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(Virtual) funding for promising life sciences concepts

Posted by Scott Kirsner  June 4, 2010 04:10 PM

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100k.jpgI know my presence at a conference always adds a lot, but I was still a bit surprised to be handed $300,000 upon arriving at the Westin Copley for this week's Massachusetts Life Sciences Innovation Day. The third annual event was organized by the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center, the Mass Biotech Council, and Anupendra Sharma, an investor at the Boston office of Siemens Ventures.

Even more surprising was that the faux currency featured the picture of Woodrow Wilson — was he the biotech President?

(For next year, I'm suggesting that the bills should feature Wally Gilbert, the Nobel prize winning scientist, entrepreneur, and investor.)

The cash could be "invested" in any of the research projects or early-stage start-up companies that were arrayed in the conference's lobby, which ranged from new tools for installing screws endoscopically to low-cost ventilators to electronic ink for medical applications.

The three technologies that attracted the most backing from participants received cash prizes, with the winner getting $1000.

In first place was Diagnostics for All, a new non-profit spawned from George Whitesides' lab at Harvard that is developing paper-based diagnostics.

The runner-up was Hybergenica, another start-up with Harvard roots; they're working on a liquid solution called Somah that can slow down the deterioration process of organs awaiting transplantation.

And in third place was Annovation Biopharma, a Wayland-based start-up that is developing a fast-acting form of anesthesia called Rapidate. Annovation's genesis was in research done at Mass. General Hospital (a Harvard-affiliated institution, I should mention.)

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Innovation and technology news that matters, on a new website from the Boston Globe, featuring Scott Kirsner and other original reporting.

About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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