IMIJ Technologies is a startup from the labs of Columbia’s Dr. Scott Small and Dr. Frank Provenzano that focuses on novel approaches to broad neurological and psychiatric screening and diagnostics that can be applied to existing and conventional neuroimaging - structural MRI. IMIJ has successfully developed and adapted technologies initially researched at Columbia to a variety of existing conventional neuroimaging to develop statistically rigorous candidate biomarkers, as well a fully interpretable report detailing the results. IMIJ uses the same images frequently obtained to diagnose brain diseases, images acquired tens of millions of times a year in the US alone. IMIJ's proprietary software requires no additional data or MRI equipment. IMIJ has raised $1.1M seed funding to date and is seeking $9M with the goal of securing approval for indication in order to refine the development and pilot with a major hospital system.
Dr. Xiaoyang Zhu’s research team at Columbia University developed a method for high-yield production of macroscopic 2D materials. The technique produces macroscopic 2D materials that are comparable in quality to microscopic monolayers formed by Scotch tape exfoliation, with the significant advantage of achieving high-yield production. This technology has potential to catalyze manufacturing of 2D materials such as graphene and transition metal dichalcogenide monolayers for use in many applications.
The Tissue Oracle addresses an unmet need to identify which regions of excised breast tissue should undergo histopathological assessment to diagnose breast disease. Our envisioned product deploys optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging and artificial intelligence image analysis to achieve the microscopic-level resolution, large field of view, and fast throughput necessary for integration into clinical workflow. The value proposition is that our image-guided sample selection can reduce the number of tissue blocks submitted for histopathology, and the associated cost and workload, by 30-50%. The target customers are pathologists and administrators seeking greater efficiency for a key step in breast cancer care.
Designer biopolymers have numerous biotech applications due to their superior specificity and efficacy. However, their large size and complexity hindered the development of effective engineering methods, leaving developers with suboptimal molecules. This is most prevalent in drug discovery and diagnostics: patients routinely develop strong adverse reactions to biologics (e.g., many SARS-CoV-2 IgG tests have weaker specificity and affinity, leading to dubious results). Optimer is changing the status quo through its hybrid computational and experimental biopolymer engineering platform capable of designing DNA, RNA, and proteins with superior properties - especially target activity and specificity - for a broad range of biotech solutions. Optimer is currently rigorously testing and aggressively pursuing patent protection for its methodology and won a pilot award from Columbia’s Translational Therapeutics (TRx) Lab-to-Market accelerator program.
Keren Therapeutics is focusing on pre‐clinical and early clinical development of recently discovered hormone osteocalcin as treatment for sarcopenia, cancer cachexia, and cognitive impairment due to aging. Osteocalcin is a biological construct that can be synthesized on commercial scale and delivered via depot administration. Development of osteocalcin benefited from more than $7 million in grant support. Columbia patented the composition of matter and its utility through 2034 and 2031, for muscular and cognitive impairment indications, respectively. KEREN intends to file an IND within 18 months from funding. Cost of development through completion of first-in-man studies is expected to be $8,200,000. Osteocalcin is addressing blockbuster market with unmet medical need in case of sarcopenia. We anticipate selling KEREN or executing a co‐development agreement with pharma within 6 years from funding. The Company’s value at that time could exceed $50 million, providing investors with 6x ROI.
Each year millions of people suffer from symptoms of sore throat, laryngitis and cough due to colds and inflammation of the upper aerodigestive tract. Current methods of treatment are suboptimal and rely primarily on throat gargles, sprays, and lozenges, which treat only the mouth and part of the upper throat. They completely miss 50% of the inflamed area. This product is an OTC inhaled liquid mist that is inexpensive, portable, disposable, natural, tastes good, and is more effective because it treats the entire upper aerodigestive tract. The target market would be everyday people with cough, voice and sore throat complaints, as well as singers and voice professionals.
Sharper Sense is a neuromodulation company spun out of Professor Wang’s Neural Engineering Lab at Columbia University. Sharper Sense is commercializing noninvasive neuromodulation technology that enhances the brain's ability to clearly process sensory information received through the eyes, ears, and skin. This technology has great potential to help individuals suffering from declining sensory processing ability or sensory processing disorders.
Dr. Kam Leong from Columbia University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering is developing cationic biomaterial Nucleic Acid Scavengers (NAS) to treat inflammation and inflammatory diseases. The technology platform encompasses a diverse portfolio of cationic microparticles, nanoparticles, nanofibers, and membranes, for local and systemic delivery with a broad range of target indications including sepsis, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. Dr. Leong is an internationally renowned leader in the development of nanoscale therapeutics and has pioneered the development of multifunctional nanoscale technologies for delivering drugs, antigens, proteins, siRNA, and DNA to cells.
