Yale biotech startup Yiviva was recently awarded an Innovation Award at the US-China Health Summit. Yiviva is developing therapeutics, inspired by botanical medicines, to treat chronic diseases and cancer. Yiviva’s pipeline is based around patented research from Dr. Yung Chi Cheng, the Henry Bronson Professor of Pharmacology at Yale and Chairman of the Consortium for the Globalization of Chinese Medicine. Cheng is the scientific founder of past venture successes Achillion and PhytoCeutica.
Peikwen Cheng, Yiviva’s Co-Founder, describes the US-China Health Summit as an important forum for their company. Yiviva is planning Phase II clinical studies in liver cancer in the United States and China - over half of the world’s liver cancer cases are in China, with a majority of cases associated with Hepatitis B.
Yiviva’s lead candidate cancer drug ,906, is based on an 1800-year old traditional Chinese medicine formula. In clinical studies in liver, colorectal and pancreatic cancer, 906 has shown to increase the safety and efficacy for a broad spectrum of cancer treatments. In a Phase I/II hepatocellular carcinoma study at Yale, Stanford and City of Hope, data suggests that 906 may significantly reduce gastrointestinal side-effects and increase survival for patients with Hepatitis B-associated liver cancer. The company is currently raising a Series A round to conduct Phase II clinical trials in the U.S. and China, and will have operations in both countries. “From both a business and a technology standpoint, we have deep ties to both places,” Cheng says.
The sixth US-China Health Summit took place over the first week of September in Xi’an, China, and was inaugurated at Harvard in 2011. It brings together policymakers, academic experts, and business leaders who have a keen interest in the rapidly transforming global health sector for direct dialogues and discussions. This was the second year the event featured an Innovation Competition, pitting four teams from China against four from the U.S.
“They were looking for early-stage companies, future innovators that can have an impact in the U.S. and China,” Cheng says. He adds that Yiviva brings together the best of the East and West in its approach to treating disease. “We’re accelerating discovery by learning from traditional medicines—using modern science to develop poly target botanical medicines to address complex diseases.”
Yiviva has utilized several programs and resources at Yale, receiving patent support and business advice from the Office of Cooperative Research and participating in the Venture Creation Program at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute where they received funding, mentorship and assistance in market research.