The University of Connecticut Technology Incubation Program (TIP) hosted the UConn Innovation & Investment Series: Intro to Agent Capital & TIP Company Pitches Thursday, October 10 at the Cell & Genome Sciences Building in Farmington, CT.
Attendees networked with TIP companies and met executives from Agent Capital. The Boston-based biotech venture capital firm invests in innovative therapeutics and technology platforms—including transformative science and disruptive technologies. In Agent Capital’s presentation, Principal Preston Noon noted that the company plans to open an accelerator in the TIP facility in Farmington.
The pitch part of the event featured three UConn TIP companies:
Torigen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
CEO Ashley Kalinauskas spoke about the startup’s veterinary cancer solutions for companion animal and emphasized the company’s plans to increase market traction and obtain USDA approval.
Torigen’s product, VetiVaxTM is an innovative, personalized immunotherapy that uses an animal’s own tumor cells to fight cancer. The treatment can work for multiple tumor indications treating more than 2 million companion animals diagnosed with cancer each year.
This biotech startup aims to develop novel therapeutics based on new discoveries in the control of cellular metabolism—particularly in key mitochondria regulators. Mitotherapeutix is currently targeting MCJ, a key regulator of mitochondria respiration. The company is actively working in the development of agonists for this molecule to overcome chemo-resistance in breast cancer and many other cancers that demonstrate a poor response to chemotherapy.
In parallel, Mitotherapeutix has developed antagonists of MCJ to accelerate mitochondrial metabolism as a strategy to target liver diseases including NAFLD, NASH, and cirrhosis. Both cancer chemo-resistance and liver diseases represent enormous unmet medical needs that desperately need solutions.
In his pitch, Mitotherapeutix COO Bob Hemley noted that the company is looking for funds for product development, operations, and legal fees.
Quercus Molecular Design (QMD)
QMD joined the TIP on October 1. The startup specializes in the rational design of small molecules that simultaneously inhibit multiple essential protein targets to enhance potency and slow the onset of drug resistance. QMD is applying this innovative multi-targeting strategy to several drug discovery projects serving anti-cancer, anti-bacteria and anti-viral indications.
QMD Partner Sandra Webber mentioned the company was accepted into the Yale University PITCH (Program in Innovative Therapeutics for Conneticut’s Health), which apply innovative approaches to validate new disease treatment concepts from the research laboratories of Yale and UConn.
Interested in learning more about the University of Connecticut Technology Incubation Program?
- Find out how the TIP is fostering innovative startups and enhancing economic development throughout Connecticut
- Read our interview with Shoreline Biome Co-Founder Thomas Jarvie: Biotech Startup Develops Innovative Sequencing Technique
- Read our interview with LamdaVision President Dr. Nicole Wagner: Biotech Startup Develops Innovative, Protein-Based Retinal Implant