The Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence is holding its Winter Social for members and guests on Wednesday, December 11 from 6-9:30 p.m. at J. Verno Studio, 3030 Jane Street, South Side. To register online go to http://register.towercare.com/pitt-iee or contact Tara Gerek at firstname.lastname@example.org or (412) 648-1389.
A pop-up creative firm called UpTo will offer low cost yet high quality public relations, design and digital media services to small businesses and non-profit organizations in downtown East Liberty, Pa. on October 14 – 18 at 6101 Penn Avenue, in the Liberty Bank building suite102 located on Sheridan Avenue. Organizations can find out more and schedule an appointment at www.whatareyouupto.org.
In collaboration with the co-working space The Beauty Shoppe, UpTo offers low costs service to small businesses as a way to break down the barriers for these companies to participate in good design and help them understand the importance of quality creative and writing services. UpTo staff will also host a free, open to the public, community social presenting the work and celebrate the small business owners with free food and drinks at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 18.
During the office hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., UpTo will offer low-cost services that include writing press releases, designing logos, creating social media channels like Facebook and Twitter and other offerings al-a-carte. All services will be completed in an eight hour time frame. Walk-in’s are welcomed but customers are encouraged to register for a half-hour consultation before each design or writing project begins.
“We know main street businesses and small non-profit organizations sometimes do not have the means to participate in quality creative services,” said Eric Sloss, a writer with UpTo. “We are breaking that barrier down, rethinking how the creative industries can provide quality and good service in a short timeframe to those who need it.”
All content produced is original and will be published on the whatareyouupto.org website, as well promoted in the UpTo Twitter feed for additional exposure. The files will be shared with each customer in digital format. UpTo will be offering these exclusive prices in the vacant space for four days only.
UpTo is arranged like a same-day tax service. Customers can pick from a menu of services with prices ranging from $25 to $150 dollars. Services can be secured by cash, debit or credit card. Customers must have an email address.
The first UpTo was in Butler, Pa. The pop-up helped 14 small businesses in three days ranging from an electrician, a fitness studio, a bakery, and a real estate agent. UpTo also partnered with a local bakery to create a unique pastry product that sold out in three days.
UpTo is a special project of Shift Collaborative, a creative agency in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Entrepreneurship in Pittsburgh
The city of Pittsburgh has a history of entrepreneurship. Pittsburgh is the city where Andrew Carnegie created a steel empire and George Westinghouse revolutionized the power industry. While once a center of innovation, Pittsburgh became increasingly known as an industrial center. The local economy was built on the manufacturing industry and large companies. Over time, the entrepreneurial sprit and risk-taking attitude that had once been the hallmark of the city began to change.
In recent years, efforts have been made to reinvigorate entrepreneurship in the city. The collapse of the steel industry in the 1970s and 1980s forced the city to diversify its economy and to start reinventing itself. Pittsburgh has a number of advantages that make it an ideal hub for entrepreneurs. The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon provide a stream of eager local talent. The universities are also centers of research that facilitate technological transfer and advancement.
Despite the history of entrepreneurship and the presence of high quality research institutions, the city of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh entrepreneurs face some impediments. First, finding the capital to fund projects can be a huge challenge for aspiring business owners. Second, the city often has to compete with other entrepreneurship hubs for talent. Third, Pittsburgh has not always had a culture and climate favorable towards entrepreneurs.
A New Resource for Local Entrepreneurs: LaunchPGH
The new LaunchPGH website is an attempt to respond to some of the problems that plague Pittsburgh entrepreneurs. LaunchPHG is the brainchild of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh. The website is meant to serve as a gateway for people in Pittsburgh who are trying to become entrepreneurs, people from outside the area who are looking to move to Pittsburgh and start a business, and for investors who are looking to fund new ventures.
The website consists of three main sections: Biz, Buzz and Burgh. The Biz circle provides resources for entrepreneurs looking for funding, including information on different types of funding and what companies in the Pittsburgh area provide that type of funding. The section also includes information on local resources, including information on coworking spaces, office space and job boards.
The Buzz section provides information on the entrepreneur scene in Pittsburgh. Current events and news are highlighted in this section. The Burgh circle includes facts and data on the city of Pittsburgh.
The Benefit for Entrepreneurs
LaunchPGH aims to connect entrepreneurs, investors and job seekers so that they can network and help build up a stronger local economy. The website allows data to be shared across social networks, which will further deepen the connection between different actors in the Pittsburgh entrepreneur scene. Overall, the website is a positive step towards developing an ecosystem of entrepreneurship in the city.
