Oct 2, 2022
Tom Gibbs is the Director of Debiopharm's Innovation Fund, which is focused on in-licensing early-stage assets to help innovators bridge the gap between invention and bringing solutions to market. Investments are being made in technology that might help in drug development and digital technology that is enhancing the patient treatment pathway.
Tom elaborates, "Debiopharm is actually a quite successful pharma company that most people haven't heard of. And this is really down to the business model. We were set up more than 40 years ago with the idea of taking molecules that have been dropped in development, bringing them into the clinic, proving that they really worked, and then getting them out to as many patients as possible. And so, the business model then is an in-licensing model where we go around the world looking for new compounds, typically at a pre-clinical stage, then we in-license them and develop them with our own money."
"We invested in a company based out of California called VeriSIM Life, and they're modeling exactly this translational stage, and they've modeled six different species. So you can see what might happen in a mouse and see how that translates to a human. This is super important because we all start our studies in mice and rats and dogs and monkeys. Then we try and move them into humans, and often the results don't correlate so well because humans aren't monkeys and monkeys aren't rats and so on and so forth. So that I think is coming, but also has not been greatly exploited up to this date."
"Another aspect is about psycho-oncology. We recently invested in a German company called Fosanis that has a platform called Mika, and that's all about supporting cancer patients. In fact, they don't even have a provider-facing component. It really is direct to patients and it gives cancer patients psychological support. This is information, training, and coaching tools that can help them get over the psychological effects of having a cancer diagnosis and being in treatment, which is super important, as I think we all know."
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