Penn Center for Innovation

Cancer Survivor Becomes a Cancer Fighter at a Philly Start-Up

What Debra Travers really wanted to be was a marine biologist, until “I found out Jacques Cousteau wasn’t hiring.”

How she wound up as chief executive of PolyAurum LLC, a Philadelphia start-up developing biodegradable gold nanoparticles for treating cancerous tumors, involved a professional journey of more than 30 years in pharmaceutical and diagnostics industries, and a personal battle with the disease she’s now in business to defeat.

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