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  • 26 Jan 2022 5:25 AM | Anonymous member

    Jason Rupp joins the Acclinate team

    Jason brings 20 years of experience to lead Acclinate’s business development


    Acclinate hires Jason Rupp as Head of Business Development effective January 20, 2022. Rupp brings nearly 20 years of business development experience to the company. 

    Before joining Acclinate, Rupp was President of Southeast Life Sciences (SLS), a trade association dedicated to supporting the life science community in the southeast. Among his many accomplishments at SLS, Rupp led the launch of SE Color, a division of SLS dedicated to advancing the issue of lack of diversity in clinical trials. Prior to his tenure as SLS, Rupp led business development for the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)and AdvaMed in Washington, DC. 

    Acclinate is committed to health equity through inclusive research. The addition of Rupp will ensure fairness in clinical trials that leads to better science and creates the potential to reduce health disparities. “Since launching the Diversity& Inclusion initiatives at SLS, I’ve learned the critical need to diversify our clinical trials,” Rupp said, “The opportunity to help address this need at Acclinate is truly an honor.” 

    “Jason’s business development experience, industry connections, and demonstrated focus on clinical trial diversity make him an ideal addition to our growing team,” said Del Smith, Acclinate’s CEO and co-founder.

    Mr. Rupp has a master’s in business administration from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Brigham Young University.


    About Acclinate™

    Acclinate™ is a Birmingham-based, digital health company helping pharmaceutical companies and healthcare organizations access and engage communities of color, so research is more inclusive.


    Tiffany Whitlow


  • 6 Dec 2021 7:29 AM | Anonymous member

    CERFLUX Receives $100,000 BCRFA Innovation Award

    Contact: Kathleen A. Lovelady | |

    (Photographer Dustin Massey – Dustin Massey Studios)
    L-R: Dr. Lizhong Wang; Dr. Selvarangan Ponnazhagan; Dr. Rajeev Samant; Dr. Ahmed Elkhanany; Dr. Barry Sleckman; Ms. Beth Bradner Davis; Dr. Jamil Saad; Ms. Laura Hinton; Dr. Karim Budhwani; Dr. Laura Rogers; Dr. Lalita Shevde-Samant; Dr. Xu Feng

    The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama (BCRFA) has awarded CerFlux $100,000 Innovation award to fast-track research and development of the CerFlux Personalized Oncology Efficacy Test (POET)

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala., (December 6, 2021) – CerFlux, Inc., creators of advanced personalized medicine technology for identifying the most efficient and effective treatments for each cancer patient on an individualized basis, announced the receipt of a $100,000 grant from the BCRFA. Funding from this grant will help bolster research, development, and lab-to-life translation of its low-cost, rapid Personalized Oncology Efficacy Test (POET).

    More than 3.8 million women in the US have a history of breast cancer. This year an estimated 281,550 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the US. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama supports innovative research that will help improve outcomes of patients with breast cancer. Since 1996, they have contributed almost $12 million dollars to breast cancer research. Despite the impact of COVID-19, BCRFA donated their largest amount to date. CerFlux is honored to have their support in their mission to #CrushCancer.

    What makes BCRFA support for CerFlux particularly noteworthy is the focus on lab-to-life translation of technological breakthroughs like POET in transforming cancer treatment around the world. Today, less than 3% of funded research makes such a lab-to-life leap. Further, while extensive biopharma research makes new treatment options available, the lack of tools to quickly select the right treatment for each patient on a personalized basis creates a frustrating dilemma in clinical decision-making. This is because every tumor is unique in its makeup and its response to treatment.

    Without personalized predictive tools like POET, treatment is based on generalized parameters such as age, disease stage, etc. often leading to a mismatch between treatments and tumors. Consequently, about 75% of patients – nearly 3 out of 4 – must endure first line chemotherapy which turns out to be ineffective because the treatment regimen does not match the patient’s tumor. This results in lost time and a substantial physical, emotional, and financial burden.

