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February 20, 2023 / 2023 Power 50

2023 Power 50: 45. Ashley Kalinauskas

HBJ PHOTO | STEVE LASCHEVER Ashley Kalinauskas is the 31-year-old founder and CEO of Torigen Pharmaceuticals, which is developing an animal cancer vaccine called VetiVax.

Torigen Pharmaceuticals Inc. CEO and co-founder Ashley Kalinauskas founded her company in 2013 with the mission of developing a cancer vaccine for animals.

The 33-year-old entrepreneur has made significant strides since that time developing new products to help pets diagnosed with cancer and other immune diseases.

Torigen raised $13 million in 2022 and is focusing this year on developing new therapeutics to help dogs and cats with immune-mediated diseases, including dry-eye and lymphoma, among others.

In a recent interview with the Hartford Business Journal, Kalinauskas said the company’s goal “is to create the industry’s first oncology toolbox for veterinarians.”

Torigen – which is in the process of developing an animal cancer vaccine called VetiVax – inked several partnerships in 2022, including with Vidium Animal Health to offer veterinarians cancer diagnosis and treatment services for dogs, cats and horses.

Vidium Animal Health has experience in veterinary cancer pathology and offers genomic diagnostic testing. Torigen also produces an experimental cancer immunotherapy, a type of individualized treatment that uses an animal’s own tumor cells to create an anti-tumor immune response.

In the summer of 2022, Torigen announced a distribution agreement with MWI Animal Health, a national distributor of animal health products and services.

In 2022, Torigen created personalized vaccines for 928 dogs, 91 cats, 112 horses, one bear and a donkey.

The company recently signed a lease for a 9,090-square-foot building at 6 Executive Dr., in Farmington.

Kalinauskas started Torigen based off her graduate thesis project at the University of Notre Dame. She graduated from UConn in 2012 with an undergraduate degree in pathobiology, and completed her master's at the University of Notre Dame. Torigen’s experimental autologous cancer vaccine is based on the research of Dr. Mark Suckow, Kalinauskas’ former Notre Dame professor.

Find out who else is in the 2023 Power 50.

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