By Kevin Smith, SGVN
PASADENA – In the world of bioscience, innovation needs room to grow – and several fledgling companies have found a home base at the Pasadena Bioscience Collaborative.
On Wednesday, the PBC showcased some of the companies that have gained traction in developing and bringing their products and technologies to market.
The event at Huntington Medical Research Institutes, featured nine companies, including Adventageous Systems LLC, CohBar Inc., Deton Corp., Lanx, Neubiogene, Neumedicines Inc., Ophidion Inc., Pyxis Biologix and Senju.
Patrick Sislian, Deton Corp.’s founder, explained how his company is developing a “Coughlector” for use in collecting sputum, the mucus that is coughed up from the lower airways.
Respiratory diseases are responsible for 2 million deaths worldwide each year and the first step in correctly diagnosing various respiratory conditions is collecting a sputum sample.
But 20 percent of the population have trouble producing the needed sputum. In those cases, samples have typically been collected using saline to induce sputum production. And in extreme cases, a bronchoscopy is required to collect samples.
The Coughlector allows patients to cough into a disposable mask and droplets from the cough are used for the analysis.
“It’s a benefit to the patient and it reduces costs,” Sislian said. “We started our business in November of 2011 and we’ve raised $800,000. We’ve also gone from two employees to six employees, and we’ve applied for more than $6 million in grand funding.”
Neumedicines Inc., which was formerly housed at the PBC, has since moved to a new location at 133 N. Altadena Dr. in Pasadena.
The privately held, early stage company is developing protein therapeutics that address unmet clinical needs in the fields of oncology, hematology and immunology.
“Over the past six years we’ve received about $33 million in grants,” said Tim Gallaher, one of the Neumedicines’ co-founders.
Patrick Sislian of Deton speaking at Pasadena BioScience Collaborative Celebration of Success in about medical device solutions to healthcare providers by combining innovations in both engineering and medicine Wednesday.
Last year, Neumedicines received a contract worth up to $273 million from the Biomedical Advanced Research & Development Authority to fund advanced development of the company’s HemaMax, a product designed to treat acute radiation syndrome (ARS).
Cancer patients and others in the vicinity of a nuclear accident or nuclear weapon can be exposed to high doses of radiation and suffer a variety of adverse symptoms, including gastrointestinal and neurovascular disorders. HemaMax is designed to treat radiation poisoning.
The PBC operates on an annual budget of about $100,000, providing each company with its own dedicated work space, as well as shared access to a variety of laboratory facilities and equipment. The collaborative is considered a “wet lab,” which means that companies can work with drugs, chemicals or other biological matter in liquid solutions.
Several of the companies at PBC have received patents or have patents pending for their products or technologies.
Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard, who attended Wednesday’s showcase, lauded the PBC and its mission.
“I never attend an event like this without being truly inspired,” he said. “This is a source of tremendous pride for Pasadena. This is a great enterprise, and the people who serve the PBC’s board of directors take it very seriously.”
Bogaard said the PBC adds intellectual cachet to the city and also creates much needed jobs.
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