Vaud based startup Terapet obtains a CHF 100,000 FIT loan
Terapet, a startup based near Nyon, has just been awarded a CHF 100,000 Tech Seed loan from Vaud’s Foundation for Technological Innovation (FIT). The company has developed technology that dramatically improves the precision of proton therapy, an advanced form of radiotherapy for treating cancer.
Today, doctors performing proton therapy procedures have no way of knowing whether their patients are receiving the right dose in the right location. They rely on computer models to direct the proton beam, but they have no precise indication of how much of the tumor they are irradiating – or how much of the cancerous tissue they are destroying – as they are performing the procedure.
Terapet’s technology stands to change all that. The company’s sophisticated device consists of a detector that is placed near a patient and measures the protons’ position in the patient’s body tissue in real time. This allows doctors to monitor the effects of the proton beam as they go, greatly enhancing the effectiveness of this type of treatment.
Terapet was founded at CERN by two physicists – Christina Vallgren and Marcus Palm – along with Professor Raymond Miralbell from the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG). They have already proven the feasibility of their concept and are now developing an initial version for market launch.
There are around 90 proton therapy centers in the world today, and this figure should rise to 120 in 2020. By 2035, there will likely be one proton therapy center for every six to eight million people in industrialized countries.
Terapet will use the FIT Tech Seed loan to prepare for a fundraising round in early 2020 so that it can finalize an initial version of its system. The development work is being carried out with the support of CERN. The company was one of two selected to join CERN’s Swiss Business Incubation Center in October; in addition to receiving a CHF 50,000 grant, it will benefit from the Incubator’s targeted business and technical support.
Dr. Christina Vallgren, co-founder, CEO | christina.vallgren(at)terapet.ch