Westchester has emerged as a national hub of the biosciences industry, propelled by cutting-edge companies like Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in Tarrytown and Acorda Therapeutics in Ardsley. Keeping the momentum going behind the scenes, however, is The Catalyst, a division of the Westchester County Office of Economic Development that includes the Westchester County Biosciences Initiative.
Led by the newly appointed director of entrepreneurship and innovation for Westchester County, Deborah Novick, the Biosciences Initiative seeks to foster local biotech startups by facilitating key relationships with Westchester entities equipped to provide services such as financing/investment, marketing/PR, fundraising, workspace/infrastructure, legal advice, and insurance, among others.
“We are like the facilitator,” says Novick, who previously ran Bioinc@NYMC, a 10-cohort biotech incubator at Valhalla’s New York Medical College. “We understand the deep resources available in the county and introduce them to each other, so they can collaborate, essentially creating a county ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship in the biosciences sector.”
In June, the Westchester County Biosciences Accelerator graduated its first cohort class, which included:
• VisTact, a woman-owned company that is developing CatchU, a quick, reliable, and affordable mobile fall-risk-assessment tool for seniors.
• Mickey’s is using e-textiles to help those with movement disorders, like Parkinson’s disease, improve or enhance their mobility through cueing systems that strengthen neural pathways that bypass brain structures where neuronal communication has broken down.
• JelikaLite is developing a personalized treatment methodology for autism that combines improved brain connectivity, via transcranial photobiomodulation, with specific skill development through individualized learning modules.
• Cognome has a proprietary technology platform called the Patient-centered Analytic Learning Machine, or PALM, which marshals advanced analytics, digital technology, and data integration to re-engineer clinical practice and healthcare operations.
• Colonai develops AI-enabled software guidance systems to improve colorectal cancer screening by preventing two key problems during colonoscopy: missed tumors and incompletely removed tumors.
• Laronix is another woman-owned company, which has developed the world’s first smart, wearable (but noninvasive), artificial device that, through a combination of AI and sensors on the neck, can give someone who’s lost their larynx exceptionally high-quality-sounding vocalization.