    CerFlux POET addresses this critical, urgent, and unmet need for accessible and affordable predictive technologies that identify optimal therapy regimens and strategically eliminate ineffective options. With BCRFA support, CerFlux is developing bioreactor technology to identify the most promising treatment strategies on a personalized basis using biopsy tissue from the patient’s own tumor. CerFlux already holds five patents on this technology with another five patents pending.

    “Accounts of cancer date back some 5,000 years and yet, “slash, poison, and burn” continue to remain predominant approaches to treatment. Knives, salts, pastes, and heavy metals of the past have evolved into surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and combinations of the three. Despite recent advances in the field, socioeconomic impact of cancer continues to spiral out of control with 42% of patients depleting their entire life savings in just 2 years from diagnosis. Developing better tools for cancer treatment is not merely an intellectual exercise or business driver, but a mandate for us. We have designed our patented technology so that it can be applied across the cancer care continuum: POET to better match treatments to tumors and PEER (Preclinical Estimate Efficacy Report) to predict clinical success of new therapies still under development at pharmaceutical companies. Our goal is to transform both discovery and delivery of cancer treatment,” explains CerFlux CEO Dr. Karim Budhwani.

    "The BCRFA is pleased to again support the promising research being conducted by the CerFlux team," said Beth Bradner Davis, Executive Director of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama. "Our organization's core mission is to find and fund projects that have a deep impact on breast cancer patients in Alabama and around the globe. CerFlux Personalized Oncology Efficacy Test (POET) is making great advances in treatment for cancer patients. We are proud to continue our partnership."

    Predictive technologies like POET – that match each patient with the right treatment regimen BEFORE treatment is administered – will transform cancer treatment in the near-term and make a difference in the lives of patients and their families, as well as providers around the world.

    About CerFlux, Inc.

    CerFlux, Inc., a Birmingham, Alabama, based biotech company, is creating advanced, personalized medicine solutions to rapidly identify the most effective cancer treatments for each patient on an individualized basis. While breakthroughs in biopharma discovery are helping to produce a library of treatment options, many new therapeutics are becoming more specialized and therefore effective for smaller populations. This underscores an even greater need for matching treatments to tumors on an individualized basis; ironically, cancer is a ubiquitous rare disease. Our goal is to build solutions that quickly and clearly separate optimal from ineffective options, so clinical teams can successfully treat the disease, thereby improving treatment outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients.

    Additional Information

    To request collateral materials for publication or to schedule interviews with principals from CerFlux, Inc., please contact Ms. Kathleen A. Lovelady at for availability.

  • 27 Oct 2021 10:25 AM | Anonymous member

    UAB Biotech Startup, Reliant Glycosciences, Enables Treatment for IgA Nephropathy

    Birmingham, AL / October 2021– Reliant Glycosciences, LLC (Reliant) is pleased to report its successful completion of a $200,000 Phase I SBIR Grant from the NIH. This grant has enabled Reliant to initiate the process of translating their proprietary biomarker tests for a kidney disease, IgA nephropathy (IgAN), to the clinical setting. Biomarkers are biological molecules in blood or tissues that can indicate normal or abnormal processes or a specific disease. Since its spin-off from UAB at the recommendation of Dr. Selwyn Vickers, Dean of the UAB Heersink School of Medicine, Reliant’s initial focus has been to provide measurements of potential disease-specific biomarkers for ongoing IgAN clinical trials.

    The Reliant team

    Reliant was formed in 2016 with the mission of enabling development of transformative and targeted treatments for IgAN by providing a means to characterize disease-specific biomarkers. The biotechnology company, located in Birmingham, AL, focuses on developing diagnostic and prognostic tools for patients with IgAN. IgAN, one of the most common forms of glomerulonephritis in the world, affects more than 150,000 Americans and is even more prevalent in other countries. Glomerulonephritides are diseases that injure glomeruli, the part of the kidney that filters waste products from the blood. Several of the Reliant founders helped define IgAN as an autoimmune disease wherein kidneys are injured as innocent bystanders.

