Biotech

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…


BioSpecifics surges on international breakout

A high-flying international performance by its flagship product Xiaflex marked a big year for Lynbrook pharma firm BioSpecifics Technologies Corp. The biopharmaceutical company reported its fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 financials Monday, highlighted by a 62 percent jump in annual revenues and a 107 percent leap in after-tax income. The strong earnings capped “an important year of commercial growth,” according to BioSpecifics President Thomas Wegman. Wegman credited the boastful bottom line primarily to new international pipelines…


Chembio misses on drop in Latin American biz

By GREGORY ZELLER // An oversupplied Latin American market put a dent in Chembio Diagnostic’s 2015 earnings, but coming battles with the Zika virus may turn fortunes around. That was the message to investors Tuesday as CEO John Sperzel III reported the Medford firm’s financials for the year ended Dec. 31, 2015. While the company’s science – point-of-care diagnostic tests for infectious diseases – is in increasing demand, the numbers were not great. Chembio’s reported…


Chembio lands $550K grant for Zika test

Chembio Diagnostics has been awarded a $550,000 “catalyst grant” to develop a rapid test for the Zika virus and similar maladies. The grant comes from Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, who has a long history of supporting Chembio’s research efforts, most recently surrounding the Ebola outbreak. Company officials said Chembio will develop a test to detect Zika alone, and another to detect Zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses. The company also will add Zika to a six-virus…


Diversification nips Applied DNA numbers

It wasn’t a record quarter, but Applied DNA Sciences maintained momentum and stayed true to its ongoing diversification strategy in the first quarter of Fiscal 2016. That according to James Hayward, president and CEO of the Stony Brook-based biotech firm, which this week reported results for the quarter ended Dec. 31. While Applied DNA Sciences snapped its streak of consecutive quarters with record-setting revenues at four, reported revenues were up compared to 1Q FY2015, reflecting…


Hairpin tops $1M in RNA licensing deals

A Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory spinoff with less than a year under its belt has sped past $1 million in licensing revenue on the lab’s patented “short hairpin RNA” technology. Ronkonkoma-based Hairpin Technologies was launched in 2015 to expand the commercial distribution of, and develop new research uses for, shRNA, a versatile biomedical research and drug-discovery tool invented by Gregory Hannon, a CSHL professor and former researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Maryland….


Codagenix preps for fight against Zika virus

By GREGORY ZELLER // A Stony Brook startup that digitally recreates viruses in order to reprogram their genomes is preparing to take on the Zika virus, which World Health Organization officials said Thursday is “spreading explosively” through the Americas. Codagenix, a 2012 startup cofounded by Farmingdale State College biology professor J. Robert Coleman and former Stony Brook University assistant research professor Steffen Mueller, is keeping a close eye on the migration of the virus, which…


The Debrief: Linda Amper is breathing life into the life sciences

The Long Island Association has hired former OSI Pharmaceuticals exec Linda Amper to help launch Long Island Bio, a business-development platform to be co-chaired by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory chief Bruce Stillman and Canon USA Executive VP Seymour Liebman. The biotech, pharma and life sciences platform is right in Amper’s wheelhouse: The PhD (healthcare administration, Columbia Southern), who also holds a master’s in public administration from LIU Post, spent years in senior-executive positions with OSI…