Maryland-based biotech startup gets ready for Philadelphia expansion

ImMAGE Biotherapeutics recently leased space at the University City Science Center.

June 27, 2016 | Technical.ly by Albert Hong

Instead of relying on cancer treatments (like chemotherapy) that often weaken the immune system, a new biotech startup is approaching the problem by making your body’s natural defenses stronger.

ImMAGE Biotherapeutics, founded in May 2015 with an office in Bethesda, Md., is currently working out of lab facilities at D.C.’s Howard University to develop a better treatment for triple-negative breast cancer. The company aims to use the body’s immune system to target a specific type of protein called MAGE-A…

“Our plan is to expand our research collaboration to Philadelphia and NYC universities as well as start building a regulatory team and business development team using talents from the Tri-state area, at which point we will be getting a full office in Philadelphia,” said ImMAGE COO Mahesh Narayanan, who grew up in Delaware County and earned a master’s in biotechnology from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Here are the winning ideas from College Pitch Philly

The first region-wide business plan competition for college entrepreneurs showcased custom nail polish, a helpful VR app and on-campus food delivery.

February 29, 2016 | Technical.ly by Rob Torres

An on-campus food delivery app, a custom-color nail polish creator, a virtual reality speech feedback application and a technique to produce high-quality fish food were among the winning pitches at the first edition of College Pitch Philly, an event put together by the Philadelphia Regional Entrepreneurship Education Consortium and StartupPHL.

On Feb. 24, at the University City Science Center’s Quorum space, over 30 teams from 11 higher-ed centers battled out their best ideas before a panel of experts. A total of $15,500 in prizes were awarded to four student teams from Drexel University, Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania.

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These Six Startups are getting $50k Each, Without losing any Equity

February 8, 2016 | OpenAccessPHL by Yuriy Porytko

Imagine enrolling your ill pet in a clinical trial – for free. Or getting treatment for a chronic wound without going to the doctor’s office. These technologies are among those being developed by the six promising startup companies that have been accepted into the second class of the University City Science Center’s Digital Health Accelerator (DHA).

The awardees were selected from a pool of 69 applicants via a multi-stage process which emphasized inclusion of women and minority entrepreneurs.

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Mayor Nutter, Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger Announce New Startup PHL Call for Ideas Awards

PRESS RELEASE

Mayor visits Coded by Kids after-school program providing tech training to young people in Philadelphia

Philadelphia, May 7, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger announced today a new round of Startup PHL Call for Ideas grants to organizations that provide programs and events to support entrepreneurship in Philadelphia.  The funding supports the goals of providing opportunities to young people in neighborhoods all across the city; increasing the diversity of Philadelphia’s technology sector; and fostering greater collaboration among universities and better connecting students to startups in Philadelphia.

“Through Startup PHL our goal is to create opportunities for all Philadelphians to participate in the new technology-driven economy,” said Mayor Nutter.  “Programs such as Coded by Kids, TechGirlz, and FirstHand are reaching into diverse communities throughout our city and providing the skills and confidence needed to work in the technology sector, or even to start a company.  This is all part of our commitment to establish Philadelphia as a thriving startup city with opportunities available to all.”

John Grady, President of PIDC, said, “We are proud partners in the StartUp PHL initiative.  PIDC is pleased to help support entrepreneurship in Philadelphia with this multifaceted initiative to increase the availability of capital and make Philadelphia an attractive place for entrepreneurs.”

