This MassCONNECT class includes entrepreneurs working to fight cancer, treat obesity, prevent HIV, improve drug delivery and advance precision medicine
October 17, 2016 (CAMBRIDGE, MA) — Startup companies working to fight cancer, treat obesity, prevent HIV, improve drug delivery and advance precision medicine have been chosen for a new cycle of MassBio's MassCONNECT mentoring program, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim and Choate Hall & Stewart.
MassCONNECT, the only entrepreneur mentorship program in Massachusetts that dives deep into the life sciences industry, kicked off its third cycle of 2016 with a Technology Showcase on Friday, October 14. 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 potential investors and partners.
Boehringer Ingelheim and Choate Hall & Stewart are sponsoring this MassCONNECT cycle and providing mentors for the entrepreneur teams.
“Nurturing the creative power of entrepreneurs and offering mentoring from leading experts is the key to progress and pushing scientific boundaries,” said Paola Casarosa, corporate vice president, head of Business Development and Licensing/Prescription Medicines, Boehringer Ingelheim. “The MassCONNECT program supporting scientific exploration is in direct alignment with Boehringer Ingelheim’s dedication to working together for better health and we are proud to yet again be a sponsor and a part of this vital endeavor.”
“The breadth and depth of our region’s life sciences talent is a tremendous asset in driving innovation to deliver better patient outcomes,” said Brian Goldstein, Partner and Practice Group Leader, Business and Technology, Choate Hall & Stewart. “We’re proud to continue our partnership with MassCONNECT and to provide dedicated mentoring to this strong group of promising young entrepreneurs.”
The applicants chosen for the latest round of mentorship are:
Harold F. Dvorak, MD; Paul Jaminet, PhD; Shou-Ching Jaminet, PhD
Angiex (http://www.angiex.com) is reviving an old target – TM4SF1–with a modern technology, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), to address cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Angiex is developing an antibody platform targeting TM4SF1, will develop a cancer biotherapeutic internally and will seek partnerships to out-license antibodies for vascular indications.
David Chung, MD; Ashis Saha, PhD
Dover Lifesciences is exploiting a novel, genetically-defined enzyme target for obesity. People with complete loss-of-function of the target protein have enough of a metabolic inefficiency to protect against obesity, with otherwise normal cardiovascular health. Dover is creating orally-available, small molecule inhibitors of the target protein replicating the human genotype findings to treat obese individuals and a category of rare metabolic disorders.
Nikolai Eroshenko, PhD; Hannu Rajaniemi, PhD
HelixNano (http://helixnano.com) is developing novel, synthetic DNA vectors that are safe, achieve of high levels of monoclonal antibody expression in vivo and can be manufactured in a scalable fashion. HelixNano seeks to reduce the cost and pain of biologic drugs via nonviral gene delivery and is focusing first on applications in infectious disease and oncology.
Ernest Fraenkel, PhD; Leila Pirhaji, PhD
ReviveMed (http://www.revive-med.com) is developing a proprietary database platform and machine-learning algorithm to process large-scale metabolomic information and integrate these data with other molecular datasets such as genomics and proteomics. This pioneering technology, developed at MIT and published in Nature Methods, is a revolutionary tool for therapeutic and precision medicine applications.
Giffin Daughtridge, MD/MPA Candidate; Keith Kardos, PhD; Helen Koenig, MD, MPH
UrSure Inc. (http://www.ursureinc.com) produces urine tests for the medication PrEP. PrEP is 99% effective at preventing HIV infections in non-infected individuals if taken daily. UrSure’s point-of-care urine tests are noninvasive and painless and they are cheaper, more accurate and have a faster turnaround time than alternative PrEP tests.
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.
MassCONNECT is open to opportunities that involve the development of new technologies, products, services, applications or processes in the life sciences area. Typically, these 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 https://www.massbio.org/discover/massconnect.