MTA and Business Leaders Launch Transit Tech Lab, A Digital Sandbox to Build New Transit Solutions

Resource Type: Fund News, News, Partnership Fund, Press Releases

Learn more at transitinnovation.org; Apply by November 30, 2018

Oct. 10, 2018 (New York, NY) – Today, leaders of the MTA and the city’s business community, represented by the Partnership for New York City, announced the launch of the nation’s first Transit Tech Lab. The Lab’s purpose is to identify and test promising new technology and other products that will accelerate modernization of New York’s public transportation network and contribute to improved services and a better customer experience.

Tech entrepreneurs who are developing products that could be useful to the MTA’s modernization plans find it difficult to navigate large public agencies. The Transit Tech Lab is one example of how the MTA is changing its internal processes in order to be more open to innovation. The Lab will provide a faster and less expensive way for the MTA to review new products and carry out pilot projects with the best transit innovators from around the world.

The idea for the lab came from a working group that the Partnership for New York City and the MTA established earlier this year, the Transit Innovation Partnership (TIP). This is a privately funded, nonprofit initiative that was developed in response to Governor Cuomo’s challenge to the business community to help address the needs of the regional transit system. It is led by Rachel Haot, Executive Director and the former Chief Digital Officer for both New York City and New York State, and an advisory board of civic and business leaders, chaired by Alan Fishman, Chairman of Ladder Capital Finance.

“The MTA is committed to exploring every avenue to ensure that we modernize our system for the next generation of riders,” said MTA President Pat Foye. “We look forward to working closely with the Partnership and making sure we’re doing everything in our power to embrace the sort of innovation that will move this organization forward. The entire MTA leadership team is deeply committed to incorporating new technologies throughout the system and I am excited about this new initiative.”

“The future of public transit will determine the future of New York,” stated Rachel Haot, Executive Director of TIP. “Thanks to the MTA’s leadership, we look forward to working with technologists from around the globe to pilot solutions that improve our public transit system.”

The first lab projects will be to identify technologies that can move buses faster and reduce the impact of subway delays. Submissions are being requested from teams that have products that are ready for beta testing with the MTA. Companies can learn more about the opportunity and how to apply before the November 30th deadline at transitinnovation.org.

For the subway challenge, the Transit Tech Lab seeks technologies to better predict how long a subway delay will last and how it will affect trains and lines across the system, information that will be communicated to customers. Potential technologies to solve this challenge include analyzing historical subway data to find patterns that can be used to predict future disruptions, exploring tools for immediately communicating with customers, and using entirely new data sources such as social media that may provide fresh insights into subway incident impacts.

The bus challenge seeks technologies to help public buses move faster and more efficiently. The challenge welcomes a range of potential technologies, including sensors, cameras and software that can help identify obstructions and patterns, improve coordination of routes and transfers, alert enforcement agencies about vehicles located in bus lanes, and adjust bus activity to changing customer demand.

After companies apply, MTA specialists and private sector experts will review Lab proposals. Evaluators from the business community include:

  • Reilly Brennan, General Partner, Trucks Venture Capital
  • Shana Fisher, Managing Director, Third Kind Venture Capital
  • Maria Gotsch, President & CEO, Partnership Fund for New York City
  • Nick Grossman, General Manager, Union Square Ventures
  • Dylan Hixon, Principal, Arden Road Investments
  • Brian Keil, Managing Director, NYS Innovation VC Fund, Empire State Development Corporation
  • Linda Kirkpatrick, Executive Vice President, U.S. Market Development, Mastercard
  • Kevin Ryan, Chairman & Founder, Zola, Workframe, Nomad Health, Mongo DB

The most promising companies will be selected to participate in an 8-week accelerator program starting in February where they will be able to refine their products to more directly meet the needs of public transit. At the end of the program, the MTA will select successful companies for a 12-month pilot with the transit system. The pilot is unpaid but offers companies a unique opportunity to demonstrate their technology in the nation’s largest transit system and positively contribute to the future of New York City transit.

