January 5, 2016. NEW YORK, (Global Newswire) – TARA Biosystems, Inc., which provides physiologically-relevant “heart-on-a-chip” tissue models for both toxicology and drug discovery applications, raised $2.25 million in a seed financing to build commercial operations in New York City. Based on research from the laboratories of Columbia University Professor Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic and University of Toronto Professor Milica Radisic, both scientific co-founders of TARA Biosystems, the company aims to capitalize on the need for more predictive technology for testing the safety and efficacy of new therapies and for the discovery of new drug compounds.
Harris & Harris Group led the financing with participation from the Partnership Fund for New York City and Alexandria Venture Investments. “We are fortunate to be funded by investors committed to NYC,” said Dr. Misti Ushio, founding CEO of TARA Biosystems and Managing Director of Harris & Harris Group. “With this investment, we will build our commercial operations in NYC and are enthusiastic to be a part of its growing life science community.”
“Growing the life sciences sector in New York City has been a top priority of the Partnership Fund, with a recent focus on supporting the spin-out of life sciences companies from New York’s world-class universities,” said Maria Gotsch, President and CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City. “It is a priority for us to create new jobs here in New York City. TARA Biosystems and its ground-breaking predictive technology will be an excellent addition to the growing life sciences ecosystem in New York.”
TARA Biosystems offers testing services on its human stem cell-derived cardiac tissue platform, which is based on its proprietary, patented Biowire™ technology. Professor Milica Radisic said, “We are actively working with our collaborators in the pharmaceutical industry to commercialize the TARA technology and fulfill the industry need for predictive human cardiac safety and efficacy information much earlier in the development cycle for new medicines.”
TARA Biosystems also enables discovery efforts for novel heart medicines via its disease modeling and phenotypic screening capabilities. Professor Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic added, “The TARA tissue also has the potential to generate new drug targets for the treatment of cardiac disease because of its ability to recapitulate adult heart biology.”