The next big medical breakthrough is on the horizon and all it takes is one idea, one vision, or one conversation for a small, emerging biotech to change the way we treat and cure diseases for generations to come. Recognizing the potential and promise of early-stage companies for addressing unmet medical needs, the BIO International Convention will once again host the Innovation Zone on the exhibit floor of the Philadelphia Convention Center, June 4-6.
The Innovation Zone is a partnership between BIO and the National Institutes of Health to feature Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funded early-stage biotech companies. Eighty emerging companies will showcase their cutting-edge technologies, form long-term partnerships, and begin to raise funds in the private sector.
Ahead of Convention, we caught up with Innovation Zone exhibitor, Ken Tometsko, Director of Sales and Marketing for Litron Laboratories to learn about his company and their exciting future. See our conversation below.
What is your company’s lead product or technology?
Litron provides genetic toxicology kits and services that are used by numerous industries including pharmaceutical, industrial chemical, biopharmaceutical, agrochemical and also various regulatory agencies around the world. Litron’s key technology strategy is to employ flow cytometry to develop automated methodologies that address critical needs in toxicology. Flow cytometry dramatically improves the efficiency, objectivity and throughput for many endpoints of interest to our customers. Litron has used this approach to develop research kits and services that are useful for drug discovery, for pre-clinical regulatory assessments and also for follow-up assessments of important drug candidates.
How has this SBIR program helped your company grow?
The SBIR program has been extremely helpful to Litron. Over the years, our scientists have routinely evaluated SBIR funding opportunities, and when there appears to be a good match with our interests and expertise, Litron has pursued SBIR grant funding. Our business model has been to leverage the resources of the SBIR funding to develop products that are now considered industry standard assays. All of the research kits developed by Litron have either been directly or indirectly supported through the SBIR program, particularly through NIEHS.
What are the upcoming milestones and long-term priorities for your company?
Litron has several upcoming milestones. Over the next 2-3 years, the company will continue to develop our in vitro high-content biomarker kits and services that are seeing tremendous utility in the pharmaceutical industry for determining genotoxic mode of action earlier in the drug discovery process. Litron is also actively working on the development of an OECD test guideline for an in vivo gene mutation test that is significantly cheaper and faster than current alternative tests. For a long-term priority, Litron has a strong interest in measuring chromosome breaks and gene mutation in human samples and looking for a deeper understanding of various factors such as diet, smoking or age-related disease.
What do you hope to gain out of your participation at the 2019 BIO International Convention?
The team at Litron excels at collaboration, and we are always looking for new scientists to work with in the various industries that we serve. We are looking forward to meeting a variety of new potential collaboration partners at our booth or in 1:1 meetings, and our scientific team is keen to learn about new opportunities by attending the educational sessions.
Tell us something about your company that investors might not know…
Litron is a woman-owned company with headquarters in Rochester, NY, and we routinely work with many of the largest pharmaceutical and chemical companies around the world. Litron’s close working relationship with scientists in pharma, and in other industries, has helped us to develop collaborative partners in addition to valued customers.