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The Blumberg Institute receives Angel Investment state funding thanks to Sen. Pat Browne

The $2 million grant will be used to stimulate innovative new biotechnology companies.

Doylestown, Pa., Nov. 29, 2022 –The Baruch S. Blumberg Institute’s Academic Entrepreneur Initiative will receive a $2 million grant from the state’s Angel Investment Venture Capital Program, according to Senate Majority Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne (R-Lehigh), who developed the program in coordination with the Governor’s office, the Office of the Budget and Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-Bucks).

Senator Browne crafted this new program that was included in Act 24 of 2021 (the state Fiscal Code), was established to create a business environment that attracts and encourages early stage financing for businesses located in the Keystone State.

“This funding will promote the launch and development of exciting, cutting-edge new companies here in Pennsylvania, and help recruit outstanding talent,” Randall N. Hyer, MD, PhD, MPH, president of the Blumberg Institute, said. “This is consistent with Senator Browne’s vision of boosting Pennsylvania as an incubator of innovation, a vision that we are turning into reality.”

The goal of the Angel Investment Venture Capital Program is that these high-growth startup companies are going to increase capital investment in the Commonwealth and encourage job creation in Pennsylvania through companies that focus on commercializing research and development, technology transfer or the application of new technologies.

The Blumberg Institute, which is a nonprofit organization located in Doylestown, collaborates with other institutions and scientists to help develop biotechnology innovations into valuable, often-commercialized products for improving human health.

“The Blumberg Institute is a true leader and example of how providing a unique environment including physical workspace, equipment and other business resources and collaborations can lead to the successful transition from a startup company to one with significant job creation and growth that now commercially produces products originally developed at these incubators,” Senator Browne said. “Given the success Blumberg Institute has had in helping entrepreneurs and startup businesses, it is no surprise they are one of the nation’s leading life sciences incubators.”

The Blumberg Institute was established in 2003 by the Hepatitis B Foundation to advance its research mission. Today, the Institute is one of the nation’s leading centers for translational research, particularly for hepatitis B and liver cancer. The Institute supports drug discovery, biomarker discovery and translational biotechnology around common research themes such as chronic hepatitis, liver disease and liver cancer in an environment conducive to interaction, collaboration and focus.

“For nearly 20 years, the Blumberg Institute has been a national leader taking research out of the lab and turning it into the treatments and devices that save and improve lives,” Senator Santarsiero said. The Blumberg Institute is in the 10th Senate District, which Senator Santarsiero represents. “I am grateful for Senator Browne’s support for our region’s biotech corridor so it can better compete nationally and globally to launch new companies with high-quality jobs here in Pennsylvania.”

The Blumberg Institute is one of six organizations receiving grants through the $5 million Angel Investment Venture Capital Program that will support 12 Qualified Business Ventures.
“This program recognizes the challenges that new businesses and industries often face with significant startup costs, lack of resources, expertise and physical space to flourish,” Senator Browne said. “Given those challenges, this program will help stimulate growth in Pennsylvania through this type of venture between investors, startups and the Commonwealth.”

For more on the program, there is information on the Office of the Budget website here and the Department of Community and Economic Development website here.

“The Blumberg Institute will be accelerating our efforts to spin out new companies developing first-in-class cancer treatments, new antivirals and new noninvasive ways to detect cancer,” Dr. Hyer said. “Those advances can be life-saving for people with those diseases, as well as of enormous economic value to Pennsylvania.”

The program will begin with five promising biotech spinouts.

  • MERLIN Biotech is a startup immunotherapy company leveraging proven mRNA platform technology to develop novel therapeutics and vaccines against targets that address important unmet medical needs, including chronic hepatitis B infections, adult and pediatric cancers and Lyme disease.

  • Harlingene Life Sciences is developing liver-targeted first-in-class therapies for hepatitis A and B. There are no drugs to treat hepatitis A, and hepatitis B is not cured by current approaches.

  • RimmSting Life Sciences is developing medicines to treat orphan and forgotten diseases such as Yellow Fever Virus.

  • Pentrávalent LLC is developing a bio-therapeutic platform using protein engineering to create new macromolecules that uniquely “attack” infectious disease targets such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and hepatitis B virus antigens.

  • Cirna Diagnostics LLC is developing a first-in-class set of assays intended to noninvasively detect liver cirrhosis and liver cancer early, helping identify those at greatest risk and better guide therapy.

For more about the Blumberg Institute, go to www.blumberginstitute.org and follow the organization on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (@BlumbergInstit1).