Published May 15, 2019
Two health care startups, KSL Biomedical and Applied Healthcare Research Management Inc. (AHRM), have partnered with UB’s Buffalo Institute for Genomics and Data Analytics (BIG).
The startups, which together are working to create more than 60 jobs in the Buffalo Niagara region, bring the total number of companies currently working with BIG to six.
The institute is part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s economic development effort to advance the Buffalo Niagara region as a center for bioinformatics and life sciences research. Companies partnering with BIG gain access to biomedical, genomic and big data expertise to help advance new molecular diagnostic tests, companion diagnostics, therapeutic agents and precision medicine techniques to tailor treatment options and improve health outcomes.
They’re also eligible to receive support and services including specialized equipment and laboratories, sophisticated software, student interns and a pipeline into recent graduates.
“We’re excited to have these two additional companies, KSL Biomedical and Applied Healthcare Research Management, partner with UB BIG and tap into the institute’s vast supply of resources,” says Christina Orsi, associate vice president for research and economic development. “These companies are pushing the boundaries of health care and creating exciting new job opportunities in Buffalo.”
KSL is a Buffalo-based company advancing translational medicine and improving the delivery of personalized medicine through the development of novel genomic- and proteomic-based diagnostics for cancers and orphan diseases. The company has a robust pipeline of proprietary products and services at various stages of development and regulatory clearance in the United States and the rest of the world.
“The partnership with BIG is helping to open new opportunities for KSL. It’s been instrumental in supporting the expansion of our genomics laboratory,” says KSL President and CEO Kevin Lawson. “The capital equipment and access to UB resources will really enhance our growth. Some of the new test validations and clinical studies would have been challenging or impossible without this partnership. Numerous tests have already been added to the KSL diagnostic menu in 2019, which are effectively creating new jobs at KSL.”
KSL will have access to biological materials from BIG’s biorepository and is working with UB equipment to develop and validate its genomics-based diagnostics products. The company has an internship program through UB and recruits UB graduates.
Lakshmanan Suresh, KSL’s chief medical officer and clinical professor in the Department of Oral Diagnostics in UB’s School of Dental Medicine, is working to clinically validate novel biomarkers and common mutations in cancers for KSL’s clinical laboratory, which is certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments and accredited by the College of American Pathologists.
The company also works closely with investigators and corporate partners in China through its China-based business unit directed by Long Shen, KSL’s chief scientific officer.
“KSL sees extensive prospects for collaboration between scientists and companies on both sides of the Pacific. These countries lead the world in size of market, growth and innovation. Ambitious technology companies need to embrace the opportunity,” says Shen.
“Our business development activities in China are already contributing to new revenue streams in the U.S., as well as interest in collaborations with UB’s Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, and investments in Western New York.”
KSL intends to create 53 jobs over six years.
Located within UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, AHRM Inc. is a global contract research organization with a focus on health care informatics, economics and outcomes research. Through advanced analytics, AHRM provides research support services for biotech companies, including those in the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries, as well as clinics and non-profits.
The partnership between BIG and AHRM will facilitate access to the supercomputing cluster at UB’s Center for Computational Research (CCR). AHRM will leverage CCR’s powerful computational resources to structure, parse and analyze de-identified electronic medical records to help better understand problems and answer questions within the health care industry.
AHRM maintains an internship program through UB and recruits UB graduates for employment. The company also works with UB faculty on research projects. AHRM intends to create 9.5 jobs.
“AHRM’s partnership with BIG has allowed for AHRM to expand its analytical capabilities by executing more complex analysis that can no longer be done with a traditional desktop,” says Raf Magar, president and founding partner of AHRM.
“By leveraging BIG’s resources, AHRM has also been able to partner with electronic medical record developers that will allow AHRM to analyze large de-identified datasets to provide unique perspectives across a variety of disease categories, including the cost-effectiveness of interventions,” Magar says.
“AHRM will also provide UB researchers with access to its data for population studies.”