Getting Serious About BioEntrepreneurship in New York

Center for Biotechnology BioEntrepreneur-in-Residence and Founder and CEO of Traverse Biosciences, Joseph Scaduto, recently penned a powerful article discussing the importance of human capital to the growth and sustainability of New York’s bioscience ecosystem.

“…the prospect of “jumping ship” into a new bioscience venture is not just risky, it is downright scary, if not financially impossible, exacerbated further by the frightening lack of alternative job opportunities in the high-probability event of failure. In my opinion, this seemingly insurmountable and geographic “barrier to entry,” defined by the comparatively excessive risk of bioentrepreneurship, is a primary reason why New York continues to struggle to develop, cultivate and grow a vibrant, dynamic and self-sustaining bioscience industry cluster.”

Read the full article here.


Codagenix Inks Exclusive License Agreement

Codagenix, Inc. has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Stony Brook University, through the Research Foundation for the State of New York, to commercialize a platform technology to develop a pipeline of live attenuated vaccines against viral infections in people and animals. The technology relies on software to re-design the genomes of potentially harmful viruses to make them safe and effective vaccines. The technology stems from research in the laboratory of Eckard Wimmer, PhD, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology. The lead indication for vaccine development generated is a vaccine against Seasonal Influenza slated for Phase I human clinical trials in 2017.

Dr. Wimmer, along with Steffen Mueller, PhD, Codagenix President and Chief Science Officer, and J. Robert Coleman, PhD, Codagenix Chief Operating officer, worked as colleagues for years in Dr. Wimmer’s laboratory examining and experimenting with the genes of viruses. By collaborating with Stony Brook scientists Bruce Futcher, PhD, in the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, and Steven Skienna, PhD, in the Department of Computer Science, they discovered a way using gene manipulation and computer algorithms to “re-code” the genes of viruses. This re-coding process makes viruses extremely weak and thus ideal candidates as ultra-low dose attenuated vaccines.

The licensing agreement enables Codgenix to develop and potentially market next generation vaccines using software-based gene design and whole viral synthesis to create low-dose, attenuated virus vaccines. The company expects to use this design to first test its vaccine against influenza; however, there are plans for human testing of their Zika and other vaccine candidates. Codagenix is also in partnership with a large agricultural company to make vaccines using the technology for companion and agricultural animals.

The technology has been shown to be effective against numerous viruses including ZIka, Dengue, and RSV all of which are in preclinical testing. The development of this pipeline of vaccines can be seen in numerous scientific papers since 2008, including a paper in Science, PNAS, National Biotechnology and most recently in 2015 in MBIo.

Read Stony Brook University’s full press release here. 

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Long Island Bioscience Hub Announces Additional Funded Projects

Third round of grants awarded for the development of commercially promising biomedical innovations

The Center for Biotechnology at Stony Brook University, on behalf of the Long Island Bioscience Hub (LIBH), announced the recipients of the third round of funded projects under the Hub’s technology development and commercialization initiative. Funding for ten projects totaling $550,000 has been awarded to applicants from the Hub’s partner institutions. Partner institutions include Stony Brook University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research at Northwell Health. Eighteen months after its establishment, the LIBH has already awarded more than $2M to faculty innovators.

The technology development awards made available by the LIBH are specifically aimed at growing a pipeline of commercially promising biomedical technologies that can be out-licensed for further development or serve as the foundation for new company formations in the region. There are two tiers of funding, each with the goal of accelerating technology development to reach a critical development inflection point. Feasibility awards ($50,000) are designed to rapidly test the feasibility of new ideas in a “fail-fast-or-proceed” format, or to add value to existing intellectual property leading to new market applications. Proof-of-Concept Awards ($100,000) provide targeted, milestone driven support for further development, testing, and analysis of existing intellectual property.

A wide range of disciplines are represented in the project awards this cycle including radiology, quantitative biology, biomedical engineering, chemistry, neurosurgery and cancer research. Nine Feasibility awards and one Proof of Concepts award have been funded this cycle. Projects awarded funding in this round include the development of radiotracers for use with PET scans to detect bacterial infections, specifically infective endocarditis (IE); a non-immune-based drug targeting amyloid ß-protein (Aß) for the treatment of mild Alzheimer’s disease; DNA nano-carrier platform technology for targeted anti-thrombotic drug delivery in prosthetic heart valve and mechanical circulatory support patients; A medical device utilizing electrical and software engineering in order to detect congenital heart disease in newborn children, and profiling the human immune system through machine learning and bioinformatics. The full list of funded projects can be found on the LIBH webpage.

