March 23, 2007
Contact: Anna Farneski
Phone: (973) 972-3000
UMDNJ Faculty Member Receives $500,000 Commitment
to Further Innovative Drug Research
NEW BRUNSWICK — A prominent researcher at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey has received a $500,000 commitment from a venture capital firm to further research that could streamline the drug discovery process to bring drugs to treat cancer, pain and infectious diseases to the public more quickly.
Foundation Venture Capital Group, LLC, formed in 2006 to invest in commercially viable new start-up companies developing technology at UMDNJ, selected Snowdon, Inc., as its first investment. The researcher, Dr. William Welsh, who is also the holder of the Norman H. Edelman Endowed Professorship at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, founded Snowdon.
"This is an important step in accelerating the process through which the work of UMDNJ scientists contributes to economic development in New Jersey and, even more importantly, to improvements in human health,” said Dr. Bruce C. Vladeck, interim president at UMDNJ.
Snowdon is a drug discovery and development company focused on three major therapeutic areas-cancer, acute and chronic pain, and infectious diseases. Researchers there have discovered prospective drug candidates that address the urgent need for safe and effective medicines in these areas. By using its proprietary Shape Signatures tool and other computer aids, along with its massive library of commercially available compounds and natural products, Snowdon technology is able to streamline the drug discovery process. For the consumer, this means that the process of bringing a drug to commercialization will be greatly accelerated.
According to Dr. Welsh, Snowdon has made rapid progress since its inception and now requires additional staff and facilities to move to the next level. “The investment by Foundation Venture Capital Group will greatly help us to accomplish our vision of becoming a premier drug discovery company,” he said.
George F. Heinrich, M.D., vice chair and CEO of Foundation Venture Capital Group, is looking forward to future investments. “UMDNJ faculty has been involved in breakthrough research projects for years, many of them ready to successfully be considered for investment,” he explained. “We are currently looking at other opportunities to make early private equity investments that will help these entrepreneurs develop their commercial potential.”
Vince Smeraglia, the director of Patents & Licensing at UMDNJ, is enthusiastic about the new relationship with Foundation Venture Capital Group. “This investment is a tremendous milestone for the University,” he said. “The benefits of this critical seed funding mean that emerging medical breakthroughs in research and technology businesses can be sustained by sufficient venture capital to optimize their chances of success.”
For more information about Foundation Venture Capital Group, LLC, contact James Golubieski, president, at (732) 235-5400 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit http://foundationventure.com/. For more information about Snowdon, Inc., visit http://www.snowdonpharma.com/.
UMDNJ is the nation’s largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,700 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and a school of public health on five campuses. Annually, there are more than two million patient visits at UMDNJ facilities and faculty practices at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a statewide mental health and addiction services network.