Lyfebulb and Helsinn Announce the Winners of the Third Annual Lyfebulb-Helsinn Cancer Innovation Summit & Award
MONACO, PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO, AND NEW YORK, NY, USA, January 31, 2020: Lyfebulb, a patient empowerment platform that connects patients with industry to support user-driven innovation toward solutions in chronic disease, and Helsinn, a Swiss pharmaceutical group focused on building quality cancer care, announce that Russell LaMontagne of Boston Immune Technologies and Therapeutics was chosen as the winner of the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Award, and Cesare Spadoni, PhD, of Oncoheroes Biosciences was chosen as the winner of the Squinto-LePera Award by Lyfebulb. In addition, the jury decided to award Michael Stein, PhD, of Valo Therapeutics a third grant. The Awards recognize outstanding Patient Entrepreneurs building groundbreaking companies to advance the prevention, diagnosis, management or care of cancer.
Boston Immune Technologies and Therapies is developing immune-based therapies for cancer to help patients by making treatments more efficacious, cost effective and time efficient. Oncoheroes Biosciences exclusively focuses on the discovery and development of better drugs to help children and adolescents with cancer. Valo Therapeutics is developing novel, patented therapeutic immunotherapy platforms to help cancer patients by uniquely addressing all four objectives key to successful cancer therapy.
Eleven finalists, all of whom represent companies founded by cancer patients, cancer survivors or those with loved ones affected by cancer, were invited to compete at the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Cancer Innovation Summit on January 30, 2020, at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco during the 14th Monaco Biennale of Oncology. The Summit kicked off with a presentation by Dr. Giulio Draetta, Chief Scientific Officer of MD Anderson, that highlighted the new direction his organization is taking to drive innovation in cancer research. An independent panel of judges, which included diverse experts in the cancer, healthcare and business communities, listened to the pitches and selected Russell and Cesare as the winners of the two $25,000 monetary grants, and added Michael with a $5,000 grant, to further develop their potential solutions.
“The outstanding diversity and innovations of the 11 finalists attest to the growing reputation of the Challenge that we are running together with Helsinn for a third year in a row. Additionally, this year, during the Summit, we included an inspirational, moving presentation by a two-time cancer survivor, Kimberly Irvine. We saw firsthand that the combination of patients and care partners working alongside industry is an important key to success,” said Dr. Karin Hehenberger, CEO and Founder of Lyfebulb.
Riccardo Braglia, Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and CEO, said, “The caliber of submissions for this year’s awards was extremely high and we would like to congratulate all those who made it to the Summit. We congratulate Russell, Cesare and Michael and would also like to extend our thanks to the expert panel of judges who had to choose between so many worthy finalists. These awards are testament to the many entrepreneurs out there who are using their own personal experiences to bring innovation and new solutions to the challenges of cancer. Helsinn is proud to support innovation of this quality and looks forward to supporting budding entrepreneurs in coming years.”
Lyfebulb is a chronic disease-focused, patient empowerment platform that connects patients and industry to support user-driven innovation. Grounded with its strong foundation in diabetes, the company has expanded disease states covered into cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, mental health, migraine and transplantation.
About the Helsinn Groups
Helsinn is a privately-owned pharmaceutical group with an extensive portfolio of marketed cancer care products and a robust drug development pipeline. Since 1976, Helsinn has been improving the everyday lives of patients, guided by core family values of respect, integrity and quality. The Group works across pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and nutritional supplements and has expertise in research, development, manufacture and the commercialization of therapeutic and supportive care products for cancer, pain and inflammation and gastroenterology. In 2016, Helsinn created the Helsinn Investment Fund to support early-stage investment opportunities in areas of unmet patient need. The company is headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland, with operating subsidiaries in Switzerland, Ireland, the U.S., Monaco and China, as well as a product presence in approximately 190 countries globally.
To learn more about Helsinn Group please visit www.helsinn.com
About Helsinn Investment Fund S.A., SICAR
The Helsinn Investment Fund is focused on investments in areas of high unmet patient need. Backed by the Helsinn Group, and guided by Helsinn’s core values of quality, integrity and respect, Helsinn Investment Fund aims to help companies with innovative technologies to transform new ideas into commercial solutions with the potential to impact health-related quality of life of patients.
