Private investor will support basic cancer-related research at IOCB Prague by € 1.75 million

Last week, an extraordinary agreement was signed between the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IOCB Prague) and BTCZ Ventures of the bpd partners group on the financial support of the basic research of Dr. Zuzana Kečkéšová Group, focusing on new treatment against cancer, amounting to up to 1.75 million euros.

Zuzana Kečkéšová worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States until last year. Here she devoted herself to cancer-related research, especially trying to understand the mechanisms that make certain tissues of the human body almost never suffer from cancer. She has succeeded in discovering a protein that can effectively protect these organs from cancer. In autumn 2017, Zuzana Kečkéšová established a new research group at IOCB Prague, where she continues her research. Soon after that, Zuzana Kečkéšová won the prestigious EMBO grant, a grant from the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic and now also a financial support of a private company BTCZ Ventures of the bpd partners group.

"My research will focus in part on the detailed characterization of our newly discovered tumor-suppressor LACTB, a protein that prevents the development of tumors, and its potential use in cancer therapy," says Dr. Zuzana Kečkéšová. "Thanks to the funding, we will be able to devote ourselves to other tumor suppressors I have discovered along with LACTB in the study of non-cancerous tissues, which I have not been able to study in detail due to lack of finance and staff."

BTCZ Ventures is committed to financially support the research of Zuzana Kečkéšová's laboratory between 2018 and 2022, up to a total of 1.75 million euros. The results of this research will remain the intellectual property of the IOCB Prague, while BTCZ Ventures will obtain an exclusive license for future patents.

This type of partnership is unique in supporting original ideas and promising basic research before any patent was filed. This opens new opportunities for basic research funding in the Czech Republic. It proves that private investors can contribute already at an early stage to expanding new insight into the functioning of the human body and the prospects for future therapies.

BTCZ Ventures s.r.o. is a company founded by bpd partners and B3 Holding to invest in interesting start-up projects in the field of biotechnology and medical technology.

"We know that science and research in the Czech Republic are of a world-class quality in a number of areas, and we are glad that we can participate in Dr. Kečkéšová’s project to support such research. Our priority is to support innovative science projects and to be reliable partners for the world of science and new technologies," said Miroslav Tvrzník, a representative of BTCZ Ventures, at the signing of the agreement.

The cooperation with BTCZ Ventures is also welcomed by the IOCB Prague director Zdeněk Hostomský. "Such extensive support of basic research by private capital is rare in the European environment, and we are proud to see that something like that has been achieved and perhaps shows others the way forward. The fact that our institute has systematically and professionally developed the area of technology transfer within its subsidiary IOCB Tech played an important role in this," says Zdeněk Hostomský, adding: "It is obvious that only high-quality basic research and its results can help our society. And it's great to see that it's also attractive for experts from the investment world."


From the left: Jaromír Zahrádka - i&i Prague CEO, Miroslav Tvrzník - BTCZ Ventures representative, Zuzana Kečkéšová - Group leader at IOCB Prague, Zdeněk Hostomský - IOCB Prague Director