SEEING BEYOND THE HORIZON has been a hallmark of EpiVax Inc. founder, CEO and Chief Science Officer Dr. Anne S. De Groot since she founded the Providence-based life sciences company close to a quarter century ago. De Groot regularly was out on the forefront researching and looking into creating new ways to battle deadly diseases plaguing society as a whole.
In 2017, De Groot launched EpiVax Oncology Inc., a venture-backed spinoff company that could help cancer patients with a vaccine designed specifically for them. Close to four years later, EpiVax Oncology’s treatment regimen became where the timeline from a patient’s biopsy to a personalized neoantigen therapeutic cancer vaccine is less than four weeks, providing cancer patients much-needed hope.
A year after launching EpiVax Oncology, De Groot, along with CUBRC Inc., was awarded a two-year, $1 million contract from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to establish best practices and procedures for assessing generic peptides and related impurities for immunogenic potential. The project, De Groot said at the time, would involve EpiVax using its immunogenicity risk assessment expertise in the generic peptides field to find impurities that could cause unexpected immune responses after being administered insulin, glucagon or other generic peptide drugs.
During the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset, EpiVax went to work to become a vaccine candidate to combat the coronavirus. An EpiVax team devised a vaccine by the end of January 2020 and was ready to seek funding and partners to get it to the public.