The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, a life sciences incubator in the U.S., has launched Hatch BioFund Management, an investment arm to support its early-stage companies. Vladmir Walko will serve as CEO.
DOYLESTOWN, Pa., July 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center (PABC), one of the most successful life sciences incubators in the U.S., today announced the launch of Hatch BioFund Management, LLC (Hatch Management), a new, internal investment arm to support its early-stage companies. PABC has appointed Vladimir Walko as CEO Hatch Management to lead the investment program, which will be located in the PABC headquarters in Bucks County, PA. Mr. Walko has a background particularly well-suited for managing the Hatch Management, having previous industry experience as a senior executive with West Pharmaceutical Services and working in Private Equity with Credit Suisse and Arsenal Capital. He came to PABC from Janney Montgomery Scott, where he was a Managing Director in Healthcare Investment Banking. His career focus on Pharma Services has produced an unmatched network of contacts across the Drug Development pipeline, which will be essential for the support of young Biotech companies.
A key part of Hatch Management, is the creation of the Hatch BioAccelerator Program. The BioAccelerator will reside on the PABC campus and is scheduled for completion in 2020. The Hatch BioAccelerator Program will provide concept-stage entrepreneurs with seed capital, lab space, business creation services and guidance, and numerous other resources to support new areas of innovation. Hatch Management will work to identify companies within the PABC Incubator in Doylestown and “graduates” from the Hatch BioAccelerator for additional funding.
“With Hatch Management, for the first time, PABC is formalizing its investment processes and becoming financially involved with the success of PABC companies in a way that supports their early milestones,” said Walko. “Entrepreneurs selected for the investment program will have the opportunity to be part of a highly successful ecosystem of support, resources, collaboration and knowledge sharing. We have tremendous talent and knowledge in our network, and are excited to bring the ideas and science that are incubating to the forefront of the life sciences industry.”
Ideally located in the center of the pharma belt between North Jersey and Philadelphia, PABC and Hatch Management benefit from a unique ecosystem with proximity to 70% of the pharmaceutical industry, scientific talent, and prestigious research universities, including the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Princeton University, Rutgers University, Jefferson University, Temple University, Villanova University and Lehigh University.
Leveraging the proven processes and ecosystem of the PABC, entrepreneurs will benefit from mentoring, resources, support, and access. In addition, PABC is designated as one of 29 Keystone Innovation Zones by the State, so that Incubator and BioAccelerator companies residing within the PABC enjoy significant tax advantages being located within one of the zones.
“Entrepreneurs have a unique opportunity to tap into the expertise of hundreds of scientists located in, or associated with, PABC,” said Dr. Timothy M. Block, founder and president of PABC, and co-founder of the nonprofit Hepatitis B Foundation and its research arm, the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute. “I can’t wait to see what ideas will come through our door, and look forward to continuing to help entrepreneurs bring new science and new innovations to market.”
Michael Sofia, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at Arbutus BioPharma in Doylestown, PA, founded his company at the PA Biotech Center, and won the prestigious Lasker Prize in 2016 for leading the discovery of a cure for hepatitis C.
“The PA Biotech Center provides a unique environment to nurture new ideas and make them real,” said Sofia. “It provides not only a physical space to work on those ideas, but a collegial atmosphere where those with scientific and business experience are willing to share what they know to help entrepreneurs get off the ground. It’s where I started my new company because it had an established infrastructure I didn’t have to worry about building, and allowed me to focus on the science, the task of drug discovery, and building meaningful value in my start-up. Coupling the PABC with Hatch Management provides the new entrepreneur with the two things they need to get off the ground and make their ideas a reality, a home and seed funding.”
In addition to Sofia, seven more scientists affiliated with the Center have discovered drugs that are now FDA-approved, including Bruce Dorsey, PhD, VP of Chemistry at Arbutus Biopharma Inc., for developing Crixivan™ (Indinavir Sulfate), an HIV protease inhibitor that prevents HIV from multiplying in the human body, launched by Merck and Inc. in 1996 and featured in the movie “Dallas Buyer’s Club.”
For more information on Hatch BioFund Management LLC, visit https://www.hatchbiofund.com/.