These startup companies were formed to license and commercialize technologies developed at UNC-Chapel Hill.
908 Devices is bringing the powerful capabilities of mass spectrometry out of the confines of centralized laboratories. 908 Devices’ products range from rugged, handheld chemical detection tools to compact, dedicated analyzers for researchers, serving a range of industries including safety and security, life science research, biotechnology, food safety and clinical diagnostics.
Advanced Chemotherapy Technologies
Advanced Chemotherapy Technologies (ACT) is developing an implantable device to infuse chemotherapy drugs directly into the pancreas, targeting difficult-to-reach tumors while largely sparing surrounding tissues, organs and blood vessels. The device, about the size of a quarter, would be implanted in the pancreas with electrical leads running to the abdomen. The device would drive chemotherapy into the tumor using electrical currents that pass through the drug solution, a process called iontophoresis. The technology would convert patients with locally advanced non-resectable disease into candidates for surgical resection, by shrinking the tumor away from these vital structures, improving quality of life and extending survival.
Founders: Jen Yeh, Joseph DeSimone, James Byrne
AI Tracking Solutions
AI Tracking Solutions (AITS) is combining machine learning and artificial intelligence to provide cloud-based, fully automated video tracking analysis software to microscopy community. Their technology focuses on an artificial neural network that can perform convolutions in space and time to infer particle locations. AITS’ cloud-based software algorithms provide rapid and truly objective analysis, are expected to popularize particle tracking as a tool for big data imaging techniques and development of advance microscopy and particle sizing instruments. The software can accurately and fully automatically track entities from nanoparticles to viruses to bacteria to cells and generates individual traces and statistical analysis of the traces.
Founder: Sam Lai
Altis Biosystems has developed a patent-pending human stem cell platform, which recreates both small and large intestinal tissue for drug screening and microbiome research for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Altis’ technology is high-throughput and produces reproducible results to meet the drug research and development demands of the pharma industry. It is meant to replace Caco-2 (cancer) cells, the current industry standard, and reduce the need for animal testing. Our goal is to reduce the time and cost of drug development with a platform that more accurately reflects native human biology.
Founders: Nancy Allbritton, Yuli Wang, Michael Biron, Chris Sims, Scott Magness
Aquagenx provides portable water-quality testing products that detect E. coli bacteria. The Compartment Bag Test is simple to use and does not require complex equipment or electricity, making it ideal for place with fewer resources including developing countries and emergency/disaster areas.
Asklêpios BioPharmaceutical, Inc. (“AskBio”)
AskBio is advancing AAV gene therapy technologies developed in the Gene Therapy Center at UNC-CH. They have proprietary programs related to AAV capsid development, scaled-up manufacturing, and multiple therapeutic programs in the areas of neuromuscular, CNS and heart diseases.
Bivarus develops improved patient satisfaction and experience survey tools. The Bivarus analytics platform utilizes a proprietary statistical framework to generate scientifically valid, real-time data using electronically delivered patient experience surveys. Comprehensive reporting/tracking tools and workspace features facilitate active data management and continuous improvement, resulting in safer, more efficient and profitable healthcare environments. Bivarus was acquired by Press Ganey in 2018.
Blue Current, Inc.
Blue Current is developing novel materials for improved battery performance.
Capture Pharmaceuticals has developed a novel chelating compound for the removal of toxic metals, including gadolinium present in MRI contrast agents, lead, and radioactive metals.
Cell Microsystems, Inc.
Cell Microsystems develops cell separation and isolation tools. The CellRaftTM technology permits rapid and efficient separation and isolation of single cells.
ChemoGLO develops technologies that detect and remove chemotherapy drug contamination in hospitals, pharmacies, and laboratories through its ChemoGLO Wipe Kit and the Hazardous Drug Clean (HDClean) towelette cleaning system.
Cortical Metrics, Inc.
Cortical Metrics develops quantitative, noninvasive measures of brain health that can address a broad spectrum of neurological disorders.
Counter Tools, Inc.
Counter Tools is a not-for-profit business that provides training, software tools, and technical assistance to public health and disease-prevention organizations.
At Dualogics, our vision is to use the latest advancements in protein engineering to create improved antibody therapies. We collaborate globally to bring our technologies and expertise to drug discovery campaigns across all therapeutic areas. Dualogics display uses combinatorial screening to test all pairwise combinations of multi-chain biologics. Our designs are genetically barcoded for efficient sequence recovery and identification of rare clones using next-generation sequencing. Our libraries utilize full-length mAb scaffolds, ensuring each member is expressed in a similar format as it will be in lead optimization/development.
Founders: Brian Kuhlman, Ryan Hallet, Tim Jacobs
Entegrion develops biological and medical-device technologies to enhance the safety and availability of the human blood supply. Entegrion has developed a lyophilized blood substitute product which is far more stable than stored human platelets and effective at stopping bleeding.
