Life After Start-Up Stadium: SyntheX, Inc.

For the third year, the BIO International Convention will host the 2017 BIO Start-Up Stadium Empowering the Cutting-Edge Companies of Tomorrow, Today – an exciting and interactive experience where investors provide live feedback and judge 5-7 minute pitches presented by start-up biotech companies. The Start-Up Stadium accepts applications from early-stage companies with breakthrough technologies, and invites investors and state and regional affiliates to engage and explore mutual opportunities. Participating companies receive access to BIO One-on-One Partnering™ and educational sessions making their experience at BIO like no other.

Maria Soloveychik, Co-Founder and CEO of SyntheX, Inc.

This is the third in a series of guest blogs highlighting Start-Up Stadium success stories as told by former participants. Today we spoke with 2016 Alum, Maria Soloveychik, Ph.D., Co-Founder and CEO of SyntheX, Inc.

BTN: Can you tell us about your start-up?
SyntheX, Inc. is a San Francisco based therapeutics company founded in 2016. SyntheX utilizes its novel platform technology to select for peptides and create peptidomimetics to drug previously ‘undruggable’ targets, relying on the concept of synthetic lethality to treat cancer.

BTN: Was the Start-Up Stadium platform able to assist you in gaining visibility?
The Start-Up Stadium was an excellent platform for gaining visibility. You get to share your science and start-up with experts and investors in the biotech space AND receive valuable feedback and advice. We met great people in the audience and have even maintained relationships with a few judges.

BTN: Did you receive constructive live feedback at the Start-Up Stadium from stakeholders and subject matter experts?
I was asked several interesting questions regarding our platform and early assets. In their assessment, the panel made good suggestions in relation to alternative business models focused on licensing and partnering. They also provided great feedback on our deck and presentation style.

BTN: How have you implemented any feedback to achieve success and continued growth?
After Start-Up Stadium, the feedback received was incorporated into all presentations and meetings. I have also gone on to discuss various business model structures with advisors and experts in the industry – which later shaped our partnering meetings and internal work prioritization.

BTN: Were your BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings successful? Did they generate valuable connections with potential for meaningful partnerships?
The BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings were a major highlight of Convention! We had a very packed schedule, but had the opportunity to meet with big and mid-sized pharmas as well as CROs. These talks were excellent for understanding their interests and obtaining advice, as well as assessing a potential fit for a future partnership. We are actively communicating with several companies we met through partnering, and have established meaningful relationships with several CROs and fellow start-ups.

BTN: Although no longer eligible to participate in the Start-Up Stadium, will you be returning the 2017 BIO International Convention?
I would love to return this year, but unfortunately, there is a scheduling conflict for 2017. It is likely that we will attend the 2018 BIO International Convention. The BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings are such an excellent and organized way to meet with potential partners, and the events around the conference are a great collegial gathering of the biotech community.

About: SyntheX is a therapeutics company that disrupts cellular communication pathways to target proteins that are inaccessible via canonical screening technologies. We use a proprietary drug design approach and our in-vivo screening platform, ToRPPIDO, to identify compounds that disrupt protein-protein interactions (PPIs) – in a fast, efficient, and highly specific manner. We take advantage of synthetic lethality to develop compounds that target particular “Achilles’ heel” PPI in specific pathologies. We are currently developing inhibitors for a series of specific and previously undruggable targets. Our lead stabilized peptide inhibitor drugs, STX101 and STX105, block PPIs within the BRCA2 pathway, effectively mimicking a BRCA2 mutation and downregulating recombination. To learn more, visit: www.synthexlabs.com.

Life After Start-Up Stadium: SyntheX, Inc.

For the third year, the BIO International Convention will host the 2017 BIO Start-Up Stadium Empowering the Cutting-Edge Companies of Tomorrow, Today – an exciting and interactive experience where investors provide live feedback and judge 5-7 minute pitches presented by start-up biotech companies. The Start-Up Stadium accepts applications from early-stage companies with breakthrough technologies, and invites investors and state and regional affiliates to engage and explore mutual opportunities. Participating companies receive access to BIO One-on-One Partnering™ and educational sessions making their experience at BIO like no other.

Maria Soloveychik, Co-Founder and CEO of SyntheX, Inc.

