8.12.2021 – The EPFL Tech Launchpad has just granted an award of CHF 100,000 to Parithera. The EPFL-startup based at StartLab Biopôle improves the efficacy of cancer treatment through an advanced method of treatment monitoring.
Over 90% of cancer patients die due to treatment resistance – when the cancer cells themselves rewire or reprogram themselves to become resistant to treatments that were previously effective. In order to treat their patients, doctors need to know what form of resistance is present. This is currently done through tissue biopsy – an invasive and restricted technique. Twenty percent of cancer patients are not eligible for tissue biopsy, another 20% run into complications as a result of the procedure.
Coming from the EPFL Microsystems Laboratory 4, the Parithera team, Antoine Herzog and Weida Chen, have developed a method of studying circulating tumour cells (CTCs) – cells which have detached from a solid tumor and are travelling in the blood stream. These cells can be retrieved through a liquid biopsy. Through nano- and microfluidic technology the team have created a process to analyse and process very small samples, opening up the possibilities of quicker and easier diagnosis. The team will use their grant to de-risk their project before their first funding round.
Enabling precision diagnostics in oncology
Born two years ago as a project, Parithera was incorporated in June 2021. As the founders explain to Startupticker.ch, there is a large unmet need to precision diagnostics in oncology. By combining technologies from ETHZ and EPFL, Parithera can fill that gap. The startup will focus on 2 markets: 1) Biopharma development by supporting pharmaceutical companies better understand what happens when a patient receives a drug and 2) on the in vitro diagnostics market, to monitor treatment and companion diagnostics.
Next step is analytical validation with clinical samples before kicking off collaboration with pharmaceutical companies on pilots. The startup is in advanced discussions with several big pharma already. Currently, 5 people work for Parithera. The team is expected to grow in 2022.