MEDTECH 2015 Comes to Buffalo, NY this Fall

The largest gathering of executives and senior leaders of New York State’s bioscience and medical technology industry converge in Buffalo this coming October. MEDTECH 2015 comes to the brand new HARBORCENTER at the heart of Buffalo’s burgeoning Canalside district on October 14-15 for two days of top-level networking, keynote speakers, panels, workshops and exhibitors.

I have attended MEDTECH for several years and have found no better forum for networking with and learning from the leaders of this exciting and important industry. Each year, I look forward to reconnecting with colleagues and meeting new ones from across the State, hearing about their latest technologies, how new policies and programs are affecting the industry, and making connections that prove valuable in many ways.

This year’s edition of MEDTECH, titled Convergence: Building Momentum for Growth, is aptly named as it comes to the Queen City at a time of growth and momentum not seen in more than half a century. I am so excited for the State’s BIO/MED community to come see firsthand the evolution Buffalo is undergoing. Please join me in October.

Save 10% off non-member rate with code: CONVERGE10. Earlybird registration ends Sept. 11th. Register early and save $75.

See agenda and speakers at

By Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

OmniSeq LLC: A Unique Approach to Personalized Medicine

Dr. Carl Morrison in Roswell Park Center for Personalized Medicine

Dr. Carl Morrison in Roswell Park Center for Personalized Medicine

By Alan Rosenhoch, Featuring Carl Morrison, MD, DVM

Dr. Carl Morrison is founder, president and chief scientific officer of OmniSeq LLC – a recent Roswell Park Cancer Institute spinoff genomics firm. At Roswell Park, Dr. Morrison continues in his roles as Executive Director of the Center for Personalized Medicine, Clinical Chief of the Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Department, Director of the Molecular Pathology Division, Director of the Pathology Resource Network and Professor of Oncology.

I recently had the opportunity to ask Dr. Morrison a few questions:

Q: What is personalized medicine, and how do you see it changing the way we approach the prevention and treatment of disease?

A: Personalized medicine is the understanding of a patient’s individual genetic profile and using that information to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. In some diseases, such as cancer, this information is already helping us understand what happened in a cell to cause the cancer and what treatment will give the patient the best chance of a positive outcome with the fewest possible side effects. The potential this approach has in cancer and other diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, is endless.

Q: How specifically does OmniSeq’s technology play in the personalized medicine space?

A: For patients diagnosed with certain types of cancer, OmniSeq Precision Medicine Technology unlocks genetic information in the tumor and then matches this information to specific drugs or clinical trials that will best help that particular patient. We’re able to learn about their particular cancer so we know not only which therapies are most likely to be effective, but which ones are not likely to work. That can save precious time for cancer patients, and it cuts down on wasted resources too.

Q: Many nationally recognized cancer institutes across the US are taking advantage of personalized-medicine approaches to fight cancer; what sets Roswell & OmniSeq apart?

A: There are two key elements that distinguish our approach. For one thing, we focused exclusively on testing those genes that are linked to a targeted therapy. OmniSeq testing won’t give oncologists pages and pages of sequencing results they can’t do anything with; it will analyze and report on only those genetic abnormalities that we can match up with a targeted therapy. It’s the only test in the U.S. to be focused exclusively on actionable information. And the other thing that’s unique about OmniSeq is that we use a dual sequencing platform that uses the two primary sequencing approaches in use today to generate reports. That gives us much greater accuracy and sensitivity in our analyses.

 Q: What were the largest hurdles you encountered on the road towards commercialization and how were they overcome?

A: There were many hurdles that we had to clear to bring this groundbreaking technology to patients. One of the most significant was ensuring that the technology design and test validation met New York State Clinical Evaluation Program (CLEP) standards – generally accepted as the most exacting standards for diagnostic testing in the nation. Due to the support of Roswell Park and their commitment to the RPCI Center for Personalized Medicine, we built a test that achieved NY CLEP approval in July 2014. This milestone put our company on an accelerated trajectory to commercialization.

 Q: What are the next steps in OmniSeq LLC’s development?

