Bio Hub names newest resident entrepreneurs

Diane Fabel heads the Bioscience Hub program.

A “biotechnology strategist” and a longtime Big Pharma executive are throwing their weight behind the Long Island Bioscience Hub as its newest bioentrepreneurs in residence.

The hub is a National Institutes of Health-supported partnership between Stony Brook University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory designed to promote commercialization of technologies created at member institutions. Now supporting that mission are Brian McCarthy and Gian Luca Araldi, the sixth and seventh resident bioentrepreneurs to sign on since the hub launched its Bioentrepreneur in Residence program in 2013.

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Brian McCarthy

McCarthy is the biotechnology strategist, with operational, startup, developmental and financial expertise, according to hub execuitives. He is currently a business advisor to Gismo Therapeutics, a Kentucky-based biotech firm researching small-molecule pharmaceutical treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and vice president of business and clinical development at Viatar CTC Solutions, a Massachusetts med-tech company focused on metastatic cancers.

A former vice president of investment banking at Florida-based financial services firm Ladenburg Thalmann & Co., McCarthy received his PhD in neurobiology from SBU and is a former faculty member of the Cornell University Medical College and the National Naval Medical Center.

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Gian Luca Araldi

Araldi boasts more than a quarter-century of executive-level pharmaceutical and biotechnological experience. The founder of East Setauket biotech consulting firm U.S. Pharma Services and a former senior director at Forest Laboratories, he’s led major clinical development programs at Forest, GlaxoSmithKline and other top-tier international biotech manufacturers, with a hand in the introduction of the well-known antibiotics Teflaro and Sanfetrinem and other mainstream medications.

The inventor behind 113 international patents, Araldi received doctorates in organic chemistry and pharmacy from the University of Parma in Italy, and recently earned an MBA, with a finance focus, from LIU-Post. He also conducted postdoctoral research at Georgetown University and the University of Oregon.

Both of the new resident entrepreneurs are expected to continue their activities outside of the hub, while bringing members their broad bioscience industry experiences and comprehensive knowledge of commercialization strategies.

Diane Fabel, director of operations at SBU’s Center for Biotechnology and de facto head of the hub program, said McCarthy and Araldi were selected from a pool of applicants that poured in for the new positions.

“We’ve done this several times over the last few years, so we’re beginning to cultivate an audience for these positions,” Fabel told Innovate LI. “They had the capacity, the background and the interest.”

The newcomers join what Fabel termed “a talented roster of five existing bioentrepreneurs in residence who are well on their way to commercializing technologies and building their companies.”

Their arrival caps a progressive 2015 for the hub program. This year, the hub launched a “boot camp” program to train would-be entrepreneurs on making their best financing pitches; the camp features teams of advisors including industry experts, IP attorneys, SBU graduate students and Center for Biotechnology staffers, teaching lessons on perfecting the “elevator speech,” understanding intellectual property laws and preparing for the rough-and-tumble business world.

The biotechnology hub also announced plans to award $8.1 million in grants to local startups looking to bring biomed breakthroughs to market. The boot camp was intended in part to prepare entrepreneurs to go after a share of those $8.1 million in milestone awards, funded by a $3 million NIH grant and over $5 million in contributions from the member institutions, the SUNY Research Foundation and Empire State Development.

According to Fabel, the hub program will award the funds to biotech-related startups over the next three years – and the new resident entrepreneurs will play a role in helping award winners actually bring their wares to market.

“The things we decide to fund will have been vetted internally and by an external review board, and through a secondary review process at the NIH,” she noted. “They go through a lot of due diligence. So they’re a prime opportunity for the bioentrepreneurs in residence, who will work closely with the companies being funded – many of which are very early stage and need help developing a business strategy.”

The hub is preparing to announce an eighth bioentrepreneur in residence, and is busily formalizing the arrangement before making it public, according to Fabel. An announcement is expected before Jan. 1.