STipe Therapeutics was one of the two first start-ups in the BII Creation House program. They joined in the fall of 2018 together with the biotech company RetiPharma.
STipe Therapeutics is a biotech spinout from the University of Aarhus and is led by Martin Jakobsen, Ph.D. in Medicine from Aarhus University, where he also holds a position as Associate Professor and Claus Olesen, Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics from Aarhus University.
In short, the focus of STipe Therapeutics is to harness the immune system to battle cancer. We asked CEO Martin Jakobsen a few questions about the company and their first months at BII.
What problem is Stipe Therapeutics solving?
Chemotherapy or radiotherapy has been the main treatment option for cancer patients for many years. Immunotherapy, on the other hand, is rapidly advancing into the clinic and is foreseen as a dominant part of future cancer treatment. We often hear about amazing outcomes in patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors, where widely metastatic tumors completely disappear. However, a subset of patients either respond poorly or is completely resistant to these forms of immunotherapies. In STipe therapeutics, we aim to fight cancer by combining current immunotherapies with a direct boosting of the innate immune system within tumors.
What was your motivation to join BII?
When you come from the academic world, you lack a lot of skills and tools from the business world. As an early stage biotech start-up, time is a very limited resource so a major motivation for us to join BII was that we could accelerate the learning process and rapidly mature the company’s business model. In addition, it is a great opportunity to get advice from a lot of experienced people and expand our network within Danish entrepreneurship.
What options do life science startups have?
I believe a movement is about to happen in Denmark. The universities, private foundations and locale venture capitals have found common ground and agree that innovation and strong relationship between academic and the private sector can open up for a new generation of life science innovation in Denmark. I’m 110% sure that we will see many more startups in Denmark over the next 2-5 years. Hopefully, a few of those will become big blockbusters.
What are your next steps in the development of your company?
We have two major focus areas at the time being. Firstly, we work intensively to generate an attractive proof-of-concept data package with our lead target candidate. Secondly, we are actively searching for investors within the oncology field that can support us toward a preclinical candidate and IND filing.