Four New Companies Debut at MassCONNECT Showcase

Dec 30, 2015

Boehringer Ingelheim and Nixon Peabody LLP Sponsor Mentorship Program Cycle

Startup companies working to more effectively treat pancreatic cancer, improve fertility monitoring, treat metabolic and neurodegenerative disease, and harness the immune system response to slow tumor growth have been chosen for a new cycle of the MassCONNECT mentoring program, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim and Nixon Peabody LLP, MassBio announced today.

MassCONNECT, the only entrepreneur mentorship program in Massachusetts that dives deep into the life sciences industry, kicked off its third cycle of 2015 with a Technology Showcase on Tuesday, October 27. At the Showcase, the chosen entrepreneurs presented their ideas to a room of industry executives and potential mentors for early feedback.

The entrepreneurs are now matched with mentor teams that possess expertise specific to the entrepreneurs’ objectives and business needs. The entrepreneurs will receive coaching from these mentors over a two-month period before presenting in a final session in front of venture capitalists and other potential partners.

Boehringer Ingelheim and Nixon Peabody LLP are sponsoring this MassCONNECT cycle and are providing mentors for the entrepreneur teams.

“Bringing together entrepreneurs and leading experts from around the globe who have a vision for new research approaches and innovative technologies, may hold the key to discovering breakthrough medicines in the future,” said Paola Casarosa, corporate vice president, Business Development & Licensing/Prescription Medicines, Boehringer Ingelheim. “We are proud to sponsor the MassCONNECT program and provide support for start-up companies in their efforts to find new solutions that address unmet patient needs.”

“The rapidly changing life sciences ecosystem presents a lot of exciting opportunities,” said Maia Harris, a life sciences partner in Nixon Peabody’s IP Litigation practice. “We have a passion for helping mid-market and startup companies grow. Through the MassCONNECT program, we are focused on helping these entrepreneurs leverage opportunities and make strategic decisions that maximize their business potential.”

The applicants chosen for the latest round of mentorship are:

Joshua Forman, Mounir Koussa, PhD; Zhi-Yang Tsun, PhD

Lumio ( is building an at-home clinical-grade fertility diagnostic using novel platform technology. With this technology, Lumio aims to democratize health monitoring, build the largest real-time biomarker database, and usher in an era of proactive healthcare. 

Madhavi Gavini; Raja Srinivas; Rathi Srinivas, PhD

Novopyxis ( is developing therapeutics and medical devices to treat diseases that currently have few treatment options. Their portfolio includes a lead therapeutic currently undergoing preclinical testing for neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases and a transdermal delivery device that generates an enhanced aerosol for painless delivery of large molecules through skin. 

PanTher Therapeutics
Laura Indolfi, PhD
Boston, MA

PanTher Therapeutics ( is developing a drug-device combination platform to suppress tumor growth of inoperable solid tumors from pancreatic and other cancers, ultimately reducing overall healthcare costs by increasing the number of curable patients and minimizing repeated procedures.

Piper Therapeutics
Russ Wilcox
Cambridge, MA

Piper Therapeutics ( is an immuno-oncology company developing therapies that affect inflammatory signaling and immune system response to inhibit tumor growth, slow sepsis, and calm autoimmune disease.

Past MassCONNECT graduates have leveraged the skills learned and advice provided through the program to secure industry collaborations, investment and grants, recruit company executives, and win other industry and business plan competitions.

“The quality and potential of the four startups in Cycle III reinforce that the Massachusetts cluster is a fertile source of innovation,” said John Hallinan, Chief Business Officer at MassBio. “We are pleased to partner with Boehringer Ingelheim, Nixon Peabody, and the MassCONNECT mentors to help accelerate the commercial trajectory of Lumio, Novopyxis, PanTher Therapeutics, and Piper Therapeutics, and build the next generation of life sciences companies in Massachusetts.”

MassCONNECT is open to opportunities that involve the development of 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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