Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center announces winners of Massachusetts Life Sciences Innovation Day poster competition

BOSTON — New technologies at Massachusetts research institutions could get closer to market thanks to $4,000 in award funding to three winners of the poster competition at the 12th annual Massachusetts Life Sciences Innovation (MALSI) Day, the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC) announced today.

This year's award recipients, selected from a field of 30 poster presenters, were chosen for their project's technical merit, commercial viability and strength of team, according to Vinit Nijhawan, interim executive director of MTTC.

"The breadth of the posters received and the strength of the winning projects demonstrates that Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in bringing research to market," Nijhawan said.

MALSI Day is the signature event for life sciences startups and innovation in the Commonwealth, bringing together scientific leaders, professors, entrepreneurs, innovators and venture capitalists.

The networking event, held on June 27, included keynote presentations and panel discussions, an innovators' marketplace and a poster competition where a panel of experts recognized 30 posters for presentation from 50 applications. More than 400 MALSI Day attendees voted with MALSI "money" to select five finalists. A panel of 10 judges then selected three contest winners after listening to the finalists' presentations, which focused on technology and life sciences for patient benefit.

"I am delighted that Ernest Pharmaceuticals, an innovative startup advancing their novel oncology drug delivery platform with technology licensed from UMass Amherst, won the poster competition in a strong collection of emerging companies," said Peter Reinhart, founding director of the Institute for Applied Life Sciences at UMass Amherst.

Hosted at the UMass President's Office, MTTC enables public and private research universities and medical centers in Massachusetts to lead the nation in translating basic research to the market, creating jobs and spurring economic development.

"These projects represent highly advanced technology with the potential to change lives," said UMass President Marty Meehan. "We are proud to support innovative research and help advance the life sciences ecosystem that is so critical to the Commonwealth's economy."

This year's poster winners are as follows:

Nele Van Dessel

Ernest Pharmaceuticals

A bacterial delivery platform for tumor-specific intracellular drug delivery. Technology licensed from UMass Amherst.

Award: $2,500

Vera Hoffman

Reveal Pharmaceuticals

Gadolinium-free platform for general purpose and precision imaging (MRI). Technology licensed from Partners/MGH.

Award: $1,000

Marcie Black

Advanced Silicon Group

Silicon nanowire biosensors for rapid, low-cost and multiplexed protein concentration measurements.

Award: $500

About the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center

MTTC accelerates research commercialization at Massachusetts public and private research institutions by connecting superior science and technology to an unmatched pool of business talent and capital. MTTC was founded in 2003 by the Massachusetts Legislature and is housed in the UMass President's Office.