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Two Promising Neuroscience Startups Awarded “Golden Tickets”
Photo Caption: Shared laboratory space at LabCentral in Kendall Square Cambridge, Massachusetts
Boston-based startups Tevard Biosciences and QurAlis announced as winners of the Pfizer Neuroscience Golden Ticket Program
In June 2018, Pfizer Kendall Square opened a call for interested U.S. startup companies focused on neuroscience to submit non-confidential proposals for a Pfizer-sponsored LabCentral “Golden Ticket.”
LabCentral is a first-of-its-kind shared laboratory space located in the heart of Cambridge, Mass., proximate to Pfizer’s campus in Kendall Square, and is designed as a launchpad for high-potential life sciences and biotech startups.
The Golden Ticket will provide these startups with one year of bench space for one scientist at LabCentral, including the benefits of shared infrastructure and services.
And the Winners Are…
"While all of the applicants were impressive, these companies stood out for their overall vision clarity, quality of the science and the passion and personal meaning behind their research,” said Eileen Elliott, Pfizer’s Kendall Square site lead.
Tevard Biosciences is developing novel gene therapy platforms to target Dravet Syndrome and rare diseases with high unmet need.
This includes disorders caused by haploinsufficiency and/or premature stop codons, which are not amenable to traditional gene therapy approaches.
Tevard was founded by Harvey Lodish, a molecular biologist, with Daniel Fischer and Warren Lammert, both parents of children with Dravet syndrome.
QurAlis is specifically focused on discovering and developing new therapies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the most common form of motor neuron disease.
QurAlis is using a transformative system in which cells from ALS patients are used to model the disease in a dish to identify new drugs.
Two of the founders of QurAlis, Harvard professors Kevin Eggan and Clifford Woolf, pioneered this technology for ALS, resulting in the discovery of a potential new ALS drug, ezogabine, which is now being tested in a phase 2 clinical trial.
Investing in Neuroscience
Pfizer Ventures recently announced that it would seek to invest approximately $150 million in promising early-stage neuroscience companies, which are critical in an area of science that is still nascent.
The Golden Ticket Program is designed to support entrepreneurial, early-stage activities of true startup companies working in the neuroscience field by providing two neuroscience startup companies with a space in which they can work to further advance their promising efforts in this important field.