Helico - Co-founder and CEO of Helico
Ilya is the co-founder and CEO of Helico. Coming from a corporate innovation and entrepreneurship background, Ilya has helped some of the world’s most progressive companies, such as Abbot Health, General Motors and the Environmental Protection Agency, deliver future-proof solutions. Ilya’s aspiration is to create business models that make technology available to the widest possible audience and contribute in socially responsible ways. Ilya received his undergraduate degree from Brandeis University and Masters in Commercialization and Entrepreneurship (MCE) from the University of Auckland.
Helico is a biotechnology company located in Auckland, New Zealand. Created in 2020 by plant and computational scientists, with the aim to bring medicines for those that need it the most. We believe that the union of in silico predictions and wet lab experiments will allow us to accelerate R&D processes and to quickly introduce our plant models to the world.
At Helico, our goal is to unlock the innate ability of plants to become factories for medicinal compounds. Employing innovative research in computational biology and plant physiology, we’ve packed advanced manufacturing facilities in seeds to produce the world’s most needed medicines with low-cost agriculture.
For millennia, humans have relied on the ability of plants to produce useful medicines. Recent advances in genetic engineering help us control the natural abilities of plants and transform them into biological factories.
Helico is enabling the next generation of biologics using plant-based production of high-quality, environmentally-safe compounds. Our vision is to become a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company that improves access to therapies where there are global supply shortages or unmet production needs. Our work evolves in the area of advanced computational science and plant biology, leading to expression and the production of proteins, antibodies, and enzymes in host plants. Our business model aims to develop plant-based, stable production lines, delivering rapid, scalable eco-friendly commercial Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation (CDMO) services in confined greenhouses that can be implemented anywhere in the world using conventional agriculture, without specialised staff or high capital expenditure.
Our process follows rigorous multidisciplinary science .
First, we assess the compound of interest using Helico’s proprietary computational algorithms. Specifically trained on biological data, the model greatly speeds up geneticwork in plants. The target is then evaluated in the lab with HTS models based on transient expression. Once the target is validated, we move to the generation of stable lines, the final deliverable. What’s more, we’re developing extraction and purification methods to achieve the best commercial yields based on our clients’ specifications.
Plants as miniature protein factories
Our vision is to turn plants into useful production facilities for essential medicine that’s accessible to anybody that needs it. Wherever they are in the world.
We’re on a humanitarian mission to explore the emerging frontiers at the intersection of science, technology and nature. Our single-minded purpose is to develop lifesaving medicine for people around the world. We will achieve this by bringing together the best of what computational biology, plant biomanufacturing and human integrity have to offer.