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PABC Entrepreneur Spotlight draws largest audience in its six-year history

The popular event was held online, expanding the audience from local to global.

Aug. 4, 2020 – More than 150 professionals in the life sciences, investment and related fields participated in the Sixth Annual “Entrepreneur Spotlight” on July 23, which was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center (PABC).

Normally held in the PABC near Doylestown, the popular event was online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the virtual format presented some technological challenges, it allowed for a global audience composed of scientists, entrepreneurs, business leaders, biotech investors and others primarily in the United States but also Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.

“We were very pleased to have attracted the most participants in our six-year history, which was due, of course, to the many folks who signed on from distant locations,” said Lou Kassa, executive vice president of the PABC and the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, which manages the center. “I want to publicly thank everyone who participated, particularly our panelists and the three presenting companies, who made this unique, high-energy event a major success.”

Screenshot 2020 07 23 Lillian

Dr. Lillian Chiang of Evrys Bio was among the presenters.

The PABC has 69 member companies and 40 of the biotech enterprises operate in the facility, which is one of the nation’s most successful life sciences incubators. The PABC website provides details about PABC membership options and upcoming events, such as the Regional Biotechnology Conference on Nov. 5.

Last week’s ‘Shark-Tank’-style event began with introductory remarks from Dr. Timothy Block, president and co-founder of the PABC, Blumberg Institute and Hepatitis B Foundation. Participants also heard from former Congressman and BIO President Jim Greenwood, who said the PABC is an incubator “with a heart,” because the better it does, the more support provides to the Hepatitis B Foundation and Blumberg Institute. 

The event showcased three biotech entrepreneurs pitching investment in their early stage companies, all based at the PABC, before a panel of biotechnology commercialization experts. The panel was composed of Brian Halak, PhD, board member of Life Sciences Pennsylvania and partner with Domain; Katharine Ku, chief licensing advisor at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati; and Gwen Melnicoff, board member for several life sciences companies and a venture advisor at Agent Capital.

The biotech companies showcased during the event were: 

  • Atrin Pharmaceuticals: The company strives to discover and develop proprietary molecules targeting DNA Damage and Response (DDR) pathways to treat a broad spectrum of cancers associated with synthetic lethality and the deregulated DNA Damage Response. Their pitch centered around one of the most valuable drivers in oncology therapy: Synthetic Lethality and DDR, as Atrin is in the forefront of advancing products for the Ataxia Telangiectasia and Rad3-related pathway in treating cancers.
  • Diverse Biotech: Diverse Biotech focuses on discovering and developing novel therapeutics utilizing cannabidiol (CBD) as a core component and combining it through an advanced chemistry platform with other molecules to develop new chemical entities or new drugs that are theoretically more efficacious and less toxic. Company representatives discussed their need for funding to accelerate their R&D plan, as well as future licensing opportunities and clinical trials.
  • Evrys Bio: The company’s antivirals target non-viral human proteins, known as sirtuins, enhancing their natural ability to fight powerful infections. During their pitch, Evrys Bio President and CEO Lillian Chiang, PhD, MBA, focused on the company’s transformational technology and pipeline of products to treat viral hepatitis, respiratory infections, transplant infections and emerging viral infections.

At the conclusion of the presentations and Q&A segments, members of the audience were able to join one or more of the three networking sessions hosted by the spotlighted companies.

About the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center (PABC): The PABC is a nonprofit life sciences incubator-accelerator, offering state-of-the-art laboratory and office space to early stage biotech companies, as well as to two nonprofits: the Hepatitis B Foundation and its research arm, the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute. Managed by the Institute and led by a board appointed by the Foundation, PABC is home to 40 small to mid-size science, research and pharmaceutical companies. The center uses a highly successful services-based approach to nurture and guide its member companies to success, advancing biotechnology, maximizing synergies among nonprofit scientists and their commercial colleagues, and launch new ideas and discoveries that will make a difference. PABC is located near Doylestown in the heart of the pharma belt from North Jersey to Philadelphia. For more, including membership information, visit www.pabiotechbc.orgTo make a donation to the PABC, click here.

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