Author: Hanju Lee

Corporate Collaborations

Johns Hopkins-IP Group Collaboration Funds Cancer Therapeutic Startup, Paves…

Johns Hopkins-IP Group Collaboration Funds Cancer Therapeutic Startup, Paves Way for Further IP Commercialization

Barbara Slusher, Ph.D., M.A.S., professor of neurology, psychiatry, neuroscience, medicine and oncology

The Johns Hopkins University announces that IP Group has funded the creation of Lorem Therapeutics as part of an ongoing collaboration between the university and the intellectual property commercialization company to explore, identify and commercialize technologies. Lorem will be focused on developing early-stage therapeutics, bridging the gap from drug discovery to investigative new drug (IND) status, specifically novel small molecule prodrugs for cancer indications.

“The relationship Johns Hopkins has forged with IP Group aims to facilitate one of our institution’s long-standing missions—to bring the benefits of discovery to the world,” says Christy Wyskiel, senior adviser to the president for enterprise development and the head of Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, the university’s intellectual property administration center. “The support provided to early stage technologies through this model of venture creation has the potential to accelerate the transformation of promising research into impactful products and services.”

Lorem is led by Barbara Slusher, Ph.D., M.A.S., professor of neurology, psychiatry, neuroscience, medicine and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who has an extensive track record of bringing lead compounds from drug discovery through clinical development. Slusher directs Johns Hopkins Drug Discovery, the largest integrated drug discovery program at the university, with a veteran team of medicinal chemists, assay developers, pharmacologists, toxicologists and pharmacokinetic and drug metabolism experts. The team is engaged in identifying novel drug targets arising from the university’s research efforts and translating them into new drug therapies for clinical development.

“We are excited to announce the first investment from our collaboration with Johns Hopkins University,” says Michael Burychka, chief executive officer, IP Group North America. “IP Group is committed to supporting scientific discovery and is thrilled to work with Dr. Slusher. We look forward to building upon our relationship with Johns Hopkins and continuing to invest in novel science being developed at the university.”

Accompanying the initial funding, Lorem Therapeutics will receive support from FastForward, a coordinated suite of resources managed by Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures that provides more than 100 startups with access to affordable space, services and funding opportunities.

“I am delighted to have the support of IP Group, Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures and FastForward as we launch this exciting venture,” Slusher says. “IP Group’s commercial expertise and initial funding as well as FastForward’s ongoing support will play a critical role in helping us accelerate and enhance our drug discovery efforts around critical cancer indications.”

 

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Meet the Entrepreneur

Meet the Entrepreneur: ClearMask is Improving Doctor-Patient Communication

Meet the Entrepreneur: ClearMask is Improving Doctor-Patient Communication

 

 
Inspired by a negative pre-surgery experience, Allysa Dittmar co-founded ClearMask to improve doctor-patient communication. Whereas traditional surgical masks hide doctors’ facial expressions and prevent the ability to read lips, the ClearMask provides a fully functional mask with full-face visibility.

As the company grows, it will look back at April 24 as a defining moment. That evening, the ClearMask team split into two to attend two pitch competitions, winning them both and $40,000. Within hours of collecting a $25,000 prize at the Social Innovation Lab’s Impact+Innovation Forum, it won $15,000 at Village Capital’s pitch competition at Gallaudet University. The funds will help the company move toward an NIH clinical trial, FDA approval, and product launch in 2019.

Below, members of ClearMask’s team — Dittmar (a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Kreiger School of Arts and Sciences alumnus), Aaron Hsu (a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine research assistant and alumnus of Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health and Kreiger School of Arts and Sciences), Elyse Heob (Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business, Bloomberg School of Public Health, MBA/MPH candidate) and Inez Lam (Johns Hopkins Biomedical Engineering, Ph.D. candidate) — discuss their venture and the support it has received.
 

In a few words, what does your company do?

ClearMask: making healthcare more human.
 

What are your goals and how will you get there?

Elyse Heob: Our goal is to improve as many lives as possible with the masks. In 2018, we will finalize our mask design with Harbor Designs & Manufacturing in Baltimore and apply for FDA approval with mdPACE under TEDCO. Next step is selling the ClearMask on the market and getting our masks into hospitals everywhere!
 

In terms of startups and innovation, what’s one thing that separates Baltimore from other tech hotbeds?

Aaron Hsu: We are excited to be developing the ClearMask in Baltimore. Baltimore is realizing its potential to be a major biotechnology and entrepreneurship hub, where there are vast amounts of Baltimore-centric resources and people dedicated to giving back and strengthening the community.

What’s truly unique is the intimate focus — with the Social Innovation Lab at Johns Hopkins, the Maryland Institute College of Art, the University of Maryland, TEDCO, and Harbor Designs and Manufacturing. We have taken advantage of opportunities to work closely with key individuals and expand our idea through an extremely supportive entrepreneurship community that is passionate for social change.
 

If you could give your past self one piece of advice for creating a startup, what would it be?

Elyse Heob: We believe that finding the right team of people is essential. You can have the best idea in the world, but the execution all comes down to the team’s leadership and management. It’s quite difficult to do everything on your own, and having a like-minded, trustworthy and reliable team is a tremendous asset. It helps to ensure that the team has its best interest at heart and that everyone works well together – clear communication is key!
 

What innovator do you look up to? Why?

Allysa Dittmar: Any innovator who embraces the concept of universal design. We need more products that are accessible to everyone, regardless of their age, ability or status. I particularly love Selwyn Goldsmith’s work, who was a pioneer in universal design and created the dropped curb, a feature that’s now widespread in our built environment and benefits everyone. Similarly, the ClearMask benefits many people, not just deaf and hard of hearing individuals. We all use facial expressions, language markers, and emotions when communicating with others.
 

It’s after a long day of work, and you don’t feel like cooking. What is your go-to Baltimore restaurant?

Allysa Dittmar: We’re usually together after hours and on the weekends as a team, and we love to go to Mt. Vernon Marketplace!
 

What’s your favorite non-work-related thing to do in Baltimore?

Allysa Dittmar: My favorite is to ride the water taxi on the Inner Harbor and visit the local farmers market on the weekends.

Aaron Hsu: I love to try new food and restaurants.

Elyse Heob: Baltimore Free Yoga!

Inez Lam: Attending local events (e.g. Artscape) and exploring new places!
 

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