Enzerna Biosciences has developed a proprietary platform technology to engineer sequence-specific RNA endonucleases. This technology is designed to treat disease by degrading toxic RNA in a programmable way that is distinct from CRISPR/Cas DNA editing technology. The technology is particularly well suited to address nucleotide expansion disorders such as Huntington’s Disease.
Founder: Zefeng Wang, Joseph Ruiz
EpiCypher develops and manufactures novel tools and reagents for epigenetics drug development and chromatin biology research.
Epizyme is a clinical stage epigenetics company that is developing small molecule inhibitors of histone methyltransferases for multiple oncology indications.
Ercole Biotech, Inc.
Ercole developed oligonucleotide-based RNA therapeutics that directed alternative splicing of mRNA. These splice-switching drugs represent a new class of drug with the potential to modify gene-encoded proteins and their production. Ercole Biotech was acquired by AVI BioPharma in 2008 and AVI BioPharma changed its name to Sarepta Therapeutics in 2012.
G1 Therapeutics is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company developing small-molecule therapeutic agents to protect patient bone marrow and the immune system from chemotherapy-induced damage.
GeneCentric Therapeutics’ proprietary platform utilizes tumor genomic information to enable oncologists and their patients to make informed decisions through clinical trial design, prediction of drug response, drug development target selection and improved therapeutic results.
Glycan Therapeutics possesses a unique patented technology to synthesize heparin and heparan sulfate oligosaccharides for medical uses. The company is developing new drug therapies based on this novel synthetic carbohydrate technology platform. The platform technology can be used to synthesize an anticoagulant drug, like synthetic heparin, as well as design heparin-like oligosaccharides for research and development for other medical applications. They are the leader in the development of enzymatically synthesized sulfated oligosaccharides for a variety of indications.
Founder: Jian Liu, Yongmei Xu
Hibernaid, Inc. is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to development of medications to treat acute brain injury and other ischemia-reperfusion injuries. Company co-founder Dr. Lawrence Katz studies hypothermia mechanisms and their ability to improve outcomes for critical patients, and the company’s current lead induces clinically-relevant hypothermia to increase survival and prevent damage in acute critical care conditions. Hibernaid’s goal is to find therapeutic agents that can be administered to patients more broadly, quickly and easily with fewer side effects.
IMMvention Therapeutix, based in Durham, NC, is focused on improving the lives of patients with auto-inflammatory diseases of huge unmet needs (such as Osteoarthritis, Gout, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Alzheimer’s etc.). The company is discovering and developing first-in-class novel disease modifying therapies that inhibit the inflammation caused by activation of inflammasomes. The Company’s differentiation is its novel product pipeline powered by the intellectual capital of its team and a platform to discover small molecule inhibitors of multiple inflammasome receptors. The current 1st generation single receptor inflammasome inhibition approaches of other companies (such as Novartis, Genentech, Nodthera, Inflazome etc.) are expected to be ineffective/suboptimal against diseases where multiple inflammasomes are activated. The Company’s initial target diseases are rare auto-inflammatory diseases (e.g. Still’s Disease, affecting adults and children with systemic arthritis) and COVID-19 associated hyper-inflammation that leads to acute respiratory distress syndrome and mortalities. The Company was co-founded in 2017 by pioneering scientists in the fields of immunology and innate immunity from the School of Medicine and Eshelman School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. This includes, Dr. Jenny Ting who is preeminent scientific leader in fields of immunology, innate immunity and inflammasomes. IMMvention has been funded to date by North Carolina Biotechnology Center, NIH SBIR grants/contracts, and Pharma collaborations. The company is raising its first venture funding to progress its novel small molecule preclinical therapeutics pipeline to the clinic for treating rare auto-inflammatory diseases.
Founders: Anil Goyal, Eric Bachelder, Kristy Ainslie, Jenny Ting
Impulsonic uses high-performance computer graphics techniques and the latest research in acoustics simulation to develop high-performance and accurate acoustics-simulation algorithms for game and virtual reality applications, architects, acoustics consultants, and government and national defense applications. Impulsonic was acquired by Valve Corporation in 2017.
Inhalon Biopharma seeks to advance “muco-trapping” monoclonal antibodies for use in treating and preventing respiratory infections. The platform offers a new mechanism of action, whereby viruses are actively cleared from the lung. Inhalon is actively advancing a number of programs against respiratory infections ranging from RSV, MPV, Influenza and SARS-CoV-2. The first human study is targeted for 2021.
Founder: Sam Lai
InnerOptic Technology, Inc.
InnerOptic Technology develops 3D navigation and guidance software for use in minimally invasive image-guided surgical procedures.
Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Inspire Pharmaceuticals focused on researching, developing, and commercializing prescription pharmaceutical products for ophthalmic and pulmonary diseases. Inspire Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Merck & Co. in 2011.
