About

Valo Therapeutics (Valo Tx)

is a spin-out company from the University of Helsinki, Finland. Valo Tx has assembled a uniquely talented team of oncolytic virus experts, who together with the founding scientist have the necessary expertise to take this patented technology through clinical development and make it available to patients. The management team has a proven track record of developing successful companies from a laboratory idea to a full stock exchange listing.

The Business Concept

Valo Tx is positioned to transform the field of immunotherapy for a wide range of cancer types. Valo Tx's technology uniquely combines the best qualities of two distinct clinically proven cancer immunotherapy concepts - peptide vaccination and oncolytic virus-based immunotherapy. Building on an existing and recently FDA-approved approach for use of oncolytic viruses, Valo Tx has developed a proprietary, genetically modified adenovirus that will form the basis of its therapeutic approach.

Technology

Valo Tx’s methodology is to adsorb tumor-specific peptides to the surface of the oncolytic virus, thereby eliciting an enhanced adaptive immune response against the tumor. The MHC I-restricted tumor-peptides are extended with an N-terminal polylysine tail to increase their net charge so that the positively charged peptides bind to the negatively charged virus capsid via electrostatic interactions. As opposed to genetically engineered changes to the virus, the Valo Tx technology facilitates the rapid creation of multiple virus-based immunotherapies that promises to provide lasting immunity to many different cancer types. This system addresses the need for tumor-specific and even personalized therapies, as the antigen expression varies in different patients and even in different stages of the same tumor.

Our team

Antti Vuolanto
Antti Vuolanto (DSc)
COO
Biography

Antti Vuolanto (DSc)

COO

Antti Vuolanto

Antti Vuolanto, COO (DSc) is a biotech leader with vast experience within immuno-oncology, in-vitro diagnostics and bioinformatics. He co-founded Oncos Therapeutics where as a COO he was responsible for the clinical development program of an oncolytic adenovirus. Later, he had the responsibility of merging Oncos Therapeutics with the Norwegian immuno-oncology company Targovax. He served at Targovax as an Executive Vice President before joining Valo Therapeutics. Previously he has also held senior management positions at other biotech companies. Antti has studied biochemistry and bioprocess technology at Aalto University, Finland. He graduated as a doctor of science in technology in 2004.

Antti Vuolanto
Petri Priha
Petri Priha (Lic.Sc)
VP of CMC
Biography

Petri Priha (Lic.Sc)

VP of CMC

Petri Priha

Petri Priha, VP of CMC, has over 20 years’ experience in expert and management positions in vaccine, biopharmaceutical protein, and oncolytic adenovirus process development and GMP manufacturing. Prior to joining Valo Therapeutics in January 2017, Petri served as VP of CMC at Targovax, and before that as Director of Process Development and Quality Assurance at Oncos Therapeutics. During his 5 years at Oncos, he was responsible for the CMC development of an oncolytic adenovirus cancer immunotherapy platform. Petri also served at Ipsat Therapies for 9 years as Director of Production and Quality of prophylactic biopharmaceutical proteins targeted to prevent antibiotic-associated secondary infections. Prior to that, he worked at the National Institute for Health and Welfare, where he was responsible for bacterial vaccine manufacturing. Petri is a chemical engineer (Lic. Sc. Tech.) from Helsinki University of Technology.

Petri Priha
Charlotta Backman
Charlotta Backman (M.Sc)
VP Clinical Operations and Regulatory Affairs
Biography

Charlotta Backman (M.Sc)

VP Clinical Operations and Regulatory Affairs

Charlotta Backman

Charlotta Backman, VP Clinical Operations and Regulatory Affairs, has a strong background in clinical research with 15 years of experience in the start-up, conduct, and close-out of Phase I to Phase IV clinical trials, mostly including trials in oncology and vaccines. Over the years, she has gained experience from interactions with several regulatory authorities in the EU and in the US. Charlotta worked in the CRO industry for Encorium and Remedium, managing clinical trials in various phases and indications before taking on the responsibility for management of the clinical trials with oncolytic adenoviruses at Oncos Therapeutics (later Targovax). Charlotta has a Master’s degree in Cell Biology from Åbo Akademi University. During her academic career, Charlotta worked as a Researcher and Project Team Leader at the University of Helsinki and Folkhälsan Institute of Genetics in the field of disease genetics.