This is the third in a series of guest blogs highlighting Start-Up Stadium success stories as told by former participants. Today we spoke with 2016 Alum, Maria Soloveychik, Ph.D., Co-Founder and CEO of SyntheX, Inc.

BTN: Can you tell us about your start-up?
SyntheX, Inc. is a San Francisco based therapeutics company founded in 2016. SyntheX utilizes its novel platform technology to select for peptides and create peptidomimetics to drug previously ‘undruggable’ targets, relying on the concept of synthetic lethality to treat cancer.

BTN: Was the Start-Up Stadium platform able to assist you in gaining visibility?
The Start-Up Stadium was an excellent platform for gaining visibility. You get to share your science and start-up with experts and investors in the biotech space AND receive valuable feedback and advice. We met great people in the audience and have even maintained relationships with a few judges.

BTN: Did you receive constructive live feedback at the Start-Up Stadium from stakeholders and subject matter experts?
I was asked several interesting questions regarding our platform and early assets. In their assessment, the panel made good suggestions in relation to alternative business models focused on licensing and partnering. They also provided great feedback on our deck and presentation style.

BTN: How have you implemented any feedback to achieve success and continued growth?
After Start-Up Stadium, the feedback received was incorporated into all presentations and meetings. I have also gone on to discuss various business model structures with advisors and experts in the industry – which later shaped our partnering meetings and internal work prioritization.

BTN: Were your BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings successful? Did they generate valuable connections with potential for meaningful partnerships?
The BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings were a major highlight of Convention! We had a very packed schedule, but had the opportunity to meet with big and mid-sized pharmas as well as CROs. These talks were excellent for understanding their interests and obtaining advice, as well as assessing a potential fit for a future partnership. We are actively communicating with several companies we met through partnering, and have established meaningful relationships with several CROs and fellow start-ups.

BTN: Although no longer eligible to participate in the Start-Up Stadium, will you be returning the 2017 BIO International Convention?
I would love to return this year, but unfortunately, there is a scheduling conflict for 2017. It is likely that we will attend the 2018 BIO International Convention. The BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings are such an excellent and organized way to meet with potential partners, and the events around the conference are a great collegial gathering of the biotech community.

About: SyntheX is a therapeutics company that disrupts cellular communication pathways to target proteins that are inaccessible via canonical screening technologies. We use a proprietary drug design approach and our in-vivo screening platform, ToRPPIDO, to identify compounds that disrupt protein-protein interactions (PPIs) – in a fast, efficient, and highly specific manner. We take advantage of synthetic lethality to develop compounds that target particular “Achilles’ heel” PPI in specific pathologies. We are currently developing inhibitors for a series of specific and previously undruggable targets. Our lead stabilized peptide inhibitor drugs, STX101 and STX105, block PPIs within the BRCA2 pathway, effectively mimicking a BRCA2 mutation and downregulating recombination. To learn more, visit: www.synthexlabs.com.

Life After Start-Up Stadium: ViRAZE

For the third year, the BIO International Convention will host the 2017 BIO Start-Up Stadium Empowering the Cutting-Edge Companies of Tomorrow, Today – an exciting and interactive experience where investors provide live feedback and judge 5-7 minute pitches presented by start-up biotech companies. The Start-Up Stadium accepts applications from early-stage companies with breakthrough technologies, and invites investors and state and regional affiliates to engage and explore mutual opportunities. Participating companies receive access to BIO One-on-One Partnering™ and educational sessions making their experience at BIO like no other.

Rajiv Khosla, CEO and Co-Founder of ViRAZE

This is the second in a series of guest blogs highlighting Start-Up Stadium success stories as told by former participants. Today we spoke with 2015 Alum, Rajiv Khosla, Ph.D., CEO and Co-Founder of ViRAZE.

BTN: Can you tell us about your start-up?
ViRAZE is an emerging biotechnology company utilizing a patented high throughput screening (HTS) technology to discover and develop new small molecules to treat viral diseases. Our initial emphasis is on viral dermatology diseases that have unsatisfactory treatment options.

