What You Need to Know about the Critical Path Life Science Accelerator


Question:  Why apply to this program? Describe the benefits.

Answer: After completing the Critical Path Life Sciences Accelerator program, founders will be ready and confident to sit down with a group of life sciences investors and take them through a comprehensive analysis of their business. You’ll experience mock board meetings, build a network of mentors, hear feedback from sector experts, determine your regulatory pathway, and actively solicit feedback from current/potential customers. This program is designed to take you from a company that can offer a great 10-minute pitch, to one that can go into a two-hour deeper dive with smart investors and knock it out of the park. Additionally, participating founders will give and receive coordinated feedback from a selected group of their peers as they go through the program together.

Question: Who should apply?

Answer: Just about any life science company that is actively seeking angel/venture capital to support its growth. Applicants are limited to those headquartered in 27-county LaunchNY operating territory (http://www.launchny.org/who-we-are.html#whoweserve).

Question: How do I apply for the program?

Answer: Applications are OPEN NOW! Simply click here to Apply online. But make sure to complete your application before the deadline on Friday August 26!

It’s FREE to apply! Start your application!

Question: Why is an accelerator program run through VilCap Communities different than other accelerators?

Answer: Village Capital is a global leader in entrepreneurship and one of the key contributors to Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest Tour that made a stop in Buffalo last year. Critical Path is a direct result of Village Capital’s exposure to our region’s budding ecosystem and targeted investments in life sciences.

Village Capital’s method of peer-selection and venture development reliably identifies the most promising ventures, providing an efficient and inclusive alternative to conventional due diligence.

To learn more about Village Capital and their peer-selection investment model, click here.

Question: Who is going to facilitate the program?

Answer: One of the most important benefits of Critical Path will be its facilitator: Holly Hillberg. Holly’s track record speaks for itself in the positions she’s held: VP of R&D for Johnson & Johnson, as well as Chief Technology Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at Carestream Health, after leading the successful spinout of Eastman Kodak’s medical imaging division and forming Carestream. Holly’s management and industry experience are integral pieces to Critical Path and companies should be chomping at the bit to access some of her vast expertise.

Question: What should I expect from the program?

Answer: You should expect a huge return on your investment of time. Critical Path combines a highly specialized curriculum with top-level experts, from both Upstate NY and across North America, serving as mentors. This program will ask a lot of you, in the form of long days during the workshops and homework assignments as well. But coming out of it, you will feel far more confident and positioned to raise the capital needed to take the next step and reach your goals.

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

Four New Life Science Startups will Call Buffalo Home

43North Pitch and Awards Ceremony at Shea's Performing Arts Center on October 28, 2015

43North Pitch and Awards Ceremony at Shea’s Performing Arts Center on October 29, 2015

The world’s largest business idea competition, 43North 2015, culminated last month with 11 winning companies who will now call Buffalo their home. Four of those companies will add to Buffalo’s burgeoning Life Sciences sector. With the growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, it’s clear why so many biotech and medical device companies are looking to Buffalo Niagara as a great region to grow their company. These startups are among good company as seen in this year’s featured video: We Make Buffalo.

Each company must establish an operation in the Buffalo area for at least 12 months. They will also receive free incubator space, guidance from mentors related to their field and access to other exciting incentive programs such as START-UP NY. One of the winners is Cyto Cybernetics, which is a spinoff from the University at Buffalo, founded by two extraordinary faculty members.

Take a look at the newest members of Buffalo’s life sciences community who impressed the panel of All-Star Judges enough to earn them $500,000 each!:


Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The CleanSlate UV system is a tabletop rapid device sanitizer for improved infection control. It sanitizes smartphones, tablets, glucometers, thermometers and a range of other portable electronics using UV light. Using RFID tags, the CleanSlate provides infection control staff with accurate compliance data on device sanitization reports.


Hometown: North Tonawanda, NY

Cytocybernetics has developed novel technology to improve drug safety screening. It will ensure that new drugs brought to market do not cause cardiac arrhythmias as a side effect. This technology will increase the speed and reliability with which Pharmaceutical companies can navigate the FDA approval process for all new drugs.


Hometown: Boston, MA

DDG is focused on screening, tracking, and diagnosing highly infectious diseases that benefit from ultra-low cost and rapid early-stage diagnosis, potentially saving millions. Our platform technology has yielded portable and reusable devices capable of quantitatively assessing diseases from a drop of blood, in a minute, at ultra-low costs.


Hometown: Jerusalem, Israel

Their service, Talkitt, aims to revolutionize the way people who have speech disabilities due to various motor, speech and language disabilities communicate, enabling them to use the most natural means there is, their own voice.

 by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

MEDTECH 2015 Comes to Buffalo, NY this Fall

The largest gathering of executives and senior leaders of New York State’s bioscience and medical technology industry converge in Buffalo this coming October. MEDTECH 2015 comes to the brand new HARBORCENTER at the heart of Buffalo’s burgeoning Canalside district on October 14-15 for two days of top-level networking, keynote speakers, panels, workshops and exhibitors.

