Machavert is on a mission to cure difficult to treat cancers


Dr. Jakub Staszak-Jirkovsky knew he wanted to create an impact during his lifetime. As founder and CEO of Machavert Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Staszak-Jirkovsky is making his dream a reality, proving that even the smallest of molecules have the potential for life-altering discoveries.

“Our goal is to improve the quality of life of patients suffering from difficult to treat cancers and autoimmune disorders,” according to Dr. Staszak-Jirkovsky. “Our pharmaceutical company is preclinical stage and focused on precision medicine cancer therapies.”

Machavert launched operations in Fitzsimons Innovation Community Bioscience 1 in 2015. In addition to his love for skiing, Dr. Staszak-Jirkovsky selected Denver as home for the company for more reasons than just fresh powder, including the ability to stretch his start-up funding and because of the resources available to entrepreneurial life sciences companies at Fitzsimons Innovation Community.

“When we started, we needed a chemical lab. Fitzsimons had one for us. And the close proximity of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus was vital. We were able to meet Dr. Dan Theodorescu, then Director of University of Colorado’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, and benefit from his groundbreaking discovery of genes that regulate tumor growth and metastasis. Dan continues to serve on our Science Advisory Board,” added Dr. Staszak-Jirkovsky.

The partnership with Dr. Theodorescu was the catalyst for Machavert’s most promising opportunity—advancing the new class of cancer therapeutics, RAL GTPase inhibitors, targeting KRAS mutant cancers.

KRAS mutant cancers are linked to nearly one-third of all cancers and are very difficult to treat. The breakthrough RAL inhibition approach addresses treatment complexities and provides promise for anti-cancer therapy. RAL GTPases effect RAS signaling and play a role in tumor proliferation, survival, and metastasis. A significant advantage to targeting RAL is the applicability against all subtypes of KRAS mutations and the potential to inhibit tumor metastasis and recurrence.

“As Machavert continues to evolve its products, Fitzsimons Innovation Community is here to support their expansion with the opening of our newest, largest facility—Bioscience 3,” said April Giles, vice president of business development for Fitzsimons. “In the new facility, the Machavert team will host their own custom biochemistry lab, have additional office space, and they can continue to leverage the broader Fitzsimons community for testing and compliance resources.”

“Fitzsimons changes in front of your eyes; the community is so vibrant. It helps when you’re running a start-up company. The energy is there; you see things changing around you all of the time,” said Dr. Staszak-Jirkovsky.

Learn more about Machavert and the 75 additional companies in our dynamic life sciences community at