Dr. Rudy Ippodrino, Ph.D.

Rudy Ippodrino specialized in Gene Therapy, having studied Adeno-Associated viral vectors at the Molecular Medicine Lab in ICGEB (Trieste); he was also awarded his PhD in Molecular Biology by the Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa). His creativity, combined with his vocation for biotech innovation, pushed him to found Ulisse BioMed in order to generate high-tech platforms and to develop disruptive products that could transform modern medicine.

Dr.ssa Bruna Marini, Ph.D.

Bruna Marini was awarded her PhD in Molecular Biology by the Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa) for her research performed in the Molecular Medicine Lab in ICGEB (Trieste). Her PhD thesis, focused on the study of the influence of nuclear architecture on HIV integration, was published in the prestigious Nature journal. After her PhD, she decided to found Ulisse BioMed to start her own career in applied research; she believes that scientific discoveries need to be efficiently translated into the health and wellbeing of the people. 

Dr.ssa Alice Avian, M.Sc.

Alice Avian graduated from the University of Trieste, with a thesis in Medical Biotechnologies studying the role of long non-coding RNA in pharmacogenomics. She was granted a fellowship to spend a period of research at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain). For her, Ulisse BioMed is a chance to enter the world of applied research, between science and industry, where the customer’s need is as important as scientific autonomy.

Dr. Marco Mocenigo, M.Sc.

Marco Mocenigo graduated from the University of Trieste, with a thesis in Medical Biotechnologies, having already performed wide research in high-level international and national centers, such as ICGEB and Burlo Garofolo IRCSS in Trieste. Furthermore, he has taken part in a project on experimental proteomics at the prestigious Lund University (Sweden). He joined Ulisse BioMed initially through the regional Pipol internship, in order to start a stimulating pathway as PhD student in a Start Up company.

Dr. Daniele Cortolezzis, M.B.A.

Daniele Cortolezzis graduated in Computer Science from the University of Udine and he gained a Master in Business Administration at Fondazione CUOA, Vicenza. He worked for more than a decade in industry, he was professor at the University of Udine (Economics and Engineering) and was a public administrator (President of Council, Udine). He was President of the National Committee for the Innovation in the Italian Health System, Federsanità-Anci. Now he is President and Board Member of Ulisse BioMed.

Dr. Furio Impellizzeri, M.Sc.

Furio Impellizzeri graduated in Political Science from the University of Trieste, with a particular focus on Economics. He started his career as financial consultant in 1985. After collaborating with several companies in the financial sector, he joined Copernico Sim S.p.a. as an associate, from its establishment in 2000; he has been a Board Member since 2003 and Vice-President from 2004 to 2014. Since 2015 he has been a Board Member of Ulisse BioMed.

Dr.ssa Valentina Tosato, Ph.D.

Valentina Tosato graduated from the University of Trieste in Pharmaceutical Chemistry with a focus on biotechnologies; her Master Thesis was awarded a prize for the best Italian thesis in the field of molecular biology, by the President of the Republic. After a PhD in Nanobiotechnology at the Philipps Universität of Marburg (Germany), she worked as a researcher at the Yeast Molecular Genetics, ICGEB (Trieste), focusing on microbiology and yeast genetics. She is the author of several scientific papers published in international peer-reviewed journals. She has also gained experience in applied research, working as a lab manager in two Startup companies focused on industrial biotechnologies.

Joseph R. Kates, Ph.D.

Joseph R. Kates obtained his PhD in Biochemical Sciences at Princeton University. At the age of 33 he was asked to be the founding Chairman of the Department of Microbiology in the School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, New York. Under his guidance, that Department soon became a world-class center for molecular virology. His outstanding scientific contributions included the first demonstration that viruses code for and carry their own polymerases in the virus particle. This influenced the discovery of reverse transcriptase in HIV by Temin and Baltimore. His laboratory also discovered the existence of poly-A on messenger RNA, the timing and semiconservative mode of DNA replication during meiosis, the proof that centrioles in eukaryotic cells do not arise from pre-existing centrioles but are generated de novo. After some years at Scripps Clinic, in La Jolla, as Chairman of the Department of Cellular Biology, he joined Bayer Pharmaceuticals as a Director of Research, where he was a major player in the development of recombinant Factor-VIII for the treatment of hemophilia as well as other biotechnology product candidates. His position interacted directly with top Bayer management and he became proficient in the strategic and tactical aspects of drug development. He then worked as a top manager at the National Cancer Institute, where his work there laid the foundation for the current designation of this site as Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research. He has recently cofounded and serves as head of the Scientific Advisory Board of Kangti Biomedical, a company based in Singapore.

Mission

Ulisse BioMed is an innovative StartUp active in healthcare. The company is developing novel, quick and cheap diagnostic solutions for viral infections and tumor detection. The first goal of Ulisse BioMed is to revolutionize the early diagnosis of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which causes cervical cancer in women.

Cervical cancer is one of the most prevalent malignant tumours worldwide in women between 15 and 44 years old, with about 500,000 new diagnoses per year. In Italy there are about 53,000 women diagnosed with cervical cancer, with a rate of 3,400 new cases/year. This cancer is caused by persistent infection with certain high-risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV) types. The Pap Test is a cytology-based test that is commonly used to diagnose the presence of tumour cells at the uterine cervix. Although the use of the Pap test has contributed to saving millions of lives and still does, its sensitivity and accuracy are very variable because this test mostly relies on the expertise of the operator. In addition to specialized operators, the Pap test requires specific equipment and laboratories, it is expensive, and it is considered invasive and annoying. On the other hand, HPV DNA tests are highly sensitive, but they are even more expensive and are poorly predictive, because only a few HPV infections will eventually lead to cancer development. A positive HPV DNA test usually forces the woman to undergo additional follow-up tests, such as the Pap test or more invasive analysis such colposcopy, in which a biopsy of the cervix is often taken. In this context, Ulisse BioMed business idea aims at developing innovative tests that are more reliable, easier to use, painless and also cheaper, thus alleviating the burden on the public health services. Moreover, considering their ease and immediacy of use, and especially given that these new tests can be performed outside the lab, it will be easy to expand their use into all social and economic contexts.

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From left: Marco Mocenigo, Alice Avian, Daniele Cortolezzis, Bruna Marini, Rudy Ippodrino

Our History

Summer 2013

Bruna Marini, Rudy Ippodrino and Luca Braga create the Easy Pap Team in order to develop cutting-edge technologies for the detection of human pathogens and cancers. Federica Marini, a young economist, develops the first business plan.

Winter 2013

The concept of Easy Pap, a small medical device able to detect human Papillomavirus, wins the first prize award at the Startup Opportunity Competition in Pordenone (Italy).

Winter 2014

Easy Pap Team is awarded one of the top-5 projects at the Marzotto Award Competition for young entrepreneurs, competing with more than 800 Italian projects; Easy Pap was awarded 30.000€ of incubation and lab services at the Filarete Foundation (Milano, Italy).

April 2015

In collaboration with Copernico Innovazione S.r.l., a joint venture is created. The new Startup is called Ulisse BioMed, in honour of Ulysses, the mithological figure, one of the most famous heroes in the West: curious, smart, brave, Ulysses exploited his intelligence and brilliance to survive and overcome many obstacles.

May 2015

The startup Ulisse BioMed is awarded a major grant, “Smart & Start Invitalia” from the Italian Government, worth 260.000€.

January 2016

Ulisse BioMed is funded with 1.000.000 € by 771 new shareholders.

January 2016

Inauguration of the new Ulisse BioMed labs at the Area Science Park, Trieste.

Acknowledgements