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Southern Research awards biotech funds, bringing new jobs and business to Alabama

Southern Research has awarded more than $2.7 million in funds to eight biotech companies through a fund established as a result of the Innovate Alabama Tax Credits.

The investments through Southern Research’s Therapeutics Development Fund are expected to add more than two dozen high-paying jobs in Alabama as well as support the efforts of dozens more scientists. Beneficiaries include two companies headquartered out of state that have committed to move to Alabama.

“The Therapeutics Development Fund is playing a critical role in our effort to enhance the biotech industry in Alabama by supporting innovators who are already here and those who are willing to move here,” said Josh Carpenter, Ph.D., CEO of Southern Research “We are excited to leverage our 80 years of experience and expertise to support startups who want to advance their programs in Birmingham’s rich biotechnology ecosystem.”

In addition to launching the Therapeutics Development Fund, Southern Research has opened its Station 41 incubator and accelerator spaces to support biotech startups, is building a new state-of-the-art building to expand research space, and is working closely with local partners to develop the new Birmingham Biomedical Innovation Corridor on the site of the former Southtown Court housing community.

The Therapeutics Development Fund is designed to attract biotech firms to Alabama and connect in-state startup companies with resources they need to stay in Alabama, including wet lab space. Southern Research ultimately expects the fund to create 139 biotech jobs, support almost 700 other jobs, and create $9 million in economic impact for Alabama.

Initial awardees for the Therapeutics Development Fund:

Yuva Biosciences (Birmingham):

Yuva Biosciences is addressing the root cause of aging – mitochondrial dysfunction. It is a biotech spinout of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

SCORE Pharmaceuticals (Huntsville and Birmingham)

SCORE Pharmaceuticals is an early-stage biologics company focused immuno-oncology therapeutics with a proprietary patent-pending platform called CoreXTM which allows the transformation of existing antibody therapies into more potent and targeted antibody therapeutics.

Southern Biological Solutions (Birmingham)

Southern Biological Solutions is a life sciences and biotechnology company focusing on the creation and development of anti-microbial biologic therapies for wound healing and the prevention of infections in wounds in people and animals. It will be located in the Southern Research Station 41 incubator.

Celestia Diagnostics (Birmingham)

Celestia Diagnostics is focused on developing diagnostics for long Covid-19 infection and for latent virus infection in general. The company moved to Birmingham from Austin, Texas, as one of three initial members of Southern Research’s Station 41 incubator.

DomainOne (Virtual company)

DomainOne is developing small molecule therapeutics for systemic sclerosis (scleroderma); however, the therapy is also viable for cancer and for fibrosis in general. The company is a new startup company launched by Ohio-based Orange Grove Bio, seeded with technology from Southern Research and UAB. It has a location in the Southern Research Station 41 incubator.

CorriXR Therapeutics (Virtual company)

CorriXR Therapeutics is a new startup company that owns patents associated with gene editing technology geared to cancer treatment. It has a location in the Southern Research Station 41 incubator.

Diamond Therapeutics (Canadian company with Birmingham subsidiary)

Diamond Therapeutics is an early-stage therapeutics development company focused on developing novel drugs for mental health conditions. It is located in Canada but has created a new U.S. subsidiary and is registered in Alabama.

Metaclipse Therapeutics (Atlanta company with plans for Birmingham location)

Metaclipse Therapeutics is an early-stage biotechnology and therapeutics development company focused on next-generation cancer immunotherapies and novel vaccines for infectious disease. Its personalized cancer immunotherapy platform is called MembrexTM and its vaccine technology is called VaxRexTM. The company is located in Atlanta; however, it has registered in the State of Alabama and will be located in Southern Research.

Southern Research received nearly $3 million via the Innovate Alabama Tax Credit to launch its Therapeutics Development Fund. A second tranche of more than $3 million will be deployed later in the year to support additional existing companies and new ventures in 2024 into 2025. The Innovate Alabama Tax Credit was included in Gov. Kay Ivey’s signature economic development legislation in 2023, “The Game Plan,” which included an enhanced arsenal of economic development incentives to support innovation.

“I continue to be encouraged by the success of the Innovate Alabama Tax Credit program,” said Innovate Alabama CEO Cynthia Crutchfield. “Through this program, we can continue to serve the innovative small businesses of Alabama and show that our state is open for business to other such companies looking to relocate. We are dedicated to working with governmental leaders to create a ripe ecosystem for tech accelerators and businesses to thrive.”

State Finance Director Bill Poole, who is chair of Innovate Alabama’s board of directors, added:  “Innovate Alabama’s mission is to spur job creation in knowledge-based jobs throughout the state. These investments continue to lay the groundwork for Alabama’s economic future.”

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About Southern Research: Founded in Birmingham in 1941, Southern Research is a non-profit scientific research organization that employs 200 scientists and professional staff. In its 83-year legacy of moving science, the organization has helped shape modern cancer treatment practices, including developing seven FDA-approved cancer drugs and testing more than half of active chemotherapies in the United States. Southern Research conducted more than $30 million in coronavirus research since 2020. The organization is the highest NIH-funded non-academic research centers in Alabama and has a $220 million annual economic impact. Visit southernresearch.org for more information.

About Innovate Alabama: Innovate Alabama is Alabama’s first statewide public-private partnership focused on entrepreneurship, technology and innovation with a mission to help innovators grow roots here in Alabama. Innovate Alabama was established to implement the initiatives and recommendations set forth in the Alabama Innovation Commission’s report, including smart policy solutions that will create a more resilient, inclusive and robust economy to remain competitive in a 21st-century world. With founding CEO Cynthia Crutchfield leading the charge, Innovate Alabama is also made up of a board of 11 innovation leaders appointed by Gov. Ivey, collaborating across sectors to advance industries, drive technology and facilitate an environment where innovation and entrepreneurship thrive. Learn more about Innovate Alabama at www.innovatealabama.org.

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