Using a screening platform based on real, live, human brain tissue, Therapevo’s goal is to fill the gap between research and medical testing of new therapeutic strategies. We spoke with Paul Brennan and Estefania Esposito, two of Therapevo’s three co-founders, about the individual routes that led them to collaborating, their solution to making pre-clinical research on brain tumours easier, and how the DDE programme played a role in their journey to growing this idea into a business.
Estefania: We want to give patients and their families hope that there’s a chance for survival and increased wellbeing after a brain cancer diagnosis by speeding up the process for developing new drugs. Glioblastoma is the most common brain tumour, but the last treatment was developed over 15 years ago.
Paul: We’re trying to close the gap between clinical failure and pre-clinical success. We’re trying to work out how we get all those clever ideas from the laboratory into the clinic. And the answer as we see it, is modelling in humans rather than in animals.
Estefania: We are gathering data that allows us to determine that the prototype is almost ready. We already have results that guarantee it’s working and has great potential.
Paul: We’ve had a lot of positive feedback, which can be hard to come by in our field. We can’t know if we’re going to cure cancer quicker than anyone else, but I think we can inform those decisions much better. We believe that with that data, we can then get closer to finding a cure.
Estefania: When I joined the Incubator, I was right at the start of my journey. It has been great to network with the cohort who were all at different stages and from different backgrounds - everyone had something to add, whether that be an experience, an idea or an opinion. It’s been great!
Those connections, combined with the sessions, gave us all the tools we needed to start and to go ahead on our own. That said, the Venture Builder team has continued to support us, even after our time on the programme finished.
Estefania: We hope to finish optimising the prototype, which includes the model, all the science behind it, and gathering all the data that supports our idea. Then it will be time to start looking for investment and grants to expand our team of researchers.
Paul: It’s just about getting momentum going, which we’re beginning to do. If by the end of the year we can be testing some compounds for an organisation, that would be fantastic. It’s ambitious but I think we could, that’s what we’re working towards.