Horse Progressing Under Morphogenesis Cancer Therapy (BloodHorse)

A cutting-edge cancer treatment offered by UF startup Morphogenesis, Inc. has helped reduce skin cancer by 80 percent in 1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Alphabet Soup. The cancer treatment is a vaccine that allows the horse’s immune system to target the melanoma.

Patricia Lawman, chief executive officer of treatment developer Morphogenesis, said even though her company has been on the front line, the treatment sometimes still amazes her. The company hopes to expand into treating people.

“For so many people it sounds too good to be true being able to treat these cancers with no side effects and relatively little money…but that’s what this technology is and how it works,” Lawman said. “It’s not specific to any tumor because it’s a bacteria that can be injected into any tumor, and it doesn’t cause side effects.”

SharpSpring Adds to Board of Directors (SATPRNews)

UF startup SharpSpring, Inc., a global provider of cloud-based marketing technologies, announced the addition of Steven Huey to its board of directors effective immediately. The board of directors announced an approved plan to increase the size of its board to seven directors on or before the next annual shareholder meeting.  With these changes, SharpSpring’s board will increase from five directors to seven directors, and increase its slate of independent directors from three to five.

Huey brings to SharpSpring’s board nearly 30 years of financial, business development, and operational experience in the technology industry. He is currently co-founder and CEO of Capture Higher Ed, a leading marketing technology firm that combines the principles of machine learning and big data to provide customized enrollment solutions to colleges and universities across the country.

AxoGen Appoints New Medical Director (EconoTimes)

UF startup AxoGen, Inc., a global leader in innovative  surgical solutions for peripheral nerve injuries, has appointed Ivica (Ivan) Ducic, M.D., Ph.D. as Medical Director of Clinical and Translational Sciences. Dr. Ducic will be responsible for AxoGen’s global medical affairs programs as a non-officer member of the leadership team.

“The addition of Dr. Ducic to our Clinical and Translational Sciences team will enhance our efforts to provide world class surgeon education, meaningful clinical evidence on our product portfolios, and continued innovation in peripheral nerve repair technology,” commented Karen Zaderej, President and Chief Executive Officer.  “Dr. Ducic is a renowned and experienced peripheral nerve surgeon who shares our mission to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from peripheral nerve injuries.”

Trethera & Nanotherapeutics Sign Agreement for Development of Blood Cancer Therapies (BusinessWire)

UF startup Nanotherapeutics has granted biotech Trethera Corporation an exclusive license for the global development, manufacturing and marketing of Triapine® (3-AP) and all formulations, for the treatment of hematological malignancies. Triapine® is a clinical-stage, small molecule inhibitor of ribonucleotide reductase (RNR), a key enzyme in the de novo pathway of nucleotide biosynthesis.

Prasad Raje, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nanotherapeutics, commented, “We are delighted to be able to license Triapine® to Trethera for the treatment of hematological malignancies. Trethera’s scientific team is pursuing critically important research which may unlock this compound’s ability to yield new blood cancer therapies in the future and we look forward to watching their progress.”

Axogen Reports Q4 Revenue at $11.3 Million

UF startup AxoGen, Inc., a global leader in innovative surgical solutions for peripheral nerve injuries, announced preliminary unaudited fourth quarter and full year 2016 revenue and selected business highlights for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2016.

Highlights include that the fourth quarter revenue is expected to be at least $11.3 million, up 45 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2015 revenue of $7.8 million. The full year 2016 revenue is expected to be at least $41.0 million, up 50 percent compared to 2015 revenue of $27.3 million.

Online Fitness Company Helps People Get off the Couch (83 Degrees Media)

Ed Buckley has found an innovative way to make money by encouraging people to exercise. Through UF startup Peerfit, a company he founded with Scott Peeples, he is working with insurers and employers to provide exercise credits at fitness centers across the nation.

“The idea is that we should give you an array of options, whatever is going to motivate you to get out of the couch,” says Buckley, Peerfit’s CEO. “You have the availability to do it, and you have no barriers to stop you.”

A digital company based in Tampa, Peerfit works directly with insurance carriers and employers with wellness budgets. The companies buy credits that clients or employees can use at a variety of fitness studios.

Axogen Nerve Graft Recipient Honored on 2017 Donate Life Float (EconoTimes)

UF startup AxoGen, Inc., a global leader in innovative surgical solutions for peripheral nerve injuries, announced that Jeffrey Cole will be the 2016 AxoGen Patient Ambassador. Jeffrey, a medically retired U.S. Marine Corps Corporal, will join 23 other riders on the 2017 Donate Life float in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California on January 2, 2017. The Donate Life float represents the importance of the gift of organ and tissue donation.  All of the riders have received donated tissue, organs or eyes thanks to the generosity of deceased donors and their families.  Jeffrey will represent the thousands of patients who have had injured nerves repaired with AxoGen’s Avance® Nerve Graft, a minimally processed nerve graft from donated tissue.

Building a Biotech Without Millions in the Bank (MedCityNews)

Private investment in biotech has exploded in recent years. Every week, another $50 million startup seems to appear out of nowhere.

While those companies regularly make the news, they aren’t the norm. The path to financial stability and market awareness is usually much longer and far more convoluted.

UF startup AxoGen is a prime example. And as a product of its hurdles, the company is a treasure trove of lessons for how to creatively persevere through tough financial times, from layoffs to reverse mergers to courting angel investors.

Sun BioPharma Starts Fifth Patient Cohort in Pancreatic Cancer Drug Trials (EconoTimes)

UF startup Sun BioPharma, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing disruptive therapeutics for the treatment of patients with pancreatic diseases, announced that the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), an independent group of medical experts closely monitoring the company’s clinical study, has completed its safety review of the data from cycle 1 dosing of the fourth cohort of patients. As a result of this review by the DSMB, Sun Biopharma has begun recruiting patients for the fifth patient cohort in the dose escalation phase of the study. The Company currently expects to begin dosing patients in the fifth cohort as early as December 12, 2016, which is approximately 60 days after the fourth patient cohort commenced dosing.

The treatment is a first-in-class, proprietary, polyamine compound designed to exert therapeutic effects in a mechanism specific to the pancreas. Sun BioPharma originally licensed it from the University of Florida in 2011. The molecule has been shown to be highly effective in human pancreatic cancer models, demonstrating superior activity to existing FDA approved chemotherapy agents.

Department of Defense Opens Biomedical Countermeasure Facility in Alachua (WUFT)

The U.S. Department of Defense opened its new Advanced Development and Manufacturing facility in Alachua on Dec. 7. The DOD has partnered with the local, private company Nanotherapeutics, a UF startup, to make vaccines and medical products to support the troops from biological weapons and the country from surprise infection outbreaks.

The 183,000 square foot facility was specifically designed to provide the rapid development and manufacturing of vaccines and antitoxins. These countermeasures would be protecting troops and the nation as a whole against man-made or naturally occurring biological threats.