BTN: Was the Start-Up Stadium platform able to assist you in gaining visibility?
ViRAZE, a University of Pennsylvania PCI company, was an inaugural presenter at BIO 2015. We presented in front of a “stadium” of about 30 people, plus three seasoned judges. The increased awareness resulted in post-presentation interaction with BioPharma companies and service providers interested in learning more – some of which are proving fruitful today.

BTN: Did you receive constructive live feedback at the Start-Up Stadium from stakeholders and subject matter experts?
For a fledgling company, the benefit of presenting to professionals who provide meaningful critique, and constructive feedback was invaluable. BIO’s Start-Up Stadium is a must do if you are a recent University spin-out or newly emerging Biotech company.

BTN: How have you implemented any feedback to achieve success and continued growth?
Encouraged by our positive experience in 2015, we returned in 2016 and actively engaged using BIO’s One-on-One Partnering™ and Business Forum. This year, ViRAZE was nominated as a “Technologies of Tomorrow” company in the Buzz of BIO competition. Yet another opportunity to raise awareness and potentially secure additional partnerships for ViRAZE.
BTN: Were your BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings successful? Did they generate valuable connections with potential for meaningful partnerships?
From my Business Development career in corporate Pharma, BIO One-on-One Partnering™ was the stimulus for at least 65% of licensing deals that our Pharma company consummated. The efficiency enabled ViRAZE to meet with 30 potential partners in the span of three days. Some of these meetings have led to ongoing discussions as well as due diligence to further explore a partnership deal!

BTN: Although no longer eligible to participate in the Start-Up Stadium, will you be returning the 2017 BIO International Convention?
We will be in San Diego – wouldn’t want to miss out on BIO’s Partnering program!
If you are a Biotech company looking to partner-out your asset or a Pharma company seeking to partner-in for your pipeline: the Start-Up Stadium, BIO One-on-One Partnering™, and annual BIO International Convention are essential events in your annual plans.


About: ViRAZE has a proprietary drug discovery platform, which exploits the proteins necessary for DNA replication as novel drug targets, to discover and develop first-in-class small molecules to treat viral diseases. ViRAZE has a lead program for the first and only FDA approved topical drug product to treat the skin disease, Molluscum contagiosum. The program recently secured a $3 million NIH grant for certain IND-enabling studies. ViRAZE is actively seeking investors and partners to file the IND. To learn more, visit: www.viraze.net.

About today’s guest: Rajiv Khosla has had an extensive career in the BioPharmaceutical industry, with experience in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. His most recent corporate stint was VP BD Biovail; since then he has been CEO and Board member at emerging Biotechs, and now a co-founder of ViRAZE

Life After Start-Up Stadium: ViRAZE

For the third year, the BIO International Convention will host the 2017 BIO Start-Up Stadium Empowering the Cutting-Edge Companies of Tomorrow, Today – an exciting and interactive experience where investors provide live feedback and judge 5-7 minute pitches presented by start-up biotech companies. The Start-Up Stadium accepts applications from early-stage companies with breakthrough technologies, and invites investors and state and regional affiliates to engage and explore mutual opportunities. Participating companies receive access to BIO One-on-One Partnering™ and educational sessions making their experience at BIO like no other.

Rajiv Khosla, CEO and Co-Founder of ViRAZE

This is the second in a series of guest blogs highlighting Start-Up Stadium success stories as told by former participants. Today we spoke with 2015 Alum, Rajiv Khosla, Ph.D., CEO and Co-Founder of ViRAZE.

BTN: Can you tell us about your start-up?
ViRAZE is an emerging biotechnology company utilizing a patented high throughput screening (HTS) technology to discover and develop new small molecules to treat viral diseases. Our initial emphasis is on viral dermatology diseases that have unsatisfactory treatment options.

BTN: Was the Start-Up Stadium platform able to assist you in gaining visibility?
ViRAZE, a University of Pennsylvania PCI company, was an inaugural presenter at BIO 2015. We presented in front of a “stadium” of about 30 people, plus three seasoned judges. The increased awareness resulted in post-presentation interaction with BioPharma companies and service providers interested in learning more – some of which are proving fruitful today.

BTN: Did you receive constructive live feedback at the Start-Up Stadium from stakeholders and subject matter experts?
For a fledgling company, the benefit of presenting to professionals who provide meaningful critique, and constructive feedback was invaluable. BIO’s Start-Up Stadium is a must do if you are a recent University spin-out or newly emerging Biotech company.

