"The Golden Ticket contest is a terrific mechanism for us to establish connections with innovative new companies emerging from the entrepreneurial community in Cambridge," said Sharon Cload, vice president, Molecular Discovery Technologies at Bristol-Myers Squibb. "This was a strong field of contestants, and we are delighted to name Carmine Therapeutics and STIMIT as the 2019 recipients. It is our hope that access to LabCentral will provide these companies with the resources and environment that will enable rapid advancement of their programs."
Carmine Therapeutics is pioneering a new class of genetic medicines based on red blood cell extracellular vesicles (RBCEVs) as redosable allogeneic therapies. These homogeneous, non-immunogenic and stable vesicles can be exogenously engineered, at scale, without culture expansion, to carry large nucleic acid payloads (at least 11 kilobases), and surface functionalized with targeting ligands to increase bioavailability in specific tissues and cell types. This technology, published in Nature Communications, forms the foundation of Carmine's fully modular and robust REGENT platform that aims to revolutionize nucleic acid therapies.
STIMIT aims to disrupt how, when and where cancer immunotherapy is deployed to dramatically improve patient outcomes. Specifically, STIMIT has developed a hydrogel from a natural, biodegradable, FDA-approved polymer to enable extended localized release of cancer immunotherapy in the context of surgical tumor resection, which is the standard of care for most cancer patients with solid tumors. While most approaches in oncology attempt to treat macroscopic disease, STIMIT is reprogramming the post-resection milieu from immunosuppressive to immunostimulatory and thereby improving the efficacy and safety of immunotherapy relative to traditional routes of administration.
"Golden Tickets afford promising early stage life sciences companies the opportunity to explore and develop their ideas in a deeply collaborative environment," said Johannes Fruehauf, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder and president, LabCentral. "The selected winners, STIMIT and Carmine Therapeutics, are creating novel technologies at the cutting-edge of advanced drug delivery platforms and we at LabCentral look forward to supporting them in reaching their next milestones. We are pleased to welcome Carmine to our community and to congratulate them and STIMIT both on receiving the Bristol-Myers Squibb Golden Ticket."
About Bristol-Myers SquibbBristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases.
About LabCentralLabCentral is a first-of-its-kind shared laboratory workspace in the heart of the Kendall Square, Cambridge, biotech innovation hub, designed as a launchpad for high-potential life-sciences and biotech startups. It offers everything young companies need to begin lab operations immediately upon move-in and propel their science forward faster and more cost-efficiently. This includes: beautifully designed, fully permitted lab and office space, first-class facility and administrative support, skilled laboratory personnel, peer learning and networking opportunities, an expert speaker series - as well as critical access to potential funders and industry partners. A private, nonprofit institution, its first site opened in 2013, with support from real-estate partner, MIT. Founding sponsors include Johnson & Johnson Innovation, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Roche, and Triumvirate Environmental. To accommodate demand for growing startups, LabCentral expanded its original site to double the original size in the fall of 2017, and, with support from Pfizer, opened LabCentral 610 at the end of the year. LabCentral now has capacity to serve a total of ~450 scientists and entrepreneurs in about 70 companies across its two-building campus. In 2017, it also added the LabCentral Learning Lab for STEM programming to help inspire the next generation of science entrepreneurs.