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LI venture capital fund invests in NYC biotech startup

From left, Sarah Teed, Stacy Blain, Harini Sivaguruntha

From left, Sarah Teed, Stacy Blain, Harini Sivaguruntha and Priyank Patel inside the Concarlo Holdings' laboratory in Brooklyn. Photo Credit: SUNY Downstate Medical Center

A Long Island-based venture capital fund has invested $100,000 in a technology startup focused on treating breast cancer.

The Accelerate New York Seed Fund recently joined a group of undisclosed individuals in putting more than $1 million in Concarlo Holdings LLC, which operates from a business incubator at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. The deal closed on March 16.

Concarlo is the third startup to be backed by Accelerate NY, which has $2.4 million from the state to invest in startups on Long Island, in New York City and the lower Hudson Valley. The funding comes from Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency.

Accelerate NY managing director Peter Donnelly said the fund made its first investments last year: $100,000 each in PainQx, which is developing pain-management software, and Bioharmony Therapeutics Inc., which is working on an antidote to infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria. Both startups are in Manhattan.

Donnelly, who also is director of technology commercialization at Stony Brook University, said Accelerate NY is working with Long Island startups and hopes to make an investment soon.

Concarlo is developing a test that will help “to get the right medicine to the right patients” who are battling breast cancer, said Noel Goddard, who evaluates technology and research work for the fund.

She said Concarlo is an attractive investment because its test and a drug under development are both intended to increase the effectiveness of new cancer drugs, called CDK4 inhibitors, that were recently approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

Concarlo was established to commercialize the research of Stacy Blain, a professor in the pediatrics and cell biology departments at Downstate Medical Center.

She said she started the company with President LisaMarie Casey as a “logical extension of the work that I have been doing . . . for the last 15 years.”

Last year, Concarlo was admitted into Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s tax-free zones program, Start-Up NY. As a result, the company will pay no state and local taxes for up to 10 years, and new employees will pay no state income taxes for as long as 10 years. In return, executives have promised to create six jobs and invest $115,000 during the next five years.

The Accelerate NY board of directors includes leaders of the Island’s large universities and research laboratories. It is a successor to the now-closed Accelerate Long Island Fund, which awarded state grants totaling $500,000 to 10 startups in Nassau and Suffolk counties. The startups also received a total of $500,000 from the Long Island Emerging Technologies Fund, which was formed by two local venture capital firms.

Backing Biotech

The Accelerate New York Seed Fund, based on Long Island, has $2.4 million from the state to invest in technology startups on the Island, in New York City and the lower Hudson Valley. It began investing last year and has backed three startups so far:

•PainQx (Manhattan), pain-managment software, $100,000

•Bioharmony Therapeutics (Manhattan), infections antidote, $100,000

•Concarlo Holdings (Brooklyn), breast cancer treatment, $100,000

SOURCE: Accelerate New York Seed Fund

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