BTN: How have you implemented any feedback to achieve success and continued growth?
Encouraged by our positive experience in 2015, we returned in 2016 and actively engaged using BIO’s One-on-One Partnering™ and Business Forum. This year, ViRAZE was nominated as a “Technologies of Tomorrow” company in the Buzz of BIO competition. Yet another opportunity to raise awareness and potentially secure additional partnerships for ViRAZE.
BTN: Were your BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings successful? Did they generate valuable connections with potential for meaningful partnerships?
From my Business Development career in corporate Pharma, BIO One-on-One Partnering™ was the stimulus for at least 65% of licensing deals that our Pharma company consummated. The efficiency enabled ViRAZE to meet with 30 potential partners in the span of three days. Some of these meetings have led to ongoing discussions as well as due diligence to further explore a partnership deal!

BTN: Although no longer eligible to participate in the Start-Up Stadium, will you be returning the 2017 BIO International Convention?
We will be in San Diego – wouldn’t want to miss out on BIO’s Partnering program!
If you are a Biotech company looking to partner-out your asset or a Pharma company seeking to partner-in for your pipeline: the Start-Up Stadium, BIO One-on-One Partnering™, and annual BIO International Convention are essential events in your annual plans.


About: ViRAZE has a proprietary drug discovery platform, which exploits the proteins necessary for DNA replication as novel drug targets, to discover and develop first-in-class small molecules to treat viral diseases. ViRAZE has a lead program for the first and only FDA approved topical drug product to treat the skin disease, Molluscum contagiosum. The program recently secured a $3 million NIH grant for certain IND-enabling studies. ViRAZE is actively seeking investors and partners to file the IND. To learn more, visit: www.viraze.net.

About today’s guest: Rajiv Khosla has had an extensive career in the BioPharmaceutical industry, with experience in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. His most recent corporate stint was VP BD Biovail; since then he has been CEO and Board member at emerging Biotechs, and now a co-founder of ViRAZE

Life After Start-Up Stadium: ViRAZE

For the third year, the BIO International Convention will host the 2017 BIO Start-Up Stadium Empowering the Cutting-Edge Companies of Tomorrow, Today – an exciting and interactive experience where investors provide live feedback and judge 5-7 minute pitches presented by start-up biotech companies. The Start-Up Stadium accepts applications from early-stage companies with breakthrough technologies, and invites investors and state and regional affiliates to engage and explore mutual opportunities. Participating companies receive access to BIO One-on-One Partnering™ and educational sessions making their experience at BIO like no other.

Rajiv Khosla, CEO and Co-Founder of ViRAZE

This is the second in a series of guest blogs highlighting Start-Up Stadium success stories as told by former participants. Today we spoke with 2015 Alum, Rajiv Khosla, Ph.D., CEO and Co-Founder of ViRAZE.

BTN: Can you tell us about your start-up?
ViRAZE is an emerging biotechnology company utilizing a patented high throughput screening (HTS) technology to discover and develop new small molecules to treat viral diseases. Our initial emphasis is on viral dermatology diseases that have unsatisfactory treatment options.

BTN: Was the Start-Up Stadium platform able to assist you in gaining visibility?
ViRAZE, a University of Pennsylvania PCI company, was an inaugural presenter at BIO 2015. We presented in front of a “stadium” of about 30 people, plus three seasoned judges. The increased awareness resulted in post-presentation interaction with BioPharma companies and service providers interested in learning more – some of which are proving fruitful today.

BTN: Did you receive constructive live feedback at the Start-Up Stadium from stakeholders and subject matter experts?
For a fledgling company, the benefit of presenting to professionals who provide meaningful critique, and constructive feedback was invaluable. BIO’s Start-Up Stadium is a must do if you are a recent University spin-out or newly emerging Biotech company.