I have attended MEDTECH for several years and have found no better forum for networking with and learning from the leaders of this exciting and important industry. Each year, I look forward to reconnecting with colleagues and meeting new ones from across the State, hearing about their latest technologies, how new policies and programs are affecting the industry, and making connections that prove valuable in many ways.

This year’s edition of MEDTECH, titled Convergence: Building Momentum for Growth, is aptly named as it comes to the Queen City at a time of growth and momentum not seen in more than half a century. I am so excited for the State’s BIO/MED community to come see firsthand the evolution Buffalo is undergoing. Please join me in October.

Save 10% off non-member rate with code: CONVERGE10. Earlybird registration ends Sept. 11th. Register early and save $75.

See agenda and speakers at http://medtech.org/events/medtech2015

By Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

OmniSeq LLC: A Unique Approach to Personalized Medicine

Dr. Carl Morrison in Roswell Park Center for Personalized Medicine

Dr. Carl Morrison in Roswell Park Center for Personalized Medicine

By Alan Rosenhoch, Featuring Carl Morrison, MD, DVM

Dr. Carl Morrison is founder, president and chief scientific officer of OmniSeq LLC – a recent Roswell Park Cancer Institute spinoff genomics firm. At Roswell Park, Dr. Morrison continues in his roles as Executive Director of the Center for Personalized Medicine, Clinical Chief of the Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Department, Director of the Molecular Pathology Division, Director of the Pathology Resource Network and Professor of Oncology.

I recently had the opportunity to ask Dr. Morrison a few questions:

Q: What is personalized medicine, and how do you see it changing the way we approach the prevention and treatment of disease?

A: Personalized medicine is the understanding of a patient’s individual genetic profile and using that information to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. In some diseases, such as cancer, this information is already helping us understand what happened in a cell to cause the cancer and what treatment will give the patient the best chance of a positive outcome with the fewest possible side effects. The potential this approach has in cancer and other diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, is endless.

Q: How specifically does OmniSeq’s technology play in the personalized medicine space?

A: For patients diagnosed with certain types of cancer, OmniSeq Precision Medicine Technology unlocks genetic information in the tumor and then matches this information to specific drugs or clinical trials that will best help that particular patient. We’re able to learn about their particular cancer so we know not only which therapies are most likely to be effective, but which ones are not likely to work. That can save precious time for cancer patients, and it cuts down on wasted resources too.

Q: Many nationally recognized cancer institutes across the US are taking advantage of personalized-medicine approaches to fight cancer; what sets Roswell & OmniSeq apart?

A: There are two key elements that distinguish our approach. For one thing, we focused exclusively on testing those genes that are linked to a targeted therapy. OmniSeq testing won’t give oncologists pages and pages of sequencing results they can’t do anything with; it will analyze and report on only those genetic abnormalities that we can match up with a targeted therapy. It’s the only test in the U.S. to be focused exclusively on actionable information. And the other thing that’s unique about OmniSeq is that we use a dual sequencing platform that uses the two primary sequencing approaches in use today to generate reports. That gives us much greater accuracy and sensitivity in our analyses.

 Q: What were the largest hurdles you encountered on the road towards commercialization and how were they overcome?

A: There were many hurdles that we had to clear to bring this groundbreaking technology to patients. One of the most significant was ensuring that the technology design and test validation met New York State Clinical Evaluation Program (CLEP) standards – generally accepted as the most exacting standards for diagnostic testing in the nation. Due to the support of Roswell Park and their commitment to the RPCI Center for Personalized Medicine, we built a test that achieved NY CLEP approval in July 2014. This milestone put our company on an accelerated trajectory to commercialization.

 Q: What are the next steps in OmniSeq LLC’s development?

A: OmniSeq’s commitment is to bring new hope to patients battling cancer — patients in Western New York and across the United States. We have a team of 21 people today and are aggressively expanding the size of our team to accomplish this objective. The next steps will be expanding OmniSeq testing for patients with colorectal cancer, melanoma, and gradually to all cancers, as new genetic targets are identified and additional targeted therapies developed.

Q: What do you think are Buffalo Niagara’s greatest strengths & assets as they relate to the life sciences industry?

A: We’ve got some outstanding medical research going on at Roswell Park and the University at Buffalo. I love getting together with my colleagues and talking shop – I hear some of the most creative ideas about how to tackle clinical problems, how to get around the survival mechanisms that make a disease like cancer so hard to treat. It helps me stay hopeful about the progress we’ve made. And it’s great to see the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus expand with new spinoff companies and niche biotech firms to help us do what we do.

