Drexel Now Three biopharmaceutical startups led by Drexel University researchers are one step closer to bringing new, potentially life-saving drugs to the market.

The companies — Context TherapeuticsKerberos Biopharma and PolyCore Therapeutics — each were supported with funding from the Coulter-Drexel Translational Research Partnership Program, which provides both grants and guidance for academics to commercialize inventions.

Now the startups have the opportunity to vie for the attention of venture capitalists and technology transfer professionals during the Coulter Investment Forum on May 16 and 17, in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“There is a general understanding in the scientific community that the collaboration between academia and the private sector has to be more than what it has been in the past,” said Olimpia Meucci, MD, PhD, chair of the College of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology and Physiology and head of pre-clinical research at Kerberos. “Drexel is really at the forefront and exceptional in this regard, with its strong support of entrepreneurial pursuits.”

At Drexel, the program, which is endowed by the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, has awarded $7.6 million to 50 projects since its inception 11 years ago. Formatted like the popular reality television show “Shark Tank,” faculty members submit applications to an oversight committee at the university and advance to other rounds, where they are grilled with questions ranging from regulatory requirements to reimbursement strategies.

“Coulter challenged us to find ways to address the problems of entering a market that might be quite resistant to the problem we are trying to solve,” said Alessandro Fatatis, MD,PhD, a professor in the College of Medicine, and chief scientific officer at Kerberos.

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