CurE-me - BioInnovation Institute



About the Bio Studio program

Hugo Vankelecom
Professor at KU Leuven

"Hugo Vankelecom is a Professor and Lab Director of the Stem Cell and Developmental Biology unit at KU Leuven. His research group investigates the role of stem cells in tissues in both health and disease primarily focusing on organs involved in endocrinology and reproduction, in particular the pituitary gland, the master regulator of our hormonal system, and the uterus and ovary, critical organs for successful p..."

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Maj Hedtjärn
Entrepreneur in Residence

"Maj Hedtjärn is an Entrepreneur in Residence for the CurE-me project in BII's Bio Studio program, a project focusing on developing an organoid platform for identifying and screening targets against endometriosis. She holds a Ph.D. in neuroimmunology from the University of Gothenburg and runs her own consulting company for life science start-ups and biotech companies. Previously, she worked as a VP and Head o..."

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Interview with Maj Hedtjärn:

Why have you decided to join the CurE-me project as an Entrepreneur in Residence?

Endometriosis is a disease with a high unmet need, which affects many women around the world. The CurE-me project has established a unique biobank of patient-derived organoids from women with endometriosis, which enables a novel approach to identifying better treatment options for the affected women. I am very excited by the opportunity to make a real difference for patients with endometriosis and to raise more awareness about the disease to investors, pharma companies, and society in general.

What is your role as an Entrepreneur in Residence?

As an Entrepreneur in Residence, my role is to build an investable business case, identify investors, and secure funding for the commercialization of CurE-me while leading the scientific team at BII.

The team at BII will develop a high-throughput screening platform with organoids to identify and develop novel compounds with disease-modifying impacts. In parallel, it will be necessary to fully understand the unmet medical need, the competitive landscape, and the market potential to maximize the business potential and ensure the optimal positioning of the innovative treatments.

What attracted you to become a part of BII’s entrepreneurial community?

BII provides an exceptional entrepreneurial environment, which is very inspiring to be part of. If you are passionate about innovation and translating cutting-edge science into companies, this is the perfect place to be.

What are some of the biggest learnings from your career that you bring to your position as an Entrepreneur in Residence?

I have vast experience from biotech and large pharma companies in the life science space, both listed and venture-backed and some of my biggest learnings are:

It all starts with the people – a great team can achieve almost anything, while a dysfunctional team will struggle to get off the ground.

Data is critical – without solid data, there is no basis for a successful company.

It is essential to understand your customers’ needs and keep track of your competitors; otherwise, you risk developing a great product that nobody wants.

What are some of your near-term plans in this role?

I will focus on ensuring that the team is motivated and that we develop plans with clear goals, deliverables, and milestones for the project. Another focus will be on fully understanding the disease and the unmet medical need by engaging with key opinion leaders and other key stakeholders in the field of endometriosis.

How did previous experiences shape your approach to the role of Entrepreneur in Residence?

Trust is the foundation for success.

About the Bio Studio program

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