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October 10, 2022 / 2022 Power 25 Health Care

2022 Power 25 Health Care: Ashley Kalinauskas

HBJ PHOTO | STEVE LASCHEVER Torigen CEO Ashley Kalinauskas with her four-year-old mini goldendoodle.

Entrepreneur Ashley Kalinauskas loves pets and co-founded Farmington-based Torigen Pharmaceuticals in 2013 with the mission of developing a cancer vaccine for animals.

The 32-year-old Kalinauskas, the company’s CEO, has a staff that is comprised of cancer researchers, veterinarians, and veterinary professionals focused on providing the most advanced cancer care services for a wide variety of companion animals.

The company — which is currently developing an animal cancer vaccine called VetiVax — has inked several key partnerships this year, including with Vidium Animal Health to offer veterinarians cancer diagnosis and treatment services for dogs, cats and horses.

In June, Torigen announced a distribution agreement with MWI Animal Health, a national distributor of animal health products and services.

Torigen produces an experimental autologous cancer immunotherapy, a type of individualized treatment that uses an animal’s own tumor cells to create an anti-tumor immune response.

As of early this year, Kalinauskas’ startup had raised nearly $8 million and signed a new 9,090-square-foot lease at 6 Executive Drive in Farmington.

In a January 2022 interview with the Hartford Business Journal, Kalinauskas said that five years from now “I believe that we will be able to transform translational therapies and provide more dogs and cats access to advanced cancer therapeutics. Our goal is to continue growing our pipeline and making a difference.”

The company’s vaccine represents a significant commercial opportunity as there are about 4 million to 6 million dogs and 6 million cats diagnosed with cancer each year. Studies show that more than half of all dogs over 10 die from cancer.

Kalinauskas graduated from UConn in 2012 with an undergraduate degree in pathobiology, and went on to complete her master’s at the University of Notre Dame.

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