    The company was founded by Drs. Bruce Julian, Jan Novak, Matt Renfrow, Will Placzek, and Dana Risk as a spinout company from UAB. The founders serve on the advisory board for the company. The company has taken advantage of the Discovery BioMed incubator headed by Dr. Erik Schwiebert, an established biotech entrepreneur in the Birmingham area. The company now has one full-time scientist and one full-time administrative employee. Janusz Tucholski, Ph.D. is the Lead Scientist at Reliant and served as the PI on the Phase I SBIR grant. He received his Ph.D. in 1996 from the University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland in Biochemistry. Dr. Tucholski guides and leads IgAN biomarker assays for Reliant. Tatum Street, MBA is the Communications Manager at Reliant. She received her MBA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is the team’s most recent hire, focusing on the internal and external communications of the company.

    As stated by one of the founders, Matt Renfrow, “Reliant Glycosciences started with the goal of getting the IgA nephropathy biomarker assays developed in Dr. Novak’s laboratory out to the market for wider use. The UAB Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship helped us make that happen through the licensing agreement and by becoming partners with us in the endeavor. We have a working team of experts, advisors, and scientists in the company that have successfully made these assays available for use by biopharmaceutical companies. The ultimate goal is to get these assays into nephrologists’ hands so they can monitor and better treat patients with IgA nephropathy.”

    To learn more about Reliant Glycosciences, see their website at

    Written by: Tatum Street

    Updated 11/17/21

  • 2 Sep 2021 3:19 PM | Anonymous member

    BIO Alabama submitted the following letter to Governor Ivey, highlighting the tremendous work of our members in COVID-19 relief efforts.

    Dear Governor Ivey,

    As concern grows over the advances of the Delta variant COVID strain, we wanted to share the tremendous contributions Alabamians in our bioscience industry have made in this urgent fight. We live in a state that literally took man to the moon, and innovation is in our core, dating back to the agricultural technologies Dr. George Washington Carver developed at Tuskegee University. Now, our state’s bioscience community is assisting our neighbors, the US, and the rest of the world to curb this powerful pandemic’s destructive path by studying the virus, developing vaccines, and discovering new tools and treatments.

    • Avanti Polar Lipids (part of Croda International plc) utilized its Lipid Nanoparticle technology to enable the rapid clinical development of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Avanti was the first company to supply clinical and commercial quantities of this critical lipid technology that enables the targeted release of the mRNA vaccine to muscle tissue.
    • Moderna selected the vial produced by SiO2 Materials Science for its unique composition and manufacturing process. SiO2 increased vial production in 4 months to levels that would have taken 18-24 months for traditional vials. Without Avanti’s and SiO2’s technology and manufacturing capacity, many more lives may have been lost to the virus.
    • Data from a powerful artificial intelligence program developed at the Precision Medicine Institute of the University of Alabama at Birmingham resulted in the first dose-sparing cocktail of remdesivir, the only approved treatment for COVID.
    • At Auburn University, teams developed biosensors for rapid COVID-19 testing and reengineered standard CPAP machines into functional emergency ventilators.
    • The University of South Alabama collaborated with partners to repurpose their 3D printing capabilities to produce PPE for local healthcare workers.
    • The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology’s powerful sequencing technology tracked the shift in COVID variants, noting the predominance of the Delta variant by June 2021.
    • The University of Alabama spearheaded a vaccination equity campaign, focusing on the Black Belt, which currently leads the state in vaccination status.
    • The University of Alabama at Huntsville collaborated with partners, including Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Alabama Supercomputer Center and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, to identify anti-COVID-19 chemicals and drug candidates.
    • CFD Research is developing a new class of COVID-19 drugs with the Defense Health Agency. 
    • Southern Research has conducted >$30 million of COVID-related research, using high-throughput screening to refine treatments, co-create vaccines, and develop assays for variant detection.

    As we continue to wage war against this unrelenting virus, we must celebrate the meaningful innovations Alabama is making so that we can emerge on the other side with confidence in each other and strength together. Governor Ivey, please share these major contributions with your staff and other elected officials so that we can appreciate the united contributions of our fellow Alabamians.


    Rachel Lane, PhD, RD

    Executive Director, BIO Alabama

  • 13 Aug 2021 10:04 AM | Anonymous member

    Dr. Lane penned a few thoughts on Alabama's bioscience industry and the role of BIO Alabama in growing it.

  • 26 Jul 2021 10:01 AM | Anonymous member

    Sam Prickett chatted with BIO AL executive director Rachel Lane PhD, RD about BIO Alabama.

  • 15 Jul 2021 9:56 AM | Anonymous member

    BIO Alabama in Mobile

    July 12-13

    BIO Alabama executive director – Dr. Rachel Lane – wrapped up her listening campaign in mid-July with a visit to Mobile. The beauty and comradery of the city was evident, from the exquisitely landscaped campus of the University of South Alabama to the warm embraces shared by all members of the BIO AL roundtable.

    Left to right | Ashely Lindsey (BIO AL Mobile Ambassador), Michelle Parvinrouh (Executive Director of Innovation Portal), and Rachel Lane (Executive Director of BIO AL) at the Innovation Portal celebrate the Mobile spirit of making good things happen.

    Michael Berson of Adams and Reese LLP generously hosted Dr. Lane’s visit with key community leaders: Anitra Belle-Henderson (Executive Director of Communications and External Affairs at City of Mobile), Michael Chambers (Associate Vice President for Research at the University of South Alabama), Todd Greer (Vice President For Academic Affairs at the University of Mobile), Ashley Lindsey (Assistant Professor of Biology and the University of Mobile and BIO Alabama Ambassador), Michelle Parvinrouh (Executive Director at Innovation Portal), and Christina Stimpson (Director of Economic Development at Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce). Notably, this was the only meeting on Dr. Lane’s listening campaign to host a female majority. After the roundtable, Dr. Lane toured the incredible facilities at Innovation Portal. She was also excited to learn that both the University of South Alabama and the University of Mobile have implemented NSF I-Corps programs, a tremendous tool for exploring the commercial potential of scientific discoveries.

    According to 2018 workforce data published in the 2020 Bioscience Teconomy report, Mobile is a key player in Alabama’s life science workforce.  Alabama has a specialized workforce in Agricultural Feedstock and Industrial Biosciences, meaning that compared with the national average, the state has a significantly greater job concentration for this industry subsector. Mobile is the largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in AL to host a specialized workforce, and the only MSA in the state to land on a “top twenty” list, tailing Madison, WI for total number of employees in this industry subsector. Business Facilities – a key voice in the site selection marketplace – recently recognized Mobile as one of the top five best business environments (population <200,000) in the US, highlighting the distinct potential of this singular city to support bioscience growth. Mobile’s academic R&D capabilities, manufacturing specialty, innovation support, and favorable business environment create a unique microcosm with immense bioscience potential.

    The roundtable offered helpful insight into how these exceptional features of Mobile’s bioscience industry could fit into the state’s bioeconomy. Leaders expressed sincere interest in uniting Alabama’s bioscience presence and identifying a clear strategy for positioning the state for industry success.

  • 6 Jul 2021 3:06 PM | Anonymous member

    BIO Alabama Visits Tuscaloosa

    June 28-29th

    Executive director Rachel Lane visited Tuscaloosa in late June, where she found supportive bioscience allies and enthusiastic innovators on and off campus. The trip kicked off with an engaging conversation at the Tuscaloosa County Economic Development Authority with Executive Director Danielle Winningham and Director of Business Development Max Snyder about building Tuscaloosa’s bioeconomy. Tuscaloosa has successfully supported the automobile manufacturing industry and is interested in exploring potential crossover opportunities that support bioscience.

    Dr. Lane talks with UA faculty about the state of bioscience in Alabama.

