Read Latest Abstract Based on Fairbanks Research

The abstract for the paper that Fairbanks CEO Dr. Alan Schneyer would have been discussing at the canceled ENDO 2020 meeting in March has now been published in Journal of the Endocrine Society. The abstract is titled “FSTL3 Neutralizing Antibodies Restore Function to Diabetic Mouse and Human Islets: A New Approach for Treating Diabetes”.

The studies that would have been presented include a determination of how the therapy works on its target FSTL3 as well as a demonstration that the therapy can restore insulin secretion to diabetic beta cells.  Animal studies are underway that hopefully will lead to human trials in the not too distant future.

Fairbanks Research Continues During Pandemic

From Fairbanks CEO Dr. Alan Schneyer:

When Governor Baker instituted the state of emergency in Massachusetts, Fairbanks remained in operation, with reduced staffing and limited contact in the laboratory, with the unfortunate result of decreased rate of progress. However with the recent award of a Payroll Protection Program loan, all Fairbanks employees are back at work, although with a limit of one technician per day to minimize chances of COVID-19 contagion.  We are very grateful for the long hours spent by Middlesex Savings Bank to approve, process, and submit our loan application.  

Despite our reduced presence during this period, we have continued our work toward a second generation antibody to FSTL3 and initiated a program to develop a monkey version of this antibody, which will fast-track our path to in vivo proof of concept.  With this new approach, our diabetes therapy will be a more attractive and de-risked opportunity for investors.  

Visit Fairbanks at ENDO 2020 (Updated)

UPDATE 3/11/20: the Endocrine Society has canceled ENDO 2020. Dr Schneyer’s abstract will be published by the Journal of the Endocrine Society; we will publish a link later in the spring when it is available.

If you’re attending this year’s Endocrine Society meeting in San Francisco, be sure to visit with Fairbanks CEO Dr. Alan Schneyer on March 30 at 9:15 AM at the “Entrepreneurship and Industry in Endocrinology” symposium promoting and discussing the entrepreneurial career path for society members.  Dr Schneyer will address topics including starting a company to develop a new endocrine-related therapy or technology and funding the company through various stages.  The session will be followed by a networking opportunity for additional contact with the speakers. 

As highlighted recently in Endocrine News, Dr Schneyer has been promoting entrepreneurism in discussion with trainees at numerous institutions about careers in science.  Part of this advocacy has been focused on creating an entrepreneurial track at professional scientific meetings such as the Endocrine Society in which he has been a member for his entire career. 

At ENDO 2019, Dr Schneyer participated in a well-attended symposium highlighting three Endocrine Society members who have started companies and were at distinct phases of therapy development and commercialization. 

On March 29th at 11:00 Dr. Schneyer will also present research and development progress at Fairbanks in developing a novel therapy for diabetes.  March will be an exciting time for Fairbanks, stay tuned for more details!

Fairbanks Celebrates 5th Anniversary

On November 22, 2019 the co-Founders and employees of Fairbanks Pharmaceuticals celebrated the company’s 5th anniversary at a Springfield Thunderbirds hockey game.

Clockwise from upper left: Co-founders Alan Schneyer and Elissa Brown embrace the Thunderbird mascot; Nolan, Alexa and Andre; past and present employees including Danielle; Lara and kids and Melissa; Alden and family.

Here’s to a repeat in 5 years with a larger crowd!

Fairbanks chosen to pitch at RESI

Fairbanks is honored to have been selected for the 2019 RESI Pitch Challenge at the RESI Boston First Coast Innovators’ Gathering. Fairbanks will pitch before a panel of 5 investors on September 11 at the Westin Copley Place in Boston.

CEO Alan Schneyer said, “We are looking forward to this fantastic opportunity to convey the value of the novel diabetes therapy being developed by Fairbanks. Please join us for the pitch and meet us at RESI!”

Fairbanks Continues to Grow

Fairbanks employees in the laboratory in Springfield: From left, Nolan Meyer, Alden Richter, Alexa Lopez, with CEO Alan Schneyer

Fairbanks welcomes its newest employee Alden Richter to our growing company.  Alden is currently a Massachusetts Life Science Center intern and just finished his Master’s Degree Program in Applied Molecular Biology at University of Massachusetts – Amherst.  His project for the Master’s program was focused on cloning and expressing canine FSTL3 and he is continuing that work as an intern at Fairbanks.  He is also using his biotechnology skills to express recombinant versions of our top candidate antibody therapies.

Alden completed his undergraduate degree in Microbiology at University of Massachusetts – Amherst in May 2018.  Prior to entering college, Alden served in the US Army as a combat engineer including a tour in Afghanistan.

The addition of Alden will allow us to expand our research and development of diabetes therapies to include companion animal diabetes treatments.  Cloning dog and cat FSTL3 and expressing protein is the first step in the process and we are excited to have Alden’s expertise which will accelerate progress on this project.

Fairbanks at BIO 2019

Fairbanks Pharmaceuticals at BIO 2019 Innovation Zone

CEO Alan Schneyer and COO Elissa Brown were busy today working the Innovation Zone at BIO 2019 in Philadelphia, meeting with potential partners and working to raise investment for future development of their technologies.

Fairbanks was able to display in the Innovation Zone because the company was awarded an SBIR grant in 2018. As BIO describes it, the Zone enables “Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funded early-stage biotech companies to showcase their cutting-edge technologies, form long-term partnerships, and begin to raise funds in the private sector.” 