ABOUT THE TRANSIT INNOVATION PARTNERSHIP
The Transit Innovation Partnership is a public-private initiative formed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Partnership for New York City with the mission to make New York the global leader in public transit. An advisory board of leaders from academia, business, civic organizations and government guides the Transit Innovation Partnership, which brings together diverse stakeholders to realize public-private projects that improve transit performance and customer service. Focus areas include technology and process innovation in infrastructure, data, operations, customer service and revenue generation. Learn more at transitinnovation.org

Contact:
Iva Benson
Executive Vice President
RUBENSTEIN
Office: 212 843 8271
Cell: 917 497 3907
ibenson@rubenstein.com

Partnership Fund Portfolio Company Rgenix Raises $40M in Series C Funding To Support Clinical Stage Oncology Programs

Resource Type: Fund News, News, Partnership Fund

From Business Wire

Lepu Holdings Limited leads the financing syndicate and is joined by existing major investors Novo Holdings A/S and Sofinnova Partners

Rgenix, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing first-in-class small molecule and antibody cancer therapeutics, announced that it has raised $40 million in a Series C financing in support of further development of the company’s clinical and pre-clinical oncology programs and for general corporate purposes.

The Series C financing was led by Lepu Medical, a publicly traded global healthcare firm, and includes Oceanpine Capital and WuXi AppTec’s Corporate Venture Fund. Existing investors also participated in the financing round, including Novo Holdings A/S, Sofinnova Partners, Alexandria Venture Investments, LLC, and the Partnership Fund for New York City’s Innovate NY Fund and associated entities.

The financing will support Phase 1b/2 clinical trials of the lead program RGX-104 in multiple cancer indications, including in checkpoint inhibitor refractory patients. It will also support early clinical development of RGX-202, a first-in-class cancer metabolism program, as well as discovery stage programs arising from the Rgenix target discovery platform.

“Lepu Medical is very pleased to make this investment in Rgenix. We truly appreciate Rgenix’s unique RNA target discovery approach in identifying various first-in-class cancer targets. We also believe RGX-104 has great potential with checkpoint inhibitors across many important cancer types,” said Dr. Zhongjie Pu, PhD, Chairman and CEO of Lepu Medical. “As Lepu Medical has PD-1, PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors and an oncolytic virus in clinical trials, we also look forward to exploring possible collaborative opportunities with Rgenix as part of our goal to develop further in the oncology market together.”

“The addition of new investors to our already strong investor base is a testament to the power of our approach to develop first-in-class cancer therapeutics using the innovative Rgenix RNA target discovery platform to identify novel cancer targets,” said Masoud Tavazoie, MD, PhD, and Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Rgenix. “We are delighted to have the support of these investors and to know that they share our excitement for the work we are doing to develop these new therapies for patients who suffer from cancers of high unmet need.”

RGX-104 is a first-in-class small-molecule immunotherapy that targets the Liver X Receptor (LXR) and modulates innate immunity by activating the ApoE gene. Data from a Phase 1a dose escalation of RGX-104 in advanced cancer patients demonstrated both immune-stimulatory and anti-tumor activity. Rgenix is currently enrolling patients in the Phase 1b stage of the trial in multiple cancer indications, including in combination with the checkpoint inhibitor nivolumab.

RGX-202 is a small molecule compound that suppresses gastrointestinal cancer progression by inhibiting a novel cancer metabolism pathway involved in supplying energy to cancer cells. Pre-clinical research shows the compound is active as a monotherapy and in combination with chemotherapy considered to be the standard of care. Rgenix expects to launch a Phase 1 trial of RGX-202 in 2018.

Rgenix was advised by Jefferies LLC in this Series C financing.

