Earlier this month, the Science4Life Venture Cup awarded second place and a cash prize of 10.000 euros to ViraTherapeutics, a biotech startup with the goal of developing effective anti-cancer therapeutics. The competition took place in Frankfurt and brought together 10 startups, many of which had a strong focus on health.
ViraTherapeutics is a biotechnology company based in Innsbruck, Tyrol. Their objective is to develop highly potent anti-cancer therapeutics based on oncolytic viruses – that is viruses that replicate exclusively in cancer cells, and can thus destroy a tumor without doing harm to the human body. They can be used for the virotherapy of different cancer types and show potential in the treatment of metastatic tumors.
“Our proprietary oncolytic virus, VSV-GP, efficiently destroys cancer cells, while leaving normal tissues unharmed. VSV-GP is highly efficient in cell culture and animal models in all tumors tested so far,” Dr. Lisa Egerer, COO of ViraTherapeutics, told inventures.eu.
The virus in question was originally invented and developed in the academic research group of Prof. von Laer in the Innsbruck Medical University. ViraTherapeutics, a CAST spin-off, won first prize at the Best of Biotech business plan competition back in October 2012. The team of four consisting of Prof. Dorothee von Laer (Chief Science Officer), Dr. Ludwig Weiss (CEO/CFO), Dr. Lisa Egerer (Chief Operational Officer), and Dr. Sabrina Marozin (Senior Researcher), is determined to treat the first patients in a medical trial within three years.
However, the road to success is paved with challenges. “Life science research is very expensive. We are currently looking for investors in order to be able to upscale the virus manufacturing process and initiate official preclinical testing (the efficacy and safety studies required prior to first trials in patients),” said Egerer. Despite the difficulties along the way, „the ViraTherapeutics team is motivated bythe idea of making treatment available to patients for whom current therapies fail.”
You can read more about ViraTherapeutics in our previous report.
in partnership with CAST Tyrol