The latest round of Startup PHL Call for Ideas grants provides funding to four organizations, bringing the total number of programs supported by this initiative to fourteen.  The programs funded in this round include:

  • University City Science Center FirstHand Program ($25,000) – a youth STEAM initiative serving Philadelphia youth from under-resourced schools and the teachers, professionals and families from their communities. The Startup PHL funding assists in lab equipment acquisition for the FirstHand Lab, a dedicated lab space for students.
  •  Drexel University, Regional University Business Plan Competition ($23,500) Startup PHL funding will help establish a multi-university business plan competition run by a new consortium of university-based entrepreneurship programs and incubators.  Drexel University’s Chuck Sacco, organizer of this initiative, commented, “A number of us at university-based entrepreneurship programs wanted to find new ways to have entrepreneurially-minded college students work across the region and build their networks at other universities and colleges and within the community.  A regional business plan competition will be a great way for that to occur”.
  • Coded by Kids Instructor Pipeline Project ($19,870) – Coded by Kids provides inner city children with free, engaging, challenging and creative tech education program. Startup PHL funding will establish an adult training program for instructors in the Coded by Kids workshops.
  • TechGirlz Entrepreneur Bootcamp in a Box ($10,000) – TechGirlz hold workshops and an annual entrepreneurial summer camp serving middle-school girls. Startup PHL funding will expand the existing and successful TechGirlz Summer Entrepreneur Bootcamp materials into sharable, lesson plan formats so other groups can teach the program.  TechGirlz founder Tracey Welson-Rossman commented, “This Tech Entrepreneur Camp is unique in this country and we are extremely happy to be partnering with the City to have more girls understand how they can participate in the tech and startup economy. Innovation is gender blind.”

Later today Mayor Nutter will visit the Coded by Kids after-school program at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center to see how this initiative is providing a coding-focused education program that would normally be out of reach for many Philadelphia residents and is preparing prepare both children and adults for careers in web development.

“Providing tech education opportunities to Philadelphia residents who have traditionally lacked access to these opportunities is critical to the social and economic success of our communities,” said Coded by Kids founder Sylvester Mobley.

Startup PHL is an initiative of the City of Philadelphia’s Commerce Department, PIDC, and First Round Capital to provide funding for early-stage companies and to support programs that develop the startup community in Philadelphia.  Through Startup PHL Funds and co-investments from First Round Capital eight Philadelphia startups have received more than $1 million in combined seed stage or angel investment since October 2013, and through the Call For Ideas Grants fourteen organizations have received almost $300,000 in funding to support entrepreneurship programming.

“Philadelphia’s emergence as a hub for startups and technology companies is one of the most exciting trends for the future of this city,” said Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development.  “This Administration, through Startup PHL and a range of other initiatives, is proud to support the work of entrepreneurs across Philadelphia who are building companies, developing exciting new products, and providing innovative, challenging job opportunities for the growing number of people who want to live and work in our city.”

Twenty Philadelphia-Based Life Science and IT Startups Awarded $1.7 Million in KIZ Tax Credits

January 15, 2015 | via PR Web, University City Science Center 

Twenty startup companies in University City and Center City received a collective $1.7 million in tax credits awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development in 2014 as part of the Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) Tax Credit Program. All 20 companies are located in the University City Keystone Innovation Zone.

Pennsylvania’s Keystone Innovation Zone Tax Credit is a key component of the KIZ program. Up to $25 million of credits are available each year to eligible companies. Companies that do not have any tax liabilities can sell their tax credits themselves or secure a third-party, independent broker to sell the tax credit on their behalf.

Since 2006, over $6.2 million in KIZ Tax Credits have been awarded to 39 companies in the University City KIZ. “Securing non-dedicated funds through the sale of KIZ Tax Credits can be a major boost for early-stage companies operating in the life science and tech sectors” says Robert McGrath, Chair of the University City KIZ Executive Committee and Senior Associate Vice Provost at Drexel University. “The KIZ Tax Credit Program is incentive for companies to move into and stay in the City of Philadelphia and a major economic asset to our entrepreneurial community.”

