PHILADELPHIA — Greater Philadelphia Senior Executive Group (GPSEG) Life Sciences Subgroup members Jim Ballance and Deni Zodda helped guide two of the three winning entries in the recently concluded University City Science Center’s QED Proof-of-Concept Program.
The winning entries were each awarded $200,000 in research-and-development funding, as well as one year of continued business guidance to help them bring their technologies to market.
The QED Program is the nation’s first multi-institutional proof-of-concept program for life science technologies. Awards are made to bridge the funding gap between research grants and commercial seed investment by awarding grants to life science technologies with high potential in the healthcare industry. The program also pairs researchers with advisors who guide them in developing the business case to support their research strategies.
Ballance, who lives in Berwyn, is the former vice president of technology development at BioRexis Pharmaceuticals. He worked with Linda B. Couto, the associate director at the Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania on a novel treatment for people infected with hepatitis C virus. The treatment involves a technology that interferes with the ability of the virus to express its own genes – which could overcome the problem of drug resistance that currently limits treatment options.
Zodda, who also lives in Berwyn, is a principal at Medignostica, LLC in Berwyn. She worked with George P. Tuszynski, a professor of neuroscience at Temple University’s School of Medicine, who developed a protein-based therapy for acute myeloid leukemia that shows promise is reverting cultured leukemic cells into normal cells. If that activity can be demonstrated in patients, it could revolutionize standard care for treating leukemia
Ellen M. Derrico, chair of the Life Sciences Subgroup, noted that subgroups members had participated in the Science Center’s program throughout its three phases – and had advised 60 percent of all projects in the program’s first phase.
“This is a great example of how making connections, collaborating, and volunteering lead to successful generation of new business opportunities and future economic growth,” Derrico said.