Entrepreneurism as a Science PhD Career Choice

There was a time when graduate students entering life science PhD programs set their career goals on an academic research position at a university, a view consistent with the most common advice from mentors and advisors.  However, over the past 20 years or so, the number of such jobs has fallen far short of newly minted PhD’s. A recent article in Science reported that the number of new PhD’s entering the private sector was equal to those entering academia for the first time last year.  Meanwhile the number of tenure track positions held by PhD’s dropped 10% since 1997 to 23%.  All of this leaves mentors pondering what advice to give to new students regarding their most likely career choices as well as what is the proper number of students to accept into PhD programs given these career realities.

My experience starting Fairbanks Pharmaceuticals in 2014, after a long career in academic research, has shown me that another increasingly attractive career choice, for both new and old PhD’s, is to take an entrepreneurial approach to scientific research.  While this necessitates focusing on research leading directly to commercially viable products, it is just as rewarding in terms of contributing to overall human health as the more abstract biomedical research found in academia.  And, as an added bonus, it is increases the probability that research discoveries become  new treatments for patients since it facilitates transfer of academic research discoveries into commercially viable therapeutic opportunities.

To advance this idea, the Endocrine Society, at my urging, held a discussion event at their 2018 annual meeting that was attended by more than thirty members, whose interests included promoting an “entrepreneurial” track and programming at the annual meeting, with the goal of helping members achieve their entrepreneurial goals.  This interest led Endo to hold a symposium at the 2019 meeting in March in which three entrepreneurs at different stages of development described their experience, including my experience with Fairbanks.  This presentation described how one might get started by using financing from the SBIR program at NIH.  

This success has led to suggestions that the Endocrine Society test new programming at next year’s meeting in San Francisco focused specifically on entrepreneurs. Potential ideas have included a pitch competition (similar to ABC’s “Shark Tank”), a networking session with potential partners inside and outside of pharma, SBIR grant proposal training, and practicing how to speak with potential investors.  Stay tuned or check with ENDO2020 in the fall of 2019 to see what programming is actually planned, and if your research is in an endocrine field, apply to participate in the competition. If this new programming is successful it might foster other professional societies to help their members enter this career track.

Fairbanks in Washington for FASEB Capitol Hill Day

Fairbanks CEO Alan Schneyer (left), Shoumita Dasgupta from Boston University, and David Burgess from Boston College before meeting with office of Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03)

I founded Fairbanks Pharmaceuticals to develop potential novel diabetes therapies based on my National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research over a period of 35 years. Fairbanks is currently funded by a Phase II SBIR grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Diseases (NIDDK) at NIH. 

NIH is the most important agency of the federal government dedicated to funding biomedical research that leads to better health for Americans.  Since this research is often lengthy and labor intensive, consistent funding that keeps up with inflation is essential for a vibrant research effort that maximizes the benefit of NIH-funded research. 

On March 5th, 2019, I joined two other Massachusetts-based biomedical researchers to visit our congressional representatives as part of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)’s Capitol Hill Day to discuss how critical this funding is for health.

We first met with staff from Representatives Joe Kennedy and Katherine Clark, who were already familiar with, and big supporters of both the NIH and National Science Foundation (NSF).  In our meetings we discussed funding increases for NIH and NSF and the specific opportunities and needs based on FASEB analysis.

We also visited the office of Representative Lori Trahan, whose district includes Concord, MA, where Fairbanks is located. Meeting with her staff members we explained our request that Representative Trahan support the recommended budget increases for NIH and NSF. I mentioned that our SBIR grant has helped us create three jobs in Massachusetts while allowing us to further evaluate our diabetes therapy.  We were assured of strong support from the entire Massachusetts House delegation. 

Our final visits were with staff from the offices of Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren..  At each office we found the same unwavering support for biomedical and basic science research funded by both NIH and NSF.  We were impressed by and appreciative of the expertise on biomedical topics and specifically diseases like diabetes displayed by the staff we met. They were also sympathetic to the need for the continued level support necessary to attract the next generation of scientists into research as well as to continue progress on longer term research efforts.

The opportunity to speak with the  Massachusetts delegation about the benefits of biomedical research was both enjoyable and productive. I look forward to continuing this discussion in the home districts over the coming year. 

Fairbanks Wins Boston Innovation Prize “Golden Ticket”

Fairbanks Pharmaceuticals wins 2018 Boston Innovation Award
Fairbanks CEO Dr. Alan Schneyer (center) receives the award from Dr. Clive Wood, BI Senior Vice President of Discovery Research (right) and Dr. Jannis Sapountzis, BI US Head of Business Development and Licensing (left)

Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) and the BI Venture Fund have awarded Fairbanks Pharmaceuticals the prestigious 2018 Boston Innovation Prize “Golden Ticket.”  The prize recognizes the challenge and dedication it takes to successfully build a new  company by supporting the innovation process and celebrating life-science entrepreneurs.  The award, worth up to $75,000, includes one year of rent at the LabCentral facility in Cambridge, MA.  Dr. Clive Wood, Senior Vice President of Discovery Research at BI, presented the award to Dr. Alan Schneyer, Fairbanks’ CEO.

LabCentral is a first-of-its kind shared laboratory space designed as a launchpad for high-potential life sciences and biotech startups.  As a testament to its success, in recent years, LabCentral residents and alumni have raised over two billion dollars, with over $750 million dollars in financing in 2017 alone.  

Fairbanks Pharmaceuticals was chosen from a field of ten early-stage bioscience organizations that presented their pitches to a panel of judges.  “We are honored to have been selected by BI as the best young biotech company and we greatly appreciate the validation of our idea and approach by such a distinguished pharmaceutical company” said Dr. Schneyer.  Dr. Schneyer said that he and his team are excited for the opportunity to locate in Lab Central in Cambridge, the center of biotech entrepreneurism.  Fairbanks is also looking forward for the opportunity to work more closely with BI scientists to facilitate development of our lead candidates.