Early Charm Ventures, L2C Partners and University of the Sciences Announce Launch of Abri Science

Published on September 19, 2019

University of the Sciences (USciences) in collaboration with L2C Partners and Early Charm Ventures today announced the launch of Abri Science, an advanced materials company that is licensing technology invented at USciences for commercialization.

Abri Science, headquartered in Baltimore, MD, is a startup company working to improve human health and well-being via a novel process for the microencapsulation of enzymes.

Abri Science is a newly formed company via a technology transfer collaboration between USciences, distinguished as the nation’s first college of pharmacy; L2C Partners, a Philadelphia-based company that provides outsourced technology transfer and commercialization services for higher education and research-focused institutions; and Early Charm Ventures, a Baltimore-based startup studio that collaborates with academic researchers to convert science to business.

Under the technology transfer collaboration, Abri Science becomes one of Early Charm Ventures’ active portfolio companies. With L2C Partners expert assistance in technology transfer and commercialization, USciences has out-licensed this core intellectual property (IP) to Abri Science, leading to the formation of the company for technology commercialization. 

In addition to the launch of the company, Abri Science also announced it has been awarded a $225,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant from the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

The NICHD grant, formally titled “SBIR Phase I: Oral enzymatic management of phenylketonuria,” will allow Abri Science’s principle investigators (PI) to pursue further research and testing into its novel technology to address Phenylketonuria (PKU), a genetic disorder of metabolism characterized by a pathological elevation of phenylalanine in the body. 

As it stands, roughly one out of every 12,000 infants in the US are born each year with PKU. If left untreated, the resulting high concentrations of phenylalanine often can result in severe intellectual disability, behavioral problems, and neurological deficits (such as seizures). As a result, newborn screening for PKU is currently required in all 50 states.

With Abri Science’s technology, the company aims to reduce dietary phenylalanine levels in the body’s gastrointestinal tract through oral administration of its specially developed microencapsulated phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL).

“We’re truly excited about the launch of Abri Science – and especially so because this company represents the high level of scientific research and tech transfer prowess we foster at USciences,” said Jean-Francois Jasmin PhD, Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Education and Associate Professor with the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. “Our USciences faculty, researchers, students and our practicing alumni are dedicated to furthering the bounds of science to improving and advancing human health and well-being.”

Under the terms of the NICHD grant, Anil D’mello, PhD, an accomplished academic scientist and Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at USciences, will lead the grant PI team. Abri Science’s focus is on how current treatments for PKU are centered on long-term avoidance of foods containing phenylalanine, which can lead to insufficient dietary protein. With these grant resources, Abri Science aims to prove its novel method, invented at USciences, can reduce dietary phenylalanine levels in the body via microencapsulation, helping infants with PKU grow into healthy, thriving adults.

“The launch of Abri Science and this SBIR grant are terrific developments in the battle to address the debilitating effects of Phenylketonuria on infants and adults,” said Dr. D’mello. “We are very grateful to my team at USciences and to our partners at the NICHD for this opportunity. I look forward to what will be a high degree of collaboration across teams during this grant period to advance our treatment method for PKU.”

About University of the Sciences in Philadelphia:

University of the Sciences in Philadelphia was founded in 1821 as Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, the first college of pharmacy in North America. As a university uniquely focused on the sciences, the health professions, and emerging related disciplines, USciences builds the foundation for professional success by providing students with a concentrated curriculum, hands-on education, and real-world experiences. The results are rewarding, well-paying careers and discoveries across the pharmaceutical, medical, healthcare, and biotech spectrums worldwide where USciences alumni, faculty, and students are proven everywhere they go. Learn more: www.usciences.edu

About L2C Partners:

L2C Partners offers institutions and research organizations expert outsourced technology transfer and commercialization services. Committed to innovators and to moving inventions from the lab (or the studio) to society, L2C helps its clients optimize the opportunity posed by an existing gap in the life sciences / technology / manufacturing ecosystem. L2C Partners currently supports health system, research institution, colleges and university clients across the eastern United States. The company, powered by veteran business and tech transfer executives, is headquartered in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. Learn more: www.l2cpartners.com

About Early Charm Ventures:

Early Charm Ventures is a startup studio, founded in 2012 in Baltimore, that collaborates with academic researchers to convert science to business. Early Charm Ventures specializes in taking brilliant scientific discoveries made at universities and turning them into companies focused on growth. Its best successes come from teaming hands-on with entrepreneurial-minded faculty who are rooted in a range of industries including materials science, imaging, aquaculture and advanced research tools. With these exceptional people and their ideas, Early Charm Ventures partners with them to advance or even create whole new industries. Learn more: www.earlycharm.com

Categories: News, Faculty, Announcement, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Grant, Research