Member Spotlight: Torigen Pharmaceuticals
Each month, we shine a light on a CT Tech Council member to share the innovations they are bringing to Connecticut.
February's Member Spotlight is Torigen Pharmaceuticals, located in Farmington CT. CEO is Ashley Kalinauskas.
Ashley Kalinauskas - Founder, CEO
The following is an interview with Ashley Kalinauskas
What does Torigen do?
Torigen Pharmaceuticals, at its core, was created to improve the quality of pet’s lives through the commercialization of novel immunology products. Torigen is a team of cancer researchers, veterinarians and animal health professionals who aim to use the power of the immune system to advance veterinary medicine.
Each year in the United States, over 4 million dogs and 4 million cats are diagnosed with cancer. Over 50% of all dogs over the age of 10 die from cancer. Our first product is a personalized autologous cancer vaccine that is created from a portion of a patient’s surgically resected tumor tissue that is submitted into our lab. Once at our lab, we work with veterinary pathology experts to obtain an accurate diagnosis while retaining the tumor sample to ensure that options remain open for veterinarians and pet owners. If malignancy is confirmed, we are able to process the prescription therapy and send it back to the veterinary clinic for administration. By taking the fingerprint of what went wrong, we aim to present tumor associated antigens back to the immune system to stimulate a response against the cancer.
As Torigen continues to advance, we aim to focus on building a strong and novel pipeline and bringing amazing therapies to pets in need.
Who are your competitors and how do you distinguish your company from them?
Almost all major human pharmaceutical companies have multi-billion dollar animal health pharma companies associated with them. Zoetis is a spin-out from Pfizer, Elanco is a spin-out from Eli-Lilly, Merck and Boehringer Ingelheim also have amazing animal health companies. While these companies are not our competitors, it shows just how much focus human pharma companies place on animal health.
When it comes to smaller start-up companies in animal health, specifically the companies like Elias Animal Health and Ardent focused on novel cancer therapies, we aim to be their cheerleader and not their competitor. There are not many ‘medium’ fish in the animal health pond, and Torigen is rapidly becoming one. We want more funding to be focused on animal health to help advance novel therapies. We can help man’s best friend while also helping human health at the same time—it’s an exciting time for animal health, and one where we can work together to advance the field.
An additional distinction is our tailor-made approach which provides clients with information on trends, challenges or issues in their respected industries, which helps refine recruitment strategies. This allows clients visibility on the best talent, not just the best candidates.
Ashley is also a CTC Women of Innovation® Finalist in the Entrepreneurial category
What are the biggest opportunities in your market over the next year?
We believe that our biggest opportunity is to tell our story over the next year. With so many dogs, cats and horses being diagnosed with cancer, we believe that our product differentiates itself by being a personalized immunotherapy that can be provided by both veterinary oncologists and general practitioner veterinarians. Our product is accessible and allows for more owners to have other options than just chemotherapy and radiation after a cancer diagnosis. We believe that by telling our story, we will have more veterinarians come to Torigen looking for options on how to help the pets they are treating with a novel, new personalized cancer therapy.
What do you view as the greatest business challenge facing your
This year, we have multiple clinical studies launching on our existing product and for new products in development. We are so excited to get everything started, but know just how busy veterinary practices currently are. Getting clinical study spots has been a challenge—but one we are willing to take on because we believe whole heartedly in what we are working on. One step at a time, we will continue to make great progress!
Learn more about Torigen at torigen.com