USF Research News

The USF Tampa Bay Technology Incubator Welcomes Venn Therapeutics

January 4, 2017

Company focused on developing the next wave of disruptive immuno-oncology therapies.

Sam Shrivastava
Sam Shrivastava

TAMPA, Fla. – Venn Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on developing immuno-oncology therapies, has recently joined the University of South Florida’s Tampa Bay Technology Incubator (TBTI). The company’s focus is on immune system priming and advances therapies that trigger the body’s innate immune response to target cancer.

Current immuno-oncology therapies help between 10-30 percent of the patient population. Venn is designed to meet the needs of the large group of patients who are unresponsive to current therapies. Their novel therapeutics will be used both alone and in combination with other therapies that target the adaptive immune system.

Most current cancer immunotherapies focus primarily on the adaptive system. Venn Therapeutics, which licensed their first asset in February 2016, believes that triggering the innate immune system in combination with harnessing adaptive immunity is essential to produce durable, long-term survival in patients.

“Our focus is developing cancer therapies designed to power the immune system to kill cancer cells,” said Sam Shrivastava, Venn Therapeutics’ chairman and chief executive officer. “By turning the immune system ‘on’ and harnessing the natural ability of the body to fight aberrant cells, we are hoping to provide better patient outcomes.” Venn Therapeutics is currently developing a pipeline of novel, first-in-class agents that overcome immunosuppression by modulating the innate immune system. The company's pipeline includes a novel therapeutic for p53 engineered personalized cancer vaccine, which is in Phase II clinical trials, as well as a STING based platform technologies and a novel Oncolytic virus therapy.

“We have multiple shots to develop a successful cancer therapy and we can do that at a major cost advantage to competitors. We intend to also strike deals with major pharmaceutical companies in the very near future to advance our lead asset into clinic,” Shrivastava said. “We are excited to see our drug pipeline mature.” The TBTI supports technology research as a catalyst for economic development and advocates the creation and development of facilities for high-technology companies and related support functions. As an Incubator company, Venn Therapeutics will have access to dedicated wet lab and office space as well as essential, costly research equipment.

“We are very pleased to be part of the Tampa Bay Technology Incubator,” Shrivastava said. “Being able to utilize the TBTI laboratories and facilities is helping our company perform essential R&D functions and is providing fundamental support as we move towards our goal of expanding the population of patients who received clinical benefit from immunotherapy.”

Venn Therapeutics was recently awarded funding from the University of South Florida Research Foundation’s Seed Capital Accelerator program.

“The Seed Accelerator program was created to help TBTI affiliated companies like Venn Therapeutics reach specific goals in a year or less, allowing startups to reach critical development milestones and advance to the next step of commercialization more rapidly,” said Valerie McDevitt, USF associate vice president for technology transfer & business partnerships.

For more information about Venn Therapeutics, please visit: "

About Venn Therapeutics

Venn Therapeutics, is an immuno-priming company focused on developing novel, first-in-class drugs that polarize tumor-resident innate immune cells to an anti-tumor phenotype and reverse the immunosuppressive microenvironment found within tumors.

We are delighted to work with some of the leading scientists and researchers in Oncology, who are widely recognized as leaders in their respective area of expertise.

For investor relations, please contact, Dr. David Sobek at 225-284-4308 or

About the Tampa Bay Technology Incubator

The University of South Florida's Tampa Bay Technology Incubator (TBTI) is one vehicle through which USF CONNECT grows successful companies. TBTI supports technology research as a catalyst for economic development and advocates the creation and development of facilities for high-technology companies and related support functions. USF CONNECT focuses on the needs of Tampa Bay's technology and bio/life sciences entrepreneurs throughout the business life cycle, providing the facilities, partners and resources for successful business development. USF CONNECT offers access to technologies, workforce programs, technology commercialization, critical research equipment, and incubator facilities, adding value and delivering targeted, high level expertise to its member businesses.


The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 50 research university among public institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving over 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.