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Startups 2018

Emerging Startup


Dr Nadja Fenn, Prof. Karl-Peter Hopfner, Prof. Marion Subklewe

Innovation & Business Idea

OPSYON generates new and effective immuno-oncology therapeutics with reduced systemic toxicities. Our technology confines the benefits of immune checkpoint (IC) inhibition to tumour cells, thus providing cancer patients a long-term possibility for progression-free survival and low risk of side effects. To this end, we develop antibody-based therapeutics that specifically bind tumour cells and simultaneously inhibit innate or adaptive ICs.

Customers / Target Market

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an aggressive disease with limited numbers of immunotherapeutic agents, highlighting the need for innovative therapies. Besides, AML provides the basis for quick success as an orphan drug to reach market approval. We anticipate an annual market of ~$212 M (US and EU), if 10% of the presently untreated patients would receive OPSYONs antibodies at similar treatment costs as Blinatumomab. Currently, we transfer the technology to solid cancers, which allows for large-scale market access.


There is a strong rationale and emerging trend to use IC inhibitors in combination with other tumour therapies to enhance immune response. However, due to treatment-related adverse events, the value of combination therapy remains controversial. As first-in-class and in contrast to other approaches, OPSYON’s antibodies bring tumour and immune cells in close vicinity, specifically targeting tumour cells with high affinity and restore the activity of immune cells with a low affinity blockade of IC receptors within the tumour microenvironment, thus reducing systemic side-effects.

Intellectual Property Status

A PCT application was filed by the LMU, Munich and will be later licensed to OPSYON. The patent covers the general architecture of the antibody fusions and various combinations of tumour antigens and ICs. Patent applications, protecting newly discovered cancer antigens and ICs are scheduled for 2018.

Development Status & Future Steps

For the successful company development, we built up a management and scientific project team that is taking advantage of the established academic resources and third-party grants. Later, OPSYON will focus on drug discovery to broaden the current portfolio and screen for the most promising projects, which will be transferred to the development division and followed until clinical phases.

Exit Strategy

To commercialize the product, we aim to trade sale the company or products thereof to a strategic investor or pharmaceutical industry. Licensing of the technology to pharma industry is as well conceivable.

Team Description

The founders combine long-standing expertise in protein engineering, immunology and translational medicine paired with a deep motivation to lead OPSYON successfully. Dr. Nadja Fenn is a senior scientist driving the translation from basic research to a business case. After receiving her PhD, she worked as a project leader developing therapeutic antibody-based molecules. Co-founder Prof. Karl-Peter Hopfner provides his expertise in antibody engineering and biochemistry. Co-founder Prof. Marion Subklewe brings in fundamental knowledge in oncology and coordinates the clinical affairs while maintaining her position at the Hospital of the LMU, allowing for rapid recruitment of patients and implementation of clinical studies. Project leaders joining the commercial endeavor support the founders scientifically. OPSYON is recruiting a CEO to provide a strong commercial and financial background.

Financing Need

Proof of concept studies showed promising results in vitro. Next, we wish to expand our portfolio to solid tumours, perform in vivo studies and substantiate our patent application by more antigen-IC receptor combinations. Thus, we would need a financial investment of €2.5 Mi in the next two years.

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