Vedanta Biosciences is developing a new class of drugs whose main active ingredient is consortia of bacteria. These drugs colonize the human intestines and modulate the intestinal microbiota (the community of trillions of bacteria that live in the intestines). Since the company was founded, they have been working to develop candidates for cancer and infectious, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
Being an entrepreneur is just a means to work on problems and technology that interest me. There are many issues to be resolved in the field of medicine that affect many people around the world. Of these, some can be resolved in the middle term using technological breakthroughs with the right funding and team. And of these, there are a few I think I can help with because they fall in fields that I know well.
It’s difficult to choose just one. Choosing the right people to accompany me on this journey, perhaps. It has been important to work with a group of scientific co-founders who, in my opinion, do the best research in our field. Finding colleagues with drive that complement my areas of expertise, as well.
Be clear and direct. A start-up isn’t the right place to play politics. If you have something to criticize or fix, don’t bite your tongue. Criticism is fair play if it’s done with respect and a view to solving the problem. This helps create a culture in which people say what they think. Everyone feels they have a voice and help resolve issues in the company.
This year we’re starting our first clinical study in patients infected with Clostridium difficile. It is a serious problem because, if they don’t respond to antibiotics, the risk of death increases exponentially and there aren’t any good alternatives. Then we’ll launch another clinical study on ulcerative colitis. This is also a serious problem because patients treated with steroids or antibodies are at risk of developing deadly infections as they are immunosuppressed. In both cases, we think that modulating the intestinal microbiota may be a viable alternative to current medical treatments.