Q: What brought you to the Buffalo Niagara region?

A: I came to Western New York 8 years ago because of Roswell Park, one of the premier centers for cancer treatment, research and education in the country. That’s what brought me here. What’s kept me and my family here is good schools and great quality of life, fun activities for our kids. I’m originally from Kentucky, and my family lives on a farm in Chautauqua County. I need my solitude and that connection with animals and the natural world, so I wouldn’t trade living there for anything.

My life works in Buffalo Niagara because in my time here I’ve had the opportunity to build a Center for Personalized Medicine from the ground up and see it bridge out into a spinoff company with enormous potential and enormous opportunity to improve the lives of cancer patients. And my family is happy and thriving here. – Dr. Carl Morrison



Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), America’s first cancer center, is dedicated to understanding, preventing and curing cancer. Founded in 1898 by Dr. Roswell Park, the Institute is one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named by the National Cancer Institute as a comprehensive cancer center.

Science Inspires Business Opportunities in the New Buffalo

Norma Nowak, PhD, executive director of the University at Buffalo’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences

Norma Nowak, PhD, executive director of the University at Buffalo’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences

Dr. Norma Nowak didn’t plan to become an entrepreneur. This renowned researcher, passionate about science since high school, didn’t think she had the necessary business chops. But when her 38- year-old husband succumbed to a cancer that typically responds well to treatment, she was inspired and motivated to improve patient outcomes.

In 2006, Empire Genomics, a molecular diagnostics firm focused on enabling personalized medicine, was born. At the time, formalized support systems for entrepreneurs were limited, with few resources to help catalyze ideas into businesses.  But Dr. Nowak still found doors that opened to opportunity.

Relationships Lead to Support

Around the same time Nowak was launching Empire Genomics, the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics (CBLS) was being developed on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, the University at Buffalo’s first foray downtown.  Dr. Marnie LaVigne, currently president and CEO of Launch New York, was leading those efforts at the CBLS and Nowak credits her for the inspirational encouragement and support she provided in the early stages of Empire Genomics’ development.   LaVigne helped Nowak identify funding through UB Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology (UB CAT) programs and advising investor pitches and providing matchmaking to potential CEO’s. It was through that matchmaking process that Nowak met Anthony Johnson who became Empire Genomics CEO, guiding strategic vision and managing day-to-day operations for the last seven years.

A Statewide Network to Build Businesses

Nowak was recently named executive director of the CBLS, where she will use her experience building Empire Genomics to support other entrepreneurs. CBLS is a concierge to the University at Buffalo, a leading AAU research university with strengths in life science sectors such as molecular diagnostics, medical device, and health care informatics. By listening to businesses and understanding their products and processes, the CBLS provides access to all SUNY institutions in non-traditional engagement and support, supply chain sourcing, access to patient populations, recruiting and more.

Opening More Doors

Nowak expresses tremendous gratitude to the people who helped her get where she is today. From the Canisius College professor that provided encouragement and opportunity as an undergrad to the countless UB colleagues, community partners and investors that provided capital support to Empire Genomics.  Now she intends to be the one to open the doors of opportunity to entrepreneurs and businesses as well as to students in the Buffalo Public schools through STEM programs.

Today there are many more resources available for entrepreneurs, such as Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion and initiatives like 43North. Buffalo is building an environment that nurtures, enables and grows small companies and promotes what it takes to establish business here. There’s not one institution, program or initiative that can be credited for the development of the community’s entrepreneurial resources.  Rather it is a collective of talented and passionate people like Norma Nowak, willing to open doors and motivated to see others and ultimately our community, become successful.

by Jenna Kavanaugh, Marketing Director

New York State’s Newest Early Stage Capital Fund

Accessing capital at the early stages of a company’s evolution can mean the difference between success and failure in bridging the so-called valley of death. A brand new fund is aiming to make the Empire State more attractive to such companies. Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, the New York State Innovation Venture Capital (NYSIVC) Fund has been formally launched, making $50 million of much-needed capital available to NYS companies.

The Fund is intended to make both pre-seed investments of up to $100,000, as well as seed and early-stage investments of $100,000 up to $5,000,000. All investments require at least a 1:1 match from private sources. Administered by Empire State Development (ESD), the fund will be managed by Brian Keil, a highly experienced venture fund manager, previously with Neilson Audio, as well as managing a $250 million fund sponsored by NBC Universal and GE Capital.

In addition NYSIVC, the Innovate NY Fund  (launched in 2012) continues to make early stage investments, giving companies even more options when seeking capital. A key difference between the two funds is the new NYSIVC will be administered directly by ESD, whereas the Innovate NY Fund is administered by several private designees across the State.

