It’s been an exciting year for CIC’s global community. Across our eight campuses around the world, our member companies are turning their diverse visions into reality, from developing new cures for cancer to expanding opportunities for minority-owned businesses to fueling the growth of renewable energy. 2022 has seen CIC members win recognition, attract funding, and launch exciting new ventures. Read on to learn about just a few of these innovators and barrier breakers, and how they’re making an impact.
1. Photys Therapeutics
Thanks to Photys Therapeutics, there may be new treatment options for cancer, immune disorders, rare diseases, and metabolic issues on the horizon. The Cambridge-based startup is developing a new class of drugs called Phosphorylation-inducing chimeric small molecules (PHICS)—dumbbell-shaped molecules that can chemically modify proteins to change their functions—based on the research of Amit Choudhary at the Broad Institute of MIT. Photys made news in September when they clinched an impressive $75 million Series A financing. They’re using it to secure new lab space, build their world-class team, and advance their PHICS platform and a handful of high-value drug targets.
Today, more than 99% of disposable cups and containers end up in landfills, incinerators, or as litter. Cambridge startup USEFULL is on a mission to transform our throwaway world, helping colleges, corporate offices, and communities replace disposables with custom-designed, stainless-steel to-go cups and containers that users can check out and return. USEFULL first came to CIC Cambridge as part of the BlueSwell program, hosted by SeaAhead and the New England Aquarium. After graduating in February, they decided to stay. “We’re a small team so it’s nice to be surrounded by other businesses, different ideas, and new people to get to know,” says CEO Alison Rogers. USEFULL is growing fast, thanks in part to a pre-Seed Investment round of $1.7M with UBMB, LLC, which is allowing them to grow their team, design and manufacture inventory, and ensure that their first customers have huge success with their USEFULL implementations.
Since 1971, Pennrose LLC has created safe, affordable rental housing communities for working families and seniors. In June 2022, the Boston Office of Pennrose broke ground for New England’s first LGTBQ-friendly development for seniors, The Pryde. Working with their partners at LGBTQ Senior Housing Inc., Pennrose will convert the former Rogers School in Hyde Park, Boston, into 74 mixed income apartments. The development will also include more than 10,000 square feet of community space, a courtyard, gallery, and community garden. Pennrose will continue to be active throughout New England in 2023, with projects including the creation of the first LGTBQ-friendly development in Connecticut.
4. Intus Care
Founded by Brown undergrads in 2019, Providence-based Intus Care is helping health care providers deliver the best possible care to elderly patients. Intus’s powerful data analytics platform identifies patients’ risk of hospitalizations, readmissions, and chronic disease, empowering providers to make informed decisions and optimize care. 2022 has been a banner year for Intus: they established new partnerships, including their first official partnership in the state of California; added multiple new partnerships in North Carolina; and, most recently, closed a $14.1M Series A led by Deerfield Management. Intus recently passed the 25-team-member mark and anticipates more growth in 2023 as they work to innovate PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) and long-term care across the country.
Global dredging and marine services giant Boskalis made a splash when they opened the US headquarters for their renewable energy activities at CIC Providence in early 2022. The Dutch company had recently contracted to work with Eversource and Ørsted on several of the joint venture’s upcoming offshore wind projects in Rhode Island and New York, and needed to expand their US footprint in the region. CIC Providence is rapidly becoming a hub for US Offshore Wind in the northeast, which made it an appealing choice to Boskalis. As a member, the company has visibility and proximity to other members of the offshore wind community.
6. Words By Simone
What do you get when you combine 13 years of experience in the chemicals and pharmaceuticals industry with a gift for translating complex ideas into digestible prose? You get solopreneur Simone Ammons, who joined CIC Philadelphia in April to launch her technical writing business, Words by Simone. The company has quickly racked up new business wins, including, most recently, three large clients in the cloud computing and cybersecurity space. Based on the success of her technical writing business, Simone is now expanding her offerings to include informed data entry services for biopharmaceutical companies that use SAP. Her goal is to help ensure that these companies have the most accurate data, so they can make sound financial decisions.
7. C₂N Diagnostics
When patients are having trouble with thinking or memory, it can be difficult to pinpoint the problem. C₂N Diagnostics is changing that, with widely accessible blood tests for individuals 60 years and older who are experiencing signs or symptoms of mild cognitive impairment or dementia. The test aids healthcare providers in diagnosing Alzheimer’s and can only be ordered by providers. C₂N started the year off strong, earning CAP accreditation—the highest quality standard achievable in laboratory medicine—for their lab space at CIC St. Louis. Then, in May, the company released their newest Alzheimer’s assay, a research-use only test to precisely quantitate four analytes to help researchers expand their understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms of Alzheimer’s. C₂N’s success this year has further strengthened its belief in its mission to become a world leader in best-in-class diagnostic products and services for the benefit of patients.
