Ritu Lal is a pharmacologist with more than 20 years in the biotech industry, she focused on this sector because she wanted to help people that have no treatments for their multiple diseases and so, GEn1E Lifesciences was created.
What is GEn1E Lifesciences?
GEn1E is a Silicon Valley based biotech company building a platform for treating inflammatory and age-related diseases.
GEn1E’s name, pronounced genie, is inspired by the magical lamp.
The n1 in the name signifies its fast market entry strategy, to start with a rare disease (therefore n1, small numbers of patients) and then unlock the platform for multiple diseases of inflammation and aging.
"I have been on this mission since I graduated with my Bachelor's Degree from India and then moved to the USA to complete my Masters and then PhD in Pharmacology"Ritu Lal
First, what does ARDS mean?
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is a devastating lung condition caused by injury to the lungs. This injury can occur from coronavirus or influenza, or smoke inhalation, etc.
Once the lungs are injured, fluids enter the lungs and fill them causing pulmonary edema, in which people cannot breathe and die.
Currently, there is no FDA approved medicine for it. The standard of care is to put patients on their stomachs, or put them on a ventilator and decrease the tidal volume on the ventilator so as not to injure the lungs.
Health sector around the world
COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world but also gave the opportunity to innovate and solve health diseases like ARDS.
Ritu thinks that this is a moment that entrepreneurs must not miss, that it's time to start the journey and focus on what's really affecting us and our health.
"This is an opportunity for us to help find treatments for COVID-19 and cut down the cost and development timelines to get medicines as fast as posible to the patients in need"Ritu Lal
Challenges along with the creation of GEn1E drugs
Ritu mentioned that their first challenge was that only a few people knew what was ARDS, and she had to spend time educating people about how devastating this disease is.
Now, with COVID-19, ARDS is the leading cause of death for seriously ill patients with COVID-19
So now, awareness of ARDS is high and people understand how dire ARDS is and how important it is to find a cure as fast as possible.
How do GEn1E drugs work in our system?
Gen1E drugs are p38 alpha kinase inhibitors that can treat ARDS and many other inflammatory diseases.
For ARDS, it stabilizes and regenerates the lung cells and prevents fluids from entering the lungs. The drug itself enters the lungs and decreases fluids inside the lungs. Thus, the ARDS patient’s fluids in the lungs go down and they can breathe again and be alive.
"We are working very hard and plan to be in the clinic as early as this year. We are considering countries where we can run the first human healthy subject study smoothly"Ritu Lal
What does Ritu enjoy the most as an entrepreneur?
To Ritu, being able to make an impact and save patient's lives is the reason why she wakes up every morning. She works hard to achieve their goal of giving these medicines to the patients.
Also, she told us that working with her close-knit team members, advisors, and investor partners, is something that loves and has helped them in their growth as a company.
"SV Latam has been an incredible investment partner for us and they have helped turbocharge our initiatives! We also enjoyed being in Y Combinator, and the Stanford accelerator, StartX – as they helped us connect with a community of entrepreneurs and accelerated our growth", Ritu ends.