    Dan Blakley, Associate Vice President for Economic and Business Engagement at The University of Alabama, hosted Dr. Lane’s campus visit at the University of Alabama. From the first conversation, UA’s concerted effort to strategically lower barriers and pave multiple paths to industry engagement was evident. The Office of Research and Economic Development leadership team recently altered their tech transfer processes to streamline contract engagements, encourage industry partnerships, and promote innovation. Dr. Sharlene Newman – Executive Director of the Alabama Life Research Institute – is cultivating valuable industry research partnerships, including an engagement with CVS. The Alabama Water Institute's agenda also typifies UA's deep-rooted appreciation for the natural resources that sustain life and their commitment to solving the challenges of the future before they become the problems of the present. Ravi Kumar, PhD -- the university's latest faculty recruit -- has developed a novel drug delivery platform with the potential to promote collaborations across the state and nation.

    Drs. Lane, Newman, M. Thompson (Assistant Professor of Chemistry), J. Cochran (Associate Dean for Research at the University of Alabama), J. Bara (Professor of Chemical & Biological Engineering), R. Kumar (College of Community Health) and N. Chiem (Office of Innovation and Commercialization) engaged in a lively discussion about the state of bioscience at UA and around the state. They were joined by Dana George, Business Engagement and Research Operations Manager at The University of Alabama, who runs the Mobile office and facilitates industry partnerships.

    “Across all my site visits, people are so excited to gather in person again. All the conversations have been fully engaged, future focused, and collaboration centered. It’s energizing to see our members connect in meaningful ways to build the future together,” observed Dr. Lane after their discussion.

    The executive agenda has clearly influenced the student and startup population. The UA graduate students that met with Dr. Lane were especially interested in learning about industry opportunities around the state, and several resident companies at The EDGE – the university’s incubator and accelerator – are navigating bio-based innovations. The Alabama International Trade Center (AITC) continues to be an incredible resource for bioscience companies statewide, helping establish their initial commercial presence. In the last five years, Carolyn Turner and Brian Davis have provided over fifty Alabama biotech companies with no-cost, in-depth technical assistance on overseas market opportunities.Dr. Lane wrapped up her Tuscaloosa trip with a brief stop by Representative Bill Poole’s home office and thanked him for supporting innovation in Alabama with HB 609.

    *NEW OFFERING | The AITC recently began offering graphic design services to clients 

  • 25 Jun 2021 10:15 AM | Anonymous member

    Wallace State Community College Hosts BIO Alabama

    June 25

    Wallace State Community College Campus

    State Community Colleges are Critical to the Bioscience industry

    Three days before Dr. Lane’s trip to Wallace State Community College (WSCC), the Coalition of State Bioscience Institutes released the 2021 Life Sciences Workforce Trends Report

    Figure after figure, the report reinforces the essential role of two-year colleges in training the life science workforce. More than 50% of entry-level life science jobs require middle- and low-skill training (defined by the study as less than a bachelor’s degree) (Figure 1), and 25% of all life-science job postings – regardless of level – specify the need for an associate degree or less (Figure 2).

    “Medical technician” (Figure 3), a position with multiple entry points supported by community college education, was the technical life science job in highest demand from 2017-2020.

    The Role of WSCC in Alabama's bioscience workforce

    WSCC’s contribution to training and diversifying AL’s life science workforce is obvious, graduating >50 medical technicians and training numerous agriculture professionals each year, as well as creating onramps for underserved populations (evidenced by their recent NSF award to train women and adult learners in the diesel industry). In 2022, WSCC will be rolling out a business incubator, equipped with 8 pods capable of supporting light manufacturing operations. This combination of essential training with entrepreneurial support encourages application-centered innovation.

    WSCC medical laboratory technician students in training and a WSCC greenhouse

    Travis Kress – who manages his own family farm in Cullman – also runs the Small Farmer Training Program at WSCC. He explained that the average Alabama farmer is nearing 60 years of age, and our state also has more new ag producers than the national average. Dr. Lane speculates that the next generation of farmers may usher in a new mentality toward technology and farming that could make Alabama an especially welcoming state for agbio innovators to call home.

