Volume 13 - November 2013
Happy Thanksgiving from the BioSTL Staff!
Cofactor Genomics Triples in Size
The Cortex Innovation District continues to gain momentum with the opening of Cofactor Genomics’ new $3.8 million 10,000-square-foot headquarters which will house sequencing labs and offices.
Cofactor, a DNA sequencing service that made international news in 2010 for mapping Ozzy Osbourne’s genome, was launched by former Washington University researchers Jarret Glasscock, Jon Armstrong, and David Messina in 2008. The company plans to hire 24 new employees, tripling its current employee headcount.
"Missouri provides the right environment and opportunities for a DNA sequencing, analysis and design company to grow," said Glasscock, Chief Executive Officer of Cofactor Genomics. "As a young company, Missouri's business-friendly climate and diverse resources have played a key role in helping us compete in a global market. We're excited to be located in the Cortex district of St. Louis, a place we perceive as the heart of biotech in the Midwest."
WUSTL Student-Run Group Preps Postdocs for Business World
The success of the student-run Biotechnology and Life Science Advising (BALSA) Group as a response to the shrinking number of academia positions was spotlighted by an article in the October 2013 edition of Nature Biotechnology.
Each year in the United States, there are seven times more PhDs awarded in science and engineering than there are newly available faculty positions. In response, a group of Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) graduate students and postdocs came together in December 2010 to form the BALSA Group with the mission of better preparing PhD students and postdocs for academic and nonacademic careers, fostering growth in the local biotech business community, and strengthening ties between academia and industry.
BALSA enacts its mission by collaborating with startups, established businesses, or the Office of Technology Management at WUSTL in the form of six to eight week consulting projects. Teams meet 2-3 times with the client during the project, culminating with a written deliverable and presentation. Projects span a diverse array of areas including market assessment and product launch strategy, competitive analysis, portfolio prioritization, and technology commercialization assessment. Projects allow team members to explore their areas of interests as well as to build an understanding of business problems through learning and exploration.
Since its incorporation, the BALSA Group has worked on 53 projects with 37 companies.
Paper Published in Nature Medicine Provides Validation for Antegrin Therapeutics
A paper published in Nature Medicine has provided key preclinical proof-of-concept data for Antegrin Therapeutics, a drug discovery and development company focused on novel treatments for fibrotic diseases.
Antegrin is developing small-molecule compounds that selectively inhibit all five TGFβ-activating integrins examined in the Nature Medicine study. Preclinical efficacy data generated using one of these compounds is published for the first time in the paper, which was co-authored by Dean Sheppard, M.D., Director of the Lung Biology Center at the University of California, San Francisco, Antegrin founders Peter Ruminski, M.S., and David Griggs, Ph.D., at Saint Louis University, among others.
The Nature Medicine paper, entitled “Selective αv integrin deletion identifies a core, targetable molecular pathway that regulates fibrosis across solid organs,” will appear in the December print edition of the journal.
News About the Biosciences in St. Louis
- Monsanto Voted Among Top Employers for Scientists [Science]
- Biotech startup Apse raises $667,000 [St. Louis Business Journal]
- bioMerieux builds ‘lab of the future’ in Hazelwood [St. Louis Business Journal]
- Research by Saint Louis University Scientists Published in Nature Medicine [Nature Medicine]
- Cofactor Genomics Opens Its $3.8 Million Headquarters-Lab Facility In St. Louis, Missouri [Area Development]
- NIH support fosters diversity among PhD trainees [Washington University in St. Louis]
- bioMerieux Forms Partnership with Ranken Technical College [Hazelwood Blog]
- Why Are More Entrepreneurs Calling St. Louis Home? [St. Louis Public Radio]
- Program offers students look at Israeli startups [Jewish Tribune]
The BioGenerator recently completed an expansion of its office space at the Center for Emerging Technologies in order to keep up with its accelerated growth. Read in the St. Louis Beacon about the BioGenerator’s office expansion spurred by the success of its Entrepreneur in Residence Program. To see more images of the office, visit BioSTL's Flickr page.