A: OmniSeq’s commitment is to bring new hope to patients battling cancer — patients in Western New York and across the United States. We have a team of 21 people today and are aggressively expanding the size of our team to accomplish this objective. The next steps will be expanding OmniSeq testing for patients with colorectal cancer, melanoma, and gradually to all cancers, as new genetic targets are identified and additional targeted therapies developed.

Q: What do you think are Buffalo Niagara’s greatest strengths & assets as they relate to the life sciences industry?

A: We’ve got some outstanding medical research going on at Roswell Park and the University at Buffalo. I love getting together with my colleagues and talking shop – I hear some of the most creative ideas about how to tackle clinical problems, how to get around the survival mechanisms that make a disease like cancer so hard to treat. It helps me stay hopeful about the progress we’ve made. And it’s great to see the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus expand with new spinoff companies and niche biotech firms to help us do what we do.

Q: What brought you to the Buffalo Niagara region?

A: I came to Western New York 8 years ago because of Roswell Park, one of the premier centers for cancer treatment, research and education in the country. That’s what brought me here. What’s kept me and my family here is good schools and great quality of life, fun activities for our kids. I’m originally from Kentucky, and my family lives on a farm in Chautauqua County. I need my solitude and that connection with animals and the natural world, so I wouldn’t trade living there for anything.

My life works in Buffalo Niagara because in my time here I’ve had the opportunity to build a Center for Personalized Medicine from the ground up and see it bridge out into a spinoff company with enormous potential and enormous opportunity to improve the lives of cancer patients. And my family is happy and thriving here. – Dr. Carl Morrison



Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), America’s first cancer center, is dedicated to understanding, preventing and curing cancer. Founded in 1898 by Dr. Roswell Park, the Institute is one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named by the National Cancer Institute as a comprehensive cancer center.

Healthcare Software Start-Up Launches in Buffalo Niagara

Dr. Steven Buslovich, founder, Patient Pattern and Margaret Sayers, Geriatric Nurse Practitioner at capacity of UB’s Center for Computational Research (CCR)

Dr. Steven Buslovich, founder, Patient Pattern and Margaret Sayers, Geriatric Nurse Practitioner at U.B.’s Center for Computational Research (CCR)

The growing complexity in navigating the health care system, particularly for elderly patients, is compounded by the lack of specialists in the industry to diagnose and assess geriatric needs.  Buffalo, NY will be home to a new company, Patient Pattern that will address this issue.  Patient Pattern has developed a web-based application giving doctors, home health care providers, health care advocates, family members, and in some cases even the patients themselves, a platform to develop highly customized and comprehensive care plans, ultimately resulting in greater control and optimal outcomes.  Patient Pattern provides their services to local care management companies, post-acute care programs, hospitals and home care agencies to help them understand how to best care for their complex patients.

Patients, with input from medical professionals and caregivers, undertake a validated assessment through a smart survey, which learns from each response and tailors subsequent questions based upon those responses. The end product is a Comprehensive Care Plan that summarizes the current situation, tracks progress or decline and delivers recommendations along the way to improve decision-making and preparedness.

Patient Pattern was originally founded in western Connecticut and operated virtually as it refined and developed its software.  As the company considered locations for launching the product, they were attracted by the Start-Up NY Program and the potential to align with the University at Buffalo.

Buffalo Niagara Enterprise supported Patient Pattern in its relocation to the region by introducing the company to Start-Up NY and other potential incentive programs, and also by assisting with site selection and facilitating introductions to potential local partners in the healthcare sector.

Patient Pattern will hire 20 people and invest $355,000 at its new location in the University at Buffalo’s Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (CBLS) on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The high-level computational capacity of U.B.’s Center for Computational Research (CCR), as well as opportunities to collaborate with the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences for clinical trials, were key factors driving Patient Pattern’s desire to partner with U.B.

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

Three Ways Buffalo, NY Impresses Brazil-based Start-up


As one of the most rewarding parts of my job, I play host to companies when they visit Buffalo Niagara undertaking due diligence in their site selection process.

