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WVU launches Health Sciences Innovation Center

Life sciences startup companies have a new home at West Virginia University.

Richard Giersch — Richard Giersch, director of health sciences innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization at WVU, in the new Health Sciences Innovation Center.
Richard Giersch — Richard Giersch, director of health sciences innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization at WVU, in the new Health Sciences Innovation Center.

“WVU has built a research team that includes hundreds of brilliant people,” said Clay Marsh, M.D., WVU vice president and executive dean for health sciences. “They’re full of great ideas, and once in a while one pops up that everyone around them recognizes has both scientific and commercial potential. That’s where our life sciences technology transfer team can step in and connect them with the right people in the business world to move that idea from concept to company.”

The Health Sciences Innovation Center provides fully functional biomedical laboratory space with benches, casework and infrastructure ready to be used by emerging life science start-ups. It is located within the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Center. An open house is scheduled at 4:30 p.m. April 7 with opening comments from Max Wallace, CEO of Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, and Don Lo, director of the Center for Drug Discovery at Duke University.

“This Center will make the connections between academic scientists and their business partners closer and easier,” said Richard Giersch, director of health sciences innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization at WVU. “By creating an incubator space on campus, complete with Class A wet labs and other scientific infrastructure, we can expand WVU's growing roster of life sciences startups – and enable faculty, staff, and students to launch life science companies in a first class environment. In addition to making lab space available, the Innovation Center will provide connections to industry, capital and start-up mentoring.”

The center will begin with two companies already in place:

  • CereDx
    This company is a spinout from WVU's Stroke Center, and will be the first commercially available finger-prick blood test that will be able to tell EMTs or physicians if a patient is having a stroke and how long ago the stroke started. This is important to ensure that patients get the care they need quickly.
  • Modulation Therapeutics
    Two nationally-prominent cancer researchers recently moved to WVU from the Moffett Cancer Center in Florida, bringing this startup with them. The company has developed drug candidates targeting cancer tumors that metastasize in bone, which are typically very difficult forms of cancer to treat.

Other startups are in development, Giersch said.


-WVU-

bc/04/05/16

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