The Future of Medicine: Episode 50

Matt talks with Bill Maggio, a health care, medical diagnostics, and business development executive from Buffalo, New York. They talk about the Jacobs Institute’s recently released landmark report on The Future of Medicine, and the role of health care systems in transforming how care is delivered. Bill highlights his role as an investor as well as a leader in the local start-up community as past chair of 43North business competition to spur economic development in Buffalo. They touch on his lifelong love of music as a classically-trained pianist as well as the impact rowing has had on his life.

Medical Campus grows to more than 150 companies

Medical Campus grows to more than 150 companies

By

The Buffalo News

The number of companies on the 120-acre Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus has grown to more than 150, according to the nonprofit organization that oversees the campus.

In 2002, when the campus was in its infancy, there were three companies.

Companies counted by the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc. include those located in its entrepreneurial hub; University at Buffalo’s Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences; UB Gateway; Hauptman-Woodward Research Institute; Conventus; 73 High St. and 847 Main St. It also includes services providers and tenants that have offices within one of the buildings on campus but may be headquartered elsewhere.

The campus is a diverse mix of companies and not solely focused on health care and life sciences. Social impact and technological-based companies also are on the uptick, along with a major push of those interested in starting or growing a business.

[PHOTO GALLERY: UB’s downtown medical school nears completion]

The number of people working on the Medical Campus will expand this fall when UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences opens to faculty and then in January to students. Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo operations will move to the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital in November.

The state recently awarded $625,000 to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to expand its business development program. In the past year, there has been $750 million of investment and 700 construction workers on the campus, according to Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc.

Buffalo Building a Biomedical Powerhouse

Buffalo Building a Biomedical Powerhouse

Buffalo Business First

Observers say there are several reasons why a cluster of ambitious biomedical companies emerged on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

It partly has to do with investments in local facilities such as the University at Buffalo’s Center for Computational Research, the local center for big data projects.

It also is owed to general technological advances, allowing researchers to turn their science into more specific medical testing and more effective cures.

And it has to do with an evolving economy of entrepreneurship in Buffalo, which is finally turning research hotbeds such as UB, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute into engines of economic growth.

“It’s the computing power along with the science and the confluence of all those facilities that are allowing this to occur,” said Kim Grant, a UB business development executive who works with emerging companies.

Those who are paying attention, such as Grant, recognize an obvious trend in biomedical entrepreneurship in Buffalo. There are more companies being founded, gaining funding and building out real businesses rather than just research projects.

One of the breakouts is Athenex, which was established out of UB in 2002 but more recently raised more than $200 million and is leveraging significant government subsidies to build factories in China and Western New York. Company officials are aggressively pursuing an international strategy to design and manufacture cancer therapies.

But it’s not just about one company. Buffalo now hosts dozens of high-tech companies attacking many sides of the medical industry. Companies that are pursuing cancer therapies which direct chemicals directly to tumors won both the UB Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition (POP Biotechnologies) and the 43North competition (Oncolinx).

They join the list of growing personalized cancer companies that includes Roswell spin-offs OmniSeq, Photolitec and MimiVax; and For-Robin, out of UB.

Meanwhile, a Buffalo Billion program directed multimillion-dollar grants to two companies in 2016, Garwood Medical Devices and Circuit Clinical. Both are located downtown.

Garwood raised $3.6 million in venture capital in 2016 while Circuit Clinical raised more than $1 million.

Then there are the companies tackling medical testing, such as Empire Genomics, AccuTheranostics and Disease Diagnostic Group.

And that’s just an unscientific sampling of the young companies sprinkled throughout facilities on the medical campus or based near UB’s Amherst footprint, some of which were founded here and others that were recruited.

So when Grant goes to trade shows in Boston or New York City, she doesn’t hear snow jokes anymore, she gets genuine interest.

Local experts are starting to make bold comparisons about historical precedents for the Buffalo medical ecosystem. Dr. Steven Schwaitzberg, an entrepreneur who was a professor at Harvard University before he was recruited to become surgery chair at UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, recently said Buffalo looks like Boston in the late 1980s just before it became an international biomedical powerhouse.

And Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute CEO Edward Snell said Buffalo is starting to resemble the Stanford area in California, where a long history of top-notch research blossomed dramatically into a worldwide medical and tech hotbed.

“You’re seeing the same thing in Buffalo, a mixture of industry, academia and clinical experts all in the same area,” Snell said. “We’re seeing incremental growth but we’re nowhere near saturation point yet.”

He said the final key is pulling in more private investment. There are a handful of investment groups that actively consider seed funding for medical companies in Buffalo. But these types of companies often require major capital infusions to catalyze their growth.

Snell said he’s optimistic.

“I see a steady increase in venture capital and federal research funding,” he said. “And I think you’re going to see quite a few stories about that in the not-too-distant future.”

A medical campus leader

A medical campus leader

Vic Nole had spent the past decade trying to help medical companies commercialize products and technologies when, in 2014, he was hired to do a similar job on behalf of an entire region.

Nole is director of business development for Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc., a process that involves getting personally involved with companies on the medical campus and building broader strategies to support their growth.

BNMC Inc. owns several facilities that house high-tech companies and also exists to serve other major commercialization actors on the campus, including the University at Buffalo, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute.

Nole holds an important job on the campus, where the combined public and private investment of the last 10 years has been more than $1 billion, partly to improve health care in Buffalo but also to help generate a new economy.

How would you describe your job? Part of it is working with small teams to help them build business models to commercialize a product or technology. BNMC Inc. doesn’t have a huge staff or depth of knowledge in that area, so we rely on our network to facilitate introductions and access to resources. Another area is working with our member institutions on the medical campus, helping them map out assets and open doors so we can market a broader capability outside of Buffalo in the hopes of attracting new companies.

What kind of environment are you trying to build for startups? We’re trying to provide workspace, education, access to business resources and then networking opportunities, and to put in place infrastructure and amenities in those four areas. Then any company that is part of the campus community can plug into any of those things. They can come to me and say, “Hey, do you know an expert in regulatory affairs?” Or “Can you help me sell my product in China?” There is still a lot of work to do. Lab facilities are quickly filling up across campus. Our mentor network still needs to grow. We recently launched our i4 Studio (in collaboration with SUNY Buffalo State’s International Center for Studies in Creativity), a creativity lab that’s part of our evolving education program.

The campus is a widely used symbol of Buffalo’s economic resurgence. Is there real momentum here? The reason the campus has been so successful is that everyone is working together. Three years ago, we had 35 to 40 companies on the campus; now there are more than 120, and nearly 50 of them are in life sciences. Ten years ago, most intellectual property generated at the University at Buffalo or Roswell Park Cancer Institute got licensed and went outside of Buffalo. We’re finally at a point where we have enough infrastructure, processes and systems in place, and enough collaboration between our members, that we can design and launch our own life sciences companies. The growth is good but we still need critical mass. When I am out in Boston talking to investors, you need a certain amount of companies to get them on a plane. If you tell them you have 200 companies, it’s going to catch their attention.