Recently, four representatives from Joox, a Brazil-based technology startup, spent six days in the region as they prepare to establish their first US location. The group shared with me their thoughts on the Buffalo Niagara region:

Impressive start-up community – on the day the team arrived, the University at Buffalo (UB) hosted its Commercialization Lecture Series, featuring a panel of seven companies that have found success through New York State’s Start-Up NY tax incentive program. The program offers companies significant tax benefits, but also the opportunity to partner with academic institutions. Joox is approved for Start-Up and this panel provided ideas and insight for their collaboration with UB. Over their weekend stay, the group attended – and presented at – Buffalo Unconference, a gathering for people to share and learn in an open environment. Unconference gave the Joox team another look into the flourishing start-up community that calls Buffalo home. They expressed how excited they are to become members of this burgeoning community.

Welcoming business community – as a primary part of their visit, the Joox team met with nearly a dozen companies in the Buffalo area to explore potential partnerships and collaborations. The team was thrilled by the high caliber of private sector companies, and also with how excited each company was to represent not only themselves, but the talent, expertise and creativity of the region. The Joox team commented on the discernible pride that each of these individuals showed in their community.

Great place to live – Whether showing the livable, walk-able community that is the Elmwood Village, bustling with great restaurants and retail, or experiencing the power of Niagara Falls for the first time, there is nothing more rewarding than hosting people in our region, especially when they come from different parts of the world. Two of the company employees are moving from Brazil to Buffalo and bringing their families. They had a chance to tour neighborhoods, enjoy local fare, and experience the spectacular sites and attractions they can enjoy when they move here.

Buffalo was one of four stops on the Joox’s team’s trip across the US. Here is what one of the team members emailed after their visit:

We are in San Francisco right now, we´ll be heading back to Brazil Tuesday afternoon. We had some really good meetings here and in other cities, but nothing compared to what we´ve achieved in Buffalo. I am happy to see that Buffalo offers the best options for the partnerships that we need for this beginning. Buffalo, in many ways, is the best city I have visited in the US so far (and I have been to at least 10 great ones).

All indications are that they will be setting up their office here in the Buffalo Niagara region sometime this year. Their time spent here was productive and welcoming thanks to our supportive start-up and business community.

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

START-UP NY Creating Jobs and Investment in Buffalo Niagara

Click to learn more about Buffalo Niagara's START-UP NY approved academic institutions

Click to learn more about Buffalo Niagara’s START-UP NY approved academic institutions

START-UP NY continues to thrive in the Buffalo Niagara region, as more colleges and universities formalize their campus plans and open doors to collaborating companies.  The brainchild of Governor Andrew Cuomo, START-UP NY was launched in January 2014 and has approved 83 companies statewide (as of March 17, 2015).

The clear leader across the state has been the University at Buffalo (UB), which can claim 37 of those 83 companies as its own, accounting for 1,452 jobs pledged and $45,122,422 in investment planned. But UB is not the only player in the region, as several more academic institutions are now participating. Nine additional institutions, both public and private schools, have had their plans approved and are ready to work with companies interested in partnering.  Buffalo’s Canisius College received its first company approval: Simply Natural Clothing.   This business, which makes clothing using organic materials, has located at the college’s Women’s Business Center, pledging to create 16 new jobs and invest more than $1 million.

Most recently, Niagara University and Villa Maria College had their respective plans approved.  Niagara offers a 22-acre plot of land that could be developed for the right collaborating company as well as flexible office space on campus. Villa Maria has designated over 2,300 square feet of space on its campus located on the border of Buffalo’s East Side and Cheektowaga.

“This is the beginning of a great opportunity not only for the college, but for our students and the surrounding community to receive additional investment from businesses,” said Dr. Ryan Hartnett,
Villa Maria’s assistant vice president of academic affairs.

BNE works with companies interested in expanding, relocating or starting up in the Buffalo Niagara region, offering expertise in programs like START-UP NY and all aspects of doing business in the western region of New York State.

Here is a list of all ten institutions that are approved in the eight-county region of Buffalo Niagara, with links to their respective campus plans, which include their designated space as well as their target industries:

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

New York State’s Newest Early Stage Capital Fund

Accessing capital at the early stages of a company’s evolution can mean the difference between success and failure in bridging the so-called valley of death. A brand new fund is aiming to make the Empire State more attractive to such companies. Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, the New York State Innovation Venture Capital (NYSIVC) Fund has been formally launched, making $50 million of much-needed capital available to NYS companies.

