The program has selected two ventures that will receive dedicated wet laboratory space, equipment, building services, and mentorship at the SBME Innovates incubator.
VANCOUVER, BC, June 13, 2022 —UBC’s School of Biomedical Engineering (SBME) and Amgen are pleased to announce the inaugural 2022 Amgen Golden Ticket at SBME Innovates, providing a launchpad for two promising UBC spin-off ventures, Arrowsmith Genetics (AGx) and SeraGene.
SBME is the first Canadian organization to host the Amgen Golden Ticket program. As the sponsor, Amgen provides mentorship to two teams selected by UBC for the period of one year. It is especially empowering for the SBME Innovates incubation hub which was established in 2019 (through funding from PacifiCan, and in partnership with entrepreneurship@UBC) to support early-stage UBC life sciences ventures on their journey from laboratory insight to societal impact. Amgen’s support has been pivotal in expanding the incubator’s capacity to host ambitious, disruptive ideas with the potential to push the boundaries of health and health care for all.
"The SBME is incredibly grateful for Amgen's sponsorship of the SBME's incubation efforts, and to be the first Canadian organization to host the Amgen Golden Ticket,” says SBME’s Director of Partnerships and Research, Dr. Raquel De Souza, who spearheaded the collaboration. “Their support is providing UBC spin-off ventures a unique opportunity to receive critical access to wet-lab space and equipment alongside scientific mentorship from Amgen BC scientists. Incubation within the university environment enables founders to continue accessing synergistic expertise and specialized infrastructure to propel their companies forward."
"Amgen's sponsorship of the School of Biomedical Engineering at UBC though the Golden Ticket program is contributing to the burgeoning life sciences community in Vancouver and the lower mainland while deepening our cooperative relationship with UBC. This initiative aligns with our vision to progress the development of breakthrough therapies to serve patients suffering from serious illness. We are proud to strengthen our support for scientific advances in academia and give students the opportunity for more real-world experience with entrepreneurs working in their field, providing a valuable understanding of the bench-to-shelf and bench-to-bed processes." – Chadwick King, Executive Director of Research at Amgen, British Columbia.
This year’s inaugural Amgen Golden Ticket ventures are officially residents of the SBME Innovates space at UBC, and will, over the course of the program, receive:
- Free wet lab space and access to in-house equipment at SBME Innovates
- Scientific mentorship from experienced Amgen BC scientists
- Commercialization mentorship from entrepreneurship@UBC, Creative Destruction Labs, UBC’s Sauder School of Business, and Amplitude Ventures
- Access to partnership support through SBME’s network of corporate and clinical partners
- Access to SBME Propels programming on commercialization, leadership training, professional skills, and partnership
About the 2022 Amgen Golden Ticket ventures
- Peter Stirling – Co-Founder/CEO | Associate Professor, UBC Department of Medical Genetics; Scientist, BC Cancer Research Centre (BCCRC)
- Nigel O’Neil – Co-Founder/CSO | Research Associate, Hieter Lab, UBC Michael Smith Laboratories
- Philip Hieter – Co-Founder/Director | Principal Investigator, Hieter Lab UBC Michael Smith Laboratories; Professor, UBC Department of Medical Genetics
Arrowsmith Genetics (AGx) is a preclinical stage precision oncology company. AGx’s technology exploits genetic and stress markers in cancers to broaden the therapeutic target repertoire. It then profiles targets by mutagenesis to design optimal targeting strategies, leading to new small molecule therapy candidates for those targets. The company’s humanized yeast mutational target mapping platform is fast, suitable for redundant or essential proteins, and finds binding sites that are unique to the targeted protein. This empowers new strategies for target inhibition that could elicit stronger responses and minimize off-target effects.
“This [Amgen Golden Ticket] provides a more rapid incubator-like path to growth and independence from our academic labs. We are also excited about the opportunity to engage with mentors from UBC and Amgen. The perspective of scientists at a large profitable biopharmaceutical company like Amgen is outstanding for us to learn about the path to the clinic.”
–Peter Stirling, CEO
- Amy Strilchuk - Co-Founder/CEO | Grad Student, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Kastrup Lab, UBC
- Lih Jiin Juang - Co-Founder/CSO | Grad Student, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Kastrup Lab, UBC
- Christian Kastrup - Co-Founder | Professor & Principal Investigator, UBC Michael Smith Laboratories
- Pieter Cullis - Co-Founder | Scientific Director and CEO, NanoMedicines Innovation Network; Professor, UBC Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – UBC; Founding Director, Centre for Drug Research and Development
SeraGene will harness the newest clinically validated nanomedicine technologies to develop the next generation of hematological therapeutics. Being in Vancouver gives the company access to world leaders in nanomedicine, including co-founder and recent Gairdner award winner, Pieter Cullis, while their experience in clinical research has allowed them to build an international network of clinicians and thought leaders who are working at the front lines treating coagulation disorders. By bringing these groups together, SeraGene can rapidly employ breakthrough technologies to fill therapeutic gaps identified by clinical collaborators. As a female-run company, the founding team is especially passionate about addressing the often-overlooked needs of women with bleeding disorders.
“Being selected for the Amgen Golden Ticket allows us to hit the ground running. Not only is our financial runway extended, but the advice offered by the regular mentorship meetings will be invaluable in helping us navigate being scientist-entrepreneurs, and avoid the pitfalls that start-ups usually fall into.”
–Amy Wong-Strilchuk, Co-founder
Congratulations to these two companies and their teams for their hard work, ambition, and contribution to growing the life science industry in British Columbia. The UBC SBME would also like to thank Amgen BC for their support, without which this program supporting innovative ventures would not have been possible.
ABOUT AMGEN IN CANADA
As a leader in innovation, Amgen understands the value of science. With main Canadian operations located in Mississauga, Ont.'s vibrant biomedical cluster, and a state-of-the-art research facility in Burnaby, B.C., Amgen has been an important contributor to advancements in science and innovation in Canada since 1991. The company contributes to the development of new therapies and new uses for existing medicines in partnership with many of Canada's leading healthcare, academic, research, government and patient organizations. To learn more about Amgen in Canada, visit www.amgen.ca.
For further information:
Head of Corporate Affairs, Amgen Canada
Created in 2017 through a partnership between the Faculties of Applied Science and Medicine, and enabled by the leadership of British Columbia’s provincial government, the SBME is unique as UBC’s first inter‑faculty school and as Canada’s living laboratory for new models of convergent research and education. With access to world-leading research infrastructure, and with close partnerships with our research-intensive hospitals and local industry, the School aims to provide a clear route from the discovery of new fundamental biomedical technologies to their innovative application and development to benefit human health.
For further information:
Communications and Engagement Manager, SBME