What do you think the future of the campus holds? I’m bullish. Some of these companies are going to start to emerge and catch the attention of people outside the area. The image of the campus has grown, which is helping us attract more talent and more money. And as you start to bring in more assets, it just accelerates your programs. So I would think that if we’re sitting here today at 120 companies, we could double that in five years.

Dan Miner covers startups, education, manufacturing and public companies.

Commercialization is Heating Up in Western New York!

BNMC Logo RGB Stacked                                             FURNACE          

           DIG 1                                                     LAUNCH

Commercialization is Heating Up in Western New York!

Join us on September 17th for a free seminar about the process for commercializing new technologies from the U.S. Department of Defense through the Furnace New York Accelerator program – and how Launch NY can assist!

RSVP!

WHEN:  Wednesday, September 17, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

WHAT: 6:00     Registration

 6:30     Wiley Larsen, Venture Manager, Furnace Accelerator
Topic: Adopting Department of Defense technologies that are ready for commercialization

 7:00     Marnie LaVigne, President & CEO, Launch NY
Topic: Facilitating the launch and growth of high potential companies in upstate New York

 7:30     General Q&A

 8:00     Join fellow entrepreneurs, investors, and business developers for informal networking

 

WHERE: Dig in the Thomas R. Beecher, Jr. Innovation Center, 640 Ellicott Street, Buffalo NY

Car and bike parking are available in the lot across the street. dig is two blocks southeast of the Allen/Medical Campus NFTA station.

RSVP: This event is free but registration is required. Please RSVP by Friday, Sept. 12th at bnmc-old.local/events/furnace

Open House on May 1st at the Thomas R. Beecher, Jr. Innovation Center Open House on Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

An Evening Celebrating Entrepreneurship and Innovation;

More than 900 People To Attend

AN EVENING OF PURE INNOVATION (With drinks, music, hors d’oeuvres and prizes thrown in for good measure.)

WHAT: An open house for the Thomas R. Beecher, Jr. Innovation Center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. More than 26 companies will be hosting events during the open house, featuring food, drinks, and entertainment, including live music, a golf simulator, and much more! A five minute “Power Pitch” session begins at 6:30 p.m. featuring several local entrepreneurs hosted by the Inventures Group.

Learn more about how these diverse companies are growing their businesses in this unique office environment. Industries include life sciences and biotech; creative; technology; talent acquisition; a pharmacy; not-for-profit; patent attorneys; and many more.

This free event is open to the community at large. A full list of Innovation Center tenants can be found here – https://bnmc-old.local/innovation-center-tenant-list/.

WHEN: Thursday, May 1st from 4:00 – 7:00 pm

WHERE: 640 Ellicott Street, Buffalo.  Complimentary car and bike parking in the lot directly across the street; the Innovation Center is two blocks from the Allen/Medical Campus NFTA station.

About the Thomas R. Beecher Innovation Center

The Thomas R. Beecher, Jr. Innovation Center, located at 640 Ellicott Street in downtown Buffalo, is a LEED-certified research and development space with over 55 tenants and 350 people, including life sciences and biotech companies, as well as companies offering support services like IP attorneys, talent acquisition, sales, and marketing. This state-of-the art facility is designed to accommodate small to medium companies seeking office, wet lab and/or research space, on a month-to-month basis or via longer term leases, located in the heart of the thriving Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The Innovation Center is owned and operated by the BNMC, Inc., a self-sustaining social enterprise successfully combining innovation, job creation, and urban revitalization. The BNMC, Inc. serves as the umbrella organization of the anchor institutions that make up the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus located within the 120-acre campus bordering Allentown, the Fruit Belt and Downtown. The BNMC, Inc. fosters conversation and collaboration among its member institutions, its partners and the community to address critical issues impacting them, including entrepreneurship, energy, access and transportation, workforce and procurement, neighborhoods, and healthy communities, with the goal of increasing economic development and building a strong community.

OPEN HOUSE ON MAY 1st AT THOMAS R. BEECHER INNOVATION CENTER ON BUFFALO NIAGARA MEDICAL CAMPUS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Contact:

Kari Root Bonaro, BNMC, Inc.

716.218.7157, kbonaro@bnmc-old.local

MEDIA ADVISORY AND PHOTO OP

 

OPEN HOUSE ON MAY 1st AT THOMAS R. BEECHER INNOVATION CENTER

ON BUFFALO NIAGARA MEDICAL CAMPUS

An Evening Celebrating Entrepreneurship and Innovation;

More than 900 People To Attend

 

AN EVENING OF PURE INNOVATION (With drinks, music, hors d’oeuvres and prizes thrown in for good measure.)

 

WHAT: An open house for the Thomas R. Beecher Innovation Center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. More than 26 companies will be hosting events during the open house, featuring food, drinks, and entertainment, including live music, a golf simulator, and much more! A five minute “Power Pitch” session begins at 6:30 p.m. featuring several local entrepreneurs hosted by the Inventures Group.

Learn more about how these diverse companies are growing their businesses in this unique office environment. Industries include life sciences and biotech; creative; technology; talent acquisition; a pharmacy; not-for-profit; patent attorneys; and many more.

This free event is open to the community at large. A full list of Innovation Center tenants can be found here – https://bnmc-old.local/innovation-center-tenant-list/.

WHEN:Thursday, May 1st from 4:00 – 7:00 pm

WHERE:640 Ellicott Street, Buffalo. Complimentary car and bike parking in the lot directly across the street; the Innovation Center is two blocks from the Allen/Medical Campus NFTA station.

 

About the Thomas R. Beecher Innovation Center

The Thomas R. Beecher, Jr. Innovation Center, located at 640 Ellicott Street in downtown Buffalo, is a LEED-certified research and development space with over 55 tenants and 350 people, including life sciences and biotech companies, as well as companies offering support services like IP attorneys, talent acquisition, sales, and marketing. This state-of-the art facility is designed to accommodate small to medium companies seeking office, wet lab and/or research space, on a month-to-month basis or via longer term leases, located in the heart of the thriving Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

 

The Innovation Center is owned and operated by the BNMC, Inc., a self-sustaining social enterprise successfully combining innovation, job creation, and urban revitalization. The BNMC, Inc. serves as the umbrella organization of the anchor institutions that make up the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus located within the 120-acre campus bordering Allentown, the Fruit Belt and Downtown. The BNMC, Inc. fosters conversation and collaboration among its member institutions, its partners and the community to address critical issues impacting them, including entrepreneurship, energy, access and transportation, workforce and procurement, neighborhoods, and healthy communities, with the goal of increasing economic development and building a strong community.

