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Life After Start-Up Stadium: Immunome

April 26, 2017
For the third year, the BIO International Convention will host the 2017 BIO Start-Up Stadium Empowering the Cutting-Edge Companies of Tomorrow, Today - an exciting and interactive experience where investors provide live feedback and judge 5-7 minute pitches presented by start-up biotech companies. The Start-Up Stadium accepts applications from early-stage companies with breakthrough technologies, and invites investors and state and regional affiliates to engage and explore mutual opportunities. Participating companies receive access to BIO One-on-One Partnering™ and educational sessions making their experience at BIO like no other.

[caption id="attachment_25137" align="alignleft" width="203"]Scott Dessain of Immunome Scott Dessain, CTO & Scientific Co-Founder of Immunome[/caption]

This is the first in a series of guest blogs highlighting Start-Up Stadium success stories as told by former participants.Today we spoke with 2015 Alum, Scott Dessain, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer and Scientific Co-Founder of Immunome.


[caption id="attachment_25135" align="alignright" width="150"]Gregory Licholai of Immunome Gregory Licholai, Management Co-Founder of Immunome[/caption]



BTN: Can you tell us about your start-up?
Immunome is located in Philadelphia, PA and was founded in 2008 with Management Co-Founder, Gregory Licholai, M.D., MBA (now President and Chief Science Officer at Castle Creek Pharmaceuticals). We started as an Infectious Disease/Biodefense company but pivoted to become an Immuno-oncology company in 2014-2015.

BTN: Was the Start-Up Stadium platform able to assist you in gaining visibility?
Yes! For a biotech start-up, time is the most expensive commodity. We had just brought in an A-list management team and achieved strong proof-of-concept in cancer, and we had to get the word out far and fast. The Start-Up Stadium was a key part of our "coming out" at BIO 2015.

BTN: Did you receive constructive live feedback at the Start-Up Stadium from stakeholders and subject matter experts?
Yes, it was a very engaging and valuable session.  Most of the questions made us focus on clarifying our value proposition as an investment and how we were going to produce a differentiated drug in the clinical marketplace.

BTN: How have you implemented any feedback to achieve success and continued growth?
A biotech startup can be somewhat of a blur — constantly seeking feedback from investors, stakeholders, potential partners, competitors. The key is to sift through the information, not trying to be something for everyone, but to find the right path that best leverages the differentiation of the technology, the skill and experience of the management team and the clinical opportunity. The Start-Up Stadium was a fun part of that process.

BTN: Were your BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings successful? Did they generate valuable connections with potential for meaningful partnerships?
At BIO 2015, we were letting everyone know how we had shifted, we showed them the new data and introduced them to the new management team. We learned what our customers and partners were seeking, refined our investment and research plan, and recently executed a multi-million dollar Series A. We'll be revealing our new cancer pipeline to selected companies later this year.

BTN: Although no longer eligible to participate in the Start-Up Stadium, will you be returning the 2017 BIO International Convention?
Of course.  Everyone we want to meet will be there!



About: Immunome is an Immuno-Oncology company building a diverse pipeline of antibody therapies for cancer.  The Immunome technology discovers tumor specific antigens by studying antibodies that patients make against their own cancers. The natural protective immune response incancer patients selects novel, non-intuitive, cancer-specific antigens that are expressed by diverse tumor types. To learn more, visit:


Scott Dessain co-author Improving Biotech Investment.

Scott Dessain is also co-author of the new book about investing in biotech start-ups called, “Preserving the Promise: Improving the Culture of Biotech Investment.