Altitude Lab Brings New Generation of Biotech Development to Utah
Recursion and The University of Utah Launch Region’s Largest Life Science Incubator
SALT LAKE CITY–(August 11, 2020)–Altitude Lab announced its first resident companies and opened applications for its breakthrough collaborative facility and program. Founded by Recursion and the University of Utah’s Center for Technology & Venture Commercialization (TVC), the incubator fills the critical role of finding, supporting, incubating and accelerating early-stage life science and health care companies in Utah. Altitude Lab is the first of its kind—a blended incubator/accelerator program focused on developing diverse and inclusive businesses in the health care sector.
“We’re focused on where innovation and economic growth truly start—founders,” explained Chandana Haque, executive director of Altitude Lab. “We see an opportunity in Salt Lake City to propel global health care innovation by meeting the needs of a diverse community of entrepreneurs.”
Altitude Lab brings together important elements to address critical gaps for founders, both in Utah and in the sector. As residents of the incubator, founders will have access to a cutting-edge 14,500-square-foot facility equipped with nearly a million dollars of the latest molecular and cell biology tools, laboratory space and modern office and networking facilities. Altitude will also offer workshops, mentoring and non-dilutive funding designed to address the opportunity gap experienced by underrepresented founders. Half of resident companies will have an underrepresented founder or executive and one third will receive grants that cover the cost of residency.
“Altitude Lab is bringing together resources and a community that many startups lack, but were pivotal to Recursion’s success,” said Chris Gibson, co-founder and CEO of Recursion. “Together with the university and other partners, we can help reduce the friction of finding key assets, like lab space and capital, for a new generation of diverse companies and founders. It’s an approach that we see transforming the industry in this region.”
“Utah is a substantial source of innovation, as TVC has launched more than two hundred companies in just the last decade, one of which was Recursion,” said Keith Marmer, associate vice president for technology & venture commercialization and corporate partnerships at the University of Utah. “We understand that one of greatest obstacles to building a company is finding affordable lab and office space, so Altitude Lab is providing the region with an important building block to nurture and accelerate ideas to market.”
The incubator’s first companies include:
- Known Med
Accepted to Y Combinator’s summer cohort, founders Andrea Mazzocchi, and Katie-Rose Skelly are working at Altitude Lab to develop an organoid-based platform to personalize cancer treatment strategies.
Mike Kirkness, CIO, Luke Bennink, CTO, and founder Michael Yu, professor of biomedical engineering at the U, are disrupting traditional histology methods for diagnosis of liver fibrosis with their collagen-based diagnostic platform. The technology originates from Yu and his team’s work at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Utah.
- NexEos Bio
Theresa Mansi, CEO, and Gerald Gleich, co-founder and CSO, are leading the NexEos team, along with collaborators from the University of Utah, to develop diagnostic tools and therapies to address eosinophil-related diseases. NexEos offers an alternative to endoscopy with biopsies—a painful and invasive procedure—with its noninvasive imaging agent to diagnose and manage eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). The highly experienced team is also working on treatments for EoE and other eosinophil-driven inflammatory conditions.
Altitude Lab will officially open its collaborative wet lab facility in October to enable therapeutic, diagnostic, medical device, research tools and health tech companies.
Learn more about Altitude Lab and apply for residency at altitudelab.org.
About Altitude Lab
Altitude Lab is building a new, representative generation of founders to seed the next cycle of biotech innovation in Salt Lake City. Located in University of Utah Research Park, Altitude Lab is an incubator focused on early stage life science and health care companies. The initiative is part of a larger city plan and collaborative vision from Recursion and the University of Utah to foster socially-responsible entrepreneurship, job creation, and economic productivity. The Recursion Charitable Foundation, under which Altitude Lab operates, has filed for 501(c)(3) status and currently operates as a nonprofit organization. Learn more at altitudelab.org or connect on Twitter.
Recursion is a clinical-stage biotechnology company combining experimental biology and automation with artificial intelligence in a massively parallel system to efficiently discover potential drugs for diverse indications, including genetic disease, inflammation, immunology and infectious disease. Recursion applies causative perturbations to human cells to generate disease models and associated biological image data. Recursion’s rich, relatable database of more than 5 petabytes of biological images generated in-house on the company’s robotics platform enables advanced machine learning approaches to reveal drug candidates, mechanisms of action and potential toxicity, with the eventual goal of decoding biology and advancing new therapeutics to radically improve lives. Recursion is headquartered in Salt Lake City. Learn more at recursionpharma.com, or connect on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
About the Center for Technology & Venture Commercialization
The Center for Technology & Venture Commercialization is dedicated to helping the University of Utah’s faculty inventors bring their innovations to market. TVC is responsible for all aspects of invention management, patent prosecution, licensing, startup formation and support, equity management and early-stage funding. The center’s mission is to generate economic returns for the university and the state of Utah, expand the university’s reputation for innovation and positively impact society. The University of Utah was recently ranked as the 30th-most innovative university in the world by Reuters.