News of three fledgling life sciences companies moving into the University at Buffalo’s Clinical and Translational Research Center is a giant step forward for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
The center’s name is a mouthful, but it reflects the goal: to reduce the time it takes to translate basic scientific research into clinical studies in patients. It is those studies that lead to new therapies that ultimately improve medical outcomes and produce healthier communities.
The translational research center, opened over the summer, is situated on the top half of a building at Ellicott and Goodrich streets that UB constructed in partnership with Kaleida Health.
Three companies will occupy the 4,000-square-foot Biosciences Incubator, which is on the fifth floor:
•AccuTheranostics, previously based in the UB Technology Incubator at Baird Research Park in Amherst, moved its three employees from its old location back in September. The company is dedicated to helping personalize chemotherapy treatments to achieve the best possible results for cancer patients.
•AndroBioSys, the brainchild of two Roswell Park Cancer Institute researchers. The company is developing novel ways to detect, image and treat early prostate cancer.
•Ceno Technologies, a materials science company, is moving its biological sciences division to the incubator. Ceno researchers will study and develop nanoparticles for delivering drugs.
Executives at the three companies recognize the value of locating on the growing medical campus. Within a few years, the University at Buffalo Medical School and Children’s Hospital will join Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo General Medical Center and the Gates Vascular Institute in creating a tremendous pool of medical talent.
Indeed, putting the Clinical and Translational Research Center in the 10-story building housing the Gates Vascular Institute was intended to bring professionals of varied backgrounds together to share problems and potential solutions.
The center’s director, Dr. Timothy F. Murphy, summed up the problem earlier this year: “If you look over the past 30 years, there have been spectacular advances in science. But if you look at how, collectively, we have done at turning those advances into new drugs and treatments, it’s not so good.”
It takes an average of about 13 years to turn research ideas into marketable drugs. The cost of that process exceeds $1 billion for just one successful medication, and the failure rate for all the potential drugs is greater than 95 percent, according to an article last year in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
The incubator is run by UB’s Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach, which, apart from a fee to cover rent, offers free services such as access to specialized equipment, seminars on entrepreneurship, guidance on business needs and grant application assistance as well as help in seeking investment capital.
The collaborative atmosphere, resources and opportunity on the grounds of the medical campus hold great promise for the incubator’s goal of shortening the time from research ideas to marketable drugs.
Too often there is a disconnect between research and the marketplace. Providing the resources to bring those threads together adnaces medical care while benefiting the Western New York economy.