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43North semifinalists have deep ties to UB's entrepreneurial ecosystem

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Published October 6, 2017

The companies — Cellular Preservation Technologies, Rachel’s Remedy and Vivacelle Bio Inc. — include alumni, as well as a clinical professor in the School of Dental Medicine.

Three of the 16 semifinalist startups chosen to participate in Thursday’s 43North business plan competition have extensive ties to UB.

The companies — Cellular Preservation Technologies, Rachel’s Remedy and Vivacelle Bio Inc. — include alumni, as well as a clinical professor in the School of Dental Medicine. While none walked away with prize money from the contest, each gained exposure and added experience that competition organizers have said will help them moving forward in their endeavors.

Here’s a look at each company:

Cellular Preservation Technologies

Buffalo-based Cellular Preservation Technologies has developed a new technology that can more than triple the shelf life of blood platelets from the current standard of four days to two weeks.

The company is led by CEO Matthew Colpoys, chief technology officer Ilya Ilyin, and chief scientific officer Lakshmanan Suresh, who is also a clinical professor in the University at Buffalo Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences in the School of Dental Medicine.

Outside of the body, platelets can’t survive very long. Keeping the cells at room temperature provides a shelf life of four to five days, but places them at risk of bacterial contamination. Placing the cells in cold storage renders them ineffective for therapeutic transfusions.

The result is a staggering amount of waste – 15 percent of stored platelets costing up to $750 million each year. The waste leads to a shortage of the cells available to cancer patients, who, as a side effect of chemotherapy, are likely to become anemic and experience low platelet counts, placing them at risk of internal bleeding.

Using a unique combination of xenon gas and cold storage that modifies the platelets’ ability to survive in bloodstream, Cellular Preservation Technologies has designed a new technology that both extends the shelf life of the cells to 14 days and protects them from bacterial contamination. The outcome is a safer, longer-lasting supply of platelets.

The technology was initially created to extend the shelf life of frozen seafood. However, the researchers found that the technology also has medical applications, including the preservation of human cells.

Cellular Preservation Technologies holds four patents with four additional patents pending.

Rachel’s Remedy

Buffalo startup Rachel's Remedy offers breastfeeding relief packs and related products.

Rachel Jackson, the company’s president and founder, is a UB graduate. In June, the company claimed top prize — $20,000 — at the Bright Buffalo Niagara Entrepreneur Expo, which is UB’s annual event designed to promote the region’s best startups.

Rachel's Remedy is a medical device company that is working to fill a gap in the breastfeeding and maternity marketplace. It has created an FDA-approved moist-heat pad that helps to increase milk supply while soothing common breastfeeding ailments such as clogged ducts and engorgement.

The pads are sold at Babies R Us, Amazon, Target, Wegmans and other retailers.

Vivacelle Bio Inc.

Vivacelle Bio Inc. is currently located in Illinois and Louisiana, but has been accepted into the START-UP NY economic development program under UB sponsorship and plans to relocate to Buffalo.

Vivacelle Bio is a biotechnology company focused on developing products that utilize technology based on phospholipid nanoparticles.

The firm’s first product, VBI-1, an advanced circulatory fluid, is aimed at reversing the consequences of hypovolemic shock. This condition can occur as the result of significant blood loss from severe injuries or surgery, as well as from injury due to exposure to radioactive materials or biological or chemical weapons, or infection by Ebola virus and other contagions. Potential uses include treating injured soldiers on the battlefield, as well as patients in hospital emergency and operating rooms, ambulances and rural clinics. The company is targeting initiation of clinical trials of VBI-1 in 2018.

Vivacelle Bio owns 9 issued U.S. patents and 28 issued patents in other jurisdictions. The firm’s pipeline products include but are not limited to an advanced parenteral nutritional product, an organ preservation product and a product for reducing reperfusion injury in patients treated for ischemia.

The company’s management team includes a UB graduate, Chief Legal and Operating Officer Harven V. DeShield, who earned a master’s of biological sciences, a JD with a concentration in intellectual property and technology law and a PhD in biochemistry from UB.”