Carrie Ghose: Dublin pharma startup moving HQ to San Diego for J&J incubator

[USA] A startup seeking potential new drugs within blooms of algae has raised $500,000 and is moving its headquarters to San Diego to take part in a business accelerator run by pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.

“We actually expect to continue to expand in Ohio,” founder and interim CEO Ross Youngs said, repeating his pledge made when he hinted at an upcoming move last month.

Dublin-based Biosortia Pharmaceuticals Inc. is keeping its operations facility on the west side of Columbus, where it maintains and improves the field equipment for harvesting algae. Youngs told me he’s also considering bringing in-house the research to isolate chemicals from the processed mats of algae, which has been outsourced to contract laboratories.

He’s searching the Midwest for a potential multimillion-dollar lab expansion.

The company disclosed raising $500,000 toward a potential $3.5 million round in a Form D filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Youngs said he could not comment on the fundraising.
As part of the move, Biosortia legally changed its name from Algaeventure Systems Inc., the biofuels startup it emerged from. Biosortia’s technology can search for minuscule amounts of chemicals produced by thousands of warring single-celled organisms in a lake or river’s algae bloom – and like penicillin from bread mold, one of those may lead to a new antibiotic or chemotherapy drug.

Biosortia recently started a research partnership with the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute within Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

The J&J incubator, called JLABS, provides laboratory space and support for biotech startups. That operation will lead the clinical and regulatory work toward for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of a new drug.

“It’s really going to be suitable for us as we expand greatly through this next year,” Youngs said.

I reported in November that Youngs planned a shift to keep ownership of some of the compounds it identifies, while continuing its original business model of licensing compounds to drug manufacturers. J&J (NYSE:JNJ) does not require exclusivity to participate in its lab.

San Diego holds a “major cluster” of pharmaceutical companies and investors, Youngs said. He is continuing the search for a permanent CEO from the industry.

“I’m almost giddy over the opportunity to work with this level of engaged partners and investors,” Youngs said. “This is an exciting time for the company.”


View original article at: Dublin pharma startup moving HQ to San Diego for J&J incubator

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