Eligible companies can access up to $100,000 in tradable credits each year, and many of the awardees will invest those funds in new employees while others will purchase equipment to further develop and commercialize products and technologies. As awardee Robert Moore, Co-founder and CEO of RJMetrics, put it, “Jobs, jobs, jobs! We will use the KIZ Tax Credit to help fund our aggressive team growth. We grew from 40 to 90 people in 2014 and are planning for further growth in 2015.” …

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DreamIt Ventures gets new home, $3M investment

December 11, 2013 | Philadelphia Business Journal by Zenovia Campbell

DreamIt Ventures has a new headquarters. The startup accelerator is moving to theUniversity City Science Center in a partnership with Drexel University. The second and third floors of the Science Center building will transform into an “innovation hub” in April 2014. In addition to housing DreamIt Ventures, the 17,500 square foot space will also have space for local entrepreneurs. Drexel’s Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center, which opened last fall, occupies the Science Center’s first floor.

Also announced Wednesday was Drexel’s $3 million investment to DreamIt Fund II, a fund for aspiring entrepreneurs. While the company hopes to raise $30 million, DreamIt Co-Founder David Bookspan declined to comment on the amount raised to date.

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Drexel, Science Center unveil coworking space, DreamIt Ventures HQ

DreamIt Ventures is ramping up efforts to support its graduating companies by offering its Philadelphia startups both office space and capital, as DreamIt is currently raising a $30 million fund to invest in startups that have completed its program.

December 11, 2013 | Technical.ly Philly by Juliana Reyes

This spring, 3401 Market Street will launch as a tech startup hub.

DreamIt Ventures will establish its headquarters on the second and third floor of the building, a 17,500 square foot space that’s being developed by the University City Science Center and Drexel University for about $1 million, the organizations announced this afternoon.

DreamIt aims to host all of its Philadelphia accelerator programs for early-stage startups, as well as offer office space for its graduating companies. The space will also be open to non-DreamIt startups. On the ground floor  of the building is the ExCITe Center, Drexel’s cross-disciplinary music and tech lab.

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PIDC to Invest $500K in University City Science Center’s QED Program

Philadelphia, March 19, 2013 – The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation announced today that through its Penn Venture Fund, it will invest up to $500,000 in the University City Science Center’s QED Program, the country’s first multi-institutional proof-of-concept funding program for healthcare and life sciences technologies.  PIDC’s loan will provide direct funding to qualifying research projects at Philadelphia-based academic and research institutions participating in QED. The projects will be developed and selected through QED’s market-driven process. The loan will be repaid from PIDC’s share in proceeds from successful projects.

“PIDC is excited to invest with partners like First Round Capital and the University City Science Center, both of which are highly respected national leaders in their fields,” said PIDC President John Grady.  “These new investments are both designed to bring more capital to entrepreneurs in Philadelphia at earlier stages, so that they can turn their big ideas into reality sooner and more efficiently.  Today’s announcement illustrates PIDC’s ongoing commitment to find innovative ways to partner with the public and private sectors and to develop new resources for Philadelphia businesses.”

The QED Program has funded a total of 16 projects since its launch in April 2009.  So far, five of the projects have resulted in technology options or licenses, and close to $9 million in follow-on funding has been raised. Twenty-two universities and research institutions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, including 11 in Philadelphia, participate in the program.

“Due to a lack of funding, promising technologies are often stranded in the lab and never make it to the marketplace where they can have a positive impact on patients’ lives,” says Science Center President & CEO Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA. “PIDC’s investment will help launch new companies that commercialize Philadelphia-based discoveries.  We at the Science Center look forward to working with PIDC to encourage these companies to stay and grow in the city.”

Blackstone Charitable Foundation Expands Campus Entrepreneurship Platform Bringing “Blackstone LaunchPad” to Pennsylvania

December 03, 2012 | PRESS RELEASE

“The Blackstone Charitable Foundation announced today that it is bringing Blackstone LaunchPad to Pennsylvania to train Philadelphia’s next generation of entrepreneurs. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s $3 million grant establishes a partnership between the University City Science Center, Temple University and Philadelphia University to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career option and provide university students and alumni with the skills, knowledge, and guidance to transform new ideas into viable companies. The Pennsylvania Blackstone LaunchPad programs are expected to generate some 100 ventures and hundreds of jobs over the next five years…”

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