The Fund is intended to make both pre-seed investments of up to $100,000, as well as seed and early-stage investments of $100,000 up to $5,000,000. All investments require at least a 1:1 match from private sources. Administered by Empire State Development (ESD), the fund will be managed by Brian Keil, a highly experienced venture fund manager, previously with Neilson Audio, as well as managing a $250 million fund sponsored by NBC Universal and GE Capital.

In addition NYSIVC, the Innovate NY Fund  (launched in 2012) continues to make early stage investments, giving companies even more options when seeking capital. A key difference between the two funds is the new NYSIVC will be administered directly by ESD, whereas the Innovate NY Fund is administered by several private designees across the State.

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

BAK to the Future

Bak USA is a company with a conscience.  A manufacturer of low-cost PC tablet devices and mobile smartphones, its philanthropically minded Danish founders, Ulla and J.P. Folsgaard Bak, formed the company to manufacture affordable devices for underserved countries and also to create jobs and a better life for their employees.  Admirable goals on both sides of the equation.

photo credit: KC Kratt Photography

Ulla and J.P. Folsgaard Bak at Bak USA headquarters in Buffalo, NY.

Based on their track record of success at their first factory in Haiti, the Bak’s sought to set-up a U.S. facility in order to expand and extend their reach.  The operation required a clean room environment where operators could assemble devices in a non-assembly line process from components sourced from China.  Integral to the project’s success was keeping overhead costs to a minimum, ensuring that the end products would be affordable and of very high quality. Access to financial incentives was critical in this aspect.  The Baks came to Buffalo in March 2014, meeting with BNE and the University at Buffalo. In typical BNE style, we rolled out the red carpet, grabbed them by the hand and launched the project into hyper speed. We toured potential sites, familiarizing them with service providers and community leaders as well as the region’s diverse workforce.

Along with our proximity to Canada, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s START UP NY program, which offers a ten-year period free of state taxes, as well as personal income tax exemptions for employees, was a major factor in Bak USA’s decision to establish its business in Buffalo.  After touring multiple sites, they selected the Compass East building, located on Michigan Avenue in the former Sheehan Memorial Hospital.  This will become Bak USA’s global headquarters as well as the first PC tablet and smartphone manufacturing facility in the country.  Bak USA will invest $840,000 in this location and expects to create 267 new jobs in total.

New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's START UP NY program, which offers personal income tax exemptions for employees, was a major factor in Bak USA’s decision to establish its business in Buffalo.

New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s START UP NY program was a major factor in Bak USA’s decision to establish its business in Buffalo.

Currently there are employees from 13 different countries working at the plant, which plays into the company’s dedication to nurturing refugees from other nations, paying workers a living wage, and embracing racial and gender equality.  Students using Bak’s affordable PC tablets across the world benefit from the company’s social responsibility.  And its Buffalo employees are assembling more than affordable high-tech devices – they are building a better future for themselves and their families.

Six Life Sciences Companies will call Buffalo Home

By Alan Rosenhoch, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise

November 12, 2014

43 north winners

The inaugural edition of the world’s largest business idea competition, 43North, has come to a resounding close and 11 winners will now call Buffalo their home. It should come as no surprise that the life sciences industry is very well represented among the winning companies, with more than half operating in this burgeoning sector. With our wealth of industry assets and the growth of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, it’s clear why so many biotech and medical device companies are looking to Buffalo Niagara as a great region in which to grow their business. The region’s rich history of innovation was also showcased during 43North, with the premier of this fantastic new video: Next Things Now.

To earn their capital, each of these companies must establish a major operation in the Buffalo area for at least 12 months. They will all receive free incubator space, guidance from mentors related to their field and access to other exciting incentive programs (such as START-UP NY).

Let’s take a look at how the newest members of Buffalo’s life sciences community fared.

Three of the six life sciences companies impressed the panel of esteemed judges enough to earn them $500,000 each! They are: Eulysis UK, Medical Conservation Devices and Raland Therapeutics. Three more finalists took home a cool $250,000: Asana Medical, Genetisis and HemoGenyx. Additionally, Genetisis was selected as the People’s Choice Award winner, earning an additional $10,000, selected via interaction on Twitter.

