Maria Soloveychik and Charly Chahwan are working on curing untreatable cancer. They are disrupting the drug discovery cycle which typically takes $10m to $15m and upto 6 years. They have created compounds that have similar efficacy as other drugs and they were able to get to that stage in 2 months at the cost of $20,000 … I am going to let that sit with you. If that is not disruptive I am not sure what is.

Maria Soloveychik is the CEO and co-founder of SyntheX Labs, a biotech company developing peptide therapeutics for cancer and other rare diseases. SyntheX labs was part of IndieBio batch #3 in 2016. They have successfully raised seed capital to move their vision forward. It was exciting to talk to Maria, she embodies everything that is inspiring about a founder. Here is a video where Maria explains what SyntheX labs does, watch the video:

Startup Iceland this year is about disruptions that relates to Personal Data, Health, Wellness and Technology. A number of the biotechnology startups rely on Personal Data and Iceland is well known for the Genome data that is available. I want to encourage startups from all over the world to come and work on using this data in Iceland to really accelerate the chances of curing some of the most annoying diseases. According to Dr.Peter Attia:

If you’r over 40 and don’t smoke, there’s about a 70 to 80% chance you’ll die from one of four diseases: heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, cancer, or neurodegenerative disease.

Dr.Peter Attia’s quote is from my earlier post and for more about Health, Wealth and Wisdom read my earlier post on Tools of Titans. I have seen too many friends and family suffer through the above 4 diseases and yours truly has a high risk as it relates to heart disease through diabetes. I really would like to see us humans try to understand the nature of disease and possibly find the cure. I am not naive to believe that we can defeat death, but living a healthy life and understanding what it means to live a healthy life is something all of us can aspire to do. I am glad that founders like Maria are working on some of the challenging problems as it relates to Cancer. I am even more excited that she is going to come to Iceland to share her story and connect with the Startup Community in Iceland.

Here is a brief bio of Maria in her own word:

I completed my HBSc degree in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at the University of Toronto. During this time, I worked as a staff scientist at a structural genomics and proteomics laboratory. To further my scientific training, I continued with the department of Molecular Genetics’ PhD program. My doctoral studies focused on epigenetics and cancer metabolomics, where I had studied mechanisms of metabolic regulation of chromatin, gene expression and oncogenesis. During the course of my scientific career, I have gained extensive experience in biochemistry, structural biology, drug screens, and structure based drug design. My work led to the determination of several structures and identification of several drug leads, and novel biologies.
I became interested in entrepreneurship towards the end of my PhD, and began to learn about the business side of science, in order to be able to better apply my skills and knowledge to benefit patients.
The problem SyntheX is currently focused on is the development of targeted personalized therapies for cancer. As many people, I have lost loved ones to the disease. We currently live in an age where we know more about our biology than ever, and with the availability of genomic sequencing data, the era of personalized therapy is here. However, there are still too few drugs that target cancer cells in selective ways, based on the genetic changes present in the cancer. We develop drugs that specifically disrupt pathways essential only in the cancer cells, leaving healthy cells unaffected. These are particularly important for many difficult cancers that do not respond to currently available chemotherapy.