Pistoia Alliance President’s startup challenge 2016 grand prize winner

The Pistoia Alliance, a global organization of life sciences industry experts from AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Novartis and GSK was formed in 2009 to lower barriers to bioinnovation through promotion of pre-competitive collaboration and mentorship across life science industries. Pistoia seeks to facilitate global adoption by developing proven technological solutions to ensure that the projects are as effective and valuable as possible.

Pistoia’s annual project for all start-up companies, the President’s startup challenge, allows early stage companies creating new services and products in R&D innovation to compete for two prizes. One winner is determined by a panel of judges, the other is chosen by the audience. The audience winner this year was Pine Biotech.

Along with panel winner Medexprim, Pine Biotech received a grand prize of $15,000. In addition, the two winners will enjoy six months of mentorship from a Pistoia Alliance professional and six months access to Clarivate Analytics’ life science content assets. The awards were presented on the 19th of October, 2016, in Boston.

“Both Pine Biotech and Medexprim pitched cutting-edge solutions that meet the core aim of the Pistoia Alliance – to lower the barriers which hamper innovation in life sciences R&D,” commented Dr. Steve Arlington, President of the Pistoia Alliance.

Pine Biotech’s T-BioInfo platform enables researchers to analyze all types of Omics data and other biomedical big data using a graphical user interface. In addition to making multi-omics analysis accessible to non-bioinformatician biologists, the platform includes options for machine learning analyses as well as features like interactive visualization. “Our company’s focus is on analysis of molecular data, or “omics” data, because it contains information on an unprecedented level of precision,” says CEO Elia Brodsky, “By enabling researchers and clinicians to extract real insight from omics data, we hope that new and more effective approaches to diagnostics and therapeutics will be developed.”

The Pistoia win follows on the heels of a multi-million dollar DARPA grant awarded to Pine Biotech and collaborators at UCSF and Boston University. The award will fund the development of bioinformatics support for the use of CirSeq, a state-of-the-art molecular virology method, to develop co-evolving antivirals for rapidly mutating and emerging viruses.

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