Interview with TrypCo
TrypCo was another team that participated in the 1st batch of the Weinberg Campus Accelerator. In the interview with René Wartner and Ricardo Azuero we got the chance to ask a few questions about their project, inspiration and opinions about the accelerator program itself.
René and Ricardo, could you please briefly introduce yourselves and your startup project!
Together with Andreas Simon and Marcus Böhme, we, Ricardo Azuero and René Wartner, form the team behind the startup project “TrypCo”, which is based at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. Andreas, Marcus and René studied biochemistry at the MLU Halle-Wittenberg and have been involved in the development of our technology for several years. Ricardo has an MBA degree from the University of Leipzig and complements our team with his business expertise. The basis of our project is the eponymous TrypCo technology, which is used to produce innovative formats of antibody-drug conjugates. These antibody-drug conjugates are a class of novel biopharmaceuticals and are considered as targeted therapeutics in the treatment of cancer. With our technology, we aim to address existing drawbacks associated with these pharmaceuticals and improve efficacy and safety using innovative formats of this class of drugs.
What entrepreneurial or social impact do you see for your product?
Using the new formats of antibody-drug conjugates, that we hope to generate with our technology, we aim to be able to provide more effective and safer cancer therapeutics. A common problem in the treatment of cancer is tumor resistance to the drug, which ultimately leads to tumor recurrence. We would like to address this problem in particular with our pharmaceuticals in order to enable longer-term therapeutic success, which of course primarily benefits the patients and their families. In addition, we would like to make our technology available to other pharmaceutical companies for their own development of antibody-drug conjugates in an out-licensing model.
The Weinberg Campus Accelerator provided us with experts and was therefore the ideal opportunity.René Wartner, TrypCo
What do you appreciate about the Weinberg Campus?
The Weinberg Campus offers the great advantage of bringing together both university research of different scientific disciplines and companies from startups to stock corporations in the fields of life science and biotechnology in one place. This is complemented by research institutes such as the Fraunhofer or Max Planck Society. This multi-faceted research environment offers us the opportunity to look beyond our own horizons and benefit from the wealth of experience of other researchers. Last but not least, the Weinberg Campus also provides the appropriate infrastructure to create a pleasant working atmosphere.
Why did you decide to participate in the Weinberg Campus Accelerator?
Our primary intention was to strengthen our expertise in startup-related topics. After all, we are confronted with various questions on a daily basis in the course of the startup project and have to make decisions regarding our financial plan, the legal form of our future company or, for example, patent law strategies. That’s when we looked for answers from experts in the respective field. The Weinberg Campus Accelerator provided us with such experts and was therefore the ideal opportunity.
What advantages does the program offer you? How did it help you?
The selection of experts and the advice provided by the experienced coaches on the various topics make the Weinberg Campus Accelerator so special for us. By participating in the program, we can save precious time in locating and consulting these consultants ourselves and have the opportunity to focus on our challenges and problems. We can ask our numerous questions in a targeted manner and directly implement tips and suggestions using the coaches’ valuable answers. In addition, the coaches can also identify and point out other stumbling blocks or open up new perspectives.
From your point of view, why should other startups or founding projects participate in the Weinberg Campus Accelerator?
If you deal with your own startup idea on a daily basis, you quickly get a tunnel vision. External coaches, however, look at the project from a completely different and new perspective, which means that the founding idea or, for example, the business model are put through their paces. In our view, this is an immense help in advancing one’s own project and also in laying the foundation for long-term success.
What are you expectations on the Weinberg Campus from an entrepreneurial and very personal perspective?
We hope that the Weinberg Campus will continue to grow and thus further expand its scientific and economic importance for the region. In doing so, we, of course, hope that our startup project can contribute to this growth. In the long run, the Weinberg Campus should establish itself as an innovation location and thus strengthen the middle class in Saxony-Anhalt.
Can you think of any incidents that you associate with the Weinberg Campus?
During my time as a student, I, René Wartner, have of course experienced quite a few stories, the fewest of which, however, are suitable for interviews (laughs). I met my current wife during my studies at the Weinberg Campus. Accordingly, I can say that the Weinberg Campus has had a decisive impact on my life.
Photos by Michael Deutsch
The interview in German can be found here.