About Rgenix

Rgenix, Inc., is a privately-held clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of novel cancer drugs that target key pathways in cancer progression. The company is pursuing several first-in-class drug candidates to treat cancers of high unmet need. Rgenix identifies novel cancer targets using a microRNA based target discovery platform originally developed by Rgenix’s scientific co-founders at The Rockefeller University and now exclusively licensed to Rgenix. The company brings together distinguished scientific founders, a seasoned Board, and a leadership team comprised of experienced drug developers. The company is funded by leading biotechnology investors, including Novo Holdings A/S, Sofinnova Partners, Lepu Holdings Limited, Oceanpine Capital, WuXi PharmaTech Healthcare Fund I, LP, Alexandria Venture Investments,LLC, and the Partnership Fund for New York City. For more information, please visit www.rgenix.com.

Contacts
Media
RooneyPartners
Marion Janic, 212-223-4017
mjanic@rooneyco.com

Partnership Fund Portfolio Company Awarded 2018 North American Technology Innovation Award

Resource Type: Fund News, News, Partnership Fund

From PR Newswire

TARA Biosystems’ Groundbreaking Biowire™ II Heart-on-a-Chip Platform Earns Acclaim from Frost & Sullivan

The platform is set to revolutionize drug discovery and development and ultimately enable safer and more effective therapies for patients

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept. 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Based on its recent analysis of the North American heart-on-a-chip market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes TARA Biosystems with the 2018 North American Technology Innovation Award for its trailblazing Biowire™ II heart-on-a-chip platform. This solution produces mature, engineered, human cardiac tissues and demonstrates promise as a valuable predictive tool for cardiac drug discovery and development. It can potentially advance precision care using patient-derived, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)-generated cardiomyocyte cell lines to identify a patient’s specific treatment needs.

“TARA’s in vitro Biowire™ II heart-on-a-chip model employs iPSCs to generate cardiac tissues. The platform biomimetically exercises the immature tissue until it exhibits the characteristics of adult human cardiac tissue,” said Deepak Jayakumar, Senior research analyst. “These engineered tissues closely mimic functional human heart muscles, which, in turn, allows pharmaceuticals to predict the side effects and therapeutic efficacy of their drugs, without the need for animal or human testing.”

In addition to accelerating the drug discovery and development process, Biowire™ II, due to its high degree of physiological human-relevancy, can decrease associated costs by providing better human translation data than what is possible from existing assays and animal model studies. It can also help eliminate drugs that have unacceptable levels of cardiotoxicity early in the drug discovery process and highlight the elements that aid in the design of superior drugs.

Some of the unique functional metrics of the Biowire™ II platform-produced cardiac tissues are positive force-frequency, inotropic response, improved post-rest potentiation, decreased spontaneous beating, improved structural alignment, and adult-like action potential. The platform is capable of measuring important metrics of human cardiac physiology such as maximum force, rates of contraction, relaxation, calcium handling, electrophysiology, gene expression and structure. These established functional metrics empower the Biowire™ II heart-on-a-chip platform to ascertain whether a new drug is improving the normal pumping mechanism of the heart and whether the improvement is due to the heart not filling up or because it was unable to distribute blood.

“Additionally, the Biowire™ II platform can engineer tissues that accurately mimic specific human heart failure phenotypes. These diseased tissue constructs can be employed in the discovery and development of novel medicines to treat heart failure phenotypes as well as in toxicology studies,” noted Deepak. “Unlike most organ-on-a-chip companies that develop multi-organ chips or several single organ-on-a-chip platforms, TARA Biosystems singularly focuses on the development of heart-on-a-chip technology. This enables the company to deliver a platform capable of comprehensively measuring functional metrics that can reveal deep insights for use in cardiac safety and mechanistic studies.”

Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has developed a product with innovative features and functionality that is gaining rapid acceptance in the market. The award recognizes the quality of the solution and the customer value enhancements it enables.

Frost & Sullivan Best Practices awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.

About TARA Biosystems

TARA Biosystems is a human heart-on-a-chip company headquartered in New York which has developed a proprietary platform of cardiac tissue models.  Through these physiologically human-relevant predictive models, the company offers a variety of services and solutions that can decisively evaluate the safety and efficacy of novel biopharmaceutical drugs and strengthen the drug discovery, and development pipeline.

