– USA, NY – TARA Biosystems, Inc., a company developing physiologically relevant “heart-on-a-chip” tissue models for both toxicology and drug discovery applications, announced today that it has appointed biotechnology entrepreneur, scientist and engineer Robert S. Langer, Ph.D., to its board of directors.
TARA Biosystems offers testing services on its human stem cell-derived cardiac tissue platform. The company’s platform, which is based on its proprietary Biowire™ technology, enables discovery efforts for novel heart medicines via its disease modeling and phenotypic screening capabilities. The Biowire technology is based on research from the laboratories of scientific co-founders Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, Ph.D., the Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medical Sciences at Columbia University, and Milica Radisic, Ph.D., P.Eng., Professor and Canada Research Chair in Functional Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering at the University of Toronto. Drs. Vunjak-Novakovic and Radisic are both world leaders in cardiac tissue engineering and former members of Dr. Langer’s lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
World-Renowned Biomedical Engineer Robert Langer Appointed to Board of Directors
Dr. Langer is the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT. A founder of more than 30 life science companies and the most cited engineer in the world, Dr. Langer’s patents have been licensed or sublicensed to more than 300 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology and medical device companies. He served as chairman of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Science Board from 1999 to 2002, and is one of very few individuals elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors. Dr. Langer is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering; the 2014 Kyoto Prize; the 2013 Wolf Prize in Chemistry; the 2012 Priestley Medal, the American Chemical Society’s highest honor; the 2011 National Medal of Technology and Innovation; the 2008 Millennium Prize; the 2006 National Medal of Science; the 2005 Albany Medical Center Prize; the 2002 Charles Stark Draper Prize, considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for engineers; and the 1998 Lemelson-MIT Prize for being one of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine. He is also the only engineer to receive the Gairdner Foundation International Award. He holds 28 honorary doctorates including honorary degrees from Harvard and Yale.
“Through its cutting-edge, cardiac tissue engineering technology, TARA Biosystems has rapidly demonstrated promise to improve the efficiency of the drug development process and accelerate patients’ access to innovative therapies,” said Dr. Langer. “I look forward to working with the company through this exciting phase of growth.”
“Professor Langer brings a deep history in collaborating with our scientific co-founders, Drs. Vunjak-Novakovic and Radisic, through their early work on cardiac tissue engineering in his lab, and it is a privilege to have him join our board,” said Misti Ushio, Ph.D., CEO of TARA Biosystems. “His unique experience, from basic research to product launch, will be invaluable to TARA as we continue to validate and commercialize our unique predictive technology to test the safety and efficacy of new therapies and for the discovery of new drugs.”
TARA Biosystems Establishes New Commercial Laboratory
Additionally, TARA Biosystems has opened its new commercial laboratory at the Alexandria Center for Life Science in New York City. The new lab will serve as the company’s engine for commercialization and will enable customer growth.
“TARA Biosystems, an early-stage life science company, represents an important contribution to the momentum of New York City’s growing life science ecosystem,” said Joel S. Marcus, chairman, founder and CEO of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. and Alexandria Venture Investments. “The Alexandria Center for Life Science, New York City’s first and only collaborative urban innovation campus, is home to a high-quality tenant roster ranging from big pharma, mid-size and growth-stage biotechnology companies, and disease-focused research institutes, to a world-class cadre of early-stage and startup companies. The vibrant campus provides access to best-in-class amenities, collaboration opportunities with New York’s world-renowned academic and medical institutions, preeminent scientific talent, and top-tier investment capital. We are delighted to welcome TARA Biosystems to our thriving and fully integrated campus.”
About TARA Biosystems
TARA Biosystems, Inc. provides predictive, in vitro human cardiac tissue models for use in drug discovery and safety assessment. TARA Biosystems offers a high fidelity solution that is based on human stem cell-derived cardiac tissue matured to physiologically relevant adult-like levels and provides direct measures of cardiac functionality, including contractile force. The TARA solution will provide safety data earlier in the development cycle and a high fidelity discovery model. Based in New York City, TARA Biosystems is backed by seed financing from top-tier investors including Harris & Harris Group, the Partnership Fund for New York City and Alexandria Venture Investments.
About the Alexandria Center for Life Science – New York City
The Alexandria Center for Life Science, developed by Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE: ARE), is New York City’s first and only world-class, urban life science campus. The Alexandria Center has become New York City’s leading destination for the most innovative life science entities to translate novel discoveries into breakthrough products for patients around the world.
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