Local Bio-Science Startup Wins National Startup Award | Tech Parks Arizona

Local Bio-Science Startup Wins National Startup Award

(Tucson, Arizona) Reglagene Holding, Inc. was selected as an Innovation Excellence winner of the Freedom from Cancer Startup Challenge (FCSC). The FCSC is a nationwide contest dedicated to startups that better prevent, diagnose, treat, and cure cancers.

Winners of the Cancer Startup Challenge were selected by a multi-disciplinary judging panel, comprised of industry experts, potential investors, philanthropists, and more. The winning startups were selected based on their 10-page business plans, financial models, 20-minute “live pitches”, and engagement in CAI’s White House-recognized accelerator program. Reglagene, a startup stemming from research at the The University of Arizona, placed in the upper tier of the Cancer Startup Challenge.

The overarching goal of this audacious initiative is to advance 100+ breakthrough inventions -- conceived and developed at 55 institutions, including the National Institutes of Health, the United States Army, and more than fifty American universities and hospitals. Since opening for entry in August 2017, the FCSC has supported 111 startups and more than 800 participants.

Reglagene gives new hope to cancer patients by attacking cancer’s weaknesses in ways that were once out of reach. Reglagene is focused on cancer therapeutics and the commercialization of the DNA Quadruplex discoveries from research coming from the labs of Professor Laurence Hurley and Dr. Vijay Gokhale at the University of Arizona. They discovered that DNA quadruplexes in gene promoter regions serve as master control elements for gene expression.

Professor Hurley pioneered the methodology known as Quadruplex Master Switch Technology (QMST) to discover small molecule medicines that fight disease through the control of gene expression. To protect the invention and license the technology, the co-founders worked with Tech Launch Arizona, the UA unit that commercializes inventions stemming from university research.

Currently, the company is a client of the Arizona Center for Innovation (AzCI) within the UA Tech Park and is going through the AzCI program where Dr. Austin is leading the company’s commercialization efforts. Through the program, Reglagene receives individualized business development assistance to bring the company from an idea, to sustaining the enterprise.

“We are thrilled to receive this award,” said Dr. Austin. “We see this new recognition as a great competitive advantage to attracting investment on a national level.” The pharmaceutical R&D landscape continues to evolve. The rapid advancement of biomedical technology and the cost of maintaining ever- ready R&D capacity have conspired to create a shift in the pharmaceutical business model. Once the exclusive domain of major companies, pharmaceutical discovery is increasingly distributed among innovative startup companies.

Reglagene helps cancer patients by leveraging Quadruplex Master Switch Technology to discover and develop new medicines that control gene expression. Many high-value oncology targets are out-of-reach for conventional medicinal discovery technologies yet are under quadruplex control. Reglagene’s business model is to establish proof of concept around new medicines to enable partnerships with pharmaceutical companies to bring life-saving products to market.

Tech Launch Arizona creates social and economic impact through bringing the inventions of the UA from the lab to the world. The UA unit builds connections between the talents of faculty and researchers and the experience of entrepreneurs and investors. It cultivates these conversations, fostering ideas that start in the lab and grows them into new products and thriving businesses that benefit society.

Arizona Center for Innovation (AzCI) fosters technology startups, emerging, and mature companies to develop and commercialize their ideas, inventions and next evolution of a product. AzCI provides a structured business development program and access to facilities including office, wet and dry lab space, in support of these companies Participating companies also receive individual coaching from experienced mentors management get to the next level of business development. AzCI is located at the UA Tech Park and is a component of Tech Parks Arizona.

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