Q&A

Get a preview of Chile Connected's anticipated HealthTech panel

Get ready for a fascinating panel. Photo by WebPhotographeer/Getty

The technology and innovation portion of Chile Connected begins next week, and if you haven't already reserved your free spot for the virtual event, you'd be wise to go do it now.

From October 27-29, you can hear from high-level experts and keynote speakers from both Chile and the U.S, as well as network and make new connections that will hopefully lead to a successful partnership.

Josh Sol, the administrative director of Houston Methodist Innovation and Ambulatory Clinical Systems, will be moderating the panel on October 29. The topic is "The Present Future of HealthTech," and will address what COVID-19 means for the future of healthcare technology.

Panelists include Daniela Mendoza, commercial manager for GenoSUR; Alberto Rodríguez-Navarro, founder of Levita Magnetics; and John Dvor, managing director of Miraki Innovation.

InnovationMap recently spoke with Sol about the upcoming event.

InnovationMap: What can U.S. companies gain from participating in this session?

Josh Sol: U.S. companies have the opportunity to gain additional perspectives from other like-minded individuals who are passionate about technology. I've been impressed from the groups and ProChile representatives I have spoken with to date, and I look forward to hearing more about innovation efforts coming from a leading Latin American technology epicenter.

IM: How important are international partnerships in the health tech sector?

JS: Innovation in healthcare technology is coming from all over the globe. Cultural experiences tend to drive creation and innovation. When we collaborate with partners outside of the U.S., we have the opportunity to broaden opportunities and learn from other cultures, and, in turn, we have the potential to apply those insights to what our standard processes are within the U.S. healthcare system.

IM: Personally, why did you feel it important to be involved with Chile Connected?

JS: I have been so impressed by the passion coming from Chile Connected. Discovering new companies doing amazing things in the healthcare technology space continues to fuel my passion for what I do on a day-to-day basis.

IM: What are the key ways businesses can adapt in the pandemic environment?

JS: Businesses should be as nimble as they can — that's a pretty universal lesson most have experienced and we've certainly had first-hand experience in this area as well. At Houston Methodist, our focus is always keeping the patient at the center of everything we do, and we appreciate the collaborative business partners who help us maintain our commitment to our patients, the community, and our clinicians during the pandemic.

Some partners have even pivoted their technology offerings to align with the challenges spurred by COVID. Some areas where we have had to adapt during COVID include ramping up our telemedicine efforts, quickly turning on our virtual ICU, and diversifying the way we communicate with our patients through digital technology.

IM: What do you think is important for start-ups to focus on when trying to grow in this field?

JS: Healthcare technology organizations have many opportunities available to them and must be open to change and the innovations coming from younger start-up companies. As a start-up, it's important to know the problem you are attempting to solve, and to also understand the bigger picture of either the process, patient experience, or clinician experience you are impacting.

Too often, a company will say, "What do you want it to do? It can do anything…" Always come with a solution mindset. Drill down into your offering and what value you have to the organization you're pitching to.

Reserve your free spot for Chile Connected now.

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Building Houston

 
 

Tvardi Therapeutics Inc. has fresh funds to support its drug's advancement in clinical trials. Photo via Getty Images

A Houston-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company has raised millions in its latest round.

Tvardi Therapeutics Inc. closed its $74 million series B funding round led by new investors New York-based Slate Path Capital, Florida-based Palkon Capital, Denver-based ArrowMark Partners, and New York-based 683 Capital, with continued support and participation by existing investors, including Houston-based Sporos Bioventures.

"We are thrilled to move out of stealth mode and partner with this lineup of long-term institutional investors," says Imran Alibhai, CEO at Tvardi. "With this financing we are positioned to advance the clinical development of our small molecule inhibitors of STAT3 into mid-stage trials as well as grow our team."

Through Slate Path Capital's investment, Jamie McNab, partner at the firm, will join Tvardi's board of directors.

"Tvardi is the leader in the field of STAT3 biology and has compelling proof of concept clinical data," McNab says in the release. "I look forward to partnering with the management team to advance Tvardi's mission to develop a new class of breakthrough medicines for cancer, chronic inflammation, and fibrosis."

Tvardi's latest fundraise will go toward supporting the company's products in their mid-stage trials for cancer and fibrosis. According to the release, Tvardi's lead product, TTI-101, is being studied in a Phase 1 trial of patients with advanced solid tumors who have failed all lines of therapy. So far, the drug has been well-received and shown multiple durable radiographic objective responses in the cancer patients treated.

Dr. Keith Flaherty, who is a member of Tvardi's scientific advisory board and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, offered his support of the company.

"STAT3 is a compelling and validated target. Beyond its clinical activity, Tvardi's lead molecule, TTI-101, has demonstrated direct downregulation of STAT3 in patients," he says in the release. "As a physician, I am eager to see the potential of Tvardi's molecules in diseases of high unmet medical need where STAT3 is a key driver."

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