Bioscience matches made in heaven, via local labs

Jan Rosenbaum creates bioscience matches made in heaven.

As an executive-in-residence with Cincinnati-based seed-stage investor CincyTech, Rosenbaum matches up physicians with medical-device engineers, therapeutics companies with molecular pharmacologists, and diagnostics makers with target markets.

Rosenbaum’s role is to look for opportunities to create companies – or commercialize research – out of health care and biotechnology work being done at local research institutions. For the last 12 months, that work has included three trips to Israel to form connections with its dynamic and prolific medical research and biotechnology industries.

Rosenbaum’s work comes as the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber makes a big push to create strong business relationships with Israel. A delegation of about 30 business leaders led by the Chamber traveled to Israel last November to learn how the Israelis fund, promote and advance high-tech startups.

Rosenbaum’s trips have provided a deeper dive into medical technology and biotech. Among other things, she has found a potential distributor for a CincyTech portfolio company’s product and helped form a medical device development and commercialization program between Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Ben Gurion University in Israel. She also has helped create a collaboration with a medicinal chemistry company based in Israel. The goal is to further develop compounds that have been identified by one of Children's leading oncology researchers, who has taken a novel approach in the treatment of leukemia and Crohn's disease.

“All of these are examples of opportunities that lead to economic development in both Israel and Cincinnati through creation of startup companies, driven by the attraction of Cincinnati Children’s,” says Rosenbaum. “The impetus for relocation to our region occurs once the company reaches the point of needing clinical development, market penetration, and sales and marketing distribution through a U.S. presence.”

Rick Schottenstein, the managing director for the state of Ohio’s Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office in Tel Aviv, calls Rosenbaum “an extraordinary asset to the state”.

“It takes someone of Jan’s caliber to analyze these very sophisticated opportunities,” he says. “She has the business background and the scientific background to do that.”

A native of Buffalo, New York, Rosenbaum came to Cincinnati in 1986 after a post-doc fellowship at Stanford University School of Medicine doing cardiovascular research and clinical pharmacology. For 23 years, she worked as a principal scientist at Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals, evaluating licensing opportunities, helping to take internal research to the marketplace, and conducting and coordinating internal and external pre-clinical research.

Since joining CincyTech in January 2009, Rosenbaum has worked closely with Nicole Robinson, executive director of the Center for Technology Commercialization at Cincinnati Children’s, and Dr. Dorothy Air, associate vice president of entrepreneurial affairs and technology commercialization at the University of Cincinnati.

Rosenbaum delves into research underway at both institutions and pairs researchers and opportunities with strategic partners. She has been instrumental in the formation of a number of CincyTech client companies, including Airway Therapeutics, which is based on 10 years of research at Cincinnati Children’s and will develop surfactant proteins to help premature infants’ lung development; and CardioCeption, a University of Cincinnati spinout that is creating non-traumatic heart therapies.

In Israel, Rosenbaum finds cultural affinity as well as professional affinity: prolific researchers aggressively looking for Ohio expertise on taking products to market.

“They are hungry to create and eager to innovate,” she says. “It is an extremely entrepreneurial culture. I absolutely love the work we are doing there.”

By Sarah Blazak for CincyTech
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