Month: November 2023

Alumni spotlight: Dewen Sun on co-founding DeSolve Technology

Name: Dewen Sun

Degree: MEng Materials Science and Engineering in the Department of Materials

Graduation Year: 2023

Current role: Head of R&D and Co-founder of DeSolve Technology (LinkedIn) and PhD Student at Ruhr University Bochum

  • Can you tell us about your current occupation and company? 

I am continuing my studies in Germany, pursuing a PhD in solid-state physics. My specialisation is quantum mechanical modelling and machine learning, which is also the focus of our start-up. This position not only allows me to enhance my knowledge in a structured and systematic manner, but it also provides a connection to the academic world, which is invaluable for an early-stage startup like us.

  • What inspired you to start this company?

A casual dinner conversation. My friend from Biochemistry mentioned the issue of insolubility when developing drugs. Many promising new compounds fail due to their lack of solubility in water, preventing them to be absorbed by our body. This forces researchers to develop complex carriers, which is still done largely through trial and error. This struck a chord with me. Having spent three summers working on solvent development within our department, I realised that the techniques that we have been using could also be applied here.

Putting our ideas to work, we decided to start a company developing drug carriers. We are working to provide a software solution that designs tailored carriers for individual drugs. Since then, we have been constantly energised by the prospect of contributing to the vital field of drug delivery and excited by the huge challenge ahead.

  • What are your ambitions for the future? 

Within our first year, we established many partnerships with commercial and academic experts in the field and are on track to develop a fully functional demonstrator by 2024. We are now working towards two aims in the coming years:

First, we will begin full collaboration with our laboratory partner to validate the scientific functions of our software and gain credibility for our product. We are also looking at beginning early-stage commercial rollout of our product and concept.

This will set us on track to becoming an established company for carrier development, providing a trusted and well-recognised product in the field. It will also allow us to maintain invaluable relationships with all players in the pharmaceutical field.

  • What piece of wisdom can you share with students?

The best advice I have is to make use of every available resource at Imperial.

From our colleagues and lecturers to the entrepreneurship programs, I would not have dared to do any of this without them. It was the incredible knowledge and insights of my colleagues that gave me the inspiration and the confidence to start this business. I would not have the capability to lead the research and development of such a complex product without building experiences through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Programme.

The business, marketing, and IP training from the Imperial Enterprise Lab was also absolutely invaluable. It helped us evaluate and reevaluate our business and refine our strategy, setting us on the right path.