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Helix 51 Biomedical Incubator Marks Fifth Anniversary, Rapid Expansion

RFU's Helix 51 biomedical incubator, the only one of its kind in Lake County, Illinois, celebrated its fifth year of operations in April with the entry of four new companies. The incubator is currently home to 12 early-stage startups, including its first international company. 

“The growth of our Helix 51 incubator over the last five years brings to the RFU campus a range of novel therapeutic and diagnostic alternatives that will hopefully benefit patients around the globe,” said Dr. Ronald Kaplan, RFU’s executive vice president for research. “Helix 51 has also created a pipeline of companies into our Innovation and Research Park.”

Helix 51 features 6,500 square feet of wet and dry labs, a class 100,000 “clean room,” offices, a shared conference room, biological safety cabinets, chemical fume hoods and an array of refrigeration equipment. Companies can also access, with no additional cost, a unique Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program and internship program drawing students from RFU’s College of Pharmacy, Northwestern’s Masters of Biotechnology program, and Kent School of Law’s JD program.

The new companies include:

  • MountView Therapeutics, a spinout from Northwestern University and Lurie Children’s Hospital based on the technology of Dr. YouYang Zhao, professor of pediatrics, medicine and pharmacology. The company is developing next generation transformative technologies for gene and drug delivery targeting vascular endothelium to treat human diseases. Dr. Zhao published results in August 2023 in Science Translational Medicine on a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).
  • Remote Vital Monitoring Inc., spun out of the University of Illinois-Chicago, Cook County Hospital and New York University and is based on the work of Dr. James Stone, a neurosurgeon, and colleagues. Their technology will play an important role in monitoring the ongoing development and recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury, which can affect as many as 50 million people annually, costing the global economy $400 billion each year.
  • MRI Coil Guru, a company that specializes in the maintenance and repair of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) instruments based on the expertise of GE Healthcare-trained service engineer Chavis Thomas.
  • Gencell Biotech, a Mexican company headquartered in Guadalajara, working on new therapeutic approaches to diabetic foot ulcer and wound care, as well as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
Posted May 15
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