ViroStatics – Developing Novel Compounds Targeting Cancers and Viruses

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Franco Lori
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ViroStatics is a privately held small pharmaceutical company. It’s dedicated to the discovery and the development of novel compounds for the multifaceted treatment of cancers and viral diseases. It focuses on novel, selective, host cell kinase targeted inhibitors.

What Problem Does ViroStatics Solve?

We care for those patients without viable therapeutic options. All our products are designed for the treatment of aggressive diseases with high unmet needs. Their uniqueness is to be first in class,” starts his story Franco Lori, CEO & Founder of ViroStatics.

At the moment, Franco and his team are working on a new concept of protective, precise & personal immunisation powered by artificial intelligence. Their technology will allow to decode the complex language of the immune system. By doing that, it will create medicines (e.g. vaccines) against viruses or cancers, covering all variants (universal) and yet precisely fitting the individual (personalised).

What Keeps Franco Lori at Night?

Challenges: a new concept, a new compound, the hard task of communicating something that is new, that it does not exist, and yet, that I firmly want to see it materialising one day,” explains Mr. Lori. 

He does not lose his sleep trying to finesse something that is already there. “There are so many others that would do it much better than me. But when I dream of the unknown, of something “to be invented” or “to be created”, that dream wakes me up and keeps me up at night.”

Scientific Journey

Franco Lori grew up scientifically at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), under the leadership of Bob Gallo and the influence of Tony Fauci.

Great tutors foster great ambitions, and this is good, as long as one is able to harmonise such ambitions with his/her own limitations. (“Si parva licet componere magnis”, Virgilius).

Client Success Story

ViroStatics’ lead product is still under development in their R&D department. However, they do have clients through their service department where they are testing drugs, disinfectants, and devices against SARS-CoV-2.

We can examine several virus variants in several cell types and under several conditions, including aerosol, the most relevant model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission,” explains Mr. Lori.

Clients are contacting them from all over the world with the most complicated questions, as they know ViroStatics will adapt the experiment to the clients’ requests and tailor them to their needs.

Biggest Achievements

ViroStatics has raised €8 million in seed capital, as well as additional “soft money” from grants, including Horizon 2020 while receiving several Seals of Excellence under the same programme.

These financial resources were used to develop one compound up to an advanced preclinical stage for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer that has relapsed after first-line treatment, to prevent many women from undergoing a painful and unnecessary chemotherapy.

ViroStatics is ready to partner, so it can file an IND/IMPD and bring it to clinical proof of concept.

The Tipping Point That Made the CEO a Doer

When we prompted the first functional cure of an HIV patient (the Berlin patient, NEJM 1999), we gained new confidence and started to believe that even the most difficult goal could yet be attained. This trust is the fundament of our present journey to find the ‘Rosetta Stone’ able to decrypt the immune system language,” shares Mr. Lori.

Future Impact

ViroStatics sees their future impact to be with new medicines, especially AI-based new vaccines against viruses and cancers. In the 1970s, one out of four people was cured of cancer. Today, two out of four people are cured of cancer. This means, over the last 50 years, curing cancer has doubled its success rate.

Franco and his team would like this proportion to become three out of four people to be cured of cancer, and they are committed to working as hard as they can to achieve this goal.

Connection with InvestHorizon

We need InvestHorizon to help us deliver our message, promote our meetings, and put us in front of peers, investors, and potential pharma partners. Challenging diseases cannot be confronted alone. We need a wide and robust network, and we need initiatives such as InvestHorizon to help to put such network together,” concludes Mr. Franco Lori.