8. Ascend Venture Capital
Data shows that startups founded by diverse teams consistently perform better, yet they garner just 1-5% of every dollar invested in venture capital. When St. Louis’s Ascend Venture Capital dug into their own numbers, they found that their “winners”—the companies they’d invested the majority of their capital in—happened to be founded by women, people of color, immigrants, or people who identify as LGBTQ+. Ascend decided it was time to deepen its investment in minority-led startups. In May, they launched a $25 million Opportunity Fund, and expanded their leadership to manage the strategy. Already, Ascend has made three investments that have generated greater than 10x returns to date, two of which, Arbol and OXIO, happen to be founded by immigrants. Many more are vying for high-flier status right behind them.
9. Per Scholas
PerScholas is on a mission to expand access to technology training and job opportunities for women and people of color. The nonprofit offers courses in major cities across the US, including Philadelphia, where they were a CIC member. This year, when Per Scholas wanted to expand their offerings to St. Louis, they chose CIC again. In June, they ran their first course at the CIC St. Louis campus, in partnership with the Cortex Innovation Community. Students in the tuition-free, 15-week cybersecurity training certificate program learned how to set up computer networks and firewalls, troubleshoot IP addresses, identify network issues and more. The location made for a great overall experience for the Per Scholas learners, affording them opportunities to attend events, network, enjoy free snacks, and access additional programming. Additional courses are underway now, and enrollment is open for 2023.
Drowning is one of the leading forms of accidental death among young children. Based at CIC Rotterdam, Fibby is making it safer for kids to be in and around the water, with a unique, tilting swimming aid and accompanying app to help parents teach their kids essential water safety skills. The product and its water safety teaching method were developed in partnership with the Dutch Don’t Drown Foundation (DDDF) and got off the ground with the help of a highly successful Kickstarter campaign. Last June, after being certified according to the strictest European regulations, the Fibby swim aid was manufactured and shipped to more than 50 countries, just in time for the summer holidays. In 2023, together with DDDF, Fibby plans to expand its life-saving impact, with projects including swimming projects in countries where swim education isn’t widely available.
11. Doctor One
The World Health Organization estimates the shortage of healthcare workers will reach 18 million by 2030, increasing the pressure on already overworked physicians and limiting access to healthcare services. Warsaw’s Doctor One has a cure: a mobile platform that allows patients to stay in close contact with their own trusted doctor and allows for a larger share of healthcare services to be delivered virtually and asynchronously. Instead of the outdated pay-per-visit model, Doctor One gives patients unlimited access to their personal doctor for a monthly fee. The company’s unique approach attracted a EUR 2.1M seed investment round in March, led by Berlin-based Atlantic Labs, which will allow them to start their international expansion. In April, the company was recognized at the European Economic Congress as the best healthcare startup.
12. The Village
The Village is redefining the concept of early childhood education, with innovative new models and methodologies, including an AirBnB-style platform of “villages”—independently run, verified, micro-daycares and -kindergartens throughout Poland. In June, the Warsaw-based, woman-owned company completed a second round of funding of €3.4 million. This will allow them to expand their investment in their current products and launch new ones. They’re currently testing a new Nanny Sharing program, which connects families in the same neighborhood to a shared nanny. In 2023, The Village plans to launch their first programs in other European countries, so they can meet the needs of even more families.
You can learn a lot when you go with the flow. Tokyo-based unerry’s Real Behavior Data Platform captures and analyzes real-world, human flow data—patterns of human movement in public spaces. Governments can use this data for applications like city planning and congestion reduction, while businesses can use it to deliver better and more personalized experiences for their customers. 2022 was a milestone year for unerry, with their successful IPO in July. This makes them the first CIC Tokyo member to go public since we opened our doors there. Thanks to alliances with major companies like Coca Cola West, Dentsu, NTT Data, and Mitsubishi Corporation, unerry is expanding fast, with endeavors outside of Japan on the horizon, including a smart city project in Indonesia with Mitsubishi Corporation.
14. Verismo Therapeutics
Based at CIC Philadelphia, Verismo Therapeutics is a pioneer in CAR T-cell therapy for cancer—a treatment where the patient’s own immune cells are collected and engineered to attack their cancer, then reinfused into the patient. Verismo’s groundbreaking SynKIR-110 improves on prior generations of CAR T cell therapy to enhance performance, especially in solid tumors, which account for about 89% of all cancers. This year, Verismo obtained FDA clearance, and is now preparing to start its first clinical trial, at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, treating patients with mesothelin-expressing ovarian cancer, mesothelioma, and cholangiocarcinoma. SynKIR-110 was also granted Orphan Drug Designation by the FDA for treatment of mesothelioma.
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