The University of Iowa spin-off company, Immortagen, was created when four university researchers realized just how complicated transitioning from the academic research process to commercialization truly was. After many discussions, they came to the conclusion that there had to be a way to streamline the process. Their next step was learning the business side of launching a new venture.

The team enrolled in Iowa JPEC’s Venture School program and never looked back. “Without Venture School, we would likely still be sitting in that conference room discussing our ideas. With the knowledge we gained through Venture School and key advisors, we are in a position to make a difference in the care of cancer patients,” said Kristi Thiel, Immortagen’s Co-Founder and Vice President of Business Development. The Venture School curriculum helped Immortagen prioritize such critical success factors as team recruitment, capital needs, target market assessment, business model selection, and customer validation.

“The cancer treatment field is moving towards personalized genetics as the key to cancer diagnosis and treatment,” stated Kurt Heiar, Immortagen’s CEO. “Immortagen is working on a next generation, novel solution for helping pharmaceutical and genetic companies, as well as clinicians, better understand what is driving an individual’s tumor to grow so more targeted solutions can be utilized. Venture School’s focus on commercializing scientific breakthroughs complemented Immortagen’s founders’ clinical expertise at just the right time.” 

The company has two patents filed and is currently developing its IP platform. Immortagen also was named the University of Iowa Startup of the year in 2016, completed a successful seed capital round, received demonstration funding from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, and is now pursuing Series A financing. The company has begun hiring scientific employees, created a Board of Directors and established offices at the UI BioVentures Center.

What’s next for the startup? In the 2018, Immortagen plans to launch the next step of product testing and expand the team of experienced bioinformaticians and computer scientists.