BTN: How have you implemented any feedback to achieve success and continued growth?
Encouraged by our positive experience in 2015, we returned in 2016 and actively engaged using BIO’s One-on-One Partnering™ and Business Forum. This year, ViRAZE was nominated as a “Technologies of Tomorrow” company in the Buzz of BIO competition. Yet another opportunity to raise awareness and potentially secure additional partnerships for ViRAZE.
BTN: Were your BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings successful? Did they generate valuable connections with potential for meaningful partnerships?
From my Business Development career in corporate Pharma, BIO One-on-One Partnering™ was the stimulus for at least 65% of licensing deals that our Pharma company consummated. The efficiency enabled ViRAZE to meet with 30 potential partners in the span of three days. Some of these meetings have led to ongoing discussions as well as due diligence to further explore a partnership deal!

BTN: Although no longer eligible to participate in the Start-Up Stadium, will you be returning the 2017 BIO International Convention?
We will be in San Diego – wouldn’t want to miss out on BIO’s Partnering program!
If you are a Biotech company looking to partner-out your asset or a Pharma company seeking to partner-in for your pipeline: the Start-Up Stadium, BIO One-on-One Partnering™, and annual BIO International Convention are essential events in your annual plans.


About: ViRAZE has a proprietary drug discovery platform, which exploits the proteins necessary for DNA replication as novel drug targets, to discover and develop first-in-class small molecules to treat viral diseases. ViRAZE has a lead program for the first and only FDA approved topical drug product to treat the skin disease, Molluscum contagiosum. The program recently secured a $3 million NIH grant for certain IND-enabling studies. ViRAZE is actively seeking investors and partners to file the IND. To learn more, visit: www.viraze.net.

About today’s guest: Rajiv Khosla has had an extensive career in the BioPharmaceutical industry, with experience in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. His most recent corporate stint was VP BD Biovail; since then he has been CEO and Board member at emerging Biotechs, and now a co-founder of ViRAZE

Life After Start-Up Stadium: Immunome

For the third year, the BIO International Convention will host the 2017 BIO Start-Up Stadium Empowering the Cutting-Edge Companies of Tomorrow, Today – an exciting and interactive experience where investors provide live feedback and judge 5-7 minute pitches presented by start-up biotech companies. The Start-Up Stadium accepts applications from early-stage companies with breakthrough technologies, and invites investors and state and regional affiliates to engage and explore mutual opportunities. Participating companies receive access to BIO One-on-One Partnering™ and educational sessions making their experience at BIO like no other.

Scott Dessain, CTO & Scientific Co-Founder of Immunome

This is the first in a series of guest blogs highlighting Start-Up Stadium success stories as told by former participants.Today we spoke with 2015 Alum, Scott Dessain, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer and Scientific Co-Founder of Immunome.

Gregory Licholai of Immunome

Gregory Licholai, Management Co-Founder of Immunome

BTN: Can you tell us about your start-up?
Immunome is located in Philadelphia, PA and was founded in 2008 with Management Co-Founder, Gregory Licholai, M.D., MBA (now President and Chief Science Officer at Castle Creek Pharmaceuticals). We started as an Infectious Disease/Biodefense company but pivoted to become an Immuno-oncology company in 2014-2015.

BTN: Was the Start-Up Stadium platform able to assist you in gaining visibility?
Yes! For a biotech start-up, time is the most expensive commodity. We had just brought in an A-list management team and achieved strong proof-of-concept in cancer, and we had to get the word out far and fast. The Start-Up Stadium was a key part of our “coming out” at BIO 2015.

BTN: Did you receive constructive live feedback at the Start-Up Stadium from stakeholders and subject matter experts?
Yes, it was a very engaging and valuable session.  Most of the questions made us focus on clarifying our value proposition as an investment and how we were going to produce a differentiated drug in the clinical marketplace.

BTN: How have you implemented any feedback to achieve success and continued growth?
A biotech startup can be somewhat of a blur — constantly seeking feedback from investors, stakeholders, potential partners, competitors. The key is to sift through the information, not trying to be something for everyone, but to find the right path that best leverages the differentiation of the technology, the skill and experience of the management team and the clinical opportunity. The Start-Up Stadium was a fun part of that process.

BTN: Were your BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings successful? Did they generate valuable connections with potential for meaningful partnerships?
At BIO 2015, we were letting everyone know how we had shifted, we showed them the new data and introduced them to the new management team. We learned what our customers and partners were seeking, refined our investment and research plan, and recently executed a multi-million dollar Series A. We’ll be revealing our new cancer pipeline to selected companies later this year.