KindHeart is a medical-simulation company specializing in surgery simulation systems that use real animal tissue, fully animated surgical simulators.
KXTbio is a biotechnology company focusing on the development and application of reagents, assays and drug screening platforms for the study of G proteins and GTPases with the goal of developing small molecule therapeutics targeting protein-protein interactions.
Liquidia Technologies develops precision-engineered drug particles that have the potential to dramatically improve the performance of medicines. The ability to modify nanoparticle attributes allows Liquidia to develop more optimized safe and effective vaccines and therapies for a wide variety of diseases.
Meryx is a biotechnology company developing inhibitors of Mer Receptor Tyrosine Kinase for the treatment of hematologic and solid tumors including leukemia, lung cancer and melanoma.
Mission3 is an educational non-profit company distributing an educational software application that tracks medical resident behaviors and skills linked to the ACGME milestones.
Morphormics developed and delivered medical imaging software systems to dramatically increase efficiency and success rate in image-guided medical treatment planning, intervention, and diagnosis. Proprietary image analysis methods were developed that recognized and extracted anatomical structures from 3D and 2D medical images. Morphormics was acquired by Accuray in 2012.
New Paradigm Biosciences
New Paradigm Biosciences uses a proprietary humanized mouse platform to develop and test therapeutics. This platform allows the study of human specific pathways and the immune system that other in vivo model systems cannot achieve.
Novan, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on leveraging nitric oxide’s natural antiviral and immunomodulatory mechanisms of action to treat dermatological and oncovirus-mediated diseases.
OncoTrap is based on identifying drug target binding molecules using in vitro protein selection and protein engineering. The company uses affinity molecules to trap the immunosuppressive signals in the microenvironment of diseased tissues to treat solid tumors and autoimmune diseases. The product pipeline includes OT-1, a therapy that targets the chemokine protein CXCL12 to treat pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; OT-2, which targets programmed cell death protein 1 (PD1) in pancreatic cancers; OT-3, which traps a cytokine in tumor sites; and OT-4, a polymer-based self-assembly system that is designed to deliver siRNA against Kras mutant (G12D) to cancer cells.
Founder: Rihe Liu, Leaf Huang
Oriel Therapeutics, Inc.
Oriel Therapeutics develops technology for drug delivery to the lungs to better treat respiratory and pulmonary disease. As of 2010, Oriel Therapeutics was acquired by Sandoz.
Parion Sciences develops therapies to treat defects of the innate mucosal defense system in respiratory and ocular diseases.
Path BioAnalytics (PBA) is a precision medicine company dedicated to the advancement of next-generation treatments for individuals living with respiratory disease. PBA couples a personalized 3D cell culture system with extensive in-house clinical datasets from a broad cross-section of individuals to provide an innovative platform for drug development. Their organoid technology provides a miniature model of the airways that is unique to the person who provided the cells to grow the organoid. They are composed of differentiated epithelial cells, mimicking the polarization, epithelial structure, and composition of the airways. PBA is utilizing its technology to advance internal and external drug programs for a range of diseases. The company’s internal development programs are focused on cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary fibrosis. PBA’s patient-centric, precision medicine approach to drug development allows the company to de-risk R&D decisions, improve the efficiency of clinical testing, and ultimately produce more effective medications for targeted patient populations.
Founder: John Mellnik
PharmatrophiX is focused on developing small molecule drugs targeting neurotrophin receptors for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.
PhoenixSongs is a global life science company dedicated to developing and providing novel stem cell-derived model systems for research and drug discovery. Stem cell sources include iPS cells and stem cells isolated from donor tissues such as liver, brain, biliary tree and umbilical cords.
Using a combination of proprietary chemistry and equipment, Premirr Plastics has developed a new cleantech system to chemically breakdown PET into a reusable starting material (monomers) for new PET products. Unlike traditional recycling methods that melt the plastic into pellets, Premirr’s system allows for PET plastic waste to be recycled an unlimited amount of times and to its original shape.
Founder: Matthew Parrott, Mark McCreery
Qualyst Transporter Solutions
Qualyst Transporter Solutions was a biotechnology company providing hepatic drug transporter models, products and contract research services for accelerating the process of screening drug candidates. Qualyst Transporter Solutions was acquired by BioIVT in 2017.
Redbud Labs manufactures microfluidic components for life science industry. Redbud’s products improve the performance of microfluidic consumables in research, drug discovery, and diagnostics. The core technology is the patented Redbud Posts™, which enable their cartridge-ready components to deliver enhanced microfluidic performance. Redbud PostsTM are a type of artificial cilia. These microscopic structures, patterned on silicone film, move in the presence of magnetic fields. Redbud PostsTM induce microscale agitation that defeat diffusion kinetics and laminar flow, enabling faster, more sensitive assays.