Drawing on Helsinn’s over 40 years of investment into research and development and commercial expertise, the investment fund selects companies with technologies in a range of areas including cancer therapeutics and diagnostics, cancer supportive care, metabolic and gastrointestinal disorders, and dermatology conditions.
For more information, visit www.helsinninvestmentfund.com
About Helsinn International Services sarl
Helsinn International Services sarl is the Helsinn subsidiary which provides a range of advisory services and strategic activities to the Group and its specific companies. In particular, it acts as the advisory company to Helsinn Investment Fund.
For more information:
Helsinn Group Media Contact
Group Head of Communication
Tel: +41 (0) 91 985 21 21
Lyfebulb Media Contact:
Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD
CEO & Founder, Lyfebulb
Phone: + 1 917-575-0210
Bob Manning is an experienced entrepreneur and the CEO at CureMatch, biotechnology digital health company focused on personalized medicine and combination therapy in oncology by using molecular profiles to determine the best treatment options for cancer patients. Bob has 20 years of experience in technology and health care, including medical device, IT and services. He is an expert at delivering products to the market and executing on business strategy. As co-founder of TruMed Systems, he transformed the way that physician offices manage and store vaccines, preserving efficacy and reducing disease outbreaks. He holds three patents from his work there. While at CareFusion he was an innovator in hosting PHI and HIPAA governed data, creating an analytics platform that generated millions in new incremental revenue. Bob has additionally worked at SAP, IBM, Teradata and Parametric Technology. Bob holds a BS from the University of Massachusetts and an MBA from Babson College.
Russell LaMontagne is the CEO of Boston Immune Technologies and Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company developing immune-based approaches for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Russell has 20 years of experience in the health care industry, primarily focusing on consulting roles at biotechnology companies and non-profits from the University of Pennsylvania and the New England Journal of Medicine to VIRxSYS and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Over the past ten years, Russell has organized partnerships with Massachusetts General Hospital to promote clinical trials and new indications for the BCG vaccine. Prior to co-founding Boston Immune Technologies and Therapeutics, Russell served as president of Corinth Group, a boutique healthcare consultancy. Russell received his BS in Biology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his MS from Yale University.
Dr. Alexander Börve is the founder and CEO of First Derm, an on demand tele-dermatology service providing skin assessments to users in over 160 countries. First Derm’s technology provides people the ability to submit pictures using smartphones of skin concerns for quick assessments from dermatologists. Prior to founding First Derm, Alexander practiced as a specialist doctor in orthopaedic surgery at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden. He was a part of the spine team and a tutor to medical students. Alexander moved to the Bay Area to attend the School of Public Health, UC Berkeley as a visiting PhD candidate. His thesis focused on digital health and has thus far published 4 peer reviewed scientific papers. His development of teledermatology in 2013 was used in his academic research group. The platform has won numerous prizes in digital health services and is a focal point in his on-going research in the field.
Dr. Maya Said is the founder and CEO of Outcomes4Me, a health technology company focused on providing patients diagnosed with cancer and other chronic diseases with personalized treatment options as well as outcomes information. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of two immune-focused biotech companies, Transgene and Pieris Pharmaceuticals. She was the COO of Celsius Therapeutics, an autoimmune disease and cancer-focused biotech company, where she established and managed the company’s operations from inception through the company’s first year post-launch. Prior to founding Outcomes4Me, Maya held senior leadership positions at pharmaceutical companies, Novartis and Sanofi, the Boston Consulting Group, as well as research positions at MIT.. As SVP and Global Head Oncology Policy and Market Access at Novartis, she drove the overall worldwide strategy and operations for the Novartis oncology business on pricing, market access, stakeholder engagement and other areas related to patients’ access to Novartis oncology products including the creation of payer-relevant clinical, real world and economic evidence. At Sanofi, Maya served as the VP and Head of Global R&D Strategy, External Innovation and Science Policy, playing a key role in establishing Sanofi’s new R&D model and open innovation approach. Maya has authored numerous scientific and strategy publications and has received several awards. Maya earned her BS in Biology and in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MS in Toxicology, MEng in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and ScD in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Systems Biology at MIT.
Dr. Øystein Rekdal is the co-founder and CEO of Lytix Biopharma, a clinical stage biotechnology company developing oncolytic peptides with the potential to personalize immunotherapy. Øystein has an extensive research background in tumor immunology and oncolytic peptides. His personal connection to cancer lies in his grandfather who was diagnosed and operated on for a solid cancer in his stomach. Øystein received his PhD from UiT – The Arctic University of Norway in cytokines and tumor immunology. After his PhD, Øystein was trained in Peptide synthesis technologies at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, in Strasbourg and followed a course at Harvard Medical School, Boston termed, “Tumor Microcirculation, Angiogenesis and Metastasis” His postdoctoral work furthered research on oncolytic peptides and their abilities to induce potent tumor specific immune responses. Øystein has a visiting professor position at UiT, where he teaches about innovation in biomedicine. He has also completed a Norwegian leadership development program called “Leadership in front
Dr. Gilles Pagès is the chief scientific officer of Roca Therapeutics / InfAngioPharma, a biotechnology company focused on personalized prognosis and therapeutic solutions to cancer. Gilles is the director of
research at French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) and consultant for the Scientific Center of Monaco (CSM). Gilles has received several international awards, published 150 papers,
authored 10 patents and participated in three clinical trials. Gilles obtained his PhD in molecular biology from the University of Nice.
After losing her mother to metastatic lung cancer at age 11, Nicole resolved to find cures for diseases that interrupt young lives. She is co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of NeuScience, a cancer therapeutics company that leverages patient-derived cells and machine vision to target solid tumor cancers in a fundamentally new way. Nicole holds a Ph.D. in engineered tissue microenvironments from Stanford University, where she was awarded research fellowships from the National Science Foundation and Stanford for her work in regenerative medicine. She also brings deep expertise in machine learning and computer vision, having led the development of more than 10 machine learning products at startups as a Director of Data Science. In addition to her work at NeuScience, Nicole serves as a technical advisor for the Insight Artificial Intelligence Fellowship.
Dr. Valerie Vanhooren is the co-founder and CEO of ONA Therapeutics, a biotechnology spin-off of the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies and Institute for Research in Biomedicine. ONA Tx specializes in the discovery and development of therapeutic biologics targeting tumor metastatic-initiating cells and lipid metabolism, and potentially multiple metastatic cancers. Valerie’s specialties lie in drug development from early stage discovery to phase II clinical trials and generating biologics against targets in a broad range of therapeutic and diagnostic areas. Valerie completed her PhD in biotechnology and postdoctoral research at Ghent University-VIB. Prior to co-founding ONA Tx in May of 2019, Valerie led project developments at Ablynx, a nanobodies-focused subsidiary of Sanofi, Intelligent Pharma, acquired by the bioinformatics company Mind the Byte, and ProteoDesign, a protein engineering platform spin-out from Princeton University.
Dr. Michael Stein is the CEO of Valo Therapeutics, a developer of novel cancer immunotherapies with a unique approach to delivering a highly immunogenic and rapidly adaptable tumor vaccination platform. Dr. Stein is a business leader and strategic advisor with C-suite experience in healthcare. Prior to joining Valo TX, Michael was the founding CEO of OxStem, an award-winning biotechnology spin-out from the University of Oxford, which broke the UK record for a seed round fund-raise. In addition, Michael has served as the founding CEO for Doctor Care Anywhere, acquired by Synergix. In 2001, he co-founded the Map of Medicine with University College London. As founding CEO, and later CMO, the Map was nationally licensed across NHS England and acquired by Hearst Business Media, after which Michael transitioned to executive vice-president of healthcare innovation. Michael graduated from the University of Cape Town as a medical doctor with Honours and biochemist with First Class Honours, and from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar with a doctorate in Physiological Sciences, Immunology. He subsequently was appointed as a Junior Research Fellow in Medicine at Trinity College, Oxford, subsequently lecturing part-time in Immunology and Pathology at Balliol College, Oxford. As a medical scientist, Michael first described the alternative pathway of macrophage activation. In addition, he has co-authored the best-selling UK medical handbook.