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Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, Inc.: Four Startups Chosen for MassCONNECT Mentoring

10/25/2013 9:41:05 AM

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October 25, 2013 (CAMBRIDGE, MA) — Startups focused on developing a bioinformatics platform for better personalized medicine analytics, a novel diagnostic to identify anabolic profiles for muscle diseases, a next generation therapeutic delivery solution, and a revolutionary osteoarthritis treatment have been chosen for the latest round of MassCONNECT.

MassCONNECT, MassBio’s life sciences and healthcare entrepreneur mentorship program, kicked off its third cycle of 2013 today with a Technology Showcase, where chosen entrepreneurs presented their ideas to a room of industry executives and mentors.

For the next 8-10 weeks, these entrepreneurs—chosen for their innovative technologies, products, or services—are paired with seasoned life sciences professionals for evaluation and advice as they work toward developing business plans, launching companies, and raising capital.

“MassCONNECT catalyzes the life sciences ecosystem and nurtures innovation by connecting inventors and entrepreneurs with the resources needed for success,” said John Hallinan, Chief Business Officer at MassBio.

The applicants chosen for the latest round of mentorship are:

Cocoon Biotech Inc.: Injectable biomaterial for the treatment of osteoarthritis Ailis Tweed-Kent & Anh Hoang

Cocoon Biotech will revolutionize the treatment of osteoarthritis. Their patented technology is an innovative biomaterial that can be injected into the knee joint to provide long lasting joint pain relief. This biomaterial has strong mechanical properties able to withstand the human weight load, superior lubricating properties to reduce bone on bone abrasion, and minimal inflammatory properties making it biocompatible. Moreover, the rate of degradation is controllable so that it can provide extended pain relief. Low cost of raw materials and scalable processing promise to yield greater margins. Cocoon's injectable biomaterial will enable people living with osteoarthritis to move again.

iOmics Initiative: Bioinformatics platform company focused on personalized medicine

Joseph Gormley

Worcester, MA

iOmics Corporation is developing an exciting bioinformatics (molecular biology & computer science) based platform technology within the personalized medicine space. The FUSION platform utilizes Artificial Intelligence (AI) based techniques to improve diagnostic/prognostic accuracy of next generation sequencing and related bioassay technologies. The FUSION platform is designed to extract key indicators of biological mechanism-of-action and drug efficacy thus enabling the more precise forecasting of the best course of healthcare treatment. The platform's goal is to reduce adverse drug events and improve progression free survival rates thereby improving patient outcomes while simultaneously reducing per patient cost. The competitive market analysis of this space suggests a $50B market for advanced analytics across multiple disease models by 2020.

MyoSyntax Corporation: A novel diagnostic technology focused on identifying anabolic profiles to optimize muscle health Monty Montano

Boston, MA

MyoSyntax ( uses a novel muscle diagnostic to identify over the counter supplements and FDA approved compounds for personalized decision support to maintain muscle health span and counter muscle wasting. Current diagnostics can identify muscle loss but do not provide functional or anabolic guidance and are not patient or population subgroup specific. The unique diagnostic approach developed by the team ranks muscle growth in vitro in response to a panel of FDA approved and OTC supplements. Decision support is provided for population subgroups based on shared characteristics and for individuals to optimize muscle health.

Transpore Technologies: Next generation therapeutic delivery solutions

Andrew McCluskey

Transpore Technologies is a niche research and discovery biotechnology company that has developed an innovative drug delivery solution to enable and accelerate testing of new classes of intracellular therapeutics that are not cell permeable. This unique platform technology harnesses the power of a highly evolved bacterial transporter - the Protective Antigen (PA) moiety of anthrax toxin - for efficient and controlled delivery into cells. This unique technology allows the delivery of a variety of heterogeneous proteins, chemical compounds, and non-natural molecules into targeted cell populations.

Each of these entrepreneurs is working with a team of mentors and an MBA student with expertise that fits their needs. The mentors and entrepreneurs will meet several times over the next two months to collaborate on a business plan for the proposed new technology or platform. The program culminates with entrepreneurs making their first pitch to a small group of venture capitalists and other possible investors. To date, 12% of MassCONNECT graduates have received funding following their graduation from the program, while others have met board members or CEOs through the program.

This cycle of MassCONNECT is sponsored by Pepper Hamilton. Pepper Hamilton is providing four mentors for the cycle: Tom Engellenner, Steve London, Reza Mollahgaababa, and Gregory D. Williams.

“Entrepreneurs are often so eager to be first-to-market and attract investors that they forego or postpone seeking proper legal counsel,” said Gregory Williams a partner in Pepper Hamilton’s Life Science/IP practice. “But an adequate legal foundation is critical for future success. It’s imperative in Massachusetts —as well as across the nation—that we identify and support these rising stars and position them for success through mentoring programs like MassCONNECT.”

MassCONNECT is open to opportunities that involve the development of a new technologies, products, services, applications, or processes in the life sciences area. Typically, these will include new diagnostic tests, pre-clinical therapeutic molecules, platform technologies, and/or instrumentation.

For more information, or to apply to be a mentor, mentee, or MBA intern, visit

About MassBio

MassBio, a not-for-profit organization that represents and provides services and support for the Massachusetts biotechnology industry, is the nation's oldest biotechnology trade association. Founded in 1985, MassBio is committed to advancing the development of critical new science, technology and medicines that benefit people worldwide.

Representing over 620 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, research hospitals, and service organizations involved in life sciences and health care, MassBio works to advance policy and promote education, while providing member programs and events, industry information, and services.

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