BTN: Although no longer eligible to participate in the Start-Up Stadium, will you be returning the 2017 BIO International Convention?
Of course.  Everyone we want to meet will be there!

Immunome

About: Immunome is an Immuno-Oncology company building a diverse pipeline of antibody therapies for cancer.  The Immunome technology discovers tumor specific antigens by studying antibodies that patients make against their own cancers. The natural protective immune response incancer patients selects novel, non-intuitive, cancer-specific antigens that are expressed by diverse tumor types. To learn more, visit: www.immunome.com.

Scott Dessain co-author Improving Biotech Investment.

Scott Dessain is also co-author of the new book about investing in biotech start-ups called, “Preserving the Promise: Improving the Culture of Biotech Investment.

Life After Start-Up Stadium: Immunome

For the third year, the BIO International Convention will host the 2017 BIO Start-Up Stadium Empowering the Cutting-Edge Companies of Tomorrow, Today – an exciting and interactive experience where investors provide live feedback and judge 5-7 minute pitches presented by start-up biotech companies. The Start-Up Stadium accepts applications from early-stage companies with breakthrough technologies, and invites investors and state and regional affiliates to engage and explore mutual opportunities. Participating companies receive access to BIO One-on-One Partnering™ and educational sessions making their experience at BIO like no other.

Scott Dessain, CTO & Scientific Co-Founder of Immunome

This is the first in a series of guest blogs highlighting Start-Up Stadium success stories as told by former participants.Today we spoke with 2015 Alum, Scott Dessain, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer and Scientific Co-Founder of Immunome.

Gregory Licholai of Immunome

Gregory Licholai, Management Co-Founder of Immunome

BTN: Can you tell us about your start-up?
Immunome is located in Philadelphia, PA and was founded in 2008 with Management Co-Founder, Gregory Licholai, M.D., MBA (now President and Chief Science Officer at Castle Creek Pharmaceuticals). We started as an Infectious Disease/Biodefense company but pivoted to become an Immuno-oncology company in 2014-2015.

BTN: Was the Start-Up Stadium platform able to assist you in gaining visibility?
Yes! For a biotech start-up, time is the most expensive commodity. We had just brought in an A-list management team and achieved strong proof-of-concept in cancer, and we had to get the word out far and fast. The Start-Up Stadium was a key part of our “coming out” at BIO 2015.

BTN: Did you receive constructive live feedback at the Start-Up Stadium from stakeholders and subject matter experts?
Yes, it was a very engaging and valuable session.  Most of the questions made us focus on clarifying our value proposition as an investment and how we were going to produce a differentiated drug in the clinical marketplace.

BTN: How have you implemented any feedback to achieve success and continued growth?
A biotech startup can be somewhat of a blur — constantly seeking feedback from investors, stakeholders, potential partners, competitors. The key is to sift through the information, not trying to be something for everyone, but to find the right path that best leverages the differentiation of the technology, the skill and experience of the management team and the clinical opportunity. The Start-Up Stadium was a fun part of that process.

BTN: Were your BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings successful? Did they generate valuable connections with potential for meaningful partnerships?
At BIO 2015, we were letting everyone know how we had shifted, we showed them the new data and introduced them to the new management team. We learned what our customers and partners were seeking, refined our investment and research plan, and recently executed a multi-million dollar Series A. We’ll be revealing our new cancer pipeline to selected companies later this year.

BTN: Although no longer eligible to participate in the Start-Up Stadium, will you be returning the 2017 BIO International Convention?
Of course.  Everyone we want to meet will be there!

Immunome

About: Immunome is an Immuno-Oncology company building a diverse pipeline of antibody therapies for cancer.  The Immunome technology discovers tumor specific antigens by studying antibodies that patients make against their own cancers. The natural protective immune response incancer patients selects novel, non-intuitive, cancer-specific antigens that are expressed by diverse tumor types. To learn more, visit: www.immunome.com.

Scott Dessain co-author Improving Biotech Investment.

Scott Dessain is also co-author of the new book about investing in biotech start-ups called, “Preserving the Promise: Improving the Culture of Biotech Investment.