Three U startups recognized at 2019 Tekne Awards

November 21, 2019
From left: Siba Das (NovoClade), Mary MacCarthy (UMN Venture Center), Vincent Truong (Anatomi), Pat Dillon (MHTA), and Patrick Walsh (Anatomi) at the 2019 Tekne Awards Gala.

Three startup companies based on University of Minnesota research received awards this week from the Minnesota High Tech Association.

At a November 20 awards gala, U startups Anatomi and Calyxt received Tekne Awards, which shine a spotlight on Minnesota’s science and technology community by honoring innovation across numerous industries. In addition, NovoClade won a Small Business Innovation Research Honoree award.

Learn more about the startup NovoClade, launched through U of M Technology Commercialization’s Venture Center by CFANS researcher Siba Das, PhD, below.

NovoClade, a St. Paul-based synthetic biology company launched in July, aims to control mosquito populations and their role in spreading disease.

The company’s gene editing technology can create a line of “sterile” mosquitoes from which only the male offspring will survive. Since only female mosquitoes bite humans, this lowers the number of insects around to transmit diseases. Unlike existing insect management efforts, which rely on toxic chemicals and are not species-specific, NovoClade’s technology targets only mosquitoes, sparing other species any harmful effects.

NovoClade was founded by a team of researchers from the U’s College of Biological Sciences and College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences: Siba Das, PhD, senior research scientist at the BioTechnology Institute (BTI) and the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center who is also NovoClade’s president and CEO; Maciej Maselko, PhD, previously a postdoctoral scholar at BTI and now a lecturer at Australia’s Macquarie University; Michael Smanski, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry; and Perry Hackett, PhD, professor of genetics, cell biology, and development.

The startup was awarded a Phase 1 SBIR grant this year and was named a finalist in the 2019 MN Cup awards. NovoClade was also named a winner in last December’s Walleye Tank business pitch competition.

Full story and information on two other startups available here.