$40,000 Awarded in UB Technology Entrepreneurship Competition

By Jacqueline Ghosen

Release Date: April 27, 2007

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- For the second year in a row, providing products and services to biotechnology firms was the common denominator for the two teams that won more than $40,000 in cash and services in the University at Buffalo's annual Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition (Panasci TEC).

Panasci TEC, now in its fourth year, awards seed money and business services to the teams that present the best plan for launch of a viable new business.

Williamsville residents John M. Aletta, Elvira Gomez Aletta and Timothy J. Lukasiewicz, and Buffalo resident John C. Hu won first prize for their proposed business, CH3 BioSystems.

The company will provide high-performance ingredients for the discovery of protein methylation pathways in cells and tissues and will help scientists understand and treat certain cancers, HIV, heart disease and neurological diseases. Clients will include both basic science research and clinical laboratory communities. CH3 BioSystems aims to establish a niche in the biotechnology market by focusing on the rapidly expanding field of Protein Methylation Biology (PMB) with world-class support services and a constantly evolving product line.

"Throughout this competition we have been fortunate to work with many top business leaders in the WNY community," says Lukasiewicz from the winning team. "These connections not only helped us to move our concept forward, but also helped us establish critical relationships for continued success. We look forward to strengthening these relationships and being an active part of growing the Buffalo Biomedical Corridor."

"The future possibilities are what excite me most about winning the Panasci Technology Entrepreneurship Competition," says teammate John Aletta. "Our team hopes to promote not only new business opportunities for the Western New York area, but also the enterprise of scientific research discovery across the nation."

The competition is designed to bring students from science and technology disciplines together with students or recent graduates from the School of Management to maximize their business and

scientific potential and create viable businesses in Western New York. Lukasiewicz received his Executive MBA from the UB School of Management in 2003 and is currently enrolled in the school's information assurance advanced certificate program. Hu is a junior at UB, majoring in computer science and biomedical science.

The first-prize package, valued at more than $30,000, includes $25,000 in seed funding and one year of legal services from Jaeckle Fleischmann and Mugel. This year's winners will be eligible to advance to the Golden Horseshoe Business Challenge on May 31 to compete for an additional $100,000 in start-up capital.

The second-place prize of $10,000 in start-up funding went to Deliverex, for their plan to offer biotech and pharma companies a lipid-based nanoparticle that has been demonstrated to improve the effectiveness of drugs while overcoming toxicity, delivery and dosing issues that plague many of the already-approved and development-stage drugs.

The Deliverex team was made up entirely of UB students and alumni: Joseph Colangelo, MBA '08, of Lewiston; Timothy Dee, MBA '04, of Lockport; Douglas Smith, Ph.D. '04, J.D. '08; Aaron Peng, Ph.D. '09, of Hsin Chu City, Taiwan; and Ranata Bator, B.S. '05, MBA '07, of North Tonawanda.

Fifteen teams participated in this year's competition, and five teams of finalists presented their business plans publicly in the competition's final round on April 25 at the Jacobs Executive Development Center.

The other finalists presented a variety of new venture ideas, including male infertility sperm analysis via the Internet, a web-based software platform for the dental market and a car sharing service that will provide an alternative to car ownership at a fraction of the cost.

Serving as judges for the event were Robert H. Fritzinger, CEO, Zenhire; Thaddeus H. Grasela Jr., president and CEO, Cognigen Corp.; James Hengst, president and CEO, ZeptoMetrix; Marnie LaVigne, director of business development, New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences; Mel Passarelli, vice president, Worldwide Sales, Vistagy Inc.; and Brian Pearson, president, Valuation Advisors LLC.

Panasci TEC was created by the University at Buffalo School of Management and the UB Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach, and is funded with a $1 million endowment from the late Henry A. Panasci Jr., UB alumnus and former CEO of Fay's Inc., to facilitate and promote the commercialization of UB-generated technologies.