University City Science Center switches up board leadership

NewSpring Capital’s managing general partner is now leading the University City Science Center’s board of directors, which also includes the CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

The Science Center announced Monday that Mike DiPiano had been named to the board’s top position, taking over from University of Pennsylvania Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli, and Patrick Harker, leader of the Philadelphia Fed, was elected to the board at its meeting late last month.

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The Mid-Atlantic region’s researchers and startups now have another great resource for funding.

A new Health and Human Services unit called DRIVe – part of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), has partnered with seven accelerators across the country including the University City Science Center, to fund innovative technologies and products to solve systemic health security challenges facing US population.

DRIVe’s public-private engagement model is designed to accelerate innovation and incentivize investors and innovators to tackle health security threats, such as infectious diseases and sepsis. By partnering with accelerators across the country, the DRIVe Accelerator Network is identifying promising innovations and while providing wraparound technical and business development support services.

DRIVe can also invest in the projects using quick, streamlined funding methods with decisions typically made within 31 days of application submission.

Among the challenging problems DRIVe is looking to solve is the need for earlier detection of infection. Specifically, technology that can alert people when they have been infected with a bacteria or virus even before they begin to show symptoms. DRIVe is also addressing the urgent need to solve sepsis, the body’s life-threatening response to infection or traumatic injury. Sepsis is a top cause of hospitalization in America, leading to 250,000 deaths annually, costing approximately $24 billion a year to treat. The number of sepsis cases could skyrocket after a bioterrorism attack or pandemic.

Since establishing the partnership with accelerators, DRIVe made its second contract to Philadelphia-based and Science Center affiliated company, InnaMed.

InnaMed is developing a point-of-care rapid blood testing device to help diagnose sepsis, determine risk stratification of patients and monitor the response to treatments. DRIVe is providing funding to InnaMed to develop a promising biomarker associated with sepsis to be integrated into this portable device.  

DRIVe is open to technologies at any stage of development. Companies or projects don not have to be affiliated with the Science Center to qualify and apply but the Science Center can make direct introductions and help guide the entire process.

Please contact [email protected] for more information about how the Science Center can assist local technologies in getting on the radar of BARDA.

Stephen Zarrilli Named President & CEO of University City Science Center

PHILADELPHIA, PA — (July 26, 2018) – The University City Science Center announced today that Stephen Zarrilli will assume the role of President & Chief Executive Officer effective October 1, 2018.

Mr. Zarrilli brings 35 years of experience from a variety of enterprises including public, private, venture-backed and non-profit both at the management and governance levels. With a proven record in strategy, organizational growth, business development, governance and finance, Mr. Zarrilli will establish and maintain a forward-looking vision that galvanizes the Science Center’s role as a leader in life science and tech-based economic development in Greater Philadelphia. Mr. Zarrilli will be responsible for positioning the mission-driven non-profit as a point of convergence for academic and research institutions and as a hub of entrepreneurial activity, while strengthening the organization’s programs and supporting the growth and expansion of the uCity Square development. Mr. Zarrilli has served as a member of the Science Center’s Board of Directors since 2014.

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Latest Iteration of Science Center’s BioArt Residency Fuses Climate Change and Biotech

PHILADELPHIA, PA — (July 12, 2018) – Deirdre Murphy is the newest artist to participate in the University City Science Center’s BioArt Residency program. Murphy is a Philadelphia-based artist whose interests lie in the interconnected qualities of art and science with a focus on bird migration, climate change and data visualization. She will begin a three-month residency at uCity Square-based biotech company Integral Molecular on July 6. Murphy is the second of three artists selected to participate in the program.

Deirdre Murphy researches the effects of climate change on bird migration, using the visual data that scientists share with her to conceptualize and execute her paintings. Her fascination with avian migratory patterns and the effects of global warming have led her research to Hawk Mountain Bird Sanctuary, Powdermill Nature Reserve, Drexel University’s Academy of Natural Science and most recently the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.

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Tracy S. Brala Joins University City Science Center as Vice President, Ecosystem Development

PHILADELPHIA, P.A. — (June 14, 2018) – Tracy S. Brala has joined the University City Science Center as Vice President, Ecosystem Development.

In this newly created role, Tracy will lead the expansion of Quorum as a significant and sustainable revenue stream for the Science Center. She will also be responsible for ensuring that Quorum and uCity Square are key participants in the region’s innovation ecosystem. Tracy has overall responsibility for the Science Center’s community engagement strategy and is charged with growing and extending the successful existing Quorum programming and operations, as well as creating new Quorum programming and ensuring the successful launch and implementation of Venture Café powered by Quorum.

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$500,000 HHS Grant Leverages Success of Science Center Programs for Health Security Innovations

PHILADELPHIA — (June 13, 2018) – The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has awarded the University City Science Center a grant of up to $500,000 over five years to join BARDA’s new Division of Research, Innovation and Ventures (DRIVe) Accelerator Network. The grant will augment the capabilities of the Science Center’s existing accelerator programs to identify and promote innovations in national health security.

DRIVe’s public-private engagement model is designed to accelerate innovation and incentivize investors and innovators to tackle health security threats, such as infectious diseases and sepsis. By partnering with the Science Center and seven other accelerators across the country, the DRIVe Accelerator Network plans to identify promising innovations and provide wraparound technical and business development support services.

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QED Program Awards $600K to Advance the Commercialization of Three University Technologies

PHILADELPHIA — (January 29, 2018) – Researchers improving the efficiency of bone graft procedures, developing drugs to address treatment-resistant cancer, and advancing research to reverse the invasive potential of cancerous cells will receive a total of $600,000 from the University City Science Center’s QED Proof-of-Concept Program. The program, started in 2009 and now in its tenth round of funding, supports novel university technologies with market potential, bridging the gap between academic research and product commercialization. The awardees were selected from a pool of 54 applicants from 12 academic and research institutions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

The QED grants will support researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology, Temple University and The Wistar Institute.  Each team will receive $200,000, half of which will be contributed by the Science Center and half by the researchers’ institutions. Each project will also receive guidance from the Science Center’s experienced team of scientific and business advisors.

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The Art of Science Inspires Residency Program at Biotech Company

PHILADELPHIA (September 6, 2017) – A new kind of interdisciplinary artistic collaboration is happening in Philadelphia this fall.  The University City Science Center has partnered with biotech company and uCity Square resident Integral Molecular to host an artist-in-residence program focused on biotechnology.  The three-month pilot of the Art + Science Residency will begin in September with Philadelphia-based artist Orkan Telhan.

The Art + Science Residency’s goal is to provide access, opportunity and awareness for artists to explore the ever-changing world of biotechnology.  Telhan will have free reign of Integral Molecular’s lab space with direct access to biotech expertise and equipment at the company.  The Science Center will host a public lecture by Telhan on October 3rd at 5:00 p.m. to be held at Quorum, and progression of his work will also be documented online.

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Rachel Cervantes Joins Science Center as VP Corporate Development

PHILADELPHIA (May 10, 2017) – Rachel Cervantes, Ph.D., MBA has joined the University City Science Center as VP Corporate Development. Cervantes brings over 20 years’ experience in the commercial and scientific aspects of pharmaceutical innovation within large pharmaceutical, biotech, and academic research environments.

In this newly created position at the mission-driven nonprofit, Cervantes will play a leadership role in forging strategic partnerships with industry, non-profit and academic institutions with the goal of building a sustainable corporate and institutional presence in uCity Square and yielding additional revenue sources for the Science Center.

“As uCity Square expands, University City will enter a new era of innovation, access, inclusion, and discovery with the Science Center playing a key role as the connector between multiple, diverse organizations,” says Science Center President & CEO Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA.  “Rachel’s business development background and private industry experience will enhance the Science Center’s ability to develop creative and flexible approaches that bring mutual value to its partners.”

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University of Pittsburgh and University City Science Center in Philadelphia Join Forces to Commercialize Early-Stage Technologies

PHILADELPHIA (January 30, 2017) — The University of Pittsburgh is the newest academic participant in the University City Science Center’s Phase 1 Ventures program. To launch their partnership, the Science Center and the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute are collaborating to commercialize a Pitt-developed technology for accurately aligning lower-limb prostheses.

Phase 1 Ventures (P1V) is a startup accelerator for launching companies around “long horizon” technologies that typically require significant development and/or regulatory approvals, such as healthcare, materials, or energy. Entrepreneurs are either matched to a technology at one of P1V’s participating universities or enrolled as part of a previously formed company that has not yet raised financing. Since it was launched in 2015, P1V has committed a total of over $1.3 million to participants, typically as the first investment. These participants have raised a total of over $1.6 million in non-dilutive funding and $250,000 in follow-on investment to date.

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