WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) announced on Thursday that Farmington innovator CaroGen Corporation has been named “Innovator of the Month.” CaroGen is a private biotechnology company with a patented and transformative novel immunotherapy and vaccine platform called AVIDIO or Artificial Virus for Infectious Diseases and Immuno-Oncology. The AVIDIO platform technology was licensed from Yale University for worldwide use by CaroGen for both prophylactic and therapeutic vaccine applications. CaroGen, in collaboration with researchers at Yale University School of Medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Brown University Medical School and Albany Medical College, is developing immunotherapies for solid tumors including, colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, and hepatocellular carcinoma.
CaroGen is one of many Connecticut companies that are stepping up to help develop a vaccine targeting the coronavirus responsible for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Working with scientists from Yale, the foundation for CaroGen’s vaccine goes back a decade from when co-founder and scientist John Rose helped to develop a vaccine for the SARS virus. Since 2019, the company has received over $2 million from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and continuous backing from Connecticut Innovation since its inception in 2012.
“CaroGen Corporation is a prime example of why Connecticut is a great place to start a business. They have been working on life-saving vaccines for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has put a bright spotlight on their important science and discovery work. I'm especially thrilled that their team has stepped up to create a vaccine for the COVID-19 pandemic right here in Connecticut. I’m looking forward to watching them grow in our state,” said Murphy.
“We are honored to be recognized by Senator Murphy as an innovator within the state of Connecticut. We strongly believe in the novelty and versatility of our AVIDIO platform and its promising applications in immuno-oncology and infectious diseases providing multiple products for unmet medical need globally,” said Bijan Almassian, Ph.D., Co-Founder, CEO and President of CaroGen Corporation.
CaroGen Corporation’s long-term goal is to become a leader in the field of immune oncology and to develop and commercialize its own pipeline. By the end of 2020, CaroGen will have 3 drug candidates for further clinical development, which include the COVID-19 vaccine and two immunotherapies for patients with chronic hepatitis B virus infection and solid tumors including colorectal cancer or ovarian cancer. CaroGen’s 10 PhD scientists come from seven countries around in the world.
Murphy believes entrepreneurship and innovation are the building blocks for a strong economy. In the U.S. Senate, he has introduced two bipartisan pieces of legislation to incentivize angel investors to put more money into startup companies – the Angel Tax Credit Act and the Helping Angels Lead Our Startups (HALOS) Act. Startup companies create an average of 2 million jobs each year.