The winner of the 2022 Spring edition of the NWO Venture Challenge was announced during the Dutch Biotech Event. The innovative startup Iprotics has developed specific proteasome inhibitors that potentially treat multiple myeloma (MM) without the side-effects known from traditional proteasome inhibitors.
We had a great idea but we did not know where to go with it. However, thanks to the Venture Challenge, we are now poised to start a company to develop our compounds and take them to the clinic -Elmer Maurits (Iprotics)
According to the jury, composed of Carine van den Brink, Geert-Jan Mulder, Olga Liska, Daniela Begolo and Jan-Frens van Giessel, Iprotics is addressing a real need as experienced by patients suffering from multiple myeloma (MM). They have a clear value proposition on which they can expand in the future. Iprotics has developed a superior proteasome inhibitor compared to existing therapies. It is their aim to develop these leads to become the first-in-line treatment for MM patients. The unique compounds, for which IP protection is sought for and to which iProtics will obtain an exclusive license, inhibit with exquisite selectivity immunoproteasomes while leaving constitutive proteasomes intact. MM cells uniquely rely on immunoproteasomes for protein turnover and survival, whereas healthy tissue express constitutive proteasomes mostly. They have proof of concept in cell lines and primary patient tumour cells showing that their compounds efficiently and at low concentrations kill MM cells, but not healthy cells. Iprotics leads are expected to give less side effects and a considerably enlarged therapeutic window, and potentially increase patient lifespan and quality of life.
The NWO Venture Challenge helps starting entrepreneurs in the life sciences to bring their service or product to the market. In a programme of approximately ten weeks, starters receive support in setting up a company and develop their idea into a solid business case. Examples from the past show that the time-to-market can be shortened through the Venture Challenge. The Venture Challenge has two rounds per year (spring and fall edition). Winners receive €25.000 prize money to invest in their growth.