LaFayette Biotech Company Started by Former SUNY Upstate Student Lands $1.35 Million, Attracts International Investors
Monday, March 7, 2016
Source: Ichor Therapeutics
Ichor Therapeutics, a local biotechnology company focusing on therapeutic interventions for age-related disease, receives $1.35 million in new funding -- including $1 million from European investors -- and begins a 4-fold expansion of research capabilities in LaFayette, NY to engage in FDA compliant pre-clinical research.
Ichor was founded in 2013 by CEO Kelsey Moody - originally from Beekmantown, NY - while he was a medical student at SUNY Upstate Medical University. From its humble beginnings in the living room of Mr. Moody’s Tippery Hill apartment, Ichor relocated to its current LaFayette location in 2014. “The town of LaFayette has been incredibly supportive of the company, and is a wonderful community in which to live and work.” said Moody of his decision to keep the business in LaFayette as it moves to a larger facility.
Investor Roger Bagg, founder of UK biotech company BioSenex, Ltd. began as one of Ichor’s contract customers in 2014. “I have invested in biotech companies in both the UK and the US. Between its internal ophthalmology and aging research programs, as well as its contract research services, I believe Ichor is in a unique position to shake up this space,” said Bagg of his decision to invest in Ichor. “My confidence in Ichor is born out of working closely with its CEO Kelsey Moody. His ability to grow Ichor from a small set-up in his living room, to the current team and facility, has impressed me greatly.”
Moody received a BS from SUNY Plattsburgh and MBA from Concordia University. While an undergrad, Moody founded the SENS Foundation Academic Initiative, an international student research and development program which emphasizes regenerative medicine and biomedical gerontology. SENS Foundation Chief Science Officer Aubrey de Grey, who also serves as a scientific advisor to Ichor, is not surprised by news of Ichor’s rapid growth. “Kelsey Moody built and led highly effective teams at SENS Foundation, and I have had no doubt that he would be successful in establishing Ichor. His ability to deliver on even his most aggressive plans is well-proven.”
After completing his undergraduate education, Moody moved to Silicon Valley where he worked as Chief Technology Officer at ImmunePath, Inc., a start-up biotech company backed by Peter Thiel and Founder’s Fund. In 