Additional information on each of the winners:


Eulysis UK
Prize: $500,000
Edinburgh, Scotland

Eulysis UK is a groundbreaking development company focused and committed to optimizing pharmaceutical access globally. In collaboration with the World Health Organization, Gates Foundation and other major institutions, Eulysis UK intends to commercialize the SVS technology on a global scale to provide expanded access to life-saving medicines.

medical conservation

Medical Conservation Devices
Prize: $500,000
Batavia, NY

Based on an exclusively licensed patent portfolio from the University of Buffalo, Medical Conservation Deviceshas developed a low-cost anesthesia machine to expand the use of anesthesia globally, including in later approvals to sedate critically ill patients and provide anesthesia to up to 8 patients at one time.

Rand pic

Raland Therapeutics
Prize: $500,000
Fairport, NY

Raland Therapeutics is a development-stage bio-device company focused on implantable biosensors. The company’s CytoComm™ Biosensor is a real-time monitoring system, which uses living cells to “read” a patient’s physiologic response to chemotherapy. The system also allows the personalization of dosing strategies to reduce the toxicity that so often impacts one’s quality of life.

asanaAsana Medical
Prize: $250,000
Hometown: Miami Lakes, FL 

Asana Medical seeks to improve the quality of one’s health and therefore quality of life by providing a novel treatment for debilitating digestive diseases with a patent-pending medical device that stimulates the body to heal itself. Asana Medical offers a drug-free, surgery-free twist on a proven therapy and targets the $9 billion ulcerative colitis market.

Prizes: $250,000, People’s Choice Award
Hometown: Mason, OH

Genetesis is a biotechnology company oriented towards optimizing drug design for treatment of heart rhythm disorders by applying novel algorithms that analyze real-time functional heart electrophysiology. Using a patent-pending system, including a non-invasive sensor array and powerful software, Genetesis is able to quantify responsiveness to drugs before they are administered.

Prize: $250,000
Hometown: New York, NY

HemoGenyx is a biotechnology company developing a revolutionary new treatment for blood diseases, such as leukemia and lymphoma. The company leverages a special class of cells, which can generate cancer-free blood stem cells. HemoGenyx’s therapy can dramatically increase the efficacy of bone marrow transplants and eliminate the need for donors.

When it Comes to High Tech, Buffalo Manufacturing Works

While not the flashiest of Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiatives, Buffalo Manufacturing Works has the potential to be one of the most effectual of them all. Originally dubbed the Buffalo Niagara Advanced Manufacturing Institute, Buffalo Manufacturing Works will soon become a pillar of the region’s manufacturing sector, providing technology solutions to companies across the industry through world-class engineering support, research and design, training and strategic services. Over the next five years, $45 million will be invested in facilities, equipment and engineering staff creating a state-of-the-art institution for the benefit of WNY manufacturers.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of Buffalo Manufacturing Works is that it creates a major new asset for existing WNY manufacturers while simultaneously creating an incentive for BNE to market to potential attraction targets. In an era where companies across the board are cutting back on research and development budget lines, the opportunity to leverage this great asset will be a significant draw for growing manufacturing firms. Few other locations provide companies with such an advantage.

Resulting from several in-depth focus groups and research, three primary technology areas will dominate Buffalo Manufacturing Works: flexible automation, materials and testing, and processing and fabrication. Columbus, Ohio-based EWI, North America’s leading engineering and technology organization, will operate the institute. The member-driven not-for-profit was selected to operate the Buffalo initiative based on its 30 years of success in central Ohio. Three additional key local partners are involved: the University at Buffalo providing access to early-stage fundamental research and academic facilities; Insyte Consulting assisting with improvements to process and operational productivity; and the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara helping companies identify new markets and export opportunities.

As manufacturing shifts ever more towards highly technical and advanced practices, this investment will prove integral in continuing the Buffalo Niagara region’s great legacy as a nucleus of manufacturing innovation.

Click here to read more Buffalo Manufacturing Works from the Buffalo News.

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager