I takt med att 2cureX närmar sig marknadslansering av sitt IndiTreat-test har bioteknikbolaget beslutat att välja in två nya ledamöter till sin styrelse som båda adderar värdefull erfarenhet: Nils Brünner och Michael Lutz. BioStock kontaktade de nya ledamöterna för att få veta mer om vad de kommer bidra med under detta viktiga skede för 2cureX.

2cureX tar just nu de sista stegen mot kommersialisering av sitt Functional Precision Medicine (FPM)-verktyg, IndiTreat, genom att introducera det för den europeiska marknaden under årets andra halva. Avancemanget har medfört ett fullspäckat första halvår för 2cureX som ingått flera partnerskap med distributörer av in-vitro (IVD)-diagnostik i Europa. Samtidigt fortsätter 2cureX sin kliniska validering av IndiTreat-testet på ett flertal europeiska sjukhus.

Två tillägg till styrelsen

Då bolaget är på väg att gå från att vara ett bolag med inriktning på forskning och utveckling, till att bli ett produktbolag, har 2cureX beslutat att utöka antalet styrelseledamöter. Vid en extra bolagsstämma som hölls i torsdags utsågs två erfarna entreprenörer inom bioteknikfältet till nya styrelseledamöter; Michael Lutz och Nils Brünner. Samtidigt valde medgrundaren Timm Jessen att avgå från sin styrelsepost av privata skäl.

Michael Lutz, som har en doktorsexamen i bioorganisk kemi från ETH Zurich (Schweiz), är för närvarande vd för HepaRegeniX GmbH. Det tyska bioteknikbolaget har framgångsrikt upptäckt och utvecklat flera prekliniska läkemedelskandidater för behandling av akuta och kroniska leversjukdomar. Dr Lutz har mer än 15 års erfarenhet av bolagsledning inom life science-sektorn, särskilt inriktad på kommersialisering, partnerskap och produktutveckling.

Professor Nils Brünner, MD och DMSc utbildad i internmedicin och medicinsk onkologi vid Köpenhamns universitet, samt i molekylär och cellulär biologi vid National Cancer Institute och Lombardi Cancer Research Center i Washington DC, är för närvarande vd för det danska bioteknikbolaget Scandion Oncology.

Scandion Oncology befinner sig i klinisk fas II och utvecklar en behandling som kan motverka resistens mot cancerläkemedel. 2cureX och Scandion Oncology är redan väl bekanta med varandra eftersom båda bolagen har sitt säte på Symbion Science Park i Köpenhamn, men ännu viktigare är att de nyligen har inlett ett samarbete kring ett projekt som syftar till att optimera behandlingen av bröstcancer. Läs mer.

De nya styrelsemedlemmarna kommenterar

BioStock kontaktade 2cureX två nya styrelseledamöter för att få en bild av vad deras arbete kommer tillföra till bolaget.

Michael Lutz, what was your reaction when you first heard you would become a new member of 2cureX’s Board of Directors?

Michael Lutz, vd HepaRegeniX GmbH

– I felt very honored when I was approached by Ole Thastrup and Povl-André Bendz to eventually join the 2cureX Board of Directors. I have known the company for several years due to ongoing connections with two ex-colleagues from Evotec, Timm Jessen and Jürgen Kupper.

What about your vast experience within the life science sector would you say will be most valuable in your new position?

– Since I moved into executive positions at small to medium-sized biotech companies after several years in big pharma, my key focus was always on building a clearly differentiated product or service that addresses an unmet need. That work always included the setup of a respective strategy with a clear plan for implementation – all supported by a great team with all hands-on-deck and full commitment from everybody. As I have done this successfully a number of times over the past 15 years, leading to a total of six successful exits and closings of several hundred agreements for those companies along the way, I see my skills in strategic development, partnering, product development and commercialization as the most valuable aspects to support 2cureX.

2cureX is about to take a big step with the commercialization of IndiTreat. What advice can you give the company as it gets ready to embark on this journey?

– About 8 years ago I was faced with the same situation at LifeCodexx when we were the first to develop and launch PrenaTest as a novel non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) method into the European market with an initial team of only 10 people. We managed to get through the rough introduction phase of about 6-9 months by working along our defined strategy with a key focus on providing and communicating clear benefits to pregnant women and their physicians coupled with strong customer excellence, outstanding quality and fastest possible turnaround time for results. When I left the company 9 months ago we were the undisputed leader in NIPT in Europe with more than 200,000 patient samples successfully analyzed, own patent-protected testing methods and a successful trade sale to Eurofins. As 2cureX is at the same crossroad now, the same principles should be applied in my view to hopefully come to a similar outcome.

And what would you say will be the most pressing challenges 2cureX will face during this phase of development?

– Keeping focus and direction is always one of the biggest challenges for any small company. In addition, there will be certainly bumps along the way when embarking on rolling out a novel and innovative product in oncology as an area of such high unmet medical need coupled with many patients that are desperate for better diagnostic tools and personalized treatment options. But the reward from positive customer interactions is priceless and will certainly compensate for the many long working hours and sometimes necessary changes to implement very quickly in order to best serve cancer patients at a time when they clearly need it.

Nils Brünner, what are your thoughts about the potential of 2cureX and the IndiTreat tool?

Nils Brünner, vd Scandion Oncology

– I have known about 2cureX for several years though my close connection with Ole Thastrup. He used to be Head of Institute when I worked at University of Copenhagen, Institute for Drug development and Pharmacology. 2cureX is based on a sound rational and is meeting a highly important medical need with its technology. For most cancer patients, their current medical treatment approach is based on trial and error, while 2cureX will introduce a functional test that will help select the treatment with the highest likelihood of showing efficacy upfront; or, just as important, it will help exclude a treatment that will not benefit the patient at all. I see a great future for the IndiTreat assay, and I find this technology to be a potential game changer in future management of cancer patients.

You have strong ties with 2cureX, especially now that you are collaborating on the breast cancer project. Would you say such ties will be beneficial to your work on the board, and, if so, why?

– I believe that the most important contribution will be my more than 30 years of experience with cancer treatment and my huge experience within cancer biomarker development, standardization and clinical validation. On top of this, I will use my experience of many years as Section Leader at University of Copenhagen as well as CEO and Founder of Scandion Oncology.

– With the recent Eurostars grant that Scandion Oncology received together with 2cureX, the ground for additional collaborations between 2cureX and Scandion Oncology is laid. For example, as Scandion Oncology is in clinical phase II trials with its drug candidate SCO-101, it will be natural to include the IndiTreat assay in order to select patients for SCO-101 treatment when administered together with chemotherapy. On the other hand, 2cureX can use such collaboration to further broaden their business area.

How do you hope to contribute to 2cureX’s development and commercialization of IndiTreat?

– To me focus and validation are everything. So, I will use my seat in the 2cureX BoD to help the company select the right clinical studies and in order to continuously improve the predictability of the IndiTreat assay when it comes to selecting the best medical treatment for cancer patients

Finally, as someone with experience as a physician dealing with cancer patients on a daily basis, what kind of impact do you expect IndiTreat to have in the field of oncology?

– I expect that, with the possibility to include the IndiTreat assay in daily clinical decision-making in oncology, we will obtain not only better treatment results, e.g. improved survival of the patients, but also fewer unnecessary side effects from ineffective treatment. Finally, using the IndiTreat assay could also impact the costs for cancer treatment, helping to lower them.

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