Charlotta Backman
Tuuli Ranki
Tuuli Ranki (PhD)
VP Preclinical Development and IP
Biography

Tuuli Ranki (PhD)

VP Preclinical Development and IP

Tuuli Ranki

Tuuli Ranki, VP Preclinical development and IP (PhD, co-founder), has 14 years of experience in the development of genetically modified oncolytic adenoviruses for cancer immunotherapy. During her career, she has designed oncolytic adenoviruses and taken these through preclinical testing into clinical trials. Tuuli worked as a Director at Oncos Therapeutics and was responsible for the development of proprietary oncolytic adenovirus constructs as well as securing the company's intellectual property rights, where her work led to the successful patenting of products. Tuuli has gained in-depth knowledge of the cancer immunotherapy field through her parallel involvement in the analysis and interpretation of clinical trial samples, the results of which she has published. Tuuli earned her PhD in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Helsinki, and her doctoral thesis concentrated on oncolytic adenoviruses in cancer treatment.

Tuuli Ranki
Sari Pesonen
Sari Pesonen (PhD)
VP Scientific and Clinical Development
Biography

Sari Pesonen (PhD)

VP Scientific and Clinical Development

Sari Pesonen

Sari Pesonen, VP Scientific and Clinical Development (PhD, co-founder), has held scientific leadership roles in immuno-oncology biotech companies and has vast experience in clinical drug development. She joined Oncos Therapeutics as a Research Director and later took on the role of Head of Clinical Science, leading clinical sample analysis, which for the first time demonstrated the mode of action of oncolytic adenovirus-based cancer immunotherapy. Later, Sari worked as VP Preclinical Research and Clinical Science at Targovax. Sari gained her PhD in biology from the University of Turku, Finland in 2007. She continued her academic career at the University of Helsinki in a research group focusing on the development of oncolytic viruses for the treatment of cancer. She has supervised 3 PhD students and is a co-author on 60 peer-reviewed research papers.

Sari Pesonen
Matthew Vaughan
Matthew Vaughan (PhD)
Project Manager
Biography

Matthew Vaughan (PhD)

Project Manager

Matthew Vaughan

Matthew Vaughan, Project Manager, gained his PhD in Geology at the University of Otago, New Zealand, in October 2016 while working part-time for the company. His academic research involved the study of microstructural mechanics and velocity anisotropy in deforming ice, and its relationships to the large scale flow of ice sheets. Matthew has completed research exchanges at University College London, Oxford University, and MIT, and has participated in deep field expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctica. During his PhD, he co-supervised several students, lead the construction of two new labs, and helped develop several apparatus for performing low temperature deformation experiments on ice. To date, Matthew is the co-author of several peer-reviewed research papers and has received funding support from the Royal Society of New Zealand, NASA, and the European Science Foundation. Matthew has recently joined Valo Therapeutics to assist the team across all aspects of the business, particularly UK operations.

Matthew Vaughan

Board of Directors

Paul Porter
Dr. Paul Porter
Member of the Board
Biography

Dr. Paul Porter

Member of the Board

Paul Porter

Dr Paul Porter, Director (MBBS FRACP) is a founder and Director of Freeman Road Pty Ltd, an Australian company that specialises in early stage biomedical investments with an emphasis on global research and development collaborations. Freeman Road has investments in companies across Australia, South East Asia, Europe and the USA.

Paul has established a research unit specialising in novel biometric diagnostic technology and algorithm development, with active programs targeting Respiratory disease and Mental Health Disorders in children and adolescents. He is lead Scientific Advisor to ResApp Health, an ASX listed company currently undertaking a multi-centre FDA approval study in the US.  Paul is also an experienced medical researcher, lecturer, director of training and paediatric physician at two major paediatric hospitals in Western Australia. He is member of a Human Research and Ethics Committee and the Clinical Senate of Western Australia.

He is passionate about supporting advances in healthcare in the developing world.

Paul Porter
Vincenzo Cerullo
Prof. Vincenzo Cerullo
Scientific Founder, Member of the Board
Biography

Prof. Vincenzo Cerullo

Scientific Founder, Member of the Board

Vincenzo Cerullo

Prof. Vincenzo Cerullo, Scientific Founder, is a tenure-track associate professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, at the University of Helsinki. He is the group leader at the Immunovirotherapy Lab (IVTLab) at the Centre for Drug Research (CDR). He has extensive experience in the field of immunology research, having received several academic awards for work he completed during both his post-graduate work and extensive research career (over 70 peer reviewed publications). His recent research grants including a large development grant from the European council of research (2 million Euros) and other major grants from the Finnish Cancer Foundation and the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation.

