LenioBio is focused on leveraging its revolutionary protein expression platform to affect major change in numerous industry sectors, from vaccine and drug development to the food industry.
This platform is known as ALiCE™ which had its origins at Dow AgriSciences and is now available for use for complex protein production thanks to the development efforts by the team at LenioBio.
ALiCE has been successfully deployed to the market as a protein expression kit, and now LenioBio are not only continuing to help their customers tackle their protein production challenges, but are in the process of scaling the business to include both an internal product pipeline and production capacity growth.
ttopstart: “Taking ALiCE from a kit-based business towards a scaled model that includes an internal pipeline of protein-based products is what will put LenioBio on the map as a leading global player in the protein biotechnology business, and it is thrilling to be a part of this process”.
From early days to a new dawn
Initially, Dr. Remerto Martis (Founder and CEO, LenioBio) was linked up to ttopstart in 2017 via a friend who had previously made good use of ttopstart’s consulting services for obtaining financing for their business. It was through the exploration of the EU’s Horizon 2020 funding between Dr. Martis and ttopstart, that the idea of scalability was validated for LenioBio.
Being encouraged to think about the craziest possible ambitions and having these ideas stress-tested is what caused a pivot for LenioBio to move from being solely a kit provider for R&D applications, to scaled industrial applicability.
Effectively the key question of ‘why stop at scaling the kit business when your platform technology is so good that it should be further developed and scaled itself?’ was the catalyst for change and acceleration of the biotech’s development.
“The best value that ttopstart brought was for LenioBio to think deeply about our ideas”, says Dr. Martis, as this led to the situation that, even if their funding bid was unsuccessful, LenioBio knew what now had to be done and would have pursued this via equity investment. Fortunately, the initial work between ttopstart and LenioBio paid off by being awarded a prestigious Horizon 2020 SME phase 2 grant in 2019.
What helped make a solid case for this financing was the ttopstart approach of using intensive strategic sessions with LenioBio which created a solid 5 – 10-year plan of operations.
As Dr. Martis stated: “ttopstart doesn’t force their view on a company, they co-develop the approach”.
Plan of attack
A business model was developed that allowed for LenioBio to continue expansion of the kits business to help fund the new strategic operations. This would both validate the technology and aid in marketing whilst not being full dependent on investor money for scalability. Further, ttopstart remains a growth partner for LenioBio, with continuation of the strategy days to keep stress-testing ideas.
Dr. Martis phrases it well: “ttopstart asks the questions that you know you should have answers to already, and if you don’t ask yourself these tough questions you’ll never have a clear strategy”.
Going from strength to strength
Recently, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, LenioBio has made a pivot to COVID-19 vaccine development. This initially emerged from discussions with ttopstart where they got clarity on the fact that vaccine development is in their company’s ‘why’ and their vision.
Indeed, at the core of the LenioBio name is lenoi, which is derived from the Latin “to ease, alleviate, make better”. The company is well positioned to make a future pandemic preparedness response with their technology since ALiCE can make any complex protein. And whilst such a move may be significantly disruptive to even the strongest life science businesses (that is, growing the established arm of a company whilst simultaneously entering new markets), it was due to the aforementioned strategy sessions that LenioBio has experienced minimal disruption during the pandemic since they could be highly prepared and adaptive. This adaptability comes in large part from knowing what can and should be put on hold, trimmed, or grown within the business.
As stated by Dr. Martis “The value of ttopstart is in helping build a company; getting financing is just one part of the equation”.
This fits in exactly with what ttopstart likes to frequently remind others of:
“financing without strategy is just throwing good money after bad, and strategy without financing leads to non-executable plans”. Fortunately, ttopstart is perfectly positioned at the intersection to cover both for our clients.