MilliporeSigma Announces North America Biotech Award Winners

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MilliporeSigma awarded its Advance Biotech Grant to three US companies that are focused on traumatic brain injury, vaccine development, and chronic pain.

On May 30, 2019, MilliporeSigma announced the three winners of its Advance Biotech Grant program in North America, which were selected during its Biotech Start-up Summit held on May 16, 2019 at the Cambridge Innovation Center, Boston, MA. The grant is given to small- and mid-size biotechnology companies in need of funding and expertise to bring their therapies to market.

“With more than 60% of drugs in the pipeline today being developed by biotechs, we are committed to supporting these start-ups in developing groundbreaking therapeutics,” said Udit Batra, CEO, MilliporeSigma, in a company press release. “Our global grant program provides free access to our process development expertise, products, and services to help accelerate molecule-to-market efforts.”

The three US-based companies that won the awards were:

  • RAFT Pharmaceuticals (San Diego, CA), for its approach to treat chronic pain using a biologic to selectively inhibit neuroinflammation without affecting normal motor or sensory function.

  • Rubicon Biotechnology (Anaheim, CA), for developing a therapeutic protein, Fv-Hsp72, designed to protect and salvage cells damaged from an acute event, such as traumatic brain injury.

  • TechnoVax Inc. (Elmsford, NY), for developing a virus-like particle platform that facilitates the development and production of a range of vaccines targeting the prevention of respiratory diseases, hemorrhagic fevers, immunodeficiency and cancers.

The applicants, which came from biotech companies across the United States and Canada, were asked to describe their projects, the medical needs they solve, and process development challenges they face to be considered for the grant. Grant recipients receive between $40,000 and $100,000 in MilliporeSigma products and process development support.

“Rubicon is honored to have been selected as a winner in the Advance Biotech Grant,” said Richard Richieri, president of Rubicon Biotechnology, in the press release. “Under the resources provided by this grant, we intend to develop a robust and scalable downstream process to purify our pre-clinical recombinant protein, Fv-Hsp72, by utilizing the various chromatography resins and filters offered by MilliporeSigma. Our objective is to use a bench-scale version of our process from bioreactor to drug substance for our in-vitro and in-vivo studies that will mimic our subsequent large-scale GMP process.”

MilliporeSigma selected the winning submissions based on the scientific and societal merit of the therapy in development as well as the process challenges and expertise gaps that applicants faced. The program is part of the company’s global biotech commitment to help bring therapies to market by leveraging decades of process development expertise products and support at any production scale. Additionally, MilliporeSigma’s BioReliance End-to-End Services can address key challenges for biotech companies at all stages of molecule development and commercialization in any geography.

MilliporeSigma began the grant program in 2014. The programs rotate, running every six months in Europe, North America, or Asia. To date, the company has awarded more than $1.2 million in products and services to 20 biotech companies in these regions. Earlier in 2019, the grants supported companies in Europe that were tackling glioblastoma brain tumors and cardiovascular disease. The company encourages biotech companies in Asia with a molecule in development to apply before Aug. 15, 2019 for the next round of grant funding.

Source: MilliporeSigma