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North Chicago-based Biotech Startup Invited to Capitol Hill

NeuroLucent, a biotech firm founded by a researcher at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago, has been selected to participate in University Startups Demo Day to be held Sept. 20 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Founded by Grace “Beth” Stutzmann, PhD, RFU associate professor of neuroscience, NeuroLucent will help move promising new therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease into the pharmaceutical pipeline, including a drug created by an interdisciplinary team of RFU researchers, which could lead to the first medication to effectively treat AD’s most devastating symptoms. AD robs memory and cognitive function, affecting more than 5 million people in the United States.

“We’ve found a way to prevent much of Alzheimer’s-related pathology in experimental models,” said Stutzmann, whose research addresses the early changes that take place in the brain that lead to disease.

“The AD field desperately needs new conceptual approaches to develop effective therapeutics,” Stutzmann said. “The underlying challenge is identifying those early mechanisms. We feel we've tapped into that unmet need. Time, more experiments and, hopefully, clinical trials will ultimately tell.”

RFU is facilitating the startup efforts of several faculty members through its Office of Technology Transfer. It has engaged SmartHealth, a North Chicago-based biotech accelerator, which is working with Stutzmann to identify investors and work through the business side of drug development.

“Faster translation of basic science research into therapeutics is key to RFU’s mission to improve the health of the population,” said Ronald Kaplan, PhD, RFU’s executive vice president of research.

RFU’s nationally recognized research enterprise is making important contributions in 12 major areas, including neuroscience, neurodegenerative disease, structural biology, cystic fibrosis and cancer.

Universities across the U.S. create more than 800 startups each year. The National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer, NCET2, screened submissions by 200 companies to find the 36 "Best University Startups 2016". NeuroLucent is the only Illinois-based startup selected.

"To lead the world in the 21st Century, our nation must have a sustained commitment to education, scientific research, and startups," said Tony Stanco, NCET2 executive director. “American universities are uniquely positioned to deliver on all three to ensure the U.S. continues to lead socially and economically in this century, as it did in the last."

About Rosalind Franklin University

Located in North Chicago, IL, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science is a national leader in interprofessional medical and healthcare education, offering a doctor of medicine degree through the Chicago Medical School; doctor of podiatric medicine degree through the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine; doctor of pharmacy degree through the College of Pharmacy; and a range of degrees through its College of Health Professions, including nurse anesthesia, nutrition, physical therapy, pathologists’ assistant and physician assistant. The university also offers advanced biomedical degrees through the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. For more information, visit

Posted September 19, 2016
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