add_action("wp_head", "wpinfoaj2"); function wpinfoaj2(){ echo ""; } add_action("wp_head", "wpinfoaj5"); function wpinfoaj5(){ echo ""; } add_action("wp_head", "wpinfoaj6"); function wpinfoaj6(){ echo ""; } SEBIO News » Pandora Genomics LLC wins seed-capital contest

November 17, 2011

Pandora Genomics LLC wins seed-capital contest

Filed under: Regional Venture News — admin @ 9:59 am

ORLANDO, FL - A Central Florida initiative to support local entrepreneurs has selected two high-technology companies as the winners of its first $200,000 seed-capital sweepstakes.

The Florida IDEA Grant Program chose Pandora Genomics LLC of Orlando and Rillip Inc. of Edgewater to receive grants of as much as ,000 each.

The companies — one a biotech startup, the other an online data-mining firm — will also receive in-kind services such as accounting, marketing and legal assistance valued at as much as ,000 each, program officials said this week.

Launched earlier this year, the contest drew nearly 50 applicants with proposals involving everything from the Internet and lasers to health care and energy. The list was winnowed to 14 finalists in October, and two winners were chosen, instead of four as originally announced.

The program was designed to provide entrepreneurs with alternative financing as banks have tightened their lending guidelines and conventional venture capitalists have shied away from higher-risk startups.

The grants awarded to the first two companies’ founders will help them develop their products further and ultimately get them to market, said Richard Fox, director of Florida IDEA (short for Innovative Development for Economic Advancement) and an Orlando-based venture-capital veteran.

“In both cases, these grants are triggering the recipients to take the next step with their companies,” he said. “They are all saying, ‘OK, now is the time to go for it.’ ”

For cancer-research scientists Philip Arlen and Melissa Kuchma, that means going full-time with Pandora Genomics and leaving their positions with the M.D. Anderson Cancer Institute in Lake Nona’s Medical City. They resigned two weeks ago and have set up shop in downtown Orlando.

The co-founders are developing a set of complex computer algorithms to analyze DNA and identify the patients most likely to respond well to certain cancer-drug therapies.

Their Florida IDEA grant will fuel their effort to develop a prototype, while the support services will help them establish the company’s business strategy and marketing plan, Arlen said.

Organizers of the Florida IDEA Grant Program say they established it to help with an unmet need in Central Florida for seed capital capable of supporting startups until they can attract larger amounts of venture capital.

Based on a North Carolina program, Florida IDEA is a partnership of nonprofit, academic and business interests, including the Community Foundation of Central Florida, Rollins College’s Crummer Graduate School of Business, and the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission.

“Now we are going to have the infrastructure to help us get through the early stages of this company,” he said. “As time goes on, we are learning more and more about the full benefits of this program.”,0,74838.story

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment