Biotech

Discovering a world beyond contract research

By GREGORY ZELLER // Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory spinoff Certerra Inc. is finally getting ready to spin off. Founded in 2011 by CSHL associate professor Pavel Osten and venture capitalist Steve Winick, Certerra screens drugs to test their effectiveness on a broad spectrum of brain-based disorders. Until now, the company has focused on mouse brain scans for pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients, helping them improve predictability before their experimental compounds move on to human clinical trials….


Hot biotech startup Coferon decamping for Florida

By GREGORY ZELLER // Coferon, a biotech firm headed by former OSI Pharmaceuticals chief Colin Goddard and a rising star in the region’s innovation economy, has abruptly left its incubator space at Stony Brook University and is likely heading for Florida. Company co-founder Maneesh Pingle declined to comment on why the startup had left the incubator, saying only that the firm was “still working out the details” and that company officials would be making a…


Envisagenics lands $225K NIH award

Bioinformatics startup Envisagenics has been awarded a $225,000 award from the National Institutes of Health. The Phase I Small Business Innovation Research Award is the largest capital infusion to date for the LaunchPad Huntington resident, which received $100,000 last month from an Accelerate Long Island seed fund. The firm, a spinoff from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, will dedicate the $225,000 to the development of SpliceCore, a cloud-based platform for detecting, quantifying and interpreting NGS data…


Zach Lippman has big plans for agriculture

By GREGORY ZELLER // You say “tomato.” Zachary Lippman says “scientific breakthrough of global importance.” He doesn’t literally say it, of course. The associate professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is too professional a scientist to jump to such grandiose conclusions. But Lippman’s research on stem cell production in tomato plants has already produced supersized fruits. It’s already attracted the attention of commercial-scale breeders. And it appears to extend to other seed-bearing fruits and even…


Envisagenics gets $100K in seed funding

By GREGORY ZELLER // Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory spinoff Envisagenics has landed a $100,000 investment from Accelerate Long Island and the Long Island Emerging Technology Fund. Envisagenics, which uses proprietary algorithms to dramatically reduce the complexity of biological datasets resulting from ribonucleic acid sequencing, will use the funds “to create the most talented team possible for Envisagenics and Long Island,” CEO Maria Luisa Pineda told Innovate LI. Pineda founded the firm in 2013 with Chief Technology…


LA startup heading to Stony Brook

A California-based dermatology company is relocating to New York – specifically, to the Stony Brook University campus – as one of 12 new Start-Up NY companies announced Thursday. PhD Skin Care LLC, currently headquartered in Los Angeles, will focus on the design and fabrication of new ingredients and topical formulas for over-the-counter drugs and topical skincare products as the newest residents of the Long Island High Technology Incubator. The company “will be relocating its entire…


Helping Big Pharma master Big Data

By GREGORY ZELLER // Medicine is making giant strides in the research of ribonucleic acid – RNA for short – a molecule that plays vital roles in the coding, decoding and regulation of genes. The stumbling block is the resulting data, which has been piling up from next-generation sequencing technology and will soon represent the largest collection of electronic bytes in the world, topping even the astronomical amounts of data collected on space. And even…


Symbiotoc Health CEO Gerard Honig

Symbiotic Health gets $100K in funding

By GREGORY ZELLER // A spinoff of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research has snagged a critical $100,000 stake from Accelerate Long Island and the Long Island Emerging Technologies Fund – good news for anyone suffering from the most prevalent hospital-based infection in the United States. Symbiotic Health, which does battle against the insidious Clostridium difficile infection, announced today that Accelerate Long Island has matched the $50,000 investment the LIETF fund made in June –…


Debrief: Diane Fabel, Center for Biotechnology

As honcho of the 30-year-old Center for Biotechnology – a catalyst for the development of biomedical technologies and companies located on the Stony Brook University campus – Diane Fabel wears many important hats: facilitator, organizer, manager, sometimes even referee. And since the center is the lead administrative organization behind the three-headed Long Island Bioscience Hub, uniting SBU and the Cold Spring Harbor and Brookhaven National laboratories, she also plays a critical role in the development…


Bioscience Hub readies $8.4M funding effort

By GREGORY ZELLER // The Long Island Bioscience Hub has announced plans to award $8.4 million in grants to local startups bringing bio-medical breakthroughs to market. The hub is a coalition led by the state’s Center for Biotechnology at Stony Brook University and includes SBU, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Brookhaven National Lab. It was launched in April with a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Since then, the group has added…


With Topspin round, Codagenix steps on the gas

By GREGORY ZELLER // Last year, when local venture firm Topspin chipped in on a $100,000 infusion for Stony Brook-based biotech Codagenix, it gave the startup a fairly clear idea of what to do with the money. “We had suggested to them that they needed to tighten up some aspects of their clinical data, and in fact they used the money to do just that,” said Steve Winick, Topspin’s managing director. “The tests came out…


Almost 60 years later, still very much a startup

By GREGORY ZELLER // “Innovative” is often associated with “new,” but when it comes to Long Island’s innovation economy, the region’s oldest biopharmaceutical company is leading the pack. With a five-person staff and a market cap over $300 million, Lynbrook’s BioSpecifics Technologies Corp. is one lean, mean biotech machine – and the most profitable days for the firm, which launched in 1957 among the nation’s first batch of biotech startups, may lie ahead. Consider the…


Ackman foundation gives $10M to Cold Spring

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has received a $10 million endowment from the Pershing Square Foundation, the philanthropic venture of billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman and his wife, Karen. The money will go to support the lab’s biology and genetics research and education programs. The principal of the fund will be managed by Ackman’s firm, Pershing Square Capital Management, with CSHL receiving an annual payment of 5 percent of the principal. In 2040, the appreciated fund…


DEBRIEF: Leo Guthart, Topspin Partners

A Harvard man through and through (BA physics 1958, MBA 1960, doctorate in business administration 1966), Leo Guthart held leading positions at several national corporations before launching private equity fund Topspin Partners in 2000 – just in time for 9/11. With its trademark think-before-you-leap mantra, Topspin survived the Great Recession to become a key player in Long Island’s burgeoning innovation economy, including several joint investments with regional booster Accelerate Long Island through the Long Island…


Feinstein, Battelle partner on ‘Neural Tourniquet’

North Shore-LIJ’s Feinstein Institute is partnering with Ohio health giant Battelle on a so-called Neural Tourniquet that will reshape the way doctors staunch blood loss, from the battlefield to the operating room. The technology is an outgrowth of research pioneered by Feinstein director Kevin Tracey, whose discoveries have helped fuel the bioelectronic medicine field, which combines molecular medicine, bioengineering and neuroscience to develop nerve-stimulating and sensing technologies to regulate biological processes. Tracey’s discoveries have already…