'Cancer', just the mere mention of this word triggers awful thoughts in one’s mind circling around medical suffering and a painful death. Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide which justifies the fear that comes with it. Even though researchers are trying their level best to find medical solutions for the same, this disease causes more than 8 million deaths every year. Out of this, more than 42 percent of deaths take place due to rare cancer. There are around 250 types of rare cancers, but only 38 of them have approved target therapies. This has made rare cancer the third leading cause of death in the U.S. A biotech startup Shepherd Therapeutics works to find target therapies for the rest of the rare cancer diseases.
David Hysong is a 29-year-old entrepreneur who has recently attained a place in the Forbes 30 under 30 list in the field of science. When he was diagnosed with a rare head-and-neck cancer in the year of 2015, he came up with the idea of Shepherd Therapeutics. This biotech startup works to identify rare cancers which do not have healing therapies to work accordingly. It is important to note that another reason behind the rising number of deaths due to cancer is that a majority of the patients can’t afford such expensive treatments. This startup not only focuses on medical development but also its cost efficiency. The researchers are working to develop such therapeutics in a faster yet cost efficient manner compared to other cancer treatments.
Foundation of the Shepherd Therapeutics
As soon as Hysong came up with the concept of Shepherd Therapeutics, he consulted Gene Williams. Williams is the executive chairman at ProMIS Neurosciences and has more than 30 years of experience in the field of biotech and an extensive network. Williams guided the company through hours of weekly mentoring. He helped Hysong with the interviews conducted and together they built a team of key members. Amalgamation of Williams’ experience along with Hysong’s vision might be the mantra behind the success of this startup. Williams helped build relations with the biotech ecosystem on a broader scale. This enabled the company to attain a fund worth $1.5 million in seed funding.
Currently, Shepherd Therapeutics is targeting Chordoma, Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC), Ewing’s Sarcoma, Adrenocortical Carcinoma, Neuroblastoma, and Rhabdomyosarcoma. This organization is mainly focusing on providing capital for such research. This is done by looking out for disease-specific research foundations which are working on ultra-low incidence cancers and fund them. Presently the organization is giving preference to rare cancers in women and children. Later on, the company strives to come up with target therapies for all types of cancer.