“The latest announcement of funded project for the LIBH demonstrates the volume of innovation housed within partner institutes that is primed to be moved out of the academic lab and into the commercial sector in order to help patients” said Clinton T. Rubin, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Director, Center for Biotechnology. “It is exciting to witness our region’s innovators contemplating their research in ways they hadn’t before, and to see the vibrancy of the bioscience cluster on Long Island growing with each new project proposed.”

“Putting CSHL scientists together with HUB biotech entrepreneurs and industry reviewers is key to the successful translation of early stage ideas resulting from the basic research of Dr. Lingbo Zhang and Mickey Atwal, said Teri Willey, CSHL Vice President Business Development and Technology Transfer. “Zhang’s genetic research on myelodysplastic syndrome will be complimented by experience in medicinal chemistry. Similarly, Atwal’s work on developing therapeutics using physics and math to profile to the immune system will benefit from industry reviewers to guide it toward patient benefit.”

“The success of the Long Island Bioscience Hub demonstrates the value of creative partnerships in bringing medical solutions that help address patients’ needs from the research lab to the doctor’s office and the medical clinic. We are proud to be part of the Bioscience Hub’s success,” said Kevin J. Tracey, M.D., President and CEO of the Feinstein Institute.

The main goal of the LIBH is to foster the development of therapeutics, preventatives, diagnostics, devices and research tools emerging from LIBH partner institutions that address diseases within the NIH’s mission.

Download a PDF of the press release here.

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Center For Biotechnology Awarded $500k U.S. Department of Commerce Grant

The i6 Challenge award sets aim on enhancing Long Island Bioscience Ecosystem

The Center for Biotechnology at Stony Brook University has announced that is has received a three-year, $500,000 U.S. Department of Commerce i6 Challenge Investment. The award will support the Center for Biotechnology’s (CFB) efforts to bolster the regional bioscience ecosystem by supporting a formal mentorship program, as well as a critical NIH-focused SBIR/STTR training and application development program which will assist in capital formation and launching new companies.

The Center for Biotechnology is among 35 organizations — including nonprofits, institutions of higher education, and entrepreneurship-focused organizations — from 19 states that will receive nearly $15 million to create and expand cluster-focused, proof-of-concept and commercialization programs, and early-stage seed capital funds through the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program. The Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), housed within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), leads the Regional Innovation Strategies Program to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation.

“Long Island’s innovation economy is rooted in cutting-edge basic and applied science and engineering, fostered by top-tier research institutions, a highly educated population, and a depth, breadth and scope of intellectual capital.” said Dr. Clinton T. Rubin, Director, Center for Biotechnology. Dr. Rubin continued, “This award and the initiatives it will support add to the growing, concentrated efforts the Center for Biotechnology, the Long Island Bioscience Hub and the hub’s partner institutions are making to grow the high technology innovations born in our region into fully realized ventures.”

The Center for Biotechnology (CFB) at Stony Brook University is an Empire State Development Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) Center for Advanced Technology. Established in 1983, the CFB’s efforts are focused on accelerating the development of biomedical technologies in order to have a positive impact on human health and society. The CFB is also the lead administrative institution for the Long Island Bioscience Hub (LIBH) an NIH-designated Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (REACH) established with a National Institutes of Health grant in 2015. The initiatives under the i6 Challenge award will complement the efforts of the LIBH, a partnership between the Center for Biotechnology, Stony Brook University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, to commercialize biomedical innovations emerging from the partner institutions.

Download a PDF of the press release here.

Related Articles:
Schumer: Biz-Development Funds Big Deal For SBU – Innovate Long Island
Stony Brook Biotech Center Wins $500,000 to Foster Companies – Newsday

Funding Opportunity: SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund Accepting Proposals

The application period for the SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund Class of 2017 is now open.

The SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund (TAF) provides investments to support the advancement of SUNY innovations from the lab to the marketplace. TAF investments are made on a highly competitive basis in projects that target critical research and development milestones, such as feasibility studies, prototyping and testing, which demonstrate that an idea or innovation has commercial potential.

Faculty, staff, and students from all disciplines and campuses are encouraged to submit proposals for the SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund Class of 2017 funding. The deadline for submitting proposals is March 20, 2017. See TAF Class of 2017 Application and Administrative Guidelines.

Please be advised that all proposals require the review and participation of your campus administration prior to submission. To be certain that you adhere to any local proposal submission deadlines, you are urged to immediately contact your technology transfer office and/or office of sponsored programs if you are interested in applying for TAF Class of 2017 funding.

Jointly funded by the State University of New York and the Research Foundation, the Technology Accelerator Fund has invested over $2 million since its launch in April 2011, and brought to life 36 of SUNY’s most promising technologies by catalyzing the investment of an additional $4.1 million from external partners, including federal agencies, industry licensees and angel investors. To learn about the technologies in which TAF has invested and the people who made it happen, see Technology Accelerator Funded Projects.

Questions? Please send any questions to All questions and answers will be posted to