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Challenge finalist: Versantis (Switzerland)

The liver is a vital organ that performs multiple functions to keep the body free of toxins. Liver failure is often fatal. Versantis is developing a treatment that brings new hope to people with hepatic diseases.

     Its VS-01 therapy is a breakthrough in peritoneal dialysis. Its pH-gradient liposomes -- spherical vesicles composed of a phospholipid bilayer -- enhance the clearance of toxins such as ammonia. "Our product is more effective, safer and detoxifies patients' blood faster," the company says.

     Versantis expects to begin key trials in three years and is aiming for market approval in Europe in 2021, followed by approval and commercialization in Asia and the U.S.

     "By opening up new dimensions in the field of dialysis with a different approach, our mission is to save and improve the lives of liver patients worldwide, every day," said CEO Vincent Forster.

     According to the Pioneers Asia jury, Versantis is addressing a serious problem that has previously been neglected, with a very strong team and expertise. 

CEO: Vincent Forster

Twenty-four finalists will be chosen for Pioneers Asia Challenge, the main competition for advanced-stage startups. The Nikkei Asian Review will feature three finalists each week; this is the second week of entries from Europe, which had an earlier deadline for entry than those from Asia. The two other categories of competition -- Pioneers 90 Seconds Pitch and Pioneers Showroom -- are for seed and earlier-stage startups.

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