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February 24, 2011

bwtech@UMBC Welcomes New Companies

Bioscience and Technology Companies Join the Incubator

Deborah Shapiro
Marketing Manager

bwtech@UMBC is pleased to announce that early-stage companies EncephRx and Spry Enterprises have signed leases for space in the Life Science and Technology Incubator. Both companies are confident about their ability to fill a niche in their respective markets and are looking forward to reaping the benefits of their new location.

EncephRx was founded last summer by First Stage Bioventures. Aaron Heifetz, a 20-year veteran of the biotechnology industry and partner in First Stage, was chosen to be the company’s President and CEO. The company is working to develop small molecule drugs to slow or prevent the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Currently, EncephRx is conducting animal testing with the goal of completing that stage and applying for FDA permission to begin clinical trials in the next year or two. The company is using technology licensed from Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas at Dallas. Heifetz, who holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry, learned of the technology while doing background research at Johns Hopkins University.

Choosing UMBC for his new company’s headquarters was a natural choice for Heifetz, who was previously a member of the university’s Life Science Advisory Board and had facilitated meetings of bwtech@UMBC’s Incubator CEO group for several years. He has also done research with UMBC professors Tony Moreira and Govind Rao. “I know the people at UMBC,” said Heifetz. “The location offers a lot of value.”

Spry Enterprises has been operating for two years, with an office in Hunt Valley, and moved into its new space several weeks ago. Partner Tony Vachino is a Catonsville resident and is excited about the company’s additional location. Spry, which specializes in utilizing semantic technologies to build analytic and information management solutions for its clients which include the federal government, is looking to hire additional employees in the areas of software development and information architecture. The availability of student interns and graduates from UMBC’s top-ranked computer science and IT programs had a large influence in the company’s decision to establish an office at bwtech@UMBC. According to Vachino, the company hopes to expand its business into the commercial space over the next few years.

“We are delighted to welcome these organizations to our Life Science and Technology Incubator program,” said Ellen Hemmerly, executive director of the bwtech@UMBC Research and Technology Park. “bwtech@UMBC has a long history of launching successful companies and we are pleased that EncephRx and Spry Enterprises have chosen to build their business at our Incubator. We look forward to their success.”

Posted by dshapiro at February 24, 2011 2:52 PM