Ashley Kalinauskas, a 2013 ESTEEM grad, was recently recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 for her work with Torigen Pharmaceuticals. During her time in ESTEEM, Ashley worked on a Capstone Project with Dr. Suckow, the Director of Freimann Life Science Center and a Research Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Notre Dame. Her project entailed developing a commercialization strategy for his novel cancer vaccine portfolio, VetiVax. Over the course of the year she developed a full-scale business plan and went on to win second place at the McCloskey Business Plan Competition. Post-graduation, Ashley assumed the position of CEO, working to launch Torigen’s first product VetiVax into the market.
Torigen Pharmaceuticals is focused on delivering affordable veterinary cancer treatment to the general public. With over 2 million companion animals diagnosed with cancer each year, and treatment options exceeding $10,000 per animal, the need for a new type of cancer care is real. The VetiVax treatment that Ashley worked to commercialize boasts a cost of just $1,000 and no negative side effects. VetiVax is a personalized immunotherapy where the animal’s tumor cells are combined with an extracellular matrix which allows it to fight off its own cancer using its immune system. So far, almost 700 animals have been treated.
Ashley’s success with Torigen illustrates the core mission of ESTEEM to throw students into the entrepreneurial sandbox, teaching them how to take ideas that otherwise would remain untouched and transform them into businesses that create a tangible impact.