Biotech

Study is big news for Vagus pioneer Tracey

By GREGORY ZELLER // Medical science has taken an enormous step toward “using electronics to replace drugs.” Kevin Tracey’s words sound downright science-fictional. And no, researchers cannot wave a medical tricorder and instantly cure ailments like “Star Trek” medic “Bones” McCoy. But they’re getting closer to a world where high-tech implants – not pharmaceuticals – are the most effective treatments for inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson’s disease. A recent clinical trial in the…


‘Accidental’ find may be COPD breakthrough

By GREGORY ZELLER // From the Didn’t See That Coming File comes Stony Brook University researcher Ute Moll and the p73 gene – potentially, a master key to unlocking new treatments for chronic lung diseases. As part of a cancer study, a team led by Moll – a professor in the SBU School of Medicine’s Department of Pathology – and research scientist Alice Nemajerova studied a family of genes including the p53, “the mother of…


Traverse Biosciences lands key seed investment

By GREGORY ZELLER // A critical seed investment will help Traverse Biosciences commercialize pharmaceutical candidates licensed from the SUNY Research Foundation. The circa-2013 Stony Brook-based biotech has secured $500,000 in convertible debt financing in a round led by Excell Partners, a Rochester-based venture capital fund partial to early-stage, high-tech startups. The SUNY Research Foundation added an undisclosed investment to Excell Partner’s $100,000 stake, while a collection of 10 accredited angel investors – “almost exclusively from…


Novel Parkinson’s Procedure Pumps Up NSUH

By GREGORY ZELLER // They’re dancing in the aisles, literally, at North Shore University Hospital, thanks to a revolutionary treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Surgeons at the Manhasset hospital, part of the Northwell Health system, recently completed their first endoscopic procedure involving Duopa, an effective drug combo administered via a cutting-edge cassette-pump system marketed by Chicago-based pharma AbbVie Inc. Approved by the FDA in January, Duopa marks the first Parkinson’s disease treatment to administer medicine –…


Applied DNA Taking it to Swedish car thieves

By GREGORY ZELLER // Let this be a warning to Swedish car thieves: Applied DNA Sciences is on the case. Through Safesolutions AB (bring your Swedish or try the Google Translate version), the Stony Brook-based supply-chain, anti-counterfeiting, anti-theft, product-genotyping and product-authentication specialist is now applying its flagship SigNature DNA products to luxury cars imported into Sweden. Safesolutions, Applied DNA Sciences’ Swedish distributor, has inked a contract with Swedish importers that will mark a minimum of…


Feinstein’s Tracey to head bioelectronics summit

Feinstein Institute chief and global bioelectronics pioneer Kevin Tracey will headline a September New York Academy of Science conference on bioelectronic medicine. Tracey, Feinstein’s president and CEO and the brains behind bioelectronic startup Sanguistat, will share keynote duties with Peder Olofsson, a longtime Feinstein Institute researcher and Wallenberg Academy Fellow at the Karolinska Institutet. The two will headline Key Symposium 2016: Bioelectronic Medicine – Technology Targeting Molecular Mechanisms, presented by the Feinstein Institute, the Royal…


TheraSource snags $3M SBIR grant

By GREGORY ZELLER // A Feinstein Institute-born biotech will tackle radiation poisoning thanks to a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. TheraSource, a Manhasset-based 2004 startup spun out of Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, has received a $3 million, three-year Small Business Innovation Research grant from the NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health. The grant will support the development of an innovative treatment to alleviate physical damage…


Applied DNA inks $2.5M federal contract

By GREGORY ZELLER // Biotech firm Applied DNA Sciences has announced a new $2.5 million contract with “a U.S. government agency” covering the use of its flagship SigNature DNA security and authentication products – the first deal of what’s shaping up as another big fiscal year for the Stony Brook-based startup. The contract is actually a blanket purchase agreement that runs through March 2021 and has two distinct purposes: to facilitate the sale of existing…


Feinstein joins the LI Bioscience Hub

By GREGORY ZELLER // The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research has joined the ranks of the Long Island Bioscience Hub. The Feinstein Institute, the research wing of the Northwell Health system, becomes the LIBH’s fourth member institution, joining Stony Brook University’s Center for Biotechnology, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory. As a partner institution, the Feinstein Institute and its researchers are eligible for funding programs supporting feasibility and proof-of-concept studies. The LIBH, which…


The people have spoken: It’s 3D-printed tissue

With nearly half-a-million votes cast, Northwell Health is ready to declare a 3D bioprinting project the winner of its $100,000 Medical Innovation Contest. The month-long multimedia contest, featuring television commercials and online voting, asked the public to choose from three healthcare innovations developed by Northwell researchers and physicians, with the winner receiving the six-figure stipend to bolster commercialization efforts. Northwell Health President and CEO Michael Dowling on Monday presented the winner’s share to Lee Smith,…


Andrew Whiteley is now executively in residence

By GREGORY ZELLER // It’s become vogue for research institutions to staff “entrepreneurs-in-residence,” experienced innovators who can help science-based startups find their commercial footing, because they’ve been there and done that. Leave it to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to give the notion an innovative spin with a first-ever “executive-in-residence,” a 25-year life-sciences and drug-discovery veteran named Andrew Whiteley. In Whiteley, the lab doesn’t really have an entrepreneur – he’s never actually launched a new business himself – but it does…


Patent Board rejects challenge to CSHL research

By GREGORY ZELLER // A big win before the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board will keep a versatile biomedical-research and drug-discovery tool in Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s possession. The ruling means short hairpin RNA – invented by CSHL professor Gregory Hannon and his team – will remain the exclusive domain of Hairpin Technologies, a licensing agent spun out of the laboratory in 2015 to negotiate and execute shRNA licensing agreements with manufacturers and distributors….


A promising future treatment for lupus

By GREGORY ZELLER // There’s a long tunnel ahead, but for millions around the world suffering from lupus, the light at the end shines brightly. That’s the fervent belief of Meggan Mackay, a board-certified rheumatologist and assistant professor at the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine. Mackay is initiating a Phase 2 clinical trial of a drug she says might rival today’s best treatments for the autoimmune disease but without the devastating side effects. There’s no…


Before the cure, an HIV inhibitor?

By GREGORY ZELLER A cure for AIDS? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Few people understand the molecular world like Stony Brook prof Carol Carter, and the longtime researcher will tell you that such a grandiose achievement may be a decade away or more. And besides, she’s not working on a cure. But her unique method of targeting cellular factors that release the HIV-1 virus from infected cells – rather than targeting the virus itself –…


Move complete, Codagenix takes aim at Zika

By GREGORY ZELLER // Be afraid, Zika virus. With 1,500 square feet of new wet-lab space and buckets of confidence, the big thinkers at Codagenix are targeting your chemical code – with a candidate vaccine likely ready for animal testing inside of six weeks. So says J. Robert Coleman, the Farmingdale State College biology professor who cofounded the 2012 startup with Stony Brook University assistant research professor Steffen Mueller. Zika is a flavivirus – a…