This fall, Venture Leaders Biotech will represent Swiss innovation in the United States. To select the 10 startups presented, a jury of professional investors and medtech experts reviewed 90 applications. These startups are improving diagnostics, treatments and well-being with innovative solutions that span artificial intelligence, sensors, smart devices and robotics. Allow us to introduce you to each of the 2022 Biotech Venture Leaders ahead of the September 2022 roadshow in Boston and Cambridge: Meet Mohaned Shilaih, the co-founder of FimmCyte.
Last name: Mohaned Shilaih
Graduated from: PhD, 2016, University of Zurich
Job title: Co-founder
Number of employees: 5
First point of contact with Venturelab: Biotechnology Creation Course in 2020
Explain in one or two short sentences what your startup does and why.
FimmCyte is developing the first disease-modifying treatment for endometriosis, a disease that affects 10% of women with limited non-hormonal or non-surgical treatment options.
How and where did you get the idea for your startup?
I worked in women’s health for a few years and endometriosis has always been one of the most recognized unmet needs. With my co-founder Valentina’s expertise in biotechnology and working with Professor Brigitte Leeners, we finally had a team capable of tackling the complexity of endometriosis. We collected feedback directly from patients and physicians to identify their greatest unmet needs, and from there we designed our new treatment to be suitable for eliminating hormone-resistant endometriosis.
What do you expect from the Venture Leaders roadshow and how will it help you achieve your vision?
The Venture Leaders program has been instrumental in the success of many biotech startups, and we look forward to a similar impact. Many startups successfully close funding rounds, add additional investors or even exit after the Venture Leaders program and at FimmCyte we aim to similarly add additional investors and raise a successful funding round to open the way to our first human trials.
Who does your product or solution help, and how?
Endometriosis is a worldwide disease with more than 176 million women affected. Our treatment will be the first disease-modifying treatment applicable to women with endometriosis resistant to current interventions. Our vision is to reduce the disease burden of women with endometriosis as well as the burden of healthcare systems. With an estimated prevalence of 10% in women of childbearing age, our product will have broad applicability and market for the treatment of endometriosis.
What are you most excited about at work right now?
We are working on a new therapeutic indication and the preliminary results seem very promising. We are very excited to help more women and advance the field.
How did you put together your team?
Me and my co-founder Valentina have known each other for many years and share many values that we believe are essential to the success of any business, such as: pragmatism, agility, courage, authenticity and modesty. Most important is our shared interest in advancing women’s health. All members of our team share a passion for women’s health and a patient-centered approach, and we collectively believe in the values mentioned.
What market are you targeting and what is the potential of your startup?
Endometriosis affects one in ten women of reproductive age worldwide. Our initial focus will be the US and European market, but in line with our mission to help advance women’s health around the world, we aim to make our treatment available in emerging markets soon after our first marketing approval.
What are your main achievements to date?
Our main achievement to date is to have a validated lead asset with strong evidence of efficacy in all major endometriosis subtypes.
What is the thing that few people know about you?
I have four sisters. And I witnessed women’s health issues early in my life until today.
What is your favorite podcast and why?
The Innovation Ecosystem by Mark Bidwell. Because of outstanding guests and relevant topics in the life of a startup.
How did you come up with the name of your startup?
FimmCyte combines the core areas of our startup: “fimm” is the homophone of femme (female) showing our focus on women’s health, “imm” is derived from immunology. Cyte is related to the cell, but with imm+cyte it is also another homophone of insight, related to how we see our innovation derived from integrated insights.
What do you wish you had known about being a founder?
There are plenty of great books on entrepreneurship outlining what to expect from your journey, but no matter how many people you read, your experience will undoubtedly be different, feel different, and require a lot of creative resolution to problems as well as a lot of patience.
How do you stay up to date with industry trends?
Our network of KOLs, entrepreneurs, coaches and advisors is essential to keep up to date with the latest developments in the field. We also constantly visit relevant conferences and have set up automatic alerts for relevant topics.
The Venture Leaders Biotech program is co-organized by Venturelab and Swissnex Boston and supported by Debiopharm, EPFL Lausanne, ETH Zurich, EY – Ernst & Young, Swiss Biotech Association, VISCHER, Hansjörg Wyss and Venture Leaders graduate Ulf Grawunder.
One in 10 women suffers from endometriosis: a painful, chronic, infertility-causing and recurrent disease. Endometriosis poses a physical health burden comparable to that of cancer, but only one new treat… Read More