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“Entrepreneur Spotlight” Showcases Local Biotech Companies to Potential Investors

Event honored Bucks County Commissioners for the contributions to life sciences entrepreneurship in the region

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (August 3, 2018) – More than 100 area business leaders and biotech investors gathered on July 20 for the 4th Annual “Entrepreneur Spotlight” at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center in Doylestown. The Spotlight is a Shark Tank-style event showcasing companies based at the center to potential investors.

Entrepreneur Leadership Award Presentation WEB

Vice Chairman Charles Martin accepted the Entrepreneur Leadership Award on behalf of the Bucks County Commissioners at the Entrepreneur Spotlight. Pictured, from left, are Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center President Timothy Block, PhD; Board Chairman Loren Danzis, Esq; Vice Chairman Charles Martin; and Patrick Lam, PhD.

The program began with four early-stage biotech entrepreneurs pitching their company to the investors that can help make their ideas a reality. Following their pitch, the presenters fielded questions from a panel of investors and experts in business development, as well as from the audience. Each of the four young companies are headquartered at the Pennsylvania Biotech Center, a world-class life sciences incubator that currently houses over 50 companies, with plans for an expansion in the coming year.

The panel of experts included Lillian Chiang, CEO, FORGE Life Sciences; Sanjay Sehgal, Founder, Managing Partner & CEO of East West Capital Partners; Vladimir Walko, Managing Director, Healthcare Investment Banking, Janney Montgomery Scott; and Jason Zhang, Managing Director, Humanwell Healthcare Group.

The evening concluded with an awards ceremony recognizing excellence in entrepreneurship. Timothy M. Block, PhD, president and co-founder of the Hepatitis B Foundation, Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, and the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, was honored for his recent induction as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

The Entrepreneur Leadership Award, created by the PA Biotechnology Center to recognize those who have made extraordinary contributions to advance entrepreneurship in the region, was presented to the three Bucks County Commissioners: Chairman Robert G. Loughery, Vice Chairman Charles H. Martin, and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia. The Commissioners were recognized for their significant contributions to life sciences business development in Bucks County, in particular their work to establish Venture Capital for Bucks County (VC4BC). VC4BC launched in 2014 in partnership with Ben Franklin Technology Partners as an investment vehicle for small start-up companies located or moving to Bucks County, and has benefitted many of the growing businesses at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center.

“VC4BC has been hugely beneficial in attracting biotech companies to our region by providing much-needed funding to early-stage biotech companies,” said Louis Kassa, MPA, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center. “We are grateful for the Commissioners support of this program, and of the Biotech Center itself, which makes possible the research and development of life-saving, and life-changing, therapies that will benefit millions of people worldwide.”

The four biotech companies showcased during the event were:

  • Idea Ac-CELL-erator, LLC: Dedicated to early stage life science companies incubated at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center by providing resources and services, including opportunities for next stage capital investments.
  • IO Biosciences, LLC: Focused on developing allogenic, gene modified cell therapies treating cancers.
  • Seneca Therapeutics, Inc.: Based on groundbreaking new information on Seneca Valley Virus (SVV), a systemically deliverable, clinically tested, oncolytic immunotherapeutic.
  • Altus Labs, LLC: With a medical focus, Altus labs is on the forefront of cannabis innovation. Utilizing multiple and complex active pharmaceutical ingredients, Altus works to combine whole plant medicine with the proper ratios of cannabinoids, terpenes and other catalysts for therapeutic effect.

About the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center:  The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center offers state-of-the-art laboratory and office space to nonprofit research companies and biotech companies. Managed by the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute and led by a board appointed by the Hepatitis B Foundation, the Center was funded in part by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The facility opened in 2006 in a formerly abandoned warehouse and has since grown to encompass 110,000 square feet on a 10-acre campus. To learn more, visit

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