About Frost & Sullivan
Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today’s market participants. For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community. Contact us: Start the discussion.

Partnership Fund Invests in Magnolia Neurosciences Corporation

Resource Type: Fund News, News, Partnership Fund

From Venture Beat

Accelerator Life Science Partners Launches Magnolia Neurosciences Corporation with $31 Million Series A to Develop Targeted Neuroprotective Therapies

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–August 13, 2018

Accelerator Life Science Partners (Accelerator), a leading life science investment and management firm, today announced that it has launched Magnolia Neurosciences Corporation, a company developing a new class of neuroprotective medicines. Co-founded by Accelerator and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson), the company will further develop discoveries made by scientists in MD Anderson’s Therapeutics Discovery division and the Neurodegeneration Consortium (NDC).

Investors participating in the $31 Million Series A financing include AbbVie Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments, ARCH Venture Partners, Eli Lilly and Company, Innovate NY Fund, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., the Partnership Fund for New York City, Pfizer Ventures, Watson Fund, L.P., WuXi AppTec’s Corporate Venture Fund and 180 Degree Capital Corp.

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Crain’s Notable Women in Health Care Announced

Resource Type: Fund News, News, Partnership Fund

New York, NY – August 6, 2018 – Crain’s Custom, a division of Crain’s New York Business, today announced the inaugural Notable Women in Health Care, which honors executives, researchers and clinicians who have had a profound impact through work in their careers and in their communities. This list of Notable Women in Health Care is part of a year-long series from Crain’s New York Business to celebrate women in the workplace, across industries.

The Notable Women in Health Care honoree program garnered nominations across a spectrum of health care organizations, from hospitals and nonprofits to medical colleges and health care groups in the New York City metropolitan area. In order to qualify, nominees were required to be in the health care industry in the New York City metropolitan area, in either an administrative or a clinical role.

The finalists were selected by a Crain’s custom team including award-winning health care journalist Barbara Benson, based on a combination of professional achievements, community service, track record of mentoring others, and promotion of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

The complete list of honorees for Notable Women in Health Care can be found in the August 6 print issue of Crain’s New York Business and online, here.

“Notable Women in Health Care is the fourth honoree program in a year-long series meant to celebrate and laud female executives who have impacted New York City in major ways. It honors those with both professional achievements and exceptional civic and philanthropic activities,” said Patty Oppenheimer, Director of Custom Content for Crain’s Custom.

Governor Cuomo Announces Leading Life Science Accelerator IndieBio To Open in New York City

Resource Type: Fund News, News, Press Releases

Accelerator Will Fuel Growth by Boosting State’s Ability to Capture and Retain NY-Bred Life Science Innovation

Download the New York Life Sciences Initiative Update

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that IndieBio, the world’s leading bio-accelerator, is expected to open in New York City in 2019. IndieBio will provide life science start-ups with the tools, resources, network and expertise needed to commercialize their discoveries. IndieBio, a highly experienced and well-regarded accelerator run by SOSV, one of the world’s most active venture capital firms, was chosen by Empire State Development following a competitive Request for Proposals to serve the needs of early-stage life science companies and boost New York’s ability to capture and retain New York-bred life science innovation.

“New York is proud to be on the forefront of science and technology, creating jobs, driving economic growth and spurring cutting edge research and development,” Governor Cuomo said. “By welcoming IndieBio to New York, we are taking a major step forward to ensure that this state remains a global leader for the rapidly growing life science industry.”

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New York Gives $25 Million to Breathe Life Into City’s Biotech Scene

Resource Type: Fund News, News, Partnership Fund

From the Wall Street Journal

By Kate King

Business accelerator IndieBio plans to open a location in New York City next year after securing $25 million in funding from the state.

The accelerator will work with 20 startup companies a year, providing each with an investment of up to $2 million as well as mentorship and business training. The program is part of a broader push by economic development officials to boost the state’s biotechnology, biomedical and pharmaceutical industries.

