX BioPharma Creates Compound to Treat COVID-19

Local startup develops news compound with antiviral activity against COVID-19

MAX BioPharma, a Santa Monica biopharmaceutical startup has developed a new drug candidate with antiviral activity against COVID-19

In collaboration with scientists at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) in Tokyo, Japan, these so-called semi-synthetic oxysterols, were derived from a collection of sterol molecules created by MAX BioPharma, as part of its Oxysterol Therapeutics® platform technology that has produced oxysterol-based drug candidates in other therapeutic indications, including cancer, fibrosis and bone formation. 

“Our compound is something that originated from a naturally occurring substance in the body. What we did was that we discovered the biological activity of it (i.e. that it is antiviral) and we made it better,” said Dr. Farhad Parhami, Founder, President and CEO of MAX BioPharma. “By better I mean it is more effective in fighting the virus. It can be given orally. As we look at what is going on with the vaccines for COVID-19 we realize that there are many uncertainties about them. It’s a novel technology, it is fantastic but there are a lot of uncertainties. How long is the protection from the vaccine going to last? Will they work on the virus as it mutates? How often do we need to be vaccinated.”

According to Dr. Parhami, an oxysterol-based drug will be very patient friendly due its ability to be administered orally via a pill as soon as the patient is COVID positive, even with no symptoms. 

“If they take this and it stops the ability of the virus to grow and become more abundant in the body, it would allow our immune system to fight and get rid of the virus more effectively,”  Dr. Parhami said. 

Inside MAX BioPharma’s space in Santa Monica.

Dr. Parhami and MAX BioPharma have deep roots on the Westside. Dr. Parhami was born in Iran and moved to the United States in 1980, growing up in Santa Monica and Brentwood. After attending University High School, Dr. Parhami went to UCLA for his bachelors, PHD and MBA degrees before getting a faculty position at the University. In 2011, he founded MAX BioPharma and in 2013 became a part of an incubator program at UCLA (UCLA Magnify). 

“After 3 years at the UCLA incubator, we wondered  ‘where are we going to go next?’” Dr. Parhami said. “We had to graduate from the UCLA incubator and move to an independent location.“  Santa Monica obviously is a fantastic location and who doesn’t want to be in Santa Monica? Our limitation was that we are a biopharmaceutical laboratory, and because of the kind of equipment we have, it had to be an industrial space.” 

After more than 8 months of searching, the company found an industrial space at the Roberts Campus on Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica. 

“We went and looked at it and the rent was high but the alternative was to go further south to some of the places near LAX or El Segundo. Their rents per square foot would be cheaper but the spaces were much larger and we didn’t need that much space,” Dr. Parhami said. “My team lives on the Westside, from Santa Monica all the way to Culver City, and therefore we decided that we rent our current space in Santa Monica and avoid the headaches of having to drive through L.A. traffic to get to work every day..” 

Dr. Parhami says that opening in Santa Monica was smoother than expected and the city has welcomed MAX BioPharma with open arms. 

“It was so easy to work with the Santa Monica officials,” Dr. Parhami said. “Especially for a bio pharmaceutical company that is very important because you wouldn’t necessarily think that we are the right fit for Santa Monica. I mean Santa Monica is really hip, not that we are not, but you got record studios, you got movie studios, you got high end retail stores, and then you have very few companies that are like us….We couldn’t be happier in our current space and we are grateful to our landlord and management at Roberts Campus for taking great care of us.  

Dr. Farhad Parhami

Currently, MAX BioPharma is in the process of raising a series A financing round to support the advancement of its therapeutic development programs.

“The way that the public can help us is by first of all becoming aware of what we do and thenby supporting our goals through financial backing, equity investment or philanthropy.  We know that there a lot of generous individuals in our community that would be willing to help us develop therapies for many human diseases including cancer and Covid-19,.” Dr. Parhami said. “Together we can achieve a lot.” 

And while COVID-19 may at some point dwindle away, Dr. Parhami says MAX BioPharma is here to stay in Santa Monica. 

“COVID is not the only thing we do,” Dr. Parhami said “We are also developing new medicines for a number of cancers, including lung, pancreas and blood cancers, and also for a number of diseases that involve fibrosis (lung, liver, kidney fibrosis). As we grow, we’ll increase our footprint and lease more space and just grow in Santa Monica.” 

 For more information, visit www.maxbiopharma.com

Related Posts

Edify TV: Brentwood-Adjacent High-Rise Nears Completion

March 5, 2021

March 5, 2021

A Brentwood-adjacent high-rise checking in at over 30 stories is nearing has topped-out, the first building of this size built...

Car Drives Through Brentwood Homeless Encampment

March 4, 2021

March 4, 2021

No serious injuries in San Vicente incident By Sam Catanzaro A vehicle drove through a Brentwood homeless encampment Thursday, striking...

Video: Indoor Dining Close to Returning in LA County

March 4, 2021

March 4, 2021

Indoor dining could return to LA County very soon. Learn more and hear what diners have to say in this...

Popular Bagel Shop Adding Brentwood Location

March 4, 2021

March 4, 2021

Los Angeles bagel shop Pop’s Bagel taking over former Alfred Tea Room space on San Vicente By Kerry Slater A...

Quinn’s Coco For The Cure Raises Awareness and Kindness.

March 4, 2021

March 4, 2021

The 5th annual Quinn’s Coco for the cure event hosted a drive through coco stand bringing together the community and...

California Is the 2nd Least Affordable State to Size Up for a Home Office

March 3, 2021

March 3, 2021

One of the COVID-19 pandemic’s biggest impacts on the labor market has been the remarkable shift to working from home...

LAUSD Increasing Vaccines but Reopening Date Remains Uncertain

March 2, 2021

March 2, 2021

Over 40,000 vaccines allotted to LAUSD as teachers union calls for slower return By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles school officials...

What is the Best Club of 2020 on the Westside?

March 1, 2021

March 1, 2021

LaGrange Cycling Club was awarded club of the year for 2020, learn more about what makes this club so unique....

Prince Harry Visits The Fresh Prince Of Bel-air Mansion: Brentwood Beat – March, 1, 2021

March 1, 2021

March 1, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Prince Harry Visits The Fresh Prince Of Bel-air Mansion * Family...

Large Properties Drive-up Brentwood Home Sales Amid Pandemic

February 26, 2021

February 26, 2021

Annual report shows single-family home sales rising By Sam Catanzaro Interest in large properties with five-bedrooms or more helped drive-up...

UPDATED: ‘Safe Camping’ at the VA is Open To All Homeless Veterans.

February 26, 2021

February 26, 2021

The “safe camping” program is geared toward getting homeless Veterans off the streets and provides a way to transition from...

Another San Vicente Coral Tree Collapses

February 25, 2021

February 25, 2021

Latest such incident to befall Brentwood’s iconic tree By Sam Catanzaro Brentwood lost another coral tree recently. According to the...

Edify TV: Greek Street Food Anyone?

February 25, 2021

February 25, 2021

A souvlaki and gyro house serving up authentic Greek street food is eyeing a second Westside location. Learn more in...

Video: Closing Streets to Allow for More Outdoor Dining?

February 25, 2021

February 25, 2021

A drunk driver recently crashed into a Santa Monica outdoor dining area, bringing attention to a proposal that would close...