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

10 Years of BNMC Development

There’s been no shortage of development happening on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) the last 10 years with plenty more to come. According to the BNMC, two million square feet of development has recently been completed and almost two million square feet more is under construction. Significant streetscape enhancements are nearly finished including 44 signature signs throughout the Campus and informational kiosks with maps located at major pedestrian areas.

Click on the ’10 year graphic’ below to view pdf of past development.  Also coming soon:

Development is funded by an investment of nearly $750 million in private, public, and philanthropic dollars. 5,000 more employees to the Medical Campus is estimated by 2017.

10 year BNMC Development

Six Life Sciences Companies will call Buffalo Home

By Alan Rosenhoch, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise

November 12, 2014

43 north winners

The inaugural edition of the world’s largest business idea competition, 43North, has come to a resounding close and 11 winners will now call Buffalo their home. It should come as no surprise that the life sciences industry is very well represented among the winning companies, with more than half operating in this burgeoning sector. With our wealth of industry assets and the growth of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, it’s clear why so many biotech and medical device companies are looking to Buffalo Niagara as a great region in which to grow their business. The region’s rich history of innovation was also showcased during 43North, with the premier of this fantastic new video: Next Things Now.

To earn their capital, each of these companies must establish a major operation in the Buffalo area for at least 12 months. They will all receive free incubator space, guidance from mentors related to their field and access to other exciting incentive programs (such as START-UP NY).

Let’s take a look at how the newest members of Buffalo’s life sciences community fared.

Three of the six life sciences companies impressed the panel of esteemed judges enough to earn them $500,000 each! They are: Eulysis UK, Medical Conservation Devices and Raland Therapeutics. Three more finalists took home a cool $250,000: Asana Medical, Genetisis and HemoGenyx. Additionally, Genetisis was selected as the People’s Choice Award winner, earning an additional $10,000, selected via interaction on Twitter.

Additional information on each of the winners:


Eulysis UK
Prize: $500,000
Edinburgh, Scotland

Eulysis UK is a groundbreaking development company focused and committed to optimizing pharmaceutical access globally. In collaboration with the World Health Organization, Gates Foundation and other major institutions, Eulysis UK intends to commercialize the SVS technology on a global scale to provide expanded access to life-saving medicines.

medical conservation

Medical Conservation Devices
Prize: $500,000
Batavia, NY

Based on an exclusively licensed patent portfolio from the University of Buffalo, Medical Conservation Deviceshas developed a low-cost anesthesia machine to expand the use of anesthesia globally, including in later approvals to sedate critically ill patients and provide anesthesia to up to 8 patients at one time.

Rand pic

Raland Therapeutics
Prize: $500,000
Fairport, NY

Raland Therapeutics is a development-stage bio-device company focused on implantable biosensors. The company’s CytoComm™ Biosensor is a real-time monitoring system, which uses living cells to “read” a patient’s physiologic response to chemotherapy. The system also allows the personalization of dosing strategies to reduce the toxicity that so often impacts one’s quality of life.

asanaAsana Medical
Prize: $250,000
Hometown: Miami Lakes, FL 

Asana Medical seeks to improve the quality of one’s health and therefore quality of life by providing a novel treatment for debilitating digestive diseases with a patent-pending medical device that stimulates the body to heal itself. Asana Medical offers a drug-free, surgery-free twist on a proven therapy and targets the $9 billion ulcerative colitis market.

Prizes: $250,000, People’s Choice Award
Hometown: Mason, OH

Genetesis is a biotechnology company oriented towards optimizing drug design for treatment of heart rhythm disorders by applying novel algorithms that analyze real-time functional heart electrophysiology. Using a patent-pending system, including a non-invasive sensor array and powerful software, Genetesis is able to quantify responsiveness to drugs before they are administered.

Prize: $250,000
Hometown: New York, NY

HemoGenyx is a biotechnology company developing a revolutionary new treatment for blood diseases, such as leukemia and lymphoma. The company leverages a special class of cells, which can generate cancer-free blood stem cells. HemoGenyx’s therapy can dramatically increase the efficacy of bone marrow transplants and eliminate the need for donors.

Bright Buffalo Niagara Shines Light on Entrepreneurship

On October 29, 2014, during 43North Week, a spotlight event promoting investment, partnership and entrepreneurship was held at the University at Buffalo Clinical and Translational Research Center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. In collaboration with 43North, Bright Buffalo Niagara invited 43North semifinalists from across the globe to exhibit at the Bright Buffalo Semifinalist Meet-Up and mix and mingle with venture capitalist and angel investors.

The results equal success:

Bright Stats


Since 2009, Bright Buffalo Niagara has partnered with local investors and entrepreneurs to nurture economic growth in Western New York. Bright works to serve software/IT, medical devices, biotech, drug development and manufacturing industry sectors. To date, Bright participants have raised more than $23M in funding. Learn more at BrightBuffaloNiagara.com