Immuno-Modulators of Alzheimer’s Disease (I.M.A.D.) was founded by Dr. Elizabeth Bradshaw and Dr. Wassim Elyaman from Columbia University’s Department of Neurology. The team is pioneering genetically-driven strategies to treat Alzheimer’s disease by directly targeting susceptibility genes in the CNS innate immune cells, called microglia. Their lead program is a preclinical non-antibody biologic which has been shown to target the CD33 genetic susceptibility signaling pathway in human microglia and clear β-amyloid from the brain of treated mice.
Effective treatment of abdominal and thoracic cancers requires a more targeted and improved penetration of therapeutics in order to reduce off-target side effects and increase efficacy. BioBina has developed a treatment strategy which utilizes existing radiation therapy with an increased specificity and penetration of the therapeutic to the affected tissue. The technology has been developed for ovarian cancer and has the potential to be extended to a multitude of abdominal and thoracic cancers.
Cardiac arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation, put millions of Americans at risk of heart failure or stroke. OptiCardia has a heart visualization system giving the surgeon the ability to assess the effectiveness of Radiofrequency ablation in real time. The technology can result in more effective RF ablation and improve patient outcomes after the procedure.
Although electronic pacemakers are the current treatment for symptomatic atrioventricular block or sinoatrial node dysfunction, the maintenance they require and the risk of complications have motivated research on biological alternatives. Rhythm Therapeutics initial product, the biological pacemaker, assists in the depolarization and subsequent action potentials required for a proper heartbeat. It utilizes adeno associated virus (AAV) vectors to deliver ion channel genes into heart tissue, resulting in over-expression of these ion channels, and correction of the beating rate of individuals with bradycardia.
Arrhythmia symptoms range from shortness of breath and fatigue to sudden cardiac arrest or stroke. The disease also greatly decreases the quality of life by limiting physical activity and inducing a significant psychological burden. Catheter ablation is a minimally-invasive procedure that is one of the most effective treatments for arrhythmia. Unfortunately, nearly half of patients who undergo a first multi-hour ablation therapy will find that the procedure did not successfully treat their arrhythmia, will often time lead to new arrhythmias, and will most likely need to be repeated at least once. Visiblate is a software-based imaging technology that monitors and maps lesion formation in real time during catheter ablation surgery, reducing the likelihood of subsequent ablation procedures and reducing costs.
Aging can lead to immunodeficiencies in patients with abnormal thymus function. As a consequence, the body is not able to produce enough new (“naïve”) T cells for the immune system to recognize pathogens and cancer cells or the body is suffering from autoimmune response. Cancer immunotherapy drugs generated $41 Billion globally in 2014, at 50% market share of the overall oncology drugs market . The invention details a new method for producing large quantities of diverse, functional, naïve autologous T cells for infusion into patients. The in vivo generated T cells arise from bone marrow stem cells taken from the patient and become genetically compatible immune cells that are tolerant of the patient and any selected transplant donor.
The vast majority, 95%, of drugs developed by companies to treat pancreatic cancer do not end up being approved. Vesselon's strategy for developing cancer therapies is not by finding new drugs, but by increasing the efficacy of existing approved drugs for cancer, starting with pancreatic cancer.
Patients with acute and chronic immune disorders have an increased risk of death and a reduced quality of life. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) show promise for effectively treating immune disorders and clinical trials have shown few side effects of MSCs, however naïve MSCs alone are not sufficiently effective. Immplacate will provide an effective and safe solution, allowing patients to return to a lifestyle closer to before their onset of disease, through the use of its proprietary process of educating mesenchymal stem cells (EMCs). Immplacate’s novel approach will utilize its EMC therapy where 100% of the cells are therapeutic from the moment they are injected. Immplacate is founded by Drs. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic and Holly Wobma.
While surgical intervention via gastric bypass is effective in patients with obesity and type-II diabetes, the surgery is invasive, expensive and not reversible. Additionally, it is usually not prescribed for patients with BMI <40. Therefore, there is a need for a non-surgical alternative which is safer and less expensive but which mimics the effects of gastric bypass surgery. EndObypass achieves this with an implantable metal stent which runs through the stomach. The device mimics the anatomic and physiological changes caused by surgical procedures, resulting in dramatic weight loss and remission of diabetes. Animal studies with the implanted device have demonstrated proof of concept. The EndObypass technology provides a safe and affordable alternative to gastric bypass surgery.
