Dear members and friends,
“Life should not only be lived, it should be celebrated.” Especially in our industry, perhaps, where so many people work so hard, so well and so long to move ahead our communal progress in fighting disease, promoting health, feeding and fueling the world.
If you followed our news stories this past month you would have read some great reasons for celebration of all kinds of bioscience companies across the state. The news was great for these drug and device development companies themselves, also for the many suppliers, professionals, CROs who work with them, for the people they will hire, and of course for the patients and customers we all serve. And as it takes success to build success, these stories help build the momentum and the story of the vibrancy and diversity of bioscience R&D and commercialization in Virginia to the benefit of our entire community.
Landos BioPharma in Blacksburg closed a $10M Series A funding, led by a NY life science investment firm. It’s focusing its unique technology on autoimmune diseases, beginning with a unique — and potentially more effective — way to treat Crohn’s disease. The technology has roots at Virginia Tech, as does CEO Dr. Josep Bassaganya-Riera.
Ceres Nanosciences several months ago closed an $8M Series A investment round, and in the last weeks announced it is part of a team including George Mason University (and its National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases), which received an award of $8M from Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to extend Ceres’ NanoTrap technology platform to develop an effective disease surveillance platform that can be rapidly deployed in the field, operated by untrained users, and improve early response. This technology, too, has roots at a Virginia university - George Mason University.
Aperiomics, Ashburn, Virginia, announced the close of a half-million-dollar seed funding round led by Pipeline Angels, a national network of new and seasoned women angel investors. Aperiomics, a biotechnology company that saves lives by harnessing the power of deep next-generation sequencing to identify all known pathogens (bacteria, virus, fungi or parasite) in a single test. Technology and talent at George Washington University’s Virginia Science and Technology Campus was the seed for this company, led by CEO Crystal Icenhour.
Finally, Hemoshear Therapeutics in Charlottesville announced a partnership with Takeda Pharmaceutical to discover and develop novel therapeutics for liver diseases, including nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). HemoShear will receive upfront payments and R&D funding and Takeda will receive exclusive access to HemoShear’s proprietary disease modeling platform to discover and develop best-in-class therapeutics for specific liver diseases. Yes, this technology originated at UVA.
We are privileged at Virginia Bio to know the people who comprise and lead these companies, proud they are Virginia Bio members and delighted to be able to help them in their important work. We’ve watched them over the years and have seen their perseverance, good will, the ability to evolve strategy - even to pivot if needs be, a bedrock pursuit of great science, a distinguishing technology, continual awareness of the ultimate need for and beneficiaries of their work, perseverance (but I repeat myself), and 101% commitment.
“Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed,” advised another quote.