What would be the technology of today if Steve Jobs was still alive? Probably iPhone would still have their headphones on a cord or maybe Mac would have kept the charger the way we liked it – magnetic! Nevertheless, one of the computer geniuses of our time has taken away one of the deadliest types of cancer – the pancreatic one.

Now there is a solution to this deadly disease provided by the winner of Get in the Ring Costa Rica – Speratum. The startup is using an innovative nanotechnology to stop pancreatic cancer and reduce metastasis. So we met with one of the co-founders, Christian Marin, to tell us how they came up with this idea and what will be the real impact of it.

STORY
The startup was developed as part of Christian’s graduate program. He found a specific microRNA molecule which is found at high levels in normal cells of the body but disappears in tumors. These exact molecules are controlling the most aggressive elements that cause cancer. So Speratum was born as a part of a thorough study process.

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HOW IT WORKS
Even though biology is a far fetched discipline for us to understand, the solution that Speratum found seems very easy to explain. Basically,  the startup is encapsulating the microRNA molecules in the lab via nanotechnology and then re-injects them back in the patient’s body. This method can slow down cancer’s growth by around 90% and the metastasis by 70%. Imagine the number of human lives that will be saved!

SUCCESS
Speratum is still at a pre-testing lab period. It will take them around a year before they can move on trying to cure patients. To build a successful startup in a precise sphere as medicine is especially challenging when you have to build your own infrastructure as something that has never been done before. One year of animal testing is still left but Christian has his hopes high in the future:

“I think for us, we will feel successful when we save the first life.”

Nevertheless, the startup is on the right track with their development. They already extended their patent to other types of cancers as well. The company was awarded several grants from the Costa Rican government and was ranked in the top 100 most innovative companies at the South Summit last year in Spain and rated as the most innovative company in Costa Rica. And last but not least they established partnerships with leading research hospitals in Europe and Asia!

CHALLENGES
As the company is trying to make innovative therapeutics, it meets a lot of challenges along the way. For example, they are trying to do pharmaceutical development outside of the US and face a lot of licenses imports regulations they should maneuver around. There are also certain steps that have to be taken before human testing and Speratum is on the last step of animal testing. The company hopes that by the end of the year they will have everything they need to start applying for human trials on already sick patients.

CONNECTIONS
Even though Speratum is already receiving a vast media coverage in Costa Rica they will need to gain a lot more awareness and exposure on an international level. The startup is looking for advisory support, people who have an experience with the regulatory issues that will be coming up. If you are the person Speratum is looking for contact us at corrinke@gitr.co and we’ll put you in contact!

Speratum will be part of our Global Conference from 17th to 19th of May in Singapore! Do you want to meet Speratum in person? Join the Global Conference at getinthering.co/globalconference