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Partnership for New York City and New York City Economic Development Corporation Announce Winners of $1.5 Million BioAccelerate NYC Prize

Press Release


Researchers based at Columbia, Einstein, NYU School of Medicine, and Polytechnic will help build a life sciences industry cluster that will create jobs in NYC

The Partnership for New York City (PFNYC) and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced the six winners of the $1.5 million BioAccelerate NYC Prize. The winning researchers, based in New York City and profiled below, will each receive $250,000 to conduct late-stage, “proof-of-concept” research on products that improve human health. The funding will move research down the path to commercialization by making it more attractive to venture capital funding. Each winner has been paired with a life science industry entrepreneur who will act as a mentor and provide guidance on commercialization and company formation for the duration of the funding.

The goal of the BioAccelerate NYC Prize is to catalyze the creation of a life sciences industry sector in the city by increasing the number of commercial spin-offs from New York’s universities and research institutions. The competition addresses the critical funding gap – known as the “valley of death” – between projects too commercial to be eligible for academic or National Institute of Health grants but also too speculative to attract private sector investment.

The New York City Investment Fund (NYCIF), the Partnership’s economic development arm, provided oversight and funding for the competition. NYCEDC, which is leading the City's efforts to make New York City a hub for the biotech industry, provided marketing and organizational support. The competition marks the first phase of the Partnership’s and NYCIF’s long-term commitment to ensuring that promising laboratory discoveries made in New York translate into jobs and business development for New York City. A list of competition judges is provided below.

Sixty-four applications were submitted by researchers at many of New York’s top universities and research institutions. Nearly three-quarters of the applications proposed novel therapies, with the remaining quarter focused on new devices and disease diagnostic tools.

The winners and their proposals are as follows:

Dr. Anne Bresnick, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University: a treatment to improve the cancer survival rate of patients by preventing the disease from spreading to disparate locations in the body. The treatment would focus on the S100 family of calcium-binding proteins, which are involved in tumor metastasis. Mentored by Linda Hogan of Care Capital.

Dr. Kalle Levon, Polytechnic Institute of New York University: a hand-held device that would test for infectious diseases using minute quantities of samples from patients. Mentored by David Shaw of Black Point Group.

Dr. Chuanju Liu, NYU School of Medicine: a potentially safer and more effective drug treatment for patients suffering from chronic autoimmune diseases. Many of these patients are on a lifelong drug regimen that can have damaging side effects. Mentored by Donald Drakeman of Advent Venture Partners and Annarie Lyles of Genmab, Inc.

Dr. Brent Stockwell, Columbia University: a new class of drugs to treat cancer in a more selective and non-toxic way by targeting proteins. Such an approach could potentially enable the treatment of chemotherapy-resistant tumors. Mentored by Edward Garmey of ArQule, Inc.

Dr. Judah Weinberger, Columbia University: a device that would regulate blood flow from the artery to the vein to make dialysis safer for patients with kidney failure. The device could reduce distal hand atrophy and high output heart failure. Mentored by Arikha Moses of the Vertical Group.

Dr. Howard Worman, Columbia University: a treatment for patients suffering from cardiomyopathy, a deterioration of the heart muscle, that would use drugs currently used to treat cancer. Mentored by Christian Kopfli of Chromocell.

“New York City’s bioscience researchers are among the best in the world – and the exceptional quality of the winning proposals proves it” said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City. “What’s been lacking here in New York is a commercial infrastructure to translate research into jobs. The BioAccelerate NYC Prize is a key step towards establishing a bioscience cluster that will ultimately employ thousands of New Yorkers.”

“No longer will New York City scientists who want to start bioscience companies have to go to Boston or Silicon Valley for funding or entrepreneurial advice,” said Maria Gotsch, President & CEO of the New York City Investment Fund. “By connecting top-flight academic institutions, private sector funding, and entrepreneurial talent, we are on our way to making New York City a world leader in bioscience.”

“The depth of proposals received, and the quality of winners selected for the inaugural BioAccelerate NYC Prize underscores our belief that New York City is a world class hub for biotech,” said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky. “Our ongoing efforts to develop New York City into a leading center for life sciences will continue to be successful so long as we persist in attracting and retaining these talented researchers. And by providing them with funding essential to undertake commercially viable projects and supplying them with access to research and development space, we have a formula for transforming this emerging industry into an economic engine for the 21st Century.”