Vincenzo Cerullo
Matti Hautsalo
Matti Hautsalo
Co-chairman of the Board
Biography

Matti Hautsalo

Co-chairman of the Board

Matti Hautsalo

Matti Hautsalo is a Director at Bentmind Limited and its affiliated Finnish Oncolytic Technologies Development FOTD Oy. Bentmind is a development partner with early stage high technology companies, assisting them to build an international management team and to partner with high value-adding actors in science, industry and investment. Bentmind Group is involved with companies in fields covering AI, big data analysis, oncolytics, cell description optimization, and medical imaging.

Matti has been involved with high technology start-up investments since the start of the millennium, including working as a partner at the privately owned Finnish VC company, Aura Capital from 2006-2013. There he held chairmanships and directorships in several companies with science based IP assets and technologies, from live-cell imaging to material sciences and software businesses. Matti is also a founding shareholder and advisor of Confido Capital, a boutique asset management house regulated by the Finnish FSA. Prior to his startup life, Matti worked at McKinsey&Co and ING Asset Management. He holds an M.Sc. in Economics from the University of Helsinki and UA de Madrid.

Matti Hautsalo
Milla Koistinaho
Milla Koistinaho (PhD)
Member of the Board
Biography

Milla Koistinaho (PhD)

Member of the Board

Milla Koistinaho

Dr. Milla Koistinaho leads commercialization of Life Science inventions arising from the University of Helsinki. She serves as a member of Board of Directors at Valo Tx. Milla has over 15 years of experience in commercializing biomedical inventions. She is a co-inventor in >30 patent applications and a founder of three startup companies based in academic, cutting edge science in Finland. Having served in managerial positions Milla has gained experience in bio-pharmaceutical project management, IPR generation and management, fundraising, out-licensing and other corporate transactions. Milla did her postgraduate training at Eli Lilly and Company, USA. She holds Adjunct Professorship in Neurobiology at University of Eastern Finland and completed her PhD thesis in collaboration with Stanford University and Scios Inc., USA. Since 2013 Milla has been a member of the Board at Finnish Bioindustries.

Milla Koistinaho
Michael Stein
Dr. Michael Stein
Executive Chairman of the Board
Biography

Dr. Michael Stein

Executive Chairman of the Board

Michael Stein

Dr. Michael Stein, Chairman and CEO of OxStem Ltd., the award-winning bio-technology spin-out from the University of Oxford, is a serial entrepreneur, medical scientist, business executive, and strategic advisor with senior experience in healthcare, media and software industries. He is highly skilled in business development at the top levels of government and corporate enterprise. In 2001, he co-founded the Map of Medicine Ltd (the Map) with University College London. The Map was nationally licensed across NHS England (2005-15) and is now primarily used by commissioners for planning healthcare services across the continuum of care in the NHS and other countries. The Map was acquired by Hearst Business Media (HBM) in 2008, and Michael transitioned as executive vice-president (healthcare innovation) to HBM until 2011. Since 2011, Michael has assisted a number of start-up businesses, notably serving as the founding CEO for Doctor Care Anywhere, acquired by Synergix in 2015. Michael graduated as a medical doctor (Honours) and biochemist (First Class Honours) from the University of Cape Town (1988) and from the University of Oxford (Rhodes Scholar) with a doctorate in Physiological Sciences (Immunology). He subsequently was appointed as a Junior Research Fellow in Medicine at Trinity College, Oxford (1992-95).

Michael Stein

Scientific Advisors

Vincenzo Cerullo
Prof. Vincenzo Cerullo
Scientific Founder, Member of the Board
Biography

Prof. Vincenzo Cerullo

Scientific Founder, Member of the Board

Vincenzo Cerullo

Prof. Vincenzo Cerullo, Scientific Founder, is a tenure-track associate professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, at the University of Helsinki. He is the group leader at the Immunovirotherapy Lab (IVTLab) at the Centre for Drug Research (CDR). He has extensive experience in the field of immunology research, having received several academic awards for work he completed during both his post-graduate work and extensive research career (over 70 peer reviewed publications). His recent research grants including a large development grant from the European council of research (2 million Euros) and other major grants from the Finnish Cancer Foundation and the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation. 

Vincenzo Cerullo