Gene therapy is an experimental technique that uses genes to treat or prevent diseases, like cancer and some other inherited diseases. This technology has a lot of potential to change the future and no one knows this better than Doctor David Mosmuller, the co-founder and CEO of SanaGen, a gene therapy startup. This is why we took our time to talk to him and learn all we could from him.
Who is David Mosmuller?
David Mosmuller was born in the South of Holland. He grew up in The Hague and gained his medical degree at the University of Maastricht, and also got a Master’s degree. After finishing his education in 2010 he moved to Amsterdam where he got his Ph.D. in plastic surgery and began to work as a cosmetic physician. David worked full-time as a cosmetic physician for a few years but then he decided that he wanted to do more than that. He wanted more challenges and wanted to make a bigger impact in the world, this is why he joined the blood products company called Sanquin Plasma Products. At Sanquin, David specialized in Hemophilia; he made use of the opportunity to learn everything he could about it. Due to his expertise in hemophilia, he was approached by Novo Nordisk who asked him to work with them for the launch of some products in the Netherlands and so he joined the company. Eventually, he started to learn about the business side of the company, which needed to make profit. David admitted it was hard for him to put his medical part aside and see the business point of view. He learned about the boards and policies that govern pharmaceutical companies and although they are in the healthcare industry, profits still have to be made. These experiences helped to shape his decisions in creating a start-up.
These extra experiences and training have helped him work on his start-up SanaGen.
What is SanaGen?
SanaGen is a start-up focused on gene therapy. They aim to cure people from chronic diseases that will last and secure them for at least 5 to 10 years and possibly lifelong. They also have a social aim to help outreach to the world and offer gene therapy globally because 75% of patients with bleeding disorders worldwide have little or no access to therapy. They aim to reach a global population, especially in developing countries, and make a change to as many people as possible.
David admits that running a Start-up isn’t as easy as most people think although it does have its upsides like decisions are made quickly, and most of the decisions are made by you, but the downside is that you do not have the financial backing of a board so most of the finances have to be covered by you. However, one of the major reasons David switched to his start-up is because he wanted to make a huge impact in the world by following his heart. He wanted to develop an innovative product that is likely to touch a lot of patients and change their lives.
SanaGen also collaborates with Fair Medicine to increase its social dimension. David believes that Fair Medicine also has an important role to play in the future of healthcare. He says that Fair Medicine are working hard to increase collaborations between pharmaceutical companies and increase transparency in the healthcare industry because that is one of the things that are missing right now.
Transparency is important because it helps the public understand why some treatments are so expensive, and others are not, through a cost-based model that shows the different costs for research, clinical trials and development. This way, people can understand the reason treatment costs the way it does. That is one of the current problems in the industry, and this one of the important roles of Fair Medicine.
Another important role of Fair Medicine is that it can help to bring forgotten medicines that are effective to the limelight. They help the pharmaceutical companies to see that these drugs are effective and needed and then they can pursue a partnership.
Speaking on his company’s relationship with patients David said:.
“I think it’s very important to see it from a patient perspective that’s also one of the milestones from Fair medicine. It’s really important of course to listen to the patient because of what the patient needs and with gene therapies, of course, is quite easy. This is going to solve many problems in healthcare.”
He believes that the patient’s role is key because all the treatment is done for the patient and they are in the center of it.
SanaGen is a startup that is focused on generating the right products and so has not begun the digital promotion of their work yet, although they do have a small website. They are also focused on getting alternative sources of funding and making collaborations with NIN, Neuroscience Institute, and Sanquin. David admits that improvements will be made on marketing side, but first they will complete their ongoing projects.
SanaGen doesn’t only work on rare bleeding disorders involving Factor X deficiency, (although that is their primary focus), they also work on Factor 7 deficiencies, Hemophilia A, and are working hard to develop other products that would be effective on liver diseases. He hopes that he will be able to spread out to other diseases and affect more change to the millions of lives affected by these disorders.
David also hopes that SanaGen would be able to perform human clinical trials with their products in less than three years. This could be a lot faster with proper funding and David and SanaGen are more than open to financing from corporations or the public.
We have a lot of faith in SanaGen and Gene Therapy and cannot wait to see the results from their hard work.