BOOST Pharma has welcomed the experienced commercial profile, Ingelise Saunders, as chairman of the board.
The Danish life science entrepreneur has been in big pharma since the mid 80’s when she joined Novo Nordisk and became part of former CEO Lars Rebien’s management team. Since she left in 2001, she has held positions as CEO and chair of various life science companies. It was BioInnovation Institute that introduced her to BOOST Pharma.
“We needed someone with fundraising experience and Ingelise has been very successful in the past. We were introduced to her by BII and quickly saw that she knows what she is doing and what she wants. It is exactly what we need”, says CEO Lilian Walther Jallow.
The Swedish BOOST Pharma is currently part of an acceleration program at BioInnovation Institute. The company is based on +15 years of research at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and treats Brittle Bones Disease caused by mutations in the collagen gene, giving rise to multiple bone fractures, short body stature and pain. The disease is diagnosed before or soon after birth, and fractures can occur already in the mother’s womb, so the start-up aims to treat as early as possible.
“We have an ongoing clinical trial at Karolinska with six children treated so far and we aim to treat nine more in the postnatal arm. We are seeing promising results and good safety, and we expect to be granted permission to open our prenatal arm very soon. Today, there is no treatment for children with this disease and that is why it is so important for us to progress and raise funding”, says Lilian Walther Jallow.
The new chairman Ingelise Saunders will take part in driving the fundraising and what struck her in the first meeting with BOOST Pharma was the realization of the huge unmet medical need in Brittle Bone Disease.
“In the past year, we have seen parents travel to Sweden during corona and stay for weeks so their children could be part of the study at Karolinska because our treatment works and because there is no other alternative. Now, we need to raise EUR 35M to take us to read-out of the pivotal trial”, says Ingelise Saunders.
If BOOST Pharma is granted permission for the pre-natal arm the company will treat patients in Sweden but recruit from all over Europe. The unborn child is given one injection while in the womb and three additional injections with four months in between after birth.
“Cell therapy is still new and there are only few companies working at commercial level, but we believe that cell therapy is up and coming. We hope to take the first steps by bringing it out of the academic setting and offer it to children around the world so they can live a better life”, says CEO Lilian Walther Jallow.