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Wyss Institute Entrepreneur in Residence Tina Liu and Research Scientist Ying Kai Chan present next-generation gene therapy project at venture capital symposium

Atlas Venture, F-Prime Capital Partners and SV Health Investors to host symposium featuring therapeutics startup ideas from world’s top academic research institutions

Tina Liu (right) and Kai Chan (left) are developing an improved and versatile Adeno-associated Virus (AAV)-based gene therapy platform. Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University.

(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) —  Boston-area venture capital firms Atlas Venture, F-Prime Capital Partners and SV Health Investors have partnered to create Science 2 Startup, an invitation-only symposium aimed at strengthening connections between biotech investors and therapeutics researchers at the world’s top academic research institutions. Science 2 Startup will take place on April 24, 2018, in Cambridge at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

Tina Liu, M.B.A., Entrepreneur in Residence, and Ying Kai Chan, Ph.D., Research Scientist at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering will present a next-generation gene therapy technology they have been developing with the Institute’s Core Faculty member George Church, Ph.D. The technology reduces innate immune responses against adeno-associated virus (AAV), the commonly used gene therapy vector.

The day-long event will feature presentations of promising therapeutics in development, ones that could be part of a new generation of startups, by the participating universities’ principal investigators. There will also be a panel discussion entitled “Building Successful Biotechnology Companies” and a keynote, “The Biotech Ecosystem: Success and Challenges”, by Dan Lynch, Chairman of the Board of six biotech companies, including bluebird bio and Blueprint Medicines. Attendees at Science 2 Startup will include investors from life sciences-focused venture capital firms, top biotech entrepreneurs and senior people from the pharmaceutical industry. Goodwin, Deloitte, Alexandria Venture Investments and Silicon Valley Bank are the event’s sponsors.

“Science 2 Startup was borne of the recognition that great science is happening around the world. The Symposium will take the novel science that is coming out of top research institutions and introduce the people behind it to potential investors who are looking for ideas that are commercially viable and could potentially change patients’ lives,” said Bruce Booth, partner at Atlas Venture.

The scientific presenters were selected by an advisory group of experienced biotech investors, drug discovery veterans and seasoned entrepreneurs. Science 2 Startup received over 200 presentation submissions from leading institutions around the world and narrowed the presenting group down to 11.

Science 2 Startup’s advisors are Ben Auspitz, Partner at F-Prime Capital Partners; Mark Bodmer, Chief Scientific Officer and President of R&D at Evelo Biosciences, Inc.; Bruce Booth, Partner at Atlas Venture; Brian Gallagher, Partner at SR One Ltd.; Jean George, General Partner at Lightstone Ventures; Christina Isacson, Chief Business Officer at Magenta Therapeutics; Geoff MacKay, President and Chief Executive Officer at AVROBIO; Ankit Mahadevia, President and Chief Executive Officer at Spero Therapeutics; Marian Nakada, Vice President of Venture Investments at Johnson & Johnson Innovation; Joshua Resnick, Venture Partner at SV Health Investors; Samantha Truex, Advisor at Atlas Venture; Stacie Weninger, President of FBRI; and Chuck Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Unum Therapeutics.

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