    WSCC’s commitment to workforce diversity and innovation is a key partner in Alabama’s future. Special thanks to Suzanne Harbin, Wesley Rakestraw, Travis Kress, Kristi Barnett, and Beth Williams for sharing this time and insight with Dr. Lane during her visit.

  • 16 Jun 2021 4:41 PM | Anonymous member

    Auburn Hosts BIO Alabama

    June 2-3

    Dr. Lane’s “Listening Campaign” around Alabama continued in June with a visit to Auburn. As a Texas native, she immediately felt at ease in the Alabama plains and was surprised to learn the Atlanta airport is only 1.5 hours away from the charmingly bustling town. Bill Dean – Executive Director of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation (aka “The Park”) – hosted Dr. Lane at The Park’s state-of-the-art facilities.

    Graduate students from the Department of Biology kicked off Dr. Lane’s visit with a casual conversation about how BIO AL can support their career development: their interests spanned from policy, to academia, to industry. Dr. Lane discussed the depth of career opportunities in Alabama following graduation. As a result of their conversation, BIO Alabama plans to organize virtual soft-skill professional development opportunities and industry introductions for grad students across the state.

    ARTF Executive Director Bill Dean (right), BIO AL Executive Director Rachel Lane (middle), and Senior Technology Transfer Officer Troy Brady (left) discuss Mr. Dean's plans to streamline tech transfer.

    Bill Dean and Cary Chandler - Senior Director of Business Development & Startups – shared their thoughtful design of The Park’s campus and resources to connect, support, and fuel innovators. Dr. Lane was impressed to learn that the campus includes the Big Blue Marble Academy. “Campus-accessible childcare helps working parents stay engaged in their careers, supporting a diverse workforce that includes more representative perspectives and experiences” she noted. Mr. Dean's unique skillset and expertise in creating innovation-conducive environments was evident in his insightful plan to bridge gaps in the innovation pathway and facilitate tech transfer.

    Next, Rick Hansen, Kimberly Braxton, and Gary Piazza from the Harrison School of Pharmacy shared their work. Dr. Lane was especially excited to learn more about Dr. Braxton’s study with the “TigerMeds® Personalized Prescriptions” program. The program uses individualized pharmacogenomic results to optimize patient prescriptions for tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), SSRI or SSNRI antidepressants, ADHD medications, antiplatelet medications, and antiestrogen medications.

    Dr. Symone Alexander from the College of Engineering explains her work

    The Samuel Ginn College of Engineering proved to be refreshingly focused on industry application, including novel MRI contrast agents, and showcased several of their energetic new faculty. College of Agriculture Chair David Held spotlighted the department’s recently introduced Applied Biotechnology degree, and Professor Brendan Higgins reiterated that many of their students “want to stay in the south.” VP for Research and Economic Development Jim Weyhenmeyer discussed cultural shifts in academic research that could promote a transition from predominately market-pull to market-push innovations. The College of Veterinary Medicine unveiled a vault of stories where they successfully applied developments in animal medicine to human biology. At the end of the day, Dr. Lane toured The Park’s accelerator space with Cary Chandler and then the Center for Advanced Science, Innovation, and Commerce across the street with Dr. Mark Liles.  

    Representative Jeremy Gray and Dr. Rachel Lane

    Dr. Lane did diversify her time in Auburn. She met with Representative Jeremey Gray to thank him for co-sponsoring HB 609, which was signed by Governor Ivey in May and provides state matching funds for companies awarded federal SBIR/STTR dollars. On her way out of town, Dr. Lane stopped by Vitruvias Therapeutics to visit with President Roger Graben.

    Despite the packed schedule, Dr. Lane left unfinished business in Auburn and hopes to return for a visit with SiO2 and Pharmavite - among other companies - soon.

Connecting the Bioscience Ecosystem in Alabama

BIO Alabama
P.O. Box 583
Arab, AL 35016

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