Today, I want to introduce you to two Austin companies we have worked with that are doing impressive work.
These companies embody our mission so powerfully.
The first company I want to shout out is Everlum Bio.
Everlum was founded by Casey McPherson in response to his 7-year-old daughter, Rose’s, being diagnosed with a rare genetic disease, HNRNPH2. This disease took away her ability to speak and to interact like a typical 7 yr old.
There are ways to turn off a gene that causes disorders such as Rose’s, but it requires screening lots of candidate molecules to find the right one. Casey and his co-founders realized that if they wanted to help his daughter, they would have to start a company and create the technology to make it happen. So, Everlum was founded.
Everlum is a rare disease lab company that believes “everyone deserves a cure, no matter how big or small the disease.”
Everlum pioneered a novel approach to drug development that puts the power back into the patient’s hands. They are currently using their approach to work with other parents of kids with similar rare diseases. Here’s Casey:
As you can see, Everlum is a great example of the kind of research and impact that can and does happen at our incubator.
The other Incubator company I want to brag about is ClearCam.
ClearCam is a success story that took full advantage of the incubator and touched pretty much every resource in Austin and beyond. They are a medical device startup that’s helping doctors doing laparoscopic surgery. To give you a refresher on the term ‘laparoscopic,’ these are minimally invasive surgeries performed with the aid of a small camera.
ClearCam formed as a response to a problem that a surgeon at Dell Medical, Dr. John Uecker, kept running into: The laparoscope lens often needed cleaning in order to see clearly. Removing and cleaning the scope during surgery not only risks infection, but also results in longer, more expensive surgeries and leaves the patient anesthetized for longer periods of time.
ClearCam took this problem to an engineering professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Chris Rylander, where his then Phd candidate, Chris Idelson, developed the elegant solution of a ‘windshield wiper’ for the lens. They then met Doug Stoakley, a local business executive, and formed the company.
From there, ClearCam created a lens-cleaning device (“The Kelling™”) that saves surgical procedure time and improves safety for patients, surgeons, and the entire surgical staff. Here are two MDs in Texas who use ClearCam’s products:
ClearCam has leveraged the Austin biotech community by partnering with countless programs and organizations, such as UT’s Discovery to Impact, NSF’s Regional and National I-Corps program, ATI SEAL, Texas Health Catalyst, several hospital systems, multiple incubators at ACC, and local contract manufacturer Mainstream Medical Devices. While they have been very successful at navigating these resources, they strive to make it easier for Central Texas medical device companies to succeed by volunteering their time to advise and mentor startups in programs across Austin and the communities surrounding it.
Tomorrow, I’ll introduce you to some students in our lab who turned their internships into careers in biotech.
ACC Bioscience Incubator Director