MassCONNECT names second group of innovators

November 12, 2010

MassBio program matches six researchers with seasoned mentors to spur commercialization and new company creation

Six Massachusetts scientists and budding entrepreneurs have been chosen for the second round of MassCONNECT, a mentoring program pairing them with seasoned biotechnology professionals for evaluation and advice.

MassCONNECT aims to enable everything from better licensing deals to new company start-up through individualized mentoring and industry networking. The first round of mentees have completed new business plans and attended office hours with potential industry investors.

The applicants chosen for the latest round of mentorship are:

Dylan Bulseco
FCS Probes LLC

FCS Probes LLC is a nascent start-up company that is focused on the development of reagents, assays, and associated services for Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS), a Single Molecule Detection platform.  One unique technology being developed by FCS Probes is a novel affinity purification matrix that would enable biopharmaceutical processing of biologicals.  According to the company, the development of an affinity matrix that can purify glycosylated mAb therapeutics will bridge the gap between analytical tools and large scale purification tools.


Douglas McMillin
Axios Biosciences

Axios Biosciences is a start-up company developing oncology therapeutics active in the tumor microenvironment, where tumors intimately interact with normal cells. The company’s mission is to improve oncology drug discovery and identify drugs to improve patient health. The proof-of-principle experiments that the company has already conduction have been published in the Journal of Natural Medicine and include the high-throughput screening of various drug libraries, the identification of a lead compound with optimal activity and the validation of its activity in animal experiments.


Alexey Wolfson PhD, MBA

Advirna is a new private biotechnology company developing innovative solutions for efficient delivery of polynucleotides in vivo. Self-deliverable RNAi technology was originally invented by Advirna and further developed by Rxi Pharmaceuticals. Advirna products can be used by individual researchers both in academia and industry for genomic and target validation studies.


Each of the mentee groups will be paired with a team of 5-6 mentors with expertise that fits their need. The mentors and mentees will meet several times over the next two months to collaborate on a business plan for the proposed new technology or platform. The program culminates with mentee groups making their first pitch to a small group of venture capitalists and other possible investors.

Applications were reviewed by industry experts from various sectors of the biotechnology ecosystem, including representatives from venture capital, angel capital, and biotechnology and pharma business development. Screeners evaluated applications on a scale of "business readiness".

MassCONNECT is open to life sciences-based, pre-seed and seed stage opportunities arising from New England based laboratories. The venture must involve the development of a new products, services, applications, or process in the life sciences area.  Typically, these will include new diagnostic tests, pre-clinical therapeutic molecules, platform technologies, and/ or instrumentation.

For more information, or to apply to be a mentor or mentee, visit


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