Qrono Inc., today announced that the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), awarded Qrono a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I grant for $256,000 to improve the treatment options for wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) and fund further development of the company’s predictive modeling technology for the design of long-acting injectable (LAI) drug formulations. The research will be conducted in collaboration with The Little Lab at the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.
Wet AMD is a leading cause of vision loss among older adults and can progress very quickly due to abnormal blood vessel growth behind the retina. Ranibizumab and bevacizumab are two drugs that target the proteins that cause this abnormal growth. However, because treatments with these drugs require a monthly eye injection, patient non-adherence (up to 67 percent) is a major problem. Qrono’s new LAI formulation for these drugs will reduce the injection frequency to once every three months or even six months which should improve patient adherence and thereby enable better patient outcomes
“We are grateful that the grant reviewers recognized the potential of our technology,” said Larry Zana, Qrono CEO & Co-Founder, “and we appreciate the support of NIGMS for this research.”
The grant will also enable Qrono to demonstrate that its predictive modeling technology, called QronoMetrics™, can be used to produce LAI formulations for a wide range of target pharmaceuticals in an unprecedented, rapid period of time. In Phase I, Qrono will develop LAI formulations for ranibizumab, bevacizumab, and two other active pharmaceutical ingredients. Upon successful completion of Phase I, Qrono will be eligible to apply for Phase II funding that will extend its predictive models to cover preclinical and clinical pharmacokinetic data.
QronoMetrics™ offers three key advantages in the production of custom controlled-release and microencapsulated systems:
• Removes the trial and error required by traditional design techniques, resulting in faster time-to-market, reduced development cost and reduced risk.
• Reduced active pharmaceutical ingredient costs, up to 60% less.
• Critical parameters automatically identified for quality by design (QbD) manufacture
Dr. Steven Little, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, said “This grant will further enable research that builds upon our ongoing collaboration with Qrono. It is an excellent example of how an academic-industry collaboration can enable better medications.”
Fully operational since 2012, Qrono Inc. is a specialty pharmaceutical company enabling better medications, stronger patient adherence, improved patient outcomes, and faster time-to-market for new medications using an innovative technology to create long-acting injectable (LAI) formulations. These long-acting drug formulations enable a single administration of active pharmaceutical ingredient to provide a therapeutic effect ranging from several days to many weeks or months. Our pipeline strategy focuses on LAI controlled release formulations of drugs with known safety profiles in therapeutic areas with either high non-adherence (e.g., antipsychotics and ophthalmology), or where LAIs can add therapeutic value (e.g., medical countermeasures and oncology).
About The Little Lab:
The Little Lab explores synthetic drug delivery strategies that mimic those of cells and tissues in order to enhance (or alternatively endow new) biological functionality. To this end, researchers explore new ways to produce complex presentations of bio-active molecules over time and space. The mission is twofold. Specifically, researchers aim to utilize biomimetic delivery systems to achieve both: 1) enhanced therapeutic efficiency for future drug formulations (e.g. “medicine that imitates life”) as well as 2) understanding of basic biological processes that are otherwise obscured without engineering tools that can be tuned to replicate multi-modal cellular “language”.
The Pittsburgh Technology Council is leading 12 of Pittsburgh’s most promising healthcare-related businesses to Boston today as part of an organized mission to connect Pittsburgh entrepreneurs with venture capital investors. Hosted in the Boston offices of K&L Gates, this mission is the third such trip that the Council has arranged in the past year. Similar to the recent missions to the Silicon Valley and New York, the participating entrepreneurs will participate in a full day of briefings with key venture capital firms and will have the opportunity to showcase their businesses. The investors were selected based upon their relevance to participating entrepreneurs, and they were given descriptions of participating companies in advance of today’s briefings.
This mission is the first to be focused specifically on the healthcare industry, but aligns extremely well with Pittsburgh’s strengths in the healthcare space. According to a report issued earlier this year by the Council, healthcare related businesses captured the largest share of the $400 million of venture capital invested in the Pittsburgh region during the past 24 months. (Healthcare: $136 million; Business and Financial Services: $94 million; Information Technology: $61 million; Consumer Goods and Services: $54 million; Energy Utilities and Power Supplies: $31 million; Industrial Goods and Materials: $16 million)
With the vast majority of the capital that fuels the growth of Pittsburgh start-ups originating outside of the Pittsburgh region, the Council has dramatically stepped up its efforts to accelerate the development of investment relationships between our entrepreneurs and the nation’s most active investors. The Council is always looking for entrepreneurs to showcase as part of these outbound missions as well as its “Venture In” series, which is focused on attracting national investors to visit Pittsburgh and spend time with Pittsburgh-area entrepreneurs.