“You’re talking about a state that is a research powerhouse,” said Howard Zemsky, president of Empire State Development Corp., the state’s economic-development agency. “We have the raw materials here and the assets to translate into commercial enterprise, and that’s the overarching objective.”

Founded in San Francisco three years ago, IndieBio has worked with 90 companies that have gone on to raise more than $165 million in venture capital funding, according to founder Arvind Gupta. The accelerator is looking for a 12,000 to 20,000-square-foot location, preferably in Manhattan near a major transportation hub, that will offer laboratory facilities as well as office space “so science and business can work hand-in hand,” he said.

“There is a huge amount of talent that is untapped potential in New York,” Mr. Gupta said. “Really the challenge will be galvanizing that ecosystem and having it believe there is a new way of starting bio-tech companies that can be lower cost, faster to market.”

Accelerators and incubators are a key component to helping New York capitalize on the scientific discoveries made in the state, said Kathryn Wylde, president of Partnership for New York City, a nonprofit business organization. In the past, scientists often have sold their technology to venture capitalists located in Massachusetts or California, she said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that by welcoming IndieBio to New York, “we are taking a major step forward to ensure that this state remains a global leader for the rapidly growing life science industry.”

Partnership for New York City is investing $10 million from its own fund into New York-based companies that participate in IndieBio’s accelerator and is raising another $40 million from private investors.

“The idea is to create a broad-based venture capital interest that is local,” Ms. Wylde said. “This is a real culture shift for New York’s institutions as they encourage their scientists to turn their discoveries into commercial enterprise and become entrepreneurs.”

The state’s $25 million investment will be delivered over five years and is part of a $620 million initiative that provides tax credits and other investments with the goal of developing a “life sciences” research cluster. New York City also has pledged $500 million to bolster the industry through tax incentives, investments in incubators and a new research and entrepreneurial-training campus.

 

Spring Health Raises $6M Seed to Scale its Wellness Benefit Nationally

Resource Type: Fund News, News, Partnership Fund, Press Releases

The AI-enabled digital wellness clinic announces seed round of funding to continue providing personalized care for workers across the country

New York, NY – July 12, 2018 – Spring Health, the digital wellness platform making mental well-being easy to navigate for businesses and employees, today announced the close of its $6M seed round, bringing the total amount raised up to $8M. In an all-female led fundraise, the round was led by Rethink Impact with additional investments by Work-Bench, BBG Ventures, and the Partnership Fund for New York City. Existing investors RRE Ventures and William K. Warren Foundation also participated. As a result of the funding, Spring Health will continue expand its product and scale to offer wellness benefits nationwide.

One in five Americans struggle with mental illness (National Institute of Mental Health), yet most employees do not receive the mental healthcare they need through company benefits. Spring Health’s mission to make the journey to emotional well-being more personalized and convenient has resonated with clients across the country, ranging from global Fortune 500 companies to high-growth startups like DigitalOcean, Zola, and Niantic. Typically one in every three employees will sign up for Spring Health, which boasts engagement rates that are 20x higher than the average Employee Assistance Program.

“We started Spring Health because we were exasperated by how cumbersome, painful and expensive the typical mental health care journey is. We completely reinvented the mental health care experience, and our early customers loved it. We’re excited to scale the offering nation-wide with this fundraise,” says April Koh, CEO and co-founder of Spring Health. “During a time when mental health is such a relevant topic, we are using our platform to lead the conversation and break stigmas around mental health, specifically in the workplace.”

Spring Health serves as an online mental health clinic, using proprietary clinically-validated artificial intelligence to offer personalized wellness recommendations, including specific treatment options, suggested exercise regimens, and self-help resources. Users register for the platform and are prompted to complete a dynamic questionnaire that adapts according to their responses. From there, proprietary AI recommends a personalized wellness plan that is most likely to work for the individual, based on data from aggregated clinical trials and thousands of electronic health records. Patients are then matched with a personal care navigators (trained clinicians) as well as a licensed mental health professional from Spring Health’s best-in-class provider network through Spring’s proprietary matching algorithms.

