Catching Up with Our 2017 Winners – Pykus Therapeutics

Meet Pykus Therapeutics, a 2017 alum and $100K winner that is developing a dissolvable intraocular device to make retinal surgery less painful and more successful.

Today, patients are forced to lay face-down for a week or more to keep the gas bubble, which is injected to affix the retina during surgery, directed against the back of their eye. The team is working to not only remove these lifestyle burdens, but also improve surgical outcomes and reduce reoperation rates altogether.

We had a chance to catch up with Dr. Thomasz Stryjewski, Co-Founder and CEO, about his experience going through the MC accelerator:


Take us back to MassChallenge Awards... what was going through your mind when you heard your startup name called to the stage?
It was a bit overwhelming to be honest, but once the nerves settled we really came back to the why and how of what we are doing—to improve the lives of our patients. It was a real shot in the arm to get that validation from MC.

As a winner, how do you plan to use the cash prize to further accelerate growth?
The MC cash prize will fund enabling studies that get us to a pre-IDE meeting with FDA in Q1 2018.

What would you say has been the key driver of your success throughout the program?
Mentors who believe in us and what we are trying to achieve for our patients.

What has been the hardest lesson to learn?
Keep your guard up!

What advice do you have for startups thinking about applying to MC?
It's an incredible journey, but we have had our share of bumps along the way. You can't do this alone. Having a co-founder and strong support system is key for going through this process. I probably would have given up if not for the team I have to lean on.