【CUHK spin-off company named as Top 25 Winners of Falling Walls 2023 Science Start-ups】


Ynno Med Limited (YnnoMed), co-founded by Professor Xiao Yang, Assistant Professor at the Department of Microbiology at CUHK, has been selected as one of the 25 Winners in the category of Science Start-ups at the Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year 2023 for establishing a platform for drug discovery and development with the use of in-house AI-assisted technology to streamline processes and reduce costs in pre-clinical stages of drug R&D, ultimately accelerating the availability of new drugs. Addressing unmet clinical needs in infectious diseases, Prof Yang and her team at YnnoMed have pioneered the development of bacterial transcription inhibitors as new antimicrobial drug candidates to combat the ever-present threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.

It is predicted that if left unchecked, antimicrobial-resistant infections will cause up to 10 million deaths worldwide by the year 2050, outracing cancer to become the second leading cause of death. While existing antimicrobial agents are becoming ineffective and new ones are urgently needed, the global R&D pipeline has unfortunately remained stagnant with no new classes of antibiotics marketed for decades. In view of these circumstances, Prof Yang’s team worked closely with global partners to successfully obtain several series of patent-protected first-in-class antibiotic drug candidates with promising pre-clinical profiles and strong clinical prospects. Utilising unprecedented targets essential for bacterial survival, YnnoMed’s advanced pipelines have demonstrated their effectiveness in killing drug-resistant bacteria found on the WHO priority pathogens list for R&D of new antibiotics, as well as reducing the emergence of resistance.

About Falling Walls

The Falling Walls Foundation is a non-profit organisation supported by the Ministry for Education and Research of Germany. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 2009, the Falling Walls Science Summit has since been hosted annually to showcase and recognise the most recent breakthroughs in science and society.

This year Falling Walls celebrates achievements in 8 scientific, innovation and humanistic categories. The 2023 laureate of the “Falling Walls Science Breakthrough of the Year” in the category of Science Start-ups (Falling Walls Venture) wins the award after the fast-paced pitch event where all 25 Winners (out of 113 Finalists) were invited to participate in-person in Berlin.