Can Horseshoe Crabs Cure Cancer?

Today we are launching a series called “Businesses We Love”. Every week we will showcase a business that that we think is worth bringing attention to. We haven’t officially launched yet, but are fortunate to be meeting companies everyday that have embraced the Powerlinx mission and are working with us in BETA phase.

The best part of my job here is meeting with these incredible business leaders and learning about how they are re-imaging the world, creating new markets and driving innovative.  Some are brand new while others have been in business for decades. Whatever their tenure, if you read about them here, you can be sure they’ve impressed us and we felt compelled to share their story.


It is not every day that you meet a cancer researcher.  They are intellectually grandiose, consistently striving for a higher purpose,  and setting their sights beyond where mere mortals can imagine. It is also not every day that you meet a Thiel Fellow, one of the special few chosen for their pursuit of world-changing innovation.


Meet Riley Ennis: at just 20 years old, he is both. Profiled in the press for his accomplishments in cancer research, we thought this amazing story would be the perfect premier of our new series.


In a sense, you can say it started with a love for a sister and a horseshoe crab. An unlikely pairing until you hear Riley’s story. His sister was born with a heart condition which he recalls was being “treated by innovation.” She was receiving treatments just as they were being approved, and watching how innovation was keeping her alive drove Riley to start finding cures.


It was during a television special on the horseshoe crab that the idea for an innovative treatment was spawned. He started reading about cancer and its treatments as a sophomore in high school, forcing himself to learn and understand the material at a macro-level, connecting the dots on his own. By 16, he was on his way to conducting his own research and building his business: Immudicon. Knowing that he had to seek funding on his own, he began the unglamorous process of cold calling biotech companies, research labs and angel investors so he could really dive into his work.


Jump to present day, Riley has founded Immudicon,  a burgeoning biotechnology company. Comprised of scientists, IT and a few business people, Immudicon LLC is an early stage biotech company pursuing a groundbreaking vaccine in intracellular delivery technology. From their website:


Immudicon LLC is an early stage biotechnology company pursuing a novel vaccine intracellular delivery technology, MacroVax, to activate the immune system against cancer and potentially other disease indications. The platform is based on an immunoprotein linked to horseshoe crabs that functions in humans via complement-associated pathways in order to generate T cells specific to tumor cells. The primary research and development of the technology has been shown in vitro in both mouse and human cells lines, as well as in vivo to explicate T cell specificity to tumor antigens, cytokine activation profiles, and early-stage prophylactic trials.”


Riley is on leave from Dartmouth now and moving to San Francisco in two weeks where he will be a Thiel fellow and CEO of Immudicon. We wish him great success and share his high hope that this unique protein found in nature and replicated in the human body can kill cancer cells.  It may indeed have the power to revolutionize cancer treatment and positively impact survival rates.


We are exceptionally pleased to have Immudicon spotlighted as our first in the series of Businesses We Love. For more information about Immudicon and Riley Ennis’ work, visit for more information.

If you would like to have your business featured in our weekly Businesses We Love series, please submit a brief overview about your business and why would should love it to [email protected]