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Einstein Receives BioAccelerate NYC Prize

Six Awards Will Help Build Life Sciences Industry Cluster in NYC

May 3, 2010 – (BRONX, NY) – Anne Bresnick, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, has been named one of six winners of the $1.5 million BioAccelerate NYC Prize. The Prize, sponsored by the Partnership for New York City and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), is designed to further research in life sciences in order to attract venture capital funding, which can move such research closer to commercialization. The winning researchers, all based in New York City, will each receive $250,000 to conduct late-stage, “proof-of-concept” research on products that improve human health. Dr. Bresnick's award is for a novel therapeutic approach targeting metastatic cancer.

Anne Bresnick, Ph.D.
Anne Bresnick, Ph.D.
“Funds from the BioAccelerate NYC Prize represent an important stimulus for the NYC biotech community and a rare source of translational funding,” said Edward R. Burns, M.D., executive dean. “Therapeutics that specifically target tumor metastasis represent an underexplored area of drug development. This prize will enable Dr. Anne Bresnick and her team to work toward the identification and characterization of these important compounds.  Her novel and unique approach to inhibiting cancer cell growth gives new hope in the 21st century high-tech battle against cancer.”  

As the spread of tumors (metastasis) impacts many types of cancer, and is the leading cause of cancer deaths, the prevention of this process is critical to the treatment of the disease. Dr. Bresnick's lab will use the BioAccelerate NYC Prize to develop new compounds to prevent or reduce metastasis.

“For the last decade cancer treatments have focused on therapeutics that block tumor cell growth,” said Dr. Bresnick. “However, the successful treatment of cancer by surgery and chemotherapy is limited by tumor metastasis. As a consequence, there is a recognized need for novel cancer therapeutics that directly target metastatic disease. With support from the BioAccelerate Prize, these studies could lead to the development of new drugs that specifically target tumor metastasis.”

The goal of the BioAccelerate NYC Prize is to catalyze the creation of a life sciences industry sector in the city by increasing the number of commercial spin-offs from New York City's universities and research institutions. The competition addresses the critical funding gap between projects considered too commercial for academic or National Institutes of Health grants, but also too speculative to attract private sector investment. In addition to the monetary award, each winner will be paired with a life science industry entrepreneur who will act as a mentor and provide guidance on commercialization and company formation for the duration of the funding.

“Therapeutics that specifically target tumor metastasis represent an underexplored area of drug development. This prize will enable Dr. Anne Bresnick and her team to work toward the identification and characterization of these important compounds.”

-- Edward R. Burns, M.D.
Dr. Bresnick worked closely with Einstein's Office of Biotechnology and the Office of Business Development on her proposal submission. In all, 64 applications were submitted by researchers at many of New York City's top universities and research institutions. Nearly three-quarters of the applications proposed novel therapies, with the remaining quarter focused on new devices and disease diagnostic tools. The other winners are researchers from Columbia University, NYU School of Medicine, and Polytechnic Institute of New York University. A full list and description of winners are available on the Partnership for New York City's website.

The New York City Investment Fund (NYCIF), the Partnership's economic development arm, provided oversight and funding for the competition. NYCEDC, which is leading the City's efforts to make New York City a hub for the biotech industry, provided marketing and organizational support. The competition marks the first phase of the Partnership's long-term commitment to ensuring that promising laboratory discoveries made in New York translate into jobs and business development for New York City.

The Office of Biotechnology and the Office of Business Development at Einstein introduced the BioAccelerate NYC Prize to Einstein faculty members. The Office of Biotechnology serves as the technology transfer office of the College of Medicine, facilitating the licensing of its technology to industry and research collaborations between industry and faculty. The Office of Business Development serves to further enhance the value of Einstein's research, clinical, and intellectual property assets by proactively collaborating with commercial, government, financial, and entrepreneurial communities in novel initiatives. Together, the offices promote the translation of basic research advances made at Einstein into clinical applications that can benefit the public.