Innovation and Research Park Construction Update
The university recently welcomed BLR Bio LLC, the first occupant of its Innovation and Research Park (IRP) now under construction and expected to open in Fall 2019. The faculty startup, headed by founder and CEO Bruce Riser, PhD, has moved into the new Helix 51 incubator in newly renovated space adjacent to the IRP. Dr. Riser is an adjunct professor of physiology and biophysics and investigator in the Center for Cancer Cell Biology, Immunology and Infection.
BLR Bio is an early-stage biotech company working on National Institutes of Health- and internationally-funded research in fibrotic-based disease, with potential impact for liver, kidney, skin and solid-tumor cancers. The company is developing a patented peptide-based technology targeting matricellular signaling proteins to both prevent and reverse fibrosis development. In the case of cancer, the peptides break up the fibrotic-like supporting tumor stroma, paving the way for improving the efficacy of current immunotherapeutic and chemotherapeutic drugs.
Located on the lower level of the Basic Sciences Building, the incubator, which will move into a 5,000-square-foot space in the IRP upon its completion, offers a collaborative environment with the goal of accelerating RFU's nationally recognized research on the treatment and prevention of disease.
The IRP will consist of 100,000 square feet of state-of-the-art research, office and meeting space that will ultimately house 175 scientists, including investigators in industries collaborating with the university. RFU will inhabit approximately two-thirds of the building. The remaining space will be offered for occupancy to life science companies.
"RFU's commitment to research has never been stronger," said Ronald Kaplan, PhD, executive vice president for research. "We're determined to offer a supportive and collaborative environment for our talented and dedicated researchers who continue to secure major research grants from the NIH, despite a competitive funding environment."