Our aim is to develop a technology platform for localized gene therapy where the first technological objective is to generate a transfection system for pro-inflammatory cytokines that uses the cellular machinery within tumors to generate the cytokine in situ over a defined period of time. Local cytokine secretion will induce a proinflammatory condition in the tumor that will aid the immune system in recognizing and eradicating cancer cells.
PI Thomas Lars Andresen
Thomas Lars Andresen has a background in biomaterial and biological engineering. He has started several companies such as Nanovi in 2012, Monta Biosciences in 2014 and the Boston-based Torque Therapeutics in 2015. Academically, he has received multiple research prizes including the Elite Research Prize from the Danish Ministry of Science and published more than 160 research articles and filed approximately 40 patent applications. He spent more than two years in Boston as full-time CSO of Torque Therapeutics and he was instrumental in merging the company with Cogen to form Repertoire Immune Medicines. He was lead on 3 IND filings in the US and 1 in Europe and led 4 distinct technologies into clinical trials. One of these technologies is now commercialized in Europe.
Co-PI and Senior Scientist Anders E. Hansen has extensive experience in drug development and translational research as a co-founder of Monta Biosciences. He is an expert in cancer therapy, radiotherapy and pharmacology.
Every time I have established a company and looked at how it unfolds I have learned something about what needs to be done in academia to be successful in the translation of the discovery and to take it all the way to patients. You really need to understand what a translation looks like to create a company. I have always enjoyed switching between academia and building start-ups because what truly motivates me is to see the discovery transform into something that makes a difference for patients
When you have an idea you often run into various limitations and challenges in the translation, so the idea becomes smaller and smaller. I have learned to create ideas that are big enough to have an impact even though they shrink over time. I have also worked in Boston and seen the fundamental differences in how we approach building start-ups. In Denmark, we are very result-orientated and focus on what we have and how to prove that it works. In Boston, there is a much bigger focus on continuously expanding the vision of the solution and science. What could we do? How big could this become? I believe it is important to find a balance because you need to show results while expanding your idea.
There are many new promising technologies. Biomedical imaging, diagnostics, wearables and our understanding of how to use digital analysis of data. Another area is gene therapy that I work in. The idea is big and if we can make it work it will be huge.
“As the founder of several successful companies, Thomas Lars Andresen brings a strong entrepreneurial background to BII and a broad international network, particularly in the Boston area. At the same time, co-PI, Anders E. Hansen, and Project Manager, Ashley Montgomery, brings extensive experience in pharmacological animal models and a large network within US venture capital firms, respectively, both of which will benefit many BII portfolio companies”
Louise Clemmensen, Scientific Developer, BioInnovation Institute