Bethlehem biotech company Cernostics receives funding for cancer research
A biotech company based at Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s TechVentures has received an initial investment of $1.3 million to pursue its specialty in cancer diagnostics testing.
Ben Franklin said in a news release that Cernostics Inc. is receiving the money from lead investor UPMC Enterprises, an affiliate of Pittsburgh’s health care system UPMC.
According to Ben Franklin:
The funding will enable Cernostics with the rollout of a diagnostic test for Barrett’s esophagus, a condition that can lead to esophageal cancer for high-risk patients. Esophageal cancer is the fastest-growing cancer by incidence in Western countries.
Using digitally scanned images of a biopsy slide, Cernostics’ advanced software provides measurement and analysis of more than 13,000 features for each patient sample, according to the news release. Current pathology testing is a largely manual and subjective process, with pathologists studying tissue and tumor samples under a microscope.
Cernostics’ diagnostic test, called TissueCypher, could enable early intervention to prevent cancer in high-risk patients, and spare low-risk patients frequent and unnecessary treatments such as endoscopies. Cernostics CEO Mike Hoerres said having a partner with the resources like UPMC is a “huge advantage” to his early-stage company. “We are excited by the possibilities of what we can achieve together to revolutionize patient care,” he said in the news release.
Another investor in the round is Novitas Capital. Previous investors have included Ben Franklin and Geisinger Health System. Ben Franklin’s TechVentures is based at Lehigh University’s Mountaintop Campus.
Here are the regional recipients:
4th Generation Resins, LLC, of Bethlehem received a $23,500 loan to conduct a market study and advance the development of proprietary specialty ion exchange resins used in the purification and production of pharmaceuticals, biotech products and other special-application materials.
MBD Medical, LLC, of Bethlehem received a $50,000 loan to conduct a series of trials to provide clinical feedback from selected surgeons on MBD’s innovative plate and screw platform technology for use in clavicle fractures. Behr Process Corp. of Allentown, which makes architectural coatings, received $11,000 in matching funding to work with Lehighs Enterprise Systems Center to develop a new manufacturing process to improve product recovery and recycling.
Lee’s Oriental Gourmet Foods of Shenandoah, Schuylkill County received $10,000 in matching funds to work with Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center to enhance production capacity at this USDA-approved producer of Asian frozen food specialties to meet growing sales.
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania owns, manages and is headquartered in Ben Franklin TechVentures, a business incubator/post-incubator facility on Lehigh’s campus in Bethlehem.
Source @ THE MORNING CALL.