CWRU-based biopharmaceutical startup showcased at national Demo Day

The Red5 Pharmaceuticals LLC logo

Red5 Pharmaceuticals LLC, a Case Western Reserve University-based biopharmaceutical startup, was among 35 companies chosen from 200 applicants nationally to be featured as part of the first University Startups Demo Day in Washington, D.C., in September.

The event was produced by the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer (NCET2), an association of university startup officers.

Universities create more than 800 startups nationally each year, according to NCET2. Two-hundred companies submitted applications and were screened to find the “Best University Startups 2016” to be showcased at the Demo Day.

“It is both exciting and quite an honor to have one of our startup companies featured in this inaugural event,” said Michael Haag, Case Western Reserve’s executive director for Technology Management.

Red5 Pharmaceuticals develops a diagnostic procedure that can be used during chemotherapy, which encompasses a patented DNA modification technology. The use of Red5’s patented procedure allows for a personalized medicine approach to chemotherapy—the customization of patient health care by tailoring specific treatment decisions and practices to an individual.

Founded in late 2013, Red5 has licensed patented technology discovered by the company’s co-founder, Chief Scientific Officer Anthony Berdis, at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, where he was an assistant professor of pharmacology. Berdis devoted his research to exploring the mechanism and dynamics of precise and pro-mutagenic DNA synthesis.

The company’s lead product is its trademarked KRun kit. The product uses patented chemicals to assess patient samples (blood, serum or tumor biopsy) and determine whether a particular chemotherapy program will be effective at treating leukemias, lymphomas and solid tumors. The kit will provide oncologists with essential information to make rapid clinical decisions.

“Presenting at NCET2 was a great opportunity for Red5 to continue to attract funding from venture capitalists and angel investors,” Berdis said. “These investments will help further develop and commercialize our novel diagnostic kit.”

In 2014, Red5 Pharmaceuticals was awarded a $25,000 grant from Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise to develop the enzymatic assays for the KRun kit. In 2015, the Cleveland-based company was awarded a $60,000 Technology Validation and Start-up Fund grant from Ohio Third Frontier to further develop a sensor kit to predict whether or not a patient’s leukemia or brain cancer will respond to a specific chemotherapy regimen prior to starting treatment.

“To lead the world in the 21st century, our nation must have a sustained commitment to education, scientific research and startups,” said NCET2 Executive Director Tony Stanco, “and American universities are uniquely positioned to deliver on all three to ensure the U.S. continues to lead socially and economically in this century, as it did in the last.”

Case Western Reserve provides a robust environment for students, faculty researchers and alumni to innovate and develop their ideas into university-based startups—including the multi-story Larry Sears and Sally Zlotnick Sears think[box] “makerspace,” CWRU LaunchNet and the university’s Technology Transfer Office, among many other facilities and programs.

This article was originally published Sept. 27.