New Class of MassCONNECT Startups Chosen

June 23, 2014

New Class of MassCONNECT Startups Chosen

Entrepreneurs solving problems in oncology, neurological diseases, platelet supply and vascular health chosen for mentoring

June 23, 2014 (CAMBRIDGE, MA & SAN DIEGO, CA) — Four Massachusetts startups have been chosen for the MassCONNECT mentoring program, MassBio announced as the BIO International Convention kicked off in San Diego today.

This cycle’s class of startups includes Bayesian Dx (reducing cancer recurrence rates through molecular diagnostics), Brain Backups (developing non-invasive brain imaging technology), Platelet BioGenesis (producing the world’s first donor independent human platelets)  and Riparian Pharmaceuticals (is discovering therapeutics to reverse endothelial dysfunction).

MassCONNECT, the only entrepreneur mentorship program in Massachusetts that dives deep into the life sciences industry, will kick off its second cycle of 2014 with a Technology Showcase in early July. At the Showcase, the chosen entrepreneurs will present their ideas to a room of industry executives and potential mentors for early feedback. The entrepreneurs will then be matched with mentor teams with expertise specific to their therapeutic area or business need, and receive coaching over a 10-week period before presenting in a final session in front of venture capitalists and other potential partners.

Past MassCONNECT graduates have leveraged the skills learned and advice provided through the program to raise funding rounds, secure grants, bring on company executives, and win other industry and business plan competitions.

“The continued success and growth of the life sciences industry in Massachusetts depends on the ability of talented researchers to build companies that will deliver new treatments to the patients that need them,” said John Hallinan, Chief Business Officer at MassBio. “The track record of MassCONNECT graduates speaks for itself, and we are excited to help build the next generation of life sciences companies in Massachusetts.”

The applicants chosen for the latest round of mentorship are:

Bayesian Dx
Salil Desai
Cambridge, MA

BayesianDx (BDx, is focused on reducing recurrence rates in cancer through molecular diagnostics designed to allow surgeons and pathologists to visualize and distinguish healthy from cancerous tissue rapidly and with high-confidence accuracy during the surgical procedure. BDx licensed the core technology (desorption spray ionization [DESI]-mass spectrometry) from Partners HealthCare / Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and has developed cell culture and custom IT systems that employ molecular signatures to detect cancer in tissue where the margins are ambiguous or non-existent.

Brain Backups
Russell Hanson and Mihai Dinulescu
New York City

Brain Backups ( is developing technology to image mouse and human brains non-destructively and non-invasively.  This work is important to develop therapies and drugs for neurological disease and to understand how the brain changes over time. Applications range from consumable product as a research tool as well as biomarker for use in Alzheimer’s drug trial efficacy and other dopamine research.

Platelet BioGenesis
Joseph Italiano
Chestnut Hill, MA

Platelet BioGenesis ( is producing the world’s first donor independent human platelets. The technology mimics human bone marrow to trigger platelet production. This process yields safer and unlimited supply of platelets for human infusion. Platelets produced are structurally and functionally comparable to donor platelets. This patented and scalable technology will combat the current problem of high demand for platelets which far exceeds the supply due to donor dependency and low shelf life.

Riparian Pharmaceuticals
Will Adams
Cambridge, MA

Riparian Pharmaceuticals ( is discovering therapeutics to reverse endothelial dysfunction, a condition underlying diseases like atherosclerosis and diabetic vascular disease, as well as stroke, neuropathy and heart attacks. Riparian is deploying hemodynamics as a tool to discover first in class therapeutics acting on new pathways at an earlier stage of disease than is possible today.

This cycle of MassCONNECT is sponsored by Pepper Hamilton, which is contributing life sciences attorneys to the mentor teams.

MassCONNECT is open to opportunities that involve the development of a new technologies, products, services, applications, or processes 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, mentee, or MBA intern, visit

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