“Funds from the BioAccelerate NYC Prize represent an important stimulus for the NYC biotech community and a rare source of translational funding,” said Edward R. Burns, M.D., Executive Dean of Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. “Therapeutics that specifically target tumor metastasis represent an underexplored area of drug development. This prize will enable Dr. Anne Bresnick and her team to work toward the identification and characterization of these important compounds. Her novel and unique approach to inhibiting cancer cell growth gives new hope in the 21st century high-tech battle against cancer.”

“NYCIF’s support of disruptive technology – innovations that change the course of medicine – could well impact millions of lives,” said Dr. Dianne Rekow, Provost of Polytechnic Institute of New York University. “Dr. Levon’s research into preventive care illustrates that these solutions call for multidisciplinary expertise – in this case, polymer scientists working with electrical engineers, medical scientists and physicians to develop a quick and inexpensive diagnostic tool that reduces the cost of medical care. His work stands as an example to all of us at NYU-Poly of what we can accomplish using the academic philosophy we call i-squared-e: invention, innovation and entrepreneurship.”

“We are thrilled to be a recipient of the BioAccelerate NYC Award in recognition of the innovative research being conducted by our orthopedics faculty in our Center of Excellence for Musculoskeletal Disease,” said Vivian S. Lee, MD, PhD, MBA, Senior Vice President, Vice Dean for Science and Chief Scientific Officer at the NYU School of Medicine. “This prize honors Dr. Liu for his commitment to advancing the treatment of chronic autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and reflects NYU School of Medicine’s dedication to research that dramatically transforms the way in which disease is diagnosed, treated and ultimately, eradicated.”

“Columbia University is proud to see our faculty receive so many of the BioAccelerate prizes,” said Robert Kasdin, Senior Executive Vice President at Columbia University. “Columbia has a long tradition of launching successful NYC start-up companies based on the transformational research emerging from our faculty research labs, and we look forward to continuing to support the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

The competition is the latest example of the growing public-private partnership that includes the Partnership for New York City, NYCIF, city and state agencies, and more than a dozen world-class research institutions. The centerpiece of this initiative is the Alexandria Center for Science and Technology at East River Science Park, a $700 million state-of-the-art commercial bioscience complex located in Manhattan's East Side Medical Corridor.

For more information about the BioAccelerate NYC Prize, visit the BioAccelerate website. Additional information about New York’s bioscience initiative is available at the NYC Bioscience Initiative website.

Judges for the BioAccelerate NYC Prize:

  • Katherine Breedis – Eli Lilly & Company
  • Philippe Chambon - New Leaf Venture Partners
  • Bill Doyle – WFD Ventures
  • Howard Fillit - Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
  • Carl Gordon - OrbiMed Advisors
  • Dan Haimovic – Alexandria Real Estate Equities
  • Stewart Hen – Warburg Pincus
  • Anders Hove - Venrock
  • Colin Bier – NGN Capital
  • Elaine V. Jones, Pfizer Venture Investments
  • Tim Langloss - WFD Ventures
  • Ron Lennox - CHL Medical Partners
  • Paddy Mullen – Discovery Ortho Partners
  • Lilian Oshva – NYU School of Medicine
  • Steven Strauss – NYC Economic Development Corporation
  • Mary Lake Polan – Adjunct Professor, Columbia University; former Professor and Chair Emeritus, Stanford University
  • Dennis Purcell - Aisling Capital
  • Geoffrey Smith - Ascent Biomedical Ventures
  • Martin Vogelbaum - Rho Capital Partners

About the Sponsors
With a mission to maintain the city’s position as a global center of commerce, culture and innovation, the Partnership for New York City (PFNYC) is an organization of the leaders of New York City’s top corporate, investment, and entrepreneurial firms. They work in partnership with city and state government officials, labor groups, and the nonprofit sector to promote the interest of the city and its neighborhoods. The Partnership carries out research, policy formulation, and issue advocacy at the city, state, and federal levels, leveraging the resources and expertise of its CEO and Corporate partners. Through its affiliate, the New York City Investment Fund, the Partnership directly invests in economic development projects in all five boroughs of the city. Partnership companies account for nearly 7 million American jobs and contribute over $740 billion to the national GDP.

The New York City Investment Fund (NYCIF) is the vision of Henry R. Kravis, founding partner of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., who serves as its Founding Chairman. The Investment Fund has raised over $110 million to mobilize the city's world financial and business leaders to help build a stronger and more diversified local economy. It has built a network of top experts from the investment and corporate communities who help identify and support New York City's most promising entrepreneurs in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. The Fund is governed by a Board of Directors co-chaired by Russell L. Carson, General Partner of Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe; and Richard M. Cashin, Managing Partner of One Equity Partners.

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities. Find us on Facebook to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

About NYCEDC

New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

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