Seven research finalists chosen for BioWest 2006

Filed under: Health Care |

Novel cancer drugs; innovative treatments for blood cancers and clotting; new ways to attack inflammatory and infectious diseases; ground-breaking compounds to treat osteoporosis and metastatic bone disease; pioneering devices for orthopedic surgery; commercializing biofuels from algae; and revolutionary wearable rehabilitation systems comprise the seven finalists in this year’s BioWest Venture Showcase competition, said Christine Shapard, director of bioscience and emerging technologies for the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT).

“By focusing on new therapies targeting common diseases, creating systems and devices to fix problems and finding ways to reduce our dependence on oil, the seven finalists chosen for this year’s BioWest Venture Showcase are on the front lines of making the world a better place,” Shapard said. “The winner will receive the $10,000 Faegre & Benson Venture Showcase award at the Colorado Bioscience Association (CBSA) Annual Awards Dinner on August 24.”

The following companies were named finalists:

  • ApopLogic Pharmaceuticals (Aurora) is a startup phase biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of therapeutic products that target apoptotic cell death pathways found in tumor cells and proliferating immune cells (lymphocytes).
  • Caveo Therapeutics (Aurora) is an early stage biotechnology company creating innovative therapies for cancers and hematologic conditions based on receptor tyrosine kinase(RTK) technologies.
  • LigoCyte (Bozeman, Montana) is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of therapeutic drugs and vaccines for preventing or treating human diseases within specialty markets.
  • MBC Pharma, Inc. (Boulder) was founded in late 1997 to commercialize pharmaceutical technology invented by the late Prof. Marat Karpeisky of the Englehardt Institute in Moscow, Russia and Professor H.B.F Dixon of Cambridge University, Cambridge, U.K.
  • MedShape Solutions (Castle Rock) develops pioneering medical devices for use in orthopedic surgery that leverage the unique medical benefits of shape memory polymers and alloys. MedShape Solutions develops pioneering medical devices primarily for use in orthopedics and minimally-invasive surgery.
  • SunSource Industries (SSI) (Boulder) is a developer of massively scalable photo-bioreactors for the production of biodiesel and other valuable bio-commodities from algae.
  • TheraTogs, Inc. (TTI) (Telluride) develops unique rehabilitation systems and provides advanced training for the physical rehabilitation market.

Walk raises funds for breast cancer

Memorial Hospital has received $250,000 from the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Denver to purchase equipment for its breast cancer center and to provide support for a patient navigator who will work to reduce delays in accessing care for underserved women facing breast cancer.

The 1,000 participants in Denver’s Avon Walk for Breast Cancer raised more than $2 million.

The money raised is awarded to local, regional and national breast cancer organizations to support five areas of the breast cancer cause, including awareness and education, screening and diagnosis, access to treatment, support services, and scientific research, all with a focus on the medically underserved.

Other grants included:

  • The University of Colorado Cancer Center received $400,000 to launch the Avon Foundation’s 2006 prevention research initiative. UCCC is one of many cancer centers working in coordination on this initiative to understand how a woman’s breasts change during pregnancy and how these changes affect a woman’s risk of breast cancer. The goal is to apply this knowledge to develop ways to prevent breast cancer for all women. To date, UCCC has received more than $4 million from the foundation.
  • The Native American Cancer Research Corp. received $100,000 to support Native American patient navigators who will guide more than 100 women into mammography screening and, as needed, follow-up diagnostics and care.
  • The Children’s Treehouse Foundation received $100,000 to expand its programs for educating doctors and nurses about the issues children face when a parent is diagnosed with cancer. The Children’s Treehouse Foundation has been supported by the foundation since 2002.
  • Project Angel Heart received $75,000 to fund renovation of its kitchen and facilities. The organization prepares and delivers meals to women fighting breast cancer and others facing serious illness. This is one of four nutritional support programs funded by the foundation nationwide.

The Avon Foundation, an accredited public charity, was founded in 1955 to improve the lives of women and their families. The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade was launched in 1992 and has awarded more than $400 million worldwide for access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer, with a focus on the medically underserved.

Funding supports five areas: awareness and education; screening and diagnosis; access to treatment; support services; and scientific research. For more information, visit www.avonfoundation.org.

Amy Gillentine covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.