“It is rare to have the opportunity to partner with an organization like Spring Health and build on their success of breaking stigmas around mental health,” says Heidi Patel, Partner at Rethink Impact. “There is huge demand for better mental health care access nationally, we are proud to join Spring Health in expanding and impacting people across the nation.”

“What excites us about Spring Health is their application of machine learning paired with deep domain and clinical expertise in mental health,” says Jessica Lin, co-founder and General Partner at Work-Bench. “This makes their platform an incredibly valuable and evidence-based asset for the enterprise, where employees can benefit personally, and corporations save costs on health spend and boost employee retention.”

Having published research describing its precision medicine technology in leading medical journals like JAMA and Lancet Psychiatry, Spring Health improves behavioral health outcomes and minimizes the steep cost associated with mental health for employees and employers alike. In addition to saving costs for employers, Spring Health’s clinically validated program boosts employee retention and productivity.

For Spring Health media assets, please visit Dropbox.

For additional details or to sign up for the platform, please visit springhealth.com.

About Spring Health

Spring Health, a digital mental health clinic, helps businesses and employees navigate mental health by providing a fully immersive and personalized platform that enables users to be connected with the right health professionals for them. With its clinically-validated AI, Spring Health eliminates the trial and error that typically comes with identifying the right treatment course, with users receiving plans seven weeks faster than average. Headquartered in New York, Spring is providing smarter mental healthcare for professionals across the US.

Partnership Fund Portfolio Company Spring Raises Seed Round

Resource Type: Fund News, News, Partnership Fund

From the Wall Street Journal

U.S. medical startups raised a record $3.9 billion in venture capital in the first quarter of 2015 amid rising investor interest in biotechnology, digital health and health-care services.

The total surpassed the previous record high of $3.42 billion invested in the second quarter of 2014, according to data provider Dow Jones VentureSource. A strong market for initial public offerings, growing confidence in the success of drugs in clinical trials and acquisitions by large drug manufacturers that need to replenish their pipelines drove the investment.

“What we are seeing is a very quick steepening of the valuation curve,” said Philippe Chambon, managing director of New Leaf Venture Partners, which invests in health-care startups.

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Partnership Fund Portfolio Company and Digital Health Alum Spring Health Raises $6M

Resource Type: Fund News, News, Partnership Fund

From TechCrunch

Spring Health raises $6M to help employees get access to personalized mental health treatment

In recent months, we’ve seen more and more funding flowing into tools for mental wellness — whether that’s AI-driven tools to help patients find help to meditation apps — and it seems like that trend is starting to pick up even more steam as smaller companies are grabbing the attention of investors.

There’s another one picking up funding today in Spring Health, a platform for smaller companies to help their employees get more access to mental health treatment. The startup looks to give employers a simple, effective way to start offering that treatment for their employees in the form of personalized mental wellness plans. The employees get access to confidential plans in addition to access to a network and ways to get in touch with a therapist or psychiatrist as quickly as possible. The company said it has raised an additional $6 million in funding led by Rethink Impact, with Work-Bench, BBG Ventures, and The Partnership Fund for New York City joining the round. RRE Ventures and the William K. Warren Foundation also participated.

“…I realized that mental health care is largely a guessing game: you use trial-and-error to find a compatible therapist, and you use trial-and-error to find the right treatment regimen, whether that’s a specific cocktail of medications or a specific type of psychotherapy,” CEO and co-founder April Koh said. “Everything around us is personalized these days – like shopping on Amazon, search results on Google, and restaurant recommendations on Yelp – but you can’t get personalized recommendations for your mental health care. I wanted to build a platform that connects you with the right care for you from the very beginning. So I partnered with leading expert on personalized psychiatry, Dr. Adam Chekroud our Chief Scientist, and my friend Abhishek Chandra, our CTO, to start Spring Health.”

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