Advancing Innovation. RTP Incubator Partners with Innovalyst

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First Flight Venture Center (FFVC), a technology incubator and Innovalyst, a life sciences consulting firm committed to catalyzing innovation, today announced an innovative partnership to provide strategic and technical support to life science entrepreneurs in Research Triangle Park. Innovalyst’s ICaN (Intellectual Capital Network) will provide fit for purpose teams of industrial experts to FFVC’s life science and medical device companies.

“This foundational partnership between FFVC and Innovalyst represents a powerful pledge on behalf of FFVC to the life science community in the Research Triangle Park. We are committed to expand our life science focus and have augmented our wet labs by more than 50 percent in the last 18 months.” Explained Dr. Andrew Schwab, President, First Flight Venture Center.

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RTP firm Aerie Pharmaceuticals raises $30 million

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Ever cringe when you have your eye examined and the doctor puffs air at your eye? It makes my eye twitch just thinking about it. That puff of air tests for glaucoma symptoms. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of visual disability and blindness in the world. It wasn’t until my mom was diagnosed with glaucoma that I took notice.

Aerie Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Duke University spinoff developing a treatment for glaucoma, has raised $30 million in a series B round of venture-capital financing.  With R&D operations located in Alexandria Innovation Center, one of the The Research Triangle Park’s five incubators, Aerie Pharmaceuticals is a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of medical innovations in ophthalmology.

Clarus Ventures and Sofinnova Ventures co-led the round, with participation from Osage University Partners, and existing investors Alta Partners and TPG Biotech.

Aerie expects to use proceeds from this financing to fund continued development of Aerie’s broad product portfolio in glaucoma and advance the company’s lead product, AR-12286, a first-in-class selective Rho-kinase inhibitor, into Phase 3 trials by the end of 2011.

“We are excited about the potential for Aerie’s compounds to offer multiple, improved and differentiated treatment options for millions of patients suffering from this widespread, degenerative disease,” said Tom van Haarlem, MD, President and CEO of Aerie.

The company is also pursuing several other pipeline programs also aimed at glaucoma therapy.

“Despite the fact that glaucoma is a progressive disease, there has not been a drug with a new mechanism of action approved in the glaucoma field since the mid-nineties,” said Dr. Anand Mehra of Sofinnova. “Patients often need several drugs to control their disease, and physicians have limited options with these older mechanisms. We believe that AR-12286′s new MOA, strong efficacy, excellent tolerability, and once daily dosing can provide real value to patients at risk of losing their vision.”

RTP is proud to be home to incubators such as Alexandria Innovation Center that provide the wet lab space that allows R&D start-ups such as Aerie to thrive.  We are even more proud that Aerie Pharmaceuticals is a home grown company, spun out of Duke University, that RTP helped to nuture in order to commercialize its medical innovations.  What a great success story that proves that RTP truly is, “the future of great ideas.”

CivaTech Oncology Wins 2010 “Emerging Technology Company of the Year”

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CivaTech Oncology announced it has been selected as a winner for the 2010 NCTA 21 Awards in the category of “Emerging Technology Company of the year.” Winners were recognized at the annual awards gala on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at the Sheraton Imperial in Durham, N.C., and presented in conjunction with title sponsor Grant Thornton. The theme for this year’s event was “License to Excel” and was attended by a record crowd of more than 850 business and technology leaders from across the state. Civatech is a small startup company located in Park Research Center, one of RTP’s five incubator and accelerator facilities.

The NCTA 21 Awards are recognized as North Carolina’s most prestigious awards, celebrating innovation and excellence in North Carolina. This annual showcase honors companies and individuals in 21 categories who represent the best and brightest in technology and business.

“We are extremely honored to be among the organizations selected to receive this year’s NCTA 21 Awards,” said Suzanne Babcock, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman. “Our Company has dedicated itself to the mission of improving cancer therapy with novel polymer-based radiation sources that strive to maximize quality of life.  We are very humbled by the recognition.  I would especially like to thank the members of our team who work with continued dedication and perseverance.”

“This year’s 21 Awards truly showcase the best technology and innovation that our state has to offer,” said Brooks Raiford, president and chief executive officer of NCTA. “We couldn’t be more pleased to congratulate CivaTech Oncology as a company that is leading North Carolina’s technology industry, and we are proud to recognize them as a winner of the Emerging Technology Company of the year.”

About CivaTech Oncology

CivaTech Oncology Inc. develops improved low dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy devices.  Our first device, the CivaString™, has been cleared by the FDA for use in localized tumors. The Company is also developing innovative implantable bioabsorbable brachytherapy products for the treatment of breast, lung and other cancers.

Launching Durham

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Calling all Triangle Entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists and Startup Junkies!

You are invited to attend and participate in the first-ever Launch Days Durham. Launch Days Durham will be an inspiration-packed day where rising new business models are presented and an audience of learned peers offer constructive, collaborative input and vision. Attendees can expect to spark creativity and to ignite a shared passion for entrepreneurship.

Launch Days Durham is intended to highlight the community of catalysts and progressive risk takers thriving in the Triangle. The event is for professionals with an action plan, a business model, an idea and for veterans who have built businesses from a successful launch to a listing in the Inc. 5000.

Expect a day of discovery, constructive critique and unbridled spirit which champions great rewards from great risk.

The TechJournalSouth wrote a great article on the program in anticipation of today’s event. As of this morning, almost 100 people have registered. Join them here.