InterVenn Biosciences Philippines, a biotech firm based in the United States but founded by a Filipino, reiterated its goal to make early cancer detection available to everyone. At a hybrid launch held recently, co-founder and CEO, Aldo Carrascoso said that no one should be blindsided by the disease because there’s a technology available.
Carrascoso explained that InterVenn utilizes glycoproteomics, “a branch of proteomics that identifies, catalogs, and characterizes those proteins that contain carbohydrates as posttranslational modifications.” He explained that proteomics has been around for more than 100 years but is “poorly understood but well-accepted.”
“This is a process that has been hiding in plain sight and even predated genomics or DNA and RNA,” Carrascoso said.
With headquarters in Silicon Valley, Carrascoso founded InterVenn after two of his kin were diagnosed with breast cancer. After a undergoing sequencing to determine if anyone else in the family is at risk and finding out that none of them had the genome, he jumped into the idea of developing a cancer detection tool.
Together with co-founders, Dr. Carlito Lupercalia of the University of California Davis, an expert at glyco, proteomics, and Dr. Carolyn Bertozzi of Stanford University, also an expert in glycobiology, he established InterVenn.
“InterVenn has made significant progress in early cancer detection thanks to the brilliant and dedicated Filipino engineers we have on board,” Carrascoso said. “They help build and maintain the front end, back end, and cloud infrastructure of our next-generation liquid biopsy, as we all work together to reach a world where no one should ever be blindsided by disease.”
By establishing offices in the Philippines, Carrascoso hopes to tap talented Filipinos not only in the sciences but also in technology. The new site located at the Podium West Tower will expand the local team’s roster of developers and engineers that form the backbone running the proprietary AI (artificial intelligence) technology used in the company’s research. Currently, over 100 Filipinos work on the software engineering stream of InterVenn, with plans to recruit more local talent as they further expand their business in the region.
“One hundred percent of our software is proudly Philippine-made. We started this venture with the goal of not just having the means of finding a cure and early detection for cancer, but to also showcase to everyone that we Filipinos can achieve this on a global scale,” said Axel Kornerup, general manager, InterVenn Philippines.
Kornerup also shared that InterVenn has been collaborating with local oncologists in running the VOCAL (InterVenn Ovarian Cancer Liquid Biopsy) testing program.
The company, armed with its new facilities and cadre of researchers, has been aggressive in its recruitment and expansion to support the development and commercialization of DAWN, which they unveiled last month in the health industry’s largest conference for oncology ASCO 2022. Its application to other tumor types is continuously being studied.
“Our research is a major step toward truly universal healthcare. We’re proud to be making these phenomenal developments in the Philippines, and we look forward to working with more local stakeholders in the future,” said Carrascoso. “I did not start InterVenn to create another liquid biopsy company that costs thousands of dollars, which is completely unaffordable. I hope that even ordinary folks in the countryside will be able to afford it and it would break my heart if they couldn’t.”