The top 5 drugs sold are delivered by injection, 3 are biologics. Due to discoveries in fields like immuno-oncology, more of these high revenue drugs are biologics. Biologic drugs present a big promise, but they are met with a big problem: They are usually macromolecules, a fact that makes their formulations highly viscous and current injection devices require long injection times and larger gauge needles. The net result for patients is pain and discomfort and therefore reduced acceptance and compliance for treatments. AquaDrive (pka Inviscable) is developing a high performance actuator that could drive formulations 7x more viscous than any other technology currently available on the market, reducing the number of injections by half while minimizing device failure due to the robustness of the actuator at the core of the device.
With over 2/3 of the US population being overweight, and serious and deadly effects associated with obesity, a treatment which prevents and cures obesity is essential. However, previously tested obesity drugs have been characterized by low tolerability and serious side effects. This treatment uses LCN2, a natural appetite-suppressing hormone to treat obesity without the side effects.
Approximately 250,000 invasive breast cancer cases were diagnosed in 2019. Currently, the most commonly used definitive way to diagnose breast cancer is through a biopsy. Dr. Anastassiou's team has recently discovered attractor metagene markers as strong prognostic features for breast cancer survival and derived the BCAM (Breast Cancer Attractor Metagenes) prognostic model. This biomarker allows for a single universal prognostic assay applicable to all breast cancer subtypes and stages.
THDG3 represents a novel, patent protected omega-3 diglyceride emulsion developed by Dr. Deckelbaum’s laboratory at Columbia University. Acute injection of THDG3 emulsion following stroke leads to a marked reduction in brain tissue death (up to 90%, demonstrated in 6 rodent models), with associated preservation and recovery of both short and long term neurofunctional outcomes. Due to the high risk profile and short window of administration, less than 8% of stroke patients receive treatment with t-PA, the current standard of treatment for stroke. DeckTherapeutics is currently developing THDG3 emulsion as a drug candidate for standard emergency treatment for stroke, a global unmet need, with phase 2a trials planned in 2021.
Many disease-causing proteins are difficult to inhibit directly with biologics and small molecules. However, new advances allow for the control of the abundance of proteins using small molecules, providing a path to medicines that selectively control protein stability. Pomerex Therapeutics is building a platform for the systematic discovery of small molecules that control the stability of disease-modifying proteins. They have developed novel compounds that can cause the destruction of otherwise undruggable but crucial protein targets, including those driving the genesis and survival of aggressive cancers. They are seeking funds to expand their platform and develop their lead oncology programs.
LEGIT uses a new optical concept (a lensguide) developed at Columbia University to improve optical endoscopy. Their goal is the development of a whole microscopy probe (size ~ 0.1-1 mm) that can be inserted in the body, with minimal damage, for high resolution imaging (<1 µm resolution). The LEGIT endoscopic probe can be used for cancer diagnostics (e.g. skin and liver cancer) and in vivo biopsy imaging. The LEGIT lensguide is a higher quality and less expensive replacement for the GRIN lenses with significantly higher flexibility in design and manufacturing.
Skin-penetrating catheters and lines, essential to medical management, carry downside risk of superinfection by migration of skin flora. The company is currently working on applying this technology to left ventricular assist devices (LVADs). Of the 2,700 LVADs implanted in 2015, there were 702 infections. There have been efforts to advance the standard of care and use bonded antibacterials, but these interventions have failed to date. The ultraviolet sterilizer transmits a narrow‐band ultraviolet light to a weave of optical fibers surrounding the driveline. Leakage of ultraviolet light will kill microorganisms attempting to migrate down the driveline, thus preventing infection and minimizing cost and toxicity associated with conventional approaches, including long‐term antibiotics and prosthetic device replacement.
People with temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis (TMJ OA) experience pain and limited jaw function. Approximately 10 million Americans are affected by TMJ OA, and current treatments are invasive and have high failure rates. Furthermore, palliative treatments aimed at increasing short-term function don't prevent disease or promote regeneration of tissue. StemGEL, WNT Scientifics' solution to this problem, uses fibrocartilage stem cells to regenerate cartilage. They have a paper in Nature Communications (along with several other publications) detailing the successful results. The market size of TMJ OA patients that can be treated by StemGEL is approximately 2.6 million.
Spun out from the labs of Columbia’s Dr. Yuan Yang and Dr. Xi Chen, FlexFuture focuses on designing and manufacturing high-energy-density flexible batteries. With advanced core technologies of flexible materials and electrode structures, the flexible cell simultaneously exhibits state-of-the-art volumetric energy density and bending stability up to tens of thousands of cycles. FlexFuture’s battery solutions will enable flexible displays and serve as a key structural element for future wearable electronics. Collaborating with multiple international electronics companies, FlexFuture will release a battery that is compatible with conventional designs and offers enhanced battery life and comfortability for next-generation flexible devices and wearable electronics. FlexFuture is seeking $5M for pilot production and to expand the team.