Our CEO Vicente Salinas was interviewed in StartUp.info within the series INOVATORS VS COVID-19, about innovation and how PlusVitech is facing the COVID-19 pandemic.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these times of COVID-19?
We continue to lead a normal life, obviously being very careful and respecting preventive measures. As a physician, I am aware of how necessary it is to take care of the health of everyone around us and to contribute to the collective effort to eradicate the pandemic.
Tell us about yourself, your career, how you founded or joined this company.
I am a medical pathologist specializing in molecular oncology and have dedicated my professional career to cancer treatment and research. PlusVitech specializes in the search for effective and safe drugs for the treatment of cancer targeted by specific diagnostic studies. Convinced that personalized precision medicine is the future of the fight against cancer, we have also developed a platform based on artificial intelligence to design and monitor individualized treatments.
How does your company innovate?
Innovation is in the development of drugs and the precision medicine platform. Currently, we still do not have sufficiently effective drugs against cancer. At PlusVitech we have managed to identify a drug that in its reformulation manages to stop the development of cancer cells and metastasis. In terms of precision medicine, our platform based on «machine learning» is pioneering in its ability to process a large amount of data necessary to identify through an advanced algorithm the best treatment for a particular patient taking into account all the variations that cancer cells undergo throughout the life of the disease. Additionally, being based on non-invasive liquid biopsy data collection, we have achieved a tool that helps to considerably improve the quality of life of patients and the continuous monitoring of the disease in a personalized way.
How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your business and how are you dealing with it?
Coronavirus has been a challenge for PlusVitech from a scientific point of view. In fact, we have carried out pre-clinical tests in record time to analyze the properties of our drugs for the treatment of respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. Our project has been selected by the CDTI to develop the clinical trials necessary to validate its efficacy and safety in Spain and has been awarded by the European Innovation Council of the European Union.
Have you had to make difficult decisions and what are the lessons learned?
No, the pandemic has not entailed any organizational or process changes. We carry out research and development work that has not been affected by the pandemic.
What specific tools, software and management skills are you using to overcome this crisis?
We have not had to modify any software or change management. Our team has a scientific and technical background and is used to respecting safety measures in the workplace, especially in terms of health and hygiene. The lesson learned is that we have to develop effective and equitable treatments that can reach everyone, regardless of their economic or geographical context.
Who are your competitors, and how do you plan to stay in the game?
The ecosystem of biotech companies remains highly competitive, although the necessary specialization and focus on specific therapeutic areas helps to build barriers to entry. The pandemic has had a positive effect by giving the sector more visibility and reinforcing its reputation. We have also seen more interest from the investment world and significant revaluations of publicly traded companies in the sector.
His final thoughts
As I noted earlier, the pandemic has helped to raise the visibility of the relevance of research and development in the life sciences sector. I also believe that people are now more aware of all the effort that the scientific and medical community is making to provide effective solutions to the public health challenges we face.