Vermont Biosciences Alliance Summer Newsletter

Summer Newsletter 
VBSA was created to foster recognition of medicine and bioscience as a leading industry in the Vermont region and promote economic and human well-being by strengthening sector attention, research resources, and venture growth. To the businesses and organizations who are currently members, thank you for supporting the bioscience industry in Vermont.

Join Vermont Biosciences Alliance and Vermont Technology Alliance on July 19 from 5:00 - 7:00 at Queen City Brewery on Pine Street in Burlington, VT.  Enjoy a craft beer and pizza while networking.  There is no charge for this event.
The Vermont Genetics Network will be co-hosting this conference on proteomics and genetics on August 16-18 at the Burlington Sheraton Hotel and Business Center. 
Vermont's premier supply chain trade show will be held on September 27 at The Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction. 
Industry News
The NSF 2018 budget highlights innovative sciences that are expected to drive the future of the national economy.
BioTek was excited to celebrate the completion of their facility expansion project this May, which will support their goal of continued growth.
The Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center will be holding this professional development workshop on strategies for process improvement in both manufacturing and administration on August 10th.
Education News
Two start-ups founded by UVM students and faculty were top choices in Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce's fourth annual Launch-VT competition.
With the help of the Generator maker space, UVM Biology undergraduates create their own experimental lab equipment.
Vermont Tech has launched a new degree program designed to bridge the widening gap between the skills current college graduates have and the skills advanced manufacturers increasingly need in future employees. 
Vermont is a member of the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Program that seeks to broaden the geographic distribution of NIH funding for biomedical research. The I DeA-state en trep reneurship program (I-Trep) is a new NIH-supported education program based in Vermont. Continuing with our mission to provide training and education in biomedical entrepreneurship, the I-Trep program is offering paid specialized internships for 2017-2018. 

The internships aim to provide career development for faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students from any Vermont-based academic institution and foster business-research collaborations within Vermont.

Eligible hosts include any bioscience-based business or other businesses such as law offices or consultant firms that support the bioscience community. Terms of the internship are meant to be flexible to accommodate the desired career skill development or business-research partnership goals. The intern will be paid through the I-Trep grant and internships will be at a maximum of 8 weeks in duration.

If your organization would like to participate, please contact Tina Thornton, coordinator for the I-Trep program, for more information
Member Profile
Research Proteins

What do you do in Vermont if you're having trouble finding work in the biosciences? Start your own business! That's what biochemist Margaret Doyle did in 1995 when she founded Research Proteins, Inc. Her initial concept was a small business to conduct contract research on protein chemistry, especially protein purification from diverse biological sources. But in the years since Research Proteins was founded this focus has shifted, to the point where Paul Haley, Scientific Director and Dr. Doyle's husband, calls the company name a bit of a misnomer.

These days, Research Proteins focuses on contract and venture R&D, mostly related to invitro diagnostics and some therapeutics. Typically, they charge a fee-for-service on projects stabilizing existing chemistry in new contexts or developing new chemical processes.

While their products are used by approximately 150 diagnostic companies across the country, Research Proteins operates very behind-the-scenes. When they are brought in on a project, often it's because they're asked to solve a problem as a third party by a vendor company. The company that ultimately uses the developed product may never even know that Research Proteins was involved. 

Over the years, unexpected opportunities have popped up for the company. Occasionally Research Proteins will do work in exchange for equity in a new medical start-up. Dr. Haley described several spin-off companies they've supported, including a point-of-care monitor for Warfarin therapy and a hemostatic dressing. After coming on board to develop the chemistry involved in the hemostatic dressing, Research Proteins ultimately pursued the opportunity by founding a separate company to handle the manufacturing.

I asked Dr. Haley what memorable lessons he's learned in growing a small biosciences company in Vermont. "Find other people for advice," he said, "even if you don't listen to it at first!" When they started out, with limited resources and limited experience, he and Dr. Doyle thought they could do everything. In retrospect, he wishes they'd just spent the money on services like legal advice and accounting, because it would have been worth the time they saved.

These days Dr. Haley feels like Research Proteins has hit its stride and is humming along. He projects some steady growth over the next few years, with a couple of hires in the future. He commented that without the support of his longtime colleague and friend, Dr. William Church of Green Mountain Antibodies, this may not have been possible. Their vision for the VBSA professional network is that it will serve as a similar resource to other biotech startups seeking advice, facilities and local talent.  

Dr. Haley expects opportunities in the biosciences will continue to grow in Vermont. He sees a general need in the state for more career opportunities for highly educated people, and the biosciences need highly educated people. At the same time, bioscience businesses often don't require invasively large infrastructure. "All you really need is an idea, a small space, and FedEx," Dr. Haley jokes. An industry with a small footprint is a good fit for a small state. In fact, like most small businesses, Research Proteins started in the family garage. Today it occupies 8000 square feet in Essex Junction.

News: If your business has announcements, milestones, or projects they would like to share with the VBSA community, please get in touch with us! You can email your news and information to Susan Fayette.
Membership: If you are interested in bioscience entrepreneurship in Vermont, join the VBSA! Expand your professional network and keep current on news and opportunities in bioscience right here in Vermont. Joining the VBSA sends a message of support for Vermont bioscience companies and organizations.   Click here   for more on the benefits of joining the VBSA and to sign up.
Twitter:  Connect with VBSA on Twitter at
Member Benefit
Cost Savings Program for Shipping Services with UPS

BIO Business Solutions uses the buying power of the entire industry to deliver to every member - as a FREE benefit through your membership with VBSA your business qualifies for this discount - exclusive deep savings and premier services from UPS.  

Click here for more information and to enroll