Founders: Ricky Spero, Rich Superfine, Russ Taylor
Renaissance Cell Technologies
Renaissance Cell Technologies was developing a liver progenitor cell therapy for treatment of liver failure. The company name was changed to Incara Pharmaceuticals and was later sold to Vesta Therapeutics.
Renovion is a pre-clinical stage pharmaceutical company with a therapy for chronic inflammatory airway diseases. The company is currently developing Arina-1 as the first FDA-approved therapy for patients who have received a lung transplant and expanding approval into other indications, including CF, non-cf bronchiectasis, PCD and other diseases.
Founder: Carolyn Durham
Ribometrix has developed a proprietary platform for discovering and characterizing the interactions of small molecule drugs that target RNA.
Sandbar Oyster Company
Sandbar developed a novel, biodegradable material – Oyster Catcher™ – that promotes oyster growth and restores/creates estuarine habitats. Sandbar is also bringing innovation and core sustainability to oyster aquaculture by offering forms of Oyster Catcher™ and know-how to produce large quantities of seed oysters derived from the natural spawning of wild oysters. The offspring of these genetically diverse parents possess traits favorable for survival and growth across a wide range of environmental conditions. Forms of Oyster Catcher™ optimized for spat collection can be used in hatcheries or appropriate natural environments as a biodegradable oyster shell substitute.
Founder: Niels Lindquist
Sapere Bio is developing a diagnostic test for determining a patient’s “molecular age” that will improve risk assessment and patient outcomes. The company integrates their proprietary sample collection methods, reproducible and precise measurement of senescense biomarkers and development of algorithms to predict adverse health outcomes and guide clinical care. AKI-Sapere is the first in a series of blood tests being developed to stratify patients by risk of devastating adverse events following cardiac procedures.
Founders: Norman Sharpless, Natalia Mitin
SOVE is developing an innovative orthodontic system to solve the problems frequently encountered with esthetic orthodontic systems. Current invisible orthodontic systems are uncomfortable, often require removal of healthy enamel to slenderize teeth, have visible components on the front of the teeth and do not result in ideal tooth position. The company’s 2Insight system solves these challenges with a unique, two-stage process: “archwire first, aligner second,” resulting in a faster, more precise, hygienic, minimally invasive, 100 percent esthetic orthodontic treatment. In addition to improving treatment for existing candidates, 2Insight makes it possible to use an invisible orthodontic appliance on segments of the population that previously were not candidates for invisible braces.
Founders: Christina Jackson, Ching-Chang Ko
StrideBio, Inc. is a gene therapy company focused on creating and developing novel adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector technologies. Our STRucture Inspired DEsign approach holds the potential to generate unique AAV capsids capable of overcoming the challenges of pre-existing neutralizing antibodies in patients. This powerful new approach has broad application, enabling gene addition, gene silencing, and gene editing modalities for rare diseases.
Triangle Biotechnology develops high-throughput, low-cost, user-friendly sonication workflows for biological sample preparation for applications including next-generation sequencing, tissue processing, and cell lysis. Their patented RapidShear® reagents significantly improve the efficiency of sonication-based lysis of biological samples and reduce the energy required for high-quality sample processing. By combining RapidShear® technology with low-cost sonication platforms and performing rigorous process optimization, Triangle Biotechnology develops workflows that significantly increase sample-to-sample consistency and decrease overall processing time.
Founders: Samantha Pattenden, Paul Dayton, Joe McMahon
Viamet Pharmaceuticals discovered and developed small molecule compounds that targeted metalloenzymes, with applications in fungal infection, oncology, and certain orphan diseases. Viamet Pharmaceuticals was acquired by NovaQuest Capital Management in 2018. Viamet Pharmaceuticals Holdings holds assets not acquired by NovaQuest Capital Management.
XinNano Materials, Inc.
XinNano Materials, a joint venture of Xintek, Inc. and TECO Nanotech Col, Ltd., is a world leader in producing high quality carbon nanotubes for field emission, thermal and electrical conducting applications. XinNano Materials has also developed carbon nanotube ink that can be easily applied to substrates to produce transparent conducting film and anti-static film used for touch panel, flexible display and EMI shielding applications.
XinRay Systems is a joint venture between Siemens Medical Solutions and Xintek that develops and manufactures distributed x-ray sources for a broad range of applications including diagnostic medical imaging, homeland security, and industrial inspection.
Xintek develops nanomaterial-based field emission technologies and products for a broad range of industries such as x-ray imaging, information display, telecommunication, aerospace and oil detection. Xintek’s major products include: carbon nanotube (CNT)-based field emission electron source, field emission grade CNT material, field emission x-ray source and CNT AFM probes.
ZeroPoint Dynamics develops computer and network security products. Their cybersecurity products rapidly analyze e-mail, documents, and web content to prevent data breaches and loss.