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Startups 2021

Rising Startup


Dr Slim Chiha, Mutlu Yönel, Dr Wolfgang Söhngen

Innovation & Business Idea

PROSION developed a first-in-class approach to address so far undruggable targets that are linked with various hard-to-treat diseases through a disruptive platform of chemical building blocks called ProMs. ProMs can be combined to small molecule drugs for a very abundant class of "undruggables”, namely PRM-binding targets. These targets are known to play key-roles in a multitude of pathologies, e.g. cancer, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular diseases, etc.

The potential of the ProM-platform has already been validated in vivo in a first POC targeting Ena/VASP, a particularly difficult oncological PRM-binding target.

As a clear "first mover" in this field, PROSION intends to exploit the value and potential of the ProM-platform through the systematic development of ProM-based drug leads in collaboration with key partners.

Customers / Target Market

PROSION’s business model addresses a trend within the pharmaceutical industry, with established companies heavily screening the market for external innovation. Based on the promising results for Ena/VASP as a proof-of-concept and the know-how of more than a decade of research, PROSION aims to exploit the value and potential of the ProM-platform by using a hybrid model:

Firstly, seeking an alignment with bio/pharmaceutical companies as cooperation partners, either early-on (during the preclinical development) or somewhat later (during the clinical development). Secondly, taking drug development projects from the preclinical phase through a first-in-human study and eventually through the clinical development by itself. A case-by-case decision will be taken, depending on which of these two options fits best. The primary goal will be to systematically develop a strong pipeline of ProM-based drug candidates.


PROSION will be the first company worldwide to feature a technology to develop small molecule inhibitors of PRM-mediated interactions. So far, no direct competitors on the market have successfully inhibited PRM-recognizing targets with low molecular weight inhibitors.

Intellectual Property Status

5 granted patents, mostly internationalized - US & JP. Secured IP-transfer agreement with the spin-off insitutions.

Development Status & Future Steps

Most recently conducted experiments in breast and pancreatic cancer mouse models indicate very promising results regarding efficacy and toxicity. Next major developments include (1) a second rodent experiment and a tox study in mini-pigs – (2) and the closing of cooperation with a pharma partner.

Exit Strategy

IPO or acquisition by a strategic partner – for both these options, having a strong pipeline will be of key importance. PROSION’s cooperation-focused business model naturally paves the way for such an acquisition.

Team Description

PROSION's founding team brings together a wide range of skills - including experienced medicinal chemists, entrepreneurs and scientific experts from academia. Dr. Chiha acts as a CEO and operates scientific development, while Mr. Yönel manages the financial aspects. Prof. Dr. Schmalz and Dr. Kühne act as advisors to all scientific subjects. Dr. Söhngen (former CEO @ PAION AG) recently joined and takes on the role of COO a.i., bringing a wide experience in the pharma industry. The management team is supported by a highly-skilled technical team of devoted researchers, which have been with the project since its inception. PROSION is also backed by Prof. ten Dijke, a specialist in cancer-cell signaling and Prof. Dr. Metternich, a Senior Research Executive with 30 years of pharma leadership experience.

Financing Need


Searching for

Commercial Partner, Funding, Collaboration