All the research that is done in science is little and more at the present time. Not only focused on the coronavirus, but also in any area that serves to improve people’s health. For some time now, precision medicine has played a major role in the battle against cancer. In this sense, one of the most prominent personalities on the national scene is Adriana Terrádez. Graduated in Biotechnology from the Polytechnic University of Valencia, she has focused her working life on the innovation of advanced genomic diagnostic tools so that these patients can receive more personalized treatment.
Born entrepreneur, Térradez co-founded in 2012 BioSequence, which was acquired by the Belgian biotech OncoDNA almost four years ago. As director of the company in Spain and Portugal and, therefore, in charge of business development in these two countries, she is a firm believer in the need to implement precision oncology as one of the necessary steps to achieve personalized medicine. MANAGERS chat with her about the latest milestones of this firm.
Last February OncoDNA closed a financing round of 19 million. What is this amount going to be used for?
Firstly, this capital raising represents a new achievement for the company after we obtained eight million series A funds in 2016. In this case, the round that we have now closed has been led by the European venture capital fund Vesalius Biocapital III and by the Swiss financial company Swisscanto Invest through the Cantonal Bank of Zurich. Although historical shareholders have also participated in a joint block formed by CPH Bank or Inventures Investment Partners, among others. This investment will serve to support our international growth strategies with the aim of accelerating the development of our software, improving our diagnostic solutions and making new contracts.
They have recently renewed the OncoKDM data interpretation platform. What do you expect from it?
This 2020 we have a great bet focused on OncoKDM. We have turned this online genomic interpretation platform around to make it faster and more agile and to respond to the most immediate needs of oncologists, pathologists and other molecular biology specialists across Europe. This tool allows a more complete clinical interpretation of the genomic profiles that are performed on patients, and results can be obtained in a few minutes. We are very proud to facilitate this initiative to specialists in the fight against cancer. Now more than ever we must support each other, so we are offering it for free so that oncologists can share case reports of patients in quarantine for coronavirus.
Following this health crisis, they have offered the OncoKDM solution openly. What does it consist of?
We are giving free access to our OncoKDM clinical decision-making and interpretation support software. This helps geneticists and pathologists in interpreting results and clinicians to report and share case reports of patients in quarantine for coronavirus with just a few clicks.
These are difficult times for these patients. Although they are cared for by specialists who follow their cases, to avoid their passage through hospitals and health centers and thus minimize the risk of coronavirus infection, their treatments have been spaced. Consultations, reviews and certain follow-ups are carried out electronically.
It is important for them to know that they are not alone, even if the times and circumstances have not been favorable for them. That they have at their side a multitude of professionals dedicated in body and soul to solving their specific cases, even if the formulas are different from those usually used. At the same time, it is necessary for oncologists to know that we are at your side to help them carry out their work efficiently.
What advantages does precision medicine offer?
There are many benefits. It is a cost-effective option in clinical practice that opens a new window of opportunity both in diagnosis, personalization and in the treatment of the patient in the face of relapse. It has become an essential tool for the oncologist and the life of the patient, since it is much easier to find the root of a tumor and an appropriate target treatment and, therefore, recovery forecasts are improved.
Thus, precision medicine tools such as OncoSELECT, a specific study for patients with lung, colon or breast cancer, help oncologists in the therapy selection and monitoring phases, facilitating the detection of possible relapses and offering therapeutic alternatives to evaluate. even before relapse was detected by imaging tests.
How many years before cancer becomes a chronic disease?
It is difficult to determine an exact figure, but some reports indicate that the cancer problem will be solved in about twenty years. This does not mean that it will be eradicated, but that it will increase our knowledge of the disease, the treatment options, will improve prevention before and during the disease, with which, in most cases, we will effectively face a chronic disease.
Has the state of alarm altered the company’s roadmap?
We are carrying it with a lot of work and effort to try to follow the strategic growth plan that we had set before the health and social crisis caused by COVID-19. Despite this, we continue with our international operations, but with new goals caused by the unexpected change of scenery that we are experiencing.