Biogen Idec reveals first start-up in innovation incubator

3-Jan-2008

The first occupant in the Biogen Idec Innovation Incubator (bi3) is a company called Escoublac, which is based on the discovery of a new link between bone biology and metabolism by Dr Gerard Karsenty, professor and chair of Genetics & Development at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC).

The first occupant in the Biogen Idec Innovation Incubator (bi3) is a company called Escoublac, which is based on the discovery of a new link between bone biology and metabolism by Dr Gerard Karsenty, professor and chair of Genetics & Development at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC).

Bi3 is a corporate initiative designed to contribute to the company's drug development pipeline by offering entrepreneurial scientists the opportunity to convert novel biological insights into life-saving and life-changing therapies. The innovation incubator is designed to put scientific founders in the best position to successfully demonstrate the therapeutic potential of a drug candidate and realise significant economic benefits within timelines as short as two to three years.

The incubator provides founders with access to three critical resources necessary to building a company and advancing a scientific discovery from the lab bench to a patient's bedside:

  • Funding: bi3 supplies the financial resources necessary to convert "drug prototypes" into development candidates that can quickly enter the clinic.
  • Facility: bi3 offers state-of-the-art laboratory space, office space and shared equipment in an access-controlled environment adjacent to Biogen Idec's headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Focus: bi3 offers entrepreneurs the ability to focus on the science by providing access to Biogen Idec's drug discovery expertise, scientific services and world-class technology, as well as all the business and administrative support required to manage day-to-day company operations.

"What appealed to me about bi3 was the access to Biogen Idec's scientists," said Dr Karsenty. "The ability to tap into their drug discovery and development expertise increases our collective chances of turning a promising discovery into therapies that actually help patients."

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Dr Karsenty, in addition to his position at CUMC, will be key scientific advisor at Escoublac. His goal in building the company is to explore whether the discovery can be translated into new treatments for metabolic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and obesity. Escoublac's research focus will build upon Dr Karsenty's discoveries that the hormone osteocalcin is involved in regulating insulin and fat storage in the body.

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