Fighting cancer: Biologist Simon Bredl wants to help the immune system cope with tumors.
You already have some startup experience, Mr. Bredl. Where was that?
I was researching a vaccine for herpes when I was working for Redvax in Zurich. When the company was sold to Pfizer, I moved to the US but soon returned to Zurich. Since then, I have been working at the Zurich University Hospital department of infectious diseases and hospital hygiene.
The scientific focus there is on how the immune system interacts with tumors. How does that work?
Normally, the immune system fights invaders and foreign bodies, but this is often not in the case with cancers. Solid tumors, in particular, repel the phagocytes and also cause them to create a so-called immunosuppressive environment. The immune system thinks everything is alright. We want to stop this mechanism.
We genetically reprogram phagocytes to induce inflammation in tumors, which attracts killer cells. In other words, we make cold tumors hot.
Does your project benefit from your experience in the industry?
Absolutely. I know the next milestones. It is important to ensure funding for the next year or two while we build relationships with the big pharmaceutical companies. In addition, I already know where we want to set up our company.
In Biotechnopark Schlieren, the perfect biotope for life sciences startups.