Protyon develops predictive software for treatment of lung cancer in new learning project of Open Diagnostics Ecosystem. Improving the quality of life and prolongation of life for people suffering from cancer. That is the goal of the software that the medtech startup Protyon from Groningen develops. This software enables clinicians to select the best possible, personalised treatment option for each individual lung cancer patient, based on molecular modelling of unknown mutations in cancer.Protyon has started a new learning project at the Open Diagnostics Ecosystem (ODE) on May 1, to develop a working prototype of this software technique. Protyon receives a grant of over 92.000 euros for the project from ODE. The project that runs until 21 October 2023, Protyon collaborates with the UMCG, the University of Groningen (UG) and Researchable, a company from Groningen, specialised in software development and data.
Matthew Groves, Chief Science Officer of Protyon: “Our pilot study together with the UG and the UMCG shows that the use of molecular modelling analysis is of value for the selection of effective treatment for lung cancer patients. This type of analysis has actually been used the past six years by the Molecular Tumour Board (MTB Groningen) of the UMCG, but the analysis has been done so far by hand. In this learning project, we want to make a prototype of the software program, named Voythea, that allows us to automate the process. Ultimately, we are working towards a model in which the analysis is done by an algorithm, that is also effective in the treatment of other forms of cancer.”
Lung cancer often develops because of deviations or mutations in important proteins. During the course of the illness new mutations develop, causing the chosen treatment to lose its effectiveness. The software of Protyon creates a 3D model of the mutated protein based on the genetic code of the mutation, allowing clinicians to analyse much better which treatment will be effective. The name of the company contains the essence of the startup: a contraction of ‘Procyon’ and protein. Rositsa Jordanova, CEO at Protyon: “Procyon is the name of a very bright star, that used to function as a navigation point for sailors. The combinations sums up our mission well: to be a navigator for clinicians who fight protein driven diseases.”
CEO Rositsa Jordanova stresses the important role of clinicians and researchers at the UG and the UMCG: “With the development of this software, we build on the very important pioneering work of the UMCG, especially the MTB Groningen. The MTB Groningen is the platform for the implementation of a personalised treatment plan for rare and complicated molecular changes in cancer patients. The UMCG is to date the only hospital that uses molecular modelling: they have been true game changers in the treatment of lung cancer.”
National and international interest
The first research and pilot studies show good results for patients, that exactly match the mission of Protyon: better quality of life and where possible the prolongation of life, sometimes up to 18 months. The results of the MTB and of Protyon do not go unnoticed in the medical world, says Groves: “We notice a keen interest from other Dutch and international hospitals for this technique.” Daan van Oldeniel, business developer at ODE: “The aim of ODE is to make the Northern Netherlands a worldwide expert in the development of innovative diagnostics. This national and international interest shows how well this project Protyon fits within our ecosystem.”
The healthtech start-up Protyon has been established in 2022 as a spin-out of the University of Groningen and the UMCG Innovation Center. This entity within the UMCG helps health professionals and researchers in and outside the UMCG to turn their innovation into a success. Protyon develops software that allows clinicians to establish personalised treatment for lung cancer patients based on the molecular modelling of mutations in lung cancer. The origin of the company lies in the year in 2016. In this year the collaboration between prof. dr. Matthew Groves, professor in the molecular biology at the UG and Josef Melcr, researcher at the UG in the field of biophysics, chemistry and biology, takes off with precursors of the molecular modelling by hand. The goal of Protyon is to develop an algorithm that allows molecular modelling tools swiftly, cost effective and automatically for all types of cancer in favour of effective treatments. More information: www.protyon.tech