Volume 4 - February 2013
Funds Available for Bioscience Firms to Hire New Employees
The St. Louis Agency on Training & Employment (SLATE) has On-the-Job Training (OJT) Funds available for St. Louis bioscience employers. Employers are eligible to receive reimbursement for up to 50% of a new employee’s wages for the first 26 weeks of employment. By reimbursing an eligible company, the program helps local companies save money on training and hiring costs while also helping to develop local workforce talent.
The OJT program is just one resource aimed at helping bioscience start-ups in St. Louis remain capital efficient while adding talent and advancing their development. Funding for this program comes from Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, a $1.8 million multi-agency federal grant awarded to St. Louis in the fall of 2011 to advance the biosciences as a high-growth industry cluster. Organizations involved in this collaborative initiative include: BioSTL, St. Louis County Economic Council, BioGenerator, the Center for Emerging Technologies, SLATE, and the St. Louis Minority Supplier Development Council. The St. Louis proposal was one of only 20 selected from 125 regional applicants nationwide, and the only one focused on the biosciences. Other aspects of the award include an Entrepreneur-in-Residence program to support the formation of new businesses and support of minority and disadvantaged businesses interested in providing goods and services to bioscience companies.
For more information on funding available through the OJT Program, please contact Joel Reinert, SLATE OJT Coordinator, at 314-657-3503 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Louis Draws Young Talent from 146 Countries
According to the St. Louis Regional Chamber, 146 countries are represented among the students at St. Louis’ 30 four-year colleges and universities. These schools graduate over 27,000 students annually.
Galera Closes Series A Financing
In December, Galera Therapeutics closed on an $11 million Series A funding round. With the influx of cash, Galera will be able to achieve key milestones in the clinical development of therapies for fibrosis, radioprotection and cancer. The round was co-led by New Enterprise Associates from Menlo Park, CA and Novartis Venture Fund, the venture arm of Basel, Switzerland-based pharmaceutical company Novartis. The round also included Correlation Ventures.
Launched in 2009, Galera is a drug discovery company born out of research led by bioscience veteran Dennis Riley, whose previous roles included time at St. Louis-based start-ups Kereos and Metaphore as well as at Monsanto/Searle. Bringing together the innovation of Riley and acumen of serial entrepreneur Robert Beardsley, Galera was founded with early funding from the St. Louis Arch Angels, the BioGenerator, and ABC Laboratories in Columbia and is based at the Center for Emerging Technologies incubator. Since its inception, Galera has focused its development on oxygen metabolic pathways, and small molecule mimics of enzymes in one of the most important of those pathways.
With the investment, Galera co-founder Mel Sorensen becomes CEO and will be based in Philadelphia. The company also is adding several St. Louis-based employees including Beardsley, now Executive Chair, Riley as Chief Scientific Officer and Jeff Keane, Vice President of Research, as well as a new St. Louis lab to support its programs.
Billiken Angels Provide Needed Capital for Growing Businesses
2013 looks to be an exciting year for the Saint Louis University Billiken Angels. Since its formation in 2008, the investor network and sidecar co-investment fund have considered investments in “the deals that make a difference” in St. Louis, helping to grow the economy of the St. Louis region and improve the lives of the people living in the region and elsewhere. The Billiken Angels initially targeted their investments to companies with ‘SLU DNA,’ but recently lifted that requirement to open investments to any company. In the last 6 months, the Angels (coupled with SLU's endowment) have invested in 3 startups. Recently, they participated in the $1.5 million fundraising round for Kypha, a BioGenerator portfolio company working to commercialize the CompAct Test, a point-of-care test to assess immune activity and inflammation.
The Billiken Angels invest in any type of business, at any stage. Jerome Katz, director of the Billiken Angels network and a professor at Saint Louis University’s John Cook School of Business, believes that 2013 will see at least six deals completed. The Billiken Angels are just one component of the increased activity in Saint Louis University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, which is celebrating its 25th Anniversary.
News About the Biosciences in St. Louis
- Center for Emerging Technologies looking for bio entrepreneurs [St. Louis Business Journal]
- Monsanto buys crop-production assets from human genome pioneer [Fox Business]
- Startup Act 2.0 will create jobs, boost economy [Washington Times]
- Antibiotics cut death rate for malnourished children [Science Daily]
- New device traps particulates, kills airborne pathogens [e! Science News]
- BioSTL spearheads new effort to brand St. Louis' bioscience cluster [St. Louis Business Journal]
- The Happiest And Unhappiest Cities To Work In Right Now [Forbes]
- Ascension Health Closes on $225M Venture Capital Fund [Becker’s Hospital Review]
- Embedding with startups to study entrepreneurship [Washington University]
- SLU Researchers Receive $2.5 Million NIH Grant to Improve Detection of Rare Genetic Disorders [St. Louis University]
"Good Year in Biotech"
BioSTL President & CEO Donn Rubin was invited to be a part of the St. Louis Public Radio series “A Good Year 2012” to speak about the surge in entrepreneurial activity and increase in supporting infrastructure for the biosciences over the past year and what this growth means for our region.
Click here to listen to the story.
Ameren Supports BioSTL
Tom Voss, President & CEO, Ameren; Donn Rubin, President & CEO, BioSTL; Mark Wrighton, Chancellor, Washington University
BioSTL would like to thank the Ameren Corporate Charitable Trust for donating $100,000 to help St. Louis reinforce its position as home to world-class biosciences and a favorable environment of entrepreneurial start-ups. In making the contribution to BioSTL, Ameren President & CEO Tom Voss noted, “As the region’s energy supplier, Ameren can and does play a role in fostering economic development and job creation.”