 

###

 

Business Development is Buzzing on the BNMC

Ideas are being tested, perfected, and implemented every day here on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Innovators and entrepreneurs from all over the world are choosing to be in the heart of Buffalo, advancing products and technologies here at the Medical Campus. The BNMC continues to grow, creating an environment where a variety of life sciences, biotech, energy, and related support companies can interact with world class researchers and product developers.
We can help with all stages of company development, from “ideation” in our brand new co-work space called “d!g”, a collaborative space with mentors to help take your idea to the next level, to “incubation” in the Innovation Center, a mixed use space with nearly 60 companies that includes wet labs, offices, conference rooms, and light manufacturing bays. We also have plans to bring a new business accelerator online in the next few months. Our director of business development, Vic Nole can help you determine what space would be most wp-contentropriate for your company, and help you to connect to valuable business services and resources.

One of our goals at the BNMC is to help promote “purposeful collisions.” This includes encouraging researchers, physicians, administrators, nurses, business people, and community members to connect and interact through the projects designed to enhance our buildings, streetscapes, workforce, and social environment. Please join us at one of our many networking events to learn how you can “come grow with us.”

Upcoming events:

UB, Empire Genomics Partner with Life Technologies to Accelerate Innovative, Genetics-based Clinical Research in WNY

Collaboration Will Strengthen Regional Life Sciences Industry

Empire Genomics, Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE) and the University at Buffalo (UB) will embark on a new partnership to develop world-class gene sequencing facilities for genetics-based clinical research on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The collaboration capitalizes on each organization’s strengths to help establish a new standard for genomic research in Western New York and continue to grow the life sciences sector of the region’s economy.

Life Technologies, a global provider of biotechnology products and services, will provide state-of-the-art genome sequencing equipment enabling UB and Empire Genomics to establish their initial set up of Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified sequencing facilities on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The advanced sequencing technology available from Life Technologies, combined with the expertise of UB researchers and the Empire Genomics team, will help clinical researchers develop new diagnostic tests that, in the future, could enable physicians to prescribe treatments tailored to each individual based on genetic make-up.

“We are very pleased that after carefully looking at all of the alternatives, the University at Buffalo and Empire Genetics decided that Ion semiconductor sequencing was the best platform to help them reach their goal of advancing genetics-based clinical research, and ultimately driving growth in the life sciences industry in Western New York,” said Mark Stevenson, president and chief operating officer at Life Technologies.

Achieving CLIA certification will enhance and expand the services Empire Genomics and UB provide to clients across the globe, and holds the promise of spawning new diagnostic tests for a number of diseases or conditions. The results will eventually lead to new tools to deliver better health care while growing new jobs in Western New York.

“This collaboration is a great example of the impact that can be made when industry and academic partners work together toward shared goals,” said Marnie LaVigne, PhD, associate vice president for economic development at UB. “We look forward to continuing to partner with Life Technologies and Empire Genomics on these efforts to support the advancement of genetics-based clinical research and the life sciences as key economic drivers in our region.”

The CLIA-certified laboratories will be set up at UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and at the downtown Buffalo headquarters of Empire Genomics, a provider of genetics-based research and testing services.

“Genetics-based diagnostics will play a major role in developing personalized medicine, and that in turn will create new job opportunities in Western New York,” said Norma J. Nowak, PhD, founder and chief scientific officer at Empire Genomics and director of science and technology at UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences. “Leveraging our combined strengths will ensure that we remain at the forefront of technological and research capabilities while making greater long-term contributions to the public health.”

*All products referenced are for Research Use Only and not intended for use in diagnostic procedures, unless otherwise noted.

Kerry Jones Waring (UB CoE);  kerryjon@buffalo.edu
;716.881.7997

Media Coverage:

Collaboration Brings Genetic Testing to Med Campus

UB, Life-sciences Firms Partner on Gene Sequencing

 

 

Pursuing a Career in Life Sciences in Buffalo Niagara

The Life Sciences Commercialization Lecture Series will feature the “Pursuing a Life Sciences Career in Buffalo Niagara” panel discussion on Thursday, May 23rd from 4 – 5 p.m. in the Zebro Conference Room at the Roswell Park Center for Genetics and Pharmacology (701 Ellicott Street).  Moderated by Steve Kimmel-Hurt from the Superior Group, the panel will consists of companies like AMRI and Harmac Medical Products that will offer insight to individuals looking to learn more about the different life sciences and advanced manufacturing career opportunities.
With the  life sciences sector growing on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and throughout the region, the demand for a highly skilled and trained workforce is increasing. Hear from local life sciences firms about their workforce needs and why this is a great time to pursue a career in these exciting fields. To register to attend this free event, click here.

For more information about life sciences, medical device, and biotechnology companies on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and to learn more the each company’s area of focus, view the list of companies on the BNMC.

To learn more about specific opportunities offered by member institutions on the Medical Campus like Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center, Buffalo Medical Group, P.C., Center for Hospice and Palliative Care, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, Kaleida Health, Olmsted Center for Sight, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, University at Buffalo and Unyts, visit each individual website.

Additional resources:

5-23 Flyer

UB Helps to Launch Two Zimbabwe National Programs

UB Helps to Launch two Zimbabwe National Programs in Nanotechnology and HIV/AIDS Eradication

What does it take to launch two major international HIV/AIDS research initiatives involving the University at Buffalo (UB) and the University of Zimbabwe?

It requires attention to issues as diverse as working with government officials, choosing the right scientists, establishing ethics in research, training for quality control and good laboratory practices, transferring paper patient records into electronic formats and understanding how different cultures respond to serious illness and treatment.

And it requires face-to-face information exchange and planning.

Morse-ZimbabweA UB-led research team recently traveled to Zimbabwe to participate in a week-long program of workshops that included the formal launch of two Zimbabwe national programs: the Zimbabwe International Nanotechnology Center (ZINC) and the Zimbabwe Evidence-To-Action (ETA), an implementation project to eradicate HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe.

With 14 percent of Zimbabwe's population living with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis as a co-infection, the need for new drugs and new formulations of available treatments is crucial.

UB’s role in the ZINC partnership is to provide training to young scientists and students in Zimbabwe in multiple areas within nanotechnology. The trip to Zimbabwe included identifying research areas of common interest to Zimbabwe and prioritizing them according to the country’s needs.

UB has built a partnership with Zimbabwe over seven years through an NIH Fogarty International Center program.

Paras Prasad, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Chemistry, Physics, Medicine and Electrical Engineering; Samuel P. Capen Chair of Chemistry and executive director of UB’s Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics (ILPB), and Gene Morse, PharmD, professor and associate director of  the UB Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences headthe UB-ZINC collaboration.

“There was an incredible feeling of optimism and high energy toward both initiatives,” said Morse.

The week began with the second Zimbabwe National Nanotechnology Consultative Meeting on March 18 – 19.

Prasad, who will direct the international nanotechnology contributions for ZINC, gave the keynote address.

Morse, who will direct the international nanomedicine component of ZINC, presented the role that UB and the CoE will play in ZINC. Other participating UB faculty included Stanley Schwartz, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Peter Horvath, PhD, associate professor of exercise physiology and nutrition.

Background and details of ZINC were provided during presentations from the minister for science and technology development (MSTD), the Honorable Professor Heneri Dzinotyiweyi, UB alumnus, Chiedza Maponga, PharmD, technical director for nanotechnology (MSTD) and director of the UZ School of Pharmacy, and Josephat Zimba, Technical Consultant to the MSTD on nanotechnology. Additional presentations from Professor Levi Nyagura, UZ Vice Chancellor, and Professor David Simbi, CUT Vice Chancellor, described the leadership roles for their universities.

The week continued with a two-day workshop on March 20 – 21 for the ETA Project.

Hosted by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, the first day summarized:

  • Recent compelling data that provide the rationale for preventing HIV transmission through pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and treatment as prevention (TaSP)
  • The national statistics for prevention of mother-to-child transmission and pediatric HIV infection
  • HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) 052 and the dramatic results obtained in discordant couples when the HIV-infected partner was treated early after infection leading to a reduced transmission rate
  • The need for a strategy to provide treatment to key populations with HIV infection including high risk groups such as prisoners, men who have sex with men, commercial sex workers and pregnant women.

At a concurrent workshop, Robin DiFrancesco, manager of the UB Clinical Pharmacology Quality Assurance Program (CPQA) and an AIDS International Training and Research Program (AITRP) mentor, provided lectures focused on building laboratory skills and bioanalytical method development.

In a second afternoon workshop, Kathleen Tooley, senior research support specialist in the UB Translational Pharmacology Research Core, and Education and Operations Administrator for CPQA and AITRP, and an AITRP mentor, moderated a group at the UZ College of Health Sciences to address challenges in research ethics and research administration for faculty and students who will conduct research within ETA.

Morse chaired the second day of the workshop and provided a presentation on the progress of the UB-UZ AITRP. Highlights included a review of the Training Advisory Group and the recently established Scientific Advisory Board, new research programs, nutritional and traditional medicine pharmacology, clinical pharmacology and healthcare informatics.

The second half of the morning program was chaired by Morse and focused on Bioinformatics and Health Information Technology (HIT) required for the ETA infrastructure in collaboration with the Zimbabwean health care system.

In the HIV Nutrition Pharmacology working group, Horvath and faculty and graduate students from the Departments of Pediatrics and Biochemistry discussed nutritional considerations for the ETA project.

Horvath also provided a seminar on March 25 for the UZ Departments of Pediatrics and Biochemistry titled “Nutritional Aspects of HIV Infection and Treatment.”

Morse was pleased with the results achieved during the visit.

“I was very proud that a country that has faced so many challenges to advancing the health of the nation and plan for scientific and economic growth was linked to the UB-UZ AITRP and the efforts that have been put forward over the last seven years.”

Morse said that the UB team’s visit contributed to two Zimbabwean national initiatives and conducted numerous sessions, workshops and small group meetings.

“The outcome created a new level of collaboration, reaching beyond university campuses to the highest levels of government ministries as well as community programs. This extensive spectrum of research and education programs has been built on the strong AITRP link between UZ and UB,” he said.

The events were jointly sponsored by the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Welfare; the University at Buffalo – University of Zimbabwe (UZ) AIDS International Training and Research Program (AITRP) and the UZ – UB International Pharmacotherapy Education and Research Initiative (IPERI).

Sara R. Saldi (UB); saldi@buffalo.edu; 716.645.4593

*Photo courtesy of UB: Breakfast meeting with UB-UZ AITRP fellows and families and UB's Gene Morse, Robin DiFrancesco (both upper left), Kelly Tooley (AITRP Education and Operations Coordinator) and Amy Moss (current UB HIV Resident and AITRP Mentor). Dr. Maponga is left next to Dr. Morse.

Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Honors Researchers Making a Difference

A group of innovative and influential tycoons came together to form the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, recognizing individuals who have made significant contributions in the life sciences field. The most lucrative prize offered for any academic achievement in the world, the first group to receive the annual Breakthrough Prize included 11 recipients, all scientists, in February. The awardees received $3 million and recognition for their “excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life.”
Lauretes included:

  • Cornelia I. Bargmann – For the genetics of neural circuits and behavior, and synaptic guidepost molecules.
  • David Botstein – For linkage mwp-contenting of Mendelian disease in humans using DNA polymorphisms.
  • Lewis C. Cantley – For the discovery of PI 3-Kinase and its role in cancer metabolism.
  • Hans Clevers – For describing the role of Wnt signaling in tissue stem cells and cancer.
  • Napoleone Ferrara – For discoveries in the mechanisms of angiogenesis that led to therapies for cancer and eye diseases.
  • Titia de Lange – For research on telomeres, illuminating how they protect chromosome ends and their role in genome instability in cancer.
  • Eric S. Lander – For the discovery of general principles for identifying human disease genes, and enabling their wp-contentlication to medicine through the creation and analysis of genetic, physical and sequence maps of the human genome.
  • Charles L. Sawyers – For cancer genes and targeted therapy.
  • Bert Vogelstein – For cancer genomics and tumor suppressor genes.
  • Robert A. Weinberg – For characterization of human cancer genes.
  • Shinya Yamanaka – For induced pluripotent stem cells.

Russian venture capitalist and entrepreneur, Yuri Milner, established the prize along with additional founding sponsors Sergey Brin, Priscilla Chan, Anne Wojcicki and Mark Zuckerberg. All accomplished Internet and business gurus in their own right, the group has already guaranteed that the prize be presented for the next 5 years.

Life sciences companies including those involved with biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and biomedicine are coming up with innovative and effective ways to treat different types of cancer. Academic and health care institutions are leading research efforts to use genomics to identify personalized medicine. With all of the developments taking place on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus alone, it is easy to understand why it is important to recognize the individuals making life-enhancing discoveries. The Prize is public validation that the work being done in labs, under the microscopes, in the manufacturing companies and during simulations is highly valued and respected.

“I believe this new prize will shine a light on the extraordinary achievements of the outstanding minds in the field of life sciences, enhance medical innovation, and ultimately become a platform for recognizing future discoveries,” said Art Levinson. In addition to his current position as Chairman of both the Apple Inc. and Genentech Boards, Levinson will serve as the Chairman of the Board of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation.

Bound to spark an influx of submissions for consideration since any third party can nominate a researcher or scientist for the Prize, the major qualification is that it must recognize a major achievement, with special attention to recent developments. A person can win the Prize any number of times and there are no age requirements. The Prize can also be shared amongst a group of people.

In realizing that the next generations will lead the development of the next big breakthrough, the Prize is a recognition well-deserved for those whose jobs may not be as glamorous or well-known. It will serve as one more way to shed light on how impactful and relevant scientists and researchers are and will open the door for more students to take interest in pursuing those career paths.

International Partnership to Train and Educate Future Nanotechnologists in Zimbabwe

The University at Buffalo (UB) welcomed Minister of Science and Technology Development of Zimbabwe, Professor Heneri Dzinotyiweyi to Buffalo to tour its Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics (ILPB) and New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (CoE). Both research facilities will play a role in the international academic partnership with the University of Zimbabwe and Chinhoyi University of Technology.
Receiving the award to establish a Fogarty International Center AIDS International Training and Research Program (AITRP) in 2009, UB professor, CoE associate director, and director of Translational Pharmacy Research Gene D. Morse, PharmD and collaborators set out to use the award for its intended purpose, providing education and training for HIV-related research in low- and middle-income countries.

UB Robin DiFrancesco, Zimbabwe Minister, Dr. Dzinotyiweyi, and Charles Chiedza MapongaThrough the Zimbabwe International Nanotechnology Center (ZINC), the collaboration will primarily serve as a nanotechnology research program where UB will help educate and train young researchers at the University of Zimbabwe  and the Chinhoyi University of Technology to wp-contently nanotechnology to treat and prevent prevalent diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in the south-African country. Nanotechnology is molecular manufacturing on a 100 nanometer or smaller scale. Nano-particles (particles with dimensions less than 100 nanometers) have become important to the equation of new HIV/AIDS drug development because they can provide effective treatment options with shortened duration of therapy, reduced systemic side effects and limited development of drug resistance.

With 14 percent of Zimbabwe’s population living with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis as a co-infection, the need for new drugs and new formulations of available treatments is crucial.

To prepare for ZINC implementation and discuss logistics, Morse and Paras Prasad, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Chemistry, Physics, Medicine and Electrical Engineering and Samuel P. Capen Chair of Chemistry invited Professor Dzinotyiweyi to Western New York. “Professor Dzinotyiweyi’s visits to the ILPB, as well as the center, provided an opportunity for faculty leaders, regional scientists and public officials to discuss the recently announced international collaboration of UB and ZINC,” says Morse.

A public symposium will take place in Harare, Zimbabwe on March 18th and 19th. The symposium will include representatives from government, academia and the community. Meetings in Zimbabwe and Buffalo are scheduled to help all participants continue to get acquainted.

A future hope is to develop partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, drawing private-sector investments. In addition to that goal, a positive effect on economic development is expected to take place in Western New York and in Zimbabwe.

UB Recruiting Innovators in Life Sciences for High-Tech CEL

Program Offers Entrepreneurial Guidance, Knowledge and Mentorship for those in Field

Leaders of early-stage life sciences and technology companies can take advantage of a High-Tech Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) program that will begin in March 2013.

Now in its third year, the High Tech CEL is a collaboration between the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) in the University at Buffalo School of Management and UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.

With funding from a number of sources, including an Economic Development Administration grant and an award from UB’s “E Fund,” the program’s mission is to help participants build a strong management team and develop an individualized pathway toward commercialization.

Participants of the 10-week program meet for two hours a week, covering a range of topics, including commercialization strategies, finance issues, intellectual property, FDA regulations, investor relations, sales and marketing, and more.

“The High-Tech CEL is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to build their business skills, gain hands-on experience, and learn from other professionals who understand the challenges they’re facing,” said Thomas Ulbrich, executive director of UB’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

“This program is greatly beneficial for those whose firms are in the initial phase of taking their work from the lab to the market,” said Marnie LaVigne, PhD, associate vice president of economic development at UB. “It incorporates key high-tech business topics into the strength of the time-tested CEL program that has helped hundreds of traditional businesses in the region grow since 1987.”

Case studies, roundtables, panel discussions and lectures make up the curriculum, and each participant is partnered with a seasoned, successful entrepreneur who is attuned to the issues that influence business decisions. These mentors guide, advise and support participants throughout the program to help them achieve specific objectives.

The High-Tech CEL program is engaging and interactive and focuses on the importance of initiating and nurturing relationships between early-stage companies and leaders in the Buffalo-Niagara life science and technology ecosystem by providing structured networking opportunities throughout the duration of the program.

Charles d’Estries, director of SciBiz International Inc., will moderate the program. He provides business development consulting for entrepreneurs in the life sciences and high-tech fields, particularly those in the early stages of business.

Program cost is $995 per participant, and consecutive participants from the same company can attend at a 50 percent discount ($497).

To learn more or wp-contently, contact the CEL at 716-885-5715 or mgt-cel@buffalo.edu.

The mission of UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (COE) is to study the mechanistic processes involved in human disease with the goal of developing diagnostics tools and therapeutic interventions, preventative treatment and other disease management devices and processes to improve the health and well-being of the population. This scientific mission is balanced by the COE’s responsibility to act as a facilitator of economic development in Upstate New York by building and supporting partnerships between academia, industry and government. More information is available at http://www.bioinformatics.buffalo.edu.

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, the Financial Times, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report and The Wall Street Journal for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit http://mgt.buffalo.edu.

Jacqueline Ghosen, UB School of Management; ghosen@buffalo.edu; 716-645-2833

New Vaccine Research Aims to Prevent Recurrent Ear Infections

Lab in UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center is one of few in the world studying an increasingly prevalent bacterium, once considered harmless
Children’s ear infections cause more than pain and sleepless nights; they temporarily disrupt hearing when children are at a critical age for speech and language development.  They also have major social and economic costs.

But while infants and children receive immunizations against infections caused by Haemophilus influenzae and pneumococcus, there is no vaccine against Moraxella catarrhalis, an increasingly prevalent bacterium that causes at least ten percent of otitis media cases.

Now, University at Buffalo scientists, among just a handful of researchers in the world studying this organism, have received a $1.5 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to develop a vaccine against it. The researchers are among the first tenants in UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center, which opened in September on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The goal of the current research, funded by the NIH’s National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, is to identify new virulence mechanisms for this understudied pathogen, identify the structure of a candidate antigen for a new vaccine and develop a new vaccine.

According to Timothy F. Murphy, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Microbiology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and principal investigator on the NIH grant, research on M. catarrhalis has lagged because it was originally believed to be a “commensal” or harmless bacterium. While it does cause milder cases of middle ear infections (otitis media) than other bacteria, Murphy said it is becoming more prevalent. Preliminary evidence also shows that existing ear infection vaccines are changing colonization patterns among otitis media pathogens, possibly increasing the prevalence of M. catarrhalis infections.

“Of the 15 to 20 million cases of otitis media each year in the U.S., about ten percent are recurring, causing incredible disruption for the child and the family,” explains Murphy. “When a child has the infection, the middle ear fills with fluid, a condition that can last for a month or longer. During that time, the child’s hearing is muffled, which disrupts the normal development of language and speech skills, potentially resulting in long term delays and learning problems in school.”

Recurrent ear infections also require repeated courses of antibiotics, which then contribute to the global problem of antibiotic resistance. Some children must undergo insertion of drainage tubes under general anesthesia.

“The best option would be to prevent these infections in the first place,” says Murphy.

The goal of the UB researchers is to identify M. catarrhalis antigens that are very similar among all strains so that a vaccine based on a single antigen will protect against as many strains of the bacterium as possible.

“Based on our results thus far, it looks like we will be able to identify antigens that are identical or very similar among all strains and genetic lineages,” says Murphy.

He and his colleagues are using bioinformatics to identify genes predicted to encode proteins on the surface of the organism, construct a gene chip to test which of more than 300 possible genes on the surface are identical or similar among multiple strains and then clone genes for some of the predicted proteins for testing in in vitro and mouse models.

The UB group is now testing several promising vaccine antigens that they have identified. A new vaccine could be ready for human testing in three to five years.

Murphy and his colleagues at UB are global leaders in the study of M. catarrhalis in otitis media in children and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations in adults. Their hope is that the same vaccine could be used to prevent both kinds of infections.

In addition to directing the M. catarrhalis research, Murphy directs UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center and is senior associate dean for clinical and translational research in the UB medical school. For more than a decade, Murphy has studied how M. catarrhalis causes both otitis media in children and infections in chronic obstructive COPD in adults.

Ellen Goldbaum (UB); goldbaum@buffalo.edu; 716.645.4605

New Center of Excellence Tenant's Research to Help Treat Muscular Dystrophy

Inspired by his grandson, JB’s Duchenne muscular dystrophy diagnosis, Jeff Harvey, Tonus Therapeutics co-founder and chief financial officer, along with Frederick Sachs, University at Buffalo (UB) Distinguished Professor, Thomas Suchyna, Research Assistant Professor, and Philip Gottlieb, Research Associate Professor, all from UB’s Department of Physiology and Biophysics, partnered to develop a therapy for muscular dystrophy. Establishing Tonus Therapeutics in 2009, the group began to work together based off of initial research Sachs and his team first came across nearly 10 years ago, studying the effect of venoms on mechanosensitive ion channels.
As one of several forms of muscular dystrophy, Duchenne is the most lethal, rapidly getting worse over time causing respiratory problems in addition to severe and increased limb-muscle weakness. The absence of the dystrophin protein is due to a defective gene commonly found in males. Dystrophin helps muscle cells maintain their shape structure. Without that protein, cell membranes tear apart more easily and cause the muscle to contract abnormally. According to Sachs, when this hwp-contentens, the body “starts digesting muscle from the inside out.”

A UB spin-off company, having made the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences (CoE) its home headquarters, Tonus Therapeutics will continue its quest to develop drugs that help distribute and control the transfer of mineral substances like calcium to cells through the tiny conduits known as mechanosensitive ion channels. These channels, which Sachs co-discovered in 1983, connect the inside of a cell with its outside. Normally, in healthy cells the channels are closed, but when a cell is stretched or contorted, the channels open and let calcium and other substances into the cell.

Using GsMTx4, a peptide that scientists at UB discovered in the venom of the Chilean rose tarantula, Tonus Therapeutics will use the FDA “orphan drug” designation to move forward with the development of a therapy for muscular dystrophy. The designation of GsMTx4 comes with recognition from the government agency that the peptide is a promising method of treatment for a rare disease like muscular dystrophy. Research shows that GsMTx4 is capable of staying in the body for a long time without breaking down. This means it could be possible to deliver low doses infrequently, reducing costs for patients. The company has gathered preliminary data showing that GsMTx4 is nontoxic in mice and did not disturb heart function in mice or ferrets or isolated human heart muscle.

In November, Tonus Therapeutics licensed UB patents relating to GsMTx4 through UB’s Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach (UB STOR).

Harvey stated that “Being located in a hub of research activity in Buffalo, close to other entrepreneurs and biotech startups, is important to [Tonus Therapeutics].” He also stated that “The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is extremely important to us because it provides ready contact with experienced entrepreneurs and potential clinical and commercial partners, including those within the [CoE].”

The CoE, a part of the 400,000 sq. ft. Buffalo Life Sciences Complex, houses more than 100 scientists with biological, physical and computational expertise. The CoE’s efforts aims to leverage its research resources, helping to create new technological advantages for health care and life sciences industry sectors, partnering with and supporting biomedical, research and development companies like Tonus Therapeutics. Marnie LaVigne, UB associate vice president for economic development stated that “Tonus benefits from the technological and business resources available here, and their continued growth will be an asset to Western New York’s economy.”

Prior to their move into the CoE, the Tonus team benefited from other UB resources and partnerships. Harvey is a graduate of the UB School of Management’s High-Tech Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership program, and Tonus received funding through the UB Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology (UB CAT). The Children’s Guild Foundation and the John R. Oishei Foundation have provided additional funding.

Learn more about Tonus Therapeutics below:

State and Private Sector Investment on BNMC to Create 250 Jobs for Region

Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York will invest $50 million in state of the art biomedical research equipment and facilities, and has secured an agreement from a private company, Albany Molecular Research Inc. (AMRI), to locate on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus a new drug discovery research and development center. This investment, $35 million of which will go towards new equipment and $15 million of which will go towards improving existing lab space, will leverage $200 million in private investments and create 250 jobs. More details on this development as well as the Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan can be found here.  http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/12042012-buffalo-billion-investment-plan.
Wondering how this investment model really works? Fahreed Zakaria from CNN’s “Global Lessons: Putting America to Work” recently highlighted how this model was successful in Albany, where New York State invested in core infrastructure and equipment as an incentive to attract private sector companies. Watch the video here – http://www.cnse.albany.edu/Files/Downloads/Video%20Clips/CNNGlobalCrisp6.mov.

Read coverage about the  announcement below:

Announcements show Cuomo’s commitment to WNY

Cuomo, $50 million bring Albany firm, 250 jobs to Medical Campus

Cuomo Touts Drug Company’s 250 Jobs for Medical Campus

$50M biomedical facility planned for Buffalo

Innovation Center Kicks Off Series to Help Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

A key mission of the Innovation Center is to offer resources necessary for small businesses and entrepreneurs to grow. The Growing Your Knowledge & Network for Small Businesses series sponsored by First Niagara, will begin on Wednesday, December 12th at 9 a.m. until 10 a.m. This monthly series is an extension of the BNMC’s efforts to continue to promote growth for small- to medium-sized companies. This series provides important information for companies as industry experts – often successful entrepreneurs themselves – share knowledge relevant to running a successful business.
Topics include taxes, human resources, networking etiquette, branding and much, more. Learn about  the latest industry trends and developments as you hear from professionals in the field. This series is open to tenants withint the Innovation Center and also members of the comunity.

Attendees of the Growing Your Knowledge & Network for Small Businesses sessions will be entered into a raffle to win an iPad or other prizes. Interact and network with fellow entrepreneurs and professionals as you engage in dialogue about need-to-know information for small businesses.

Each presentation is free, but space is limited and registration is required. To register, visit growingyourknowledge.eventbrite.com.

Wednesday, December 12th

Do Taxes Matter? presented by Daniel Tirone, Daniel Tirone, CPA. Learn about the basics of tax management.

Wednesday, January 9th

Basic 101 HR Information presented by Holly Nowak, Alcott HR Group. Learn about human resources best practices.

Wednesday, February 13th

Business Development Incentives in New York: Maximizing Your Benefits  presented by Cory Van Deusen V, Lumsden & McCormick, LLP. Learn about tax credits and incentives.

Wednesday, March 13th

Social Media and Your Business presented by Robin Wilson, The Wilson Edge.

Wednesday, April 10th

Branding Consistency presented by Rob Wynne, Wynne Creative Group. Learn about adding character to your business, helping to make it stand out.

Wednesday, May 8th

First Niagara: Five Key Areas Where Businesses Suffer Losses presented by Karen Fenzl.

The Jobs of Buffalo's Future Growing – WKBW News Story

Story by Kendra Eaglin, WKBW

November 4, 2012 Updated Nov 4, 2012 at 11:42 PM EST(WKBW)

Transcript

Gone are the days of 12 hour shifts milling flour in what was once the world’s largest flour mill or sweating in the Queen City’s massive iron and steel factories. Buffalo’s coveted labor jobs of the forties and fifties have now been at least partly replaced by hi-tech and high paying jobs in the medical sciences and research fields. And unlike the old manufacturing jobs experts say these jobs are immune to being phased out. It’s the wave of the future. “If you look at medical research overall those jobs are not going to go away,” said Dr. Timothy Murphy, Director of the University at Buffalo Clinical Translational Research Center. Why? Because the U.S. has an aging population now and healthcare is something everyone needs.

Dr. Murphy leads the Clinical Translational Research Center in the new Gates Vascular Institute building that opened just two months ago.

“Translational research refers to research whose goal is translate basic science observations and basic science knowledge into real new drugs, new treatments, new preventions, new vaccines and so forth to improve healthcare,” stated Dr. Murphy.

Sixty percent of the building at the Clinical Translational Research Center is already occupied with about 150 jobs and they’re expected to fill the remaining 40 percent of the building in the next two years.

“These kinds of jobs will be research technicians, there’ll be graduate students, so called post doctoral fellows, research coordinators, study nurses, administrative people, bio statisticians,” said Dr. Murphy.

Buffalo’s medical corridor resembles the culture of the internet start-up companies crowded in California’s Silicon Valley but instead of competing to create the next best website researchers here are competing to discover the next big medical breakthrough.

And that’s exactly what hwp-contentened at Empire Genomics. This week the cancer research lab announced a new test in the treatment of blood cell cancer bringing 50 new jobs to its Michigan Avenue facility.

“We look forward to playing a role in this age of genomic based medicine and growing our company in western New York,” said Dr. Norma Jean Nowak, Founder of Empire Genomics.

As the Queen City is now on the cutting edge of science UB is moving forward with plans to relocate its school of medicine and biomedical sciences downtown. Its dental, nursing, pharmacy and public health schools will soon follow.

All this growth has generated new business and housing development.

Local real estate agent Rob Maloney says College Street, a small west side street, long forgotten is now experiencing a rebirth.

“This is a great example of a property in this neighborhood. The last time it turned over was in the 90’s it turned over at $65,000 and now it’s listed at $189,000,” said Maloney.

And there’s no shortage of people who want to live here now.

“We’re getting multiple offers on these properties three and four offers at a time and often times they’re selling either at or most times above the asking price,” explained Maloney.

The experts say medical technology will lead the Buffalo economy for a long time to come. Really, it’s been in the background here for longer than most people realize.

“Buffalo and western New York gave the nation and the world cancer research. Chemotherapy was developed here in 1904. Roswell Park Cancer Institute is the first comprehensive cancer center in the entire nation,” said Congressman Brian Higgins, D- Buffalo 27th District.

UB’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences will move to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus in 2016. UB is also spending $26 million dollars to build a center for remedial and vocational programs downtown, that project should be completed in 2013.

UB Partners with Zimbabwe Universities to Create International Nanotechnology Center

For release: September 24, 2012Contact: Sara R. Saldi, saldi@buffalo.edu
University at Buffalo
716-645-4593

UB Partners with Zimbabwe Universities to Create International Nanotechnology Center

BUFFALO, N.Y. — With 14 percent of Zimbabwe’s population living with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis as a co-infection, the need for new drugs and new formulations of available treatments is crucial.

To address these issues, two of the University at Buffalo’s leading research centers, the Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics (ILPB), and the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences have signed on to launch the Zimbabwe International Nanotechnology Center (ZINC) — a national nanotechnology research program — with the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and the Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT).

This collaborative program will initially focus on research in nanomedicine and biosensors at UZ and energy at CUT.  ZINC has grown out of the NIH Fogarty International Center, AIDS International Training and Research Program (AITRP) that was awarded to UB and UZ in 2008 to conduct HIV research training and build research capacity in Zimbabwe and neighboring countries in southern Africa.

UB faculty and research directors in the ZINC partnership include Paras N. Prasad, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Physics, Medicine and Electrical Engineering, the Samuel P. Capen Chair, executive director of ILPB; Gene D. Morse, PharmD, Professor of Pharmacy Practice, associate director of the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and director of the Translational Pharmacy Research Core; Alexander N. Cartwright, PhD, UB vice president for research and economic development and interim executive director of the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences , who will work with Professor Levi Nyagura, UZ vice chancellor; Professor David T. Simbi, CUT vice chancellor, and Dr. Charles Maponga, PharmD, UZ pharmacy school director.

ZINC will establish a long-term international research and training platform in the field of nanotechnology, focused in areas that promote Zimbabwe’s strength, and advance the development of nanotechnology as an avenue for Zimbabwe’s commercial growth.

The UB ILPB and TPRC collaboration recognized that the fields of pharmacology and therapeutics have increasingly developed links with emerging areas within the field of nanosciences in an attempt to develop tissue/organ targeted strategies that will lead to disease treatment and eradication. Research teams will focus on emerging technologies, initially focused in nanobiotechnology and nanomedicine for health care.

“Developing nanoformulations for HIV and tuberculosis diagnostics and therapeutics, as well as new tuberculosis drug development, are just a few of the innovative strategies to address these co-infections that this research collaboration can provide,” said Morse.

“In addition, the development of new nanotechnology-related products will jumpstart the economy and foster new economic initiatives in Zimbabwe that will yield additional private-public partnerships.”

A photo of Morse is available at: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/13694.

Morse says that the current plans for a “Center of Excellence” in clinical and translational pharmacology in Harare at UZ will create a central hub in Africa, not just for Zimbabwe but for other countries to gain new training and capacity building in many exciting aspects of nanotechnology as well.

Morse adds that this initiative creates an opportunity for additional involvement from a number of UB centers such as those represented by UB’s Strategic Strengths in areas such as Health and Wellness across the Lifespan, Integrated Nanostructured Systems, Molecular Recognition in Biological Systems and Bioinformatics and Information and Computing Technology.

“With an international program like ZINC, we are hoping to attract pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology firms who will have similar interests in joining this unique partnership that will enhance the likelihood of economic success through efficient, innovative research.”

“Locally, these efforts will be linked to the growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus resulting in a truly global partnership with one anchor in Buffalo–a comprehensive ‘UB matrix’ of innovation and excellence,” says Morse.

UB CAT Awards More Than $415,000 to 16 WNY Companies Developing Life Sciences Technologies

News Release

UB CAT Awards More Than $415,000 to 16 WNY Companies Developing Life Sciences Technologies

Contact

Marcene Robinson

marcener@buffalo.edu

716-645-4650

Release Date: July 18, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology (UB CAT) has awarded more than $415,000 to companies in Western New York to aid them in the development of new life sciences technologies.

The funding will support a range of projects in the 2012-13 fiscal year, from development of eye-controlled keyboards to development of a new cancer immunotherapy. Companies must work with a UB professor as principal investigator, and also get access to UB facilities and equipment.

Firms receiving an award, which typically ranges between $10,000 and $50,000, must match the funding with their own money.

The UB CAT is one of 15 centers across New York State that Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) funds to support university-industry collaboration in research, education and technology transfer. The focus is on linking academic research with commercial interests to help New York State-based businesses gain a technological edge on their competition.

UB received its most recent re-designation by NYSTAR as a Center for Advanced Technology in 2007. The designation lasts 10 years, during which the UB CAT receives nearly $1 million annually from NYSTAR.

Since 2005, the UB CAT has supported over 75 projects leading to more than $140 million in non-job economic impact. The center has also helped Western New York’s life sciences sector create over 280 new jobs.

“The UB CAT provides companies with funding and resources during a critical stage in the development of new technologies,” said Marnie LaVigne, UB associate vice president for economic development. “The projects we have supported over the years have helped create jobs in New York State, facilitated long-term partnerships between UB and industry, and led to the commercialization of new and improved life sciences products and services.”

This year, 16 businesses were chosen from a group of 22 wp-contentlicants, all vying for aid in creating new technologies that benefit the fields of health and medicine.

One such company, IMMCO Diagnostics Inc., will use its $40,000 award to develop a more sensitive and specific test for Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease in which white blood cells attack the glands that produce tears and saliva.

The syndrome is the second most common autoimmune disease, affecting some 4 million Americans. Nine out of 10 patients are women, including tennis champion Venus Williams.

Williams was first diagnosed with this disease in 2011, but suffered with Sjogren’s for a while before doctors could determine the cause.

Current tests for Sjogren’s syndrome are not sensitive enough, missing almost two-thirds of cases. However, research by Julian Ambrus Jr., MD, rheumatologist, immunologist and an associate professor in UB’s Department of Medicine, led to the discovery of a diminished protein in those with the syndrome.

IMMCO, founded in Buffalo in 1971 by several UB professors, is one of the world’s first autoimmune disease diagnostic companies. Their lab will manufacture the new testing kits, which will detect the disease in 70 to 80 percent of patients.

“Most autoimmune diseases are difficult to diagnose, simply because we really do not know the exact causes for most of them,” said Lakshmanan Suresh, assistant vice president of lab services at IMMCO. “This collaboration between IMMCO and UB will help diagnose the disease earlier so treatment can be delivered sooner.”

He adds, “The grant also helps us get this test from the bench stage to the market quicker.”

Information regarding the UB CAT and the center’s award wp-contentlication process is available online at http://www.bioinformatics.buffalo.edu/cat.php.

Networking and Investor Support for Early-Stage Companies

Early-stage, high-tech companies had the opportunity to network with angel investors and venture capitalists, along with other business professionals who can offer resources and advice on how to take their companies to the next level at the 2012 Venture Forum presented by a SmartStart/UNYTECH and Bright Buffalo Niagara partnership. Angel investors are enthusiastically encouraging emerging businesses on the cusp of industry advancements. Because many early-stage companies are high-risk, gaining the financial capital necessary to compete and grow is not always an easy task to accomplish.

As angel investors and venture capitalists invest their money, time, and talents in companies that have the most potential to succeed and grow, entrepreneurs can take comfort in knowing that there are people who believe in the business they have started and where it can ultimately go. With high-return-on-investment expectations, investors had the opportunity to see 32 unique presentations that introduced them to great business opportunities that can help enhance their portfolios.

With a keynote address from Victor Thorne, the director of the Ohio TechAngel Funds entitled “Building an Innovation-based Entrepreneurial Ecosystem,” start-ups and angel investors received insight about how the Ohio TechAngels work.

Presentations included multiple 10-minute pitches, and 1-minute pitches as well, highlighting each company’s specialty, market research, potential for growth, and investment opportunities. Awards were give to the companies with the most potential to be funded, for the best presentation, and for the most promising technology. Overall, it was a great turnout.

For more information about investment resources in the region, visit Western New York Venture Association.

 

Immco Diagnostics

Immco Diagnostics develops and distributes autoimmune disease diagnostics and reagents to labs worldwide. Immco offers laboratory testing of autoimmune diseases for the US healthcare market. Its contract research organization supports clinical research trials for pharmaceutical and biotech clients.
Immco assay development led to the first immunofluorescence assay for diagnosing celiac disease and the first Western blot assay for autoimmune hearing loss. The new line of Immco enhanced ELISA assays provides standardized calibration systems, an industry first. Immco is continually expanding its product offering.

Immco’s principal mission is to provide the total solution in autoimmunity™.

Website: www.immcodiagnostics.com

Ceno Technologies

Ceno Technologies specializes in high-tech particle research, development and production of ultra-fast coated particles. This includes coating and treating microscopic spheres or nanoparticles for use in drug development, personal care and pharmaceutical products.
Ceno’s core technology is the coating of micron and submicron (nano) sized particles with a variety of materials ranging from Metals (Silver, Gold, Palladium, Copper, Zinc, Platinum, Iridium, Nickel, etc.), Alloys and Oxides, Dyes, Organic Materials such as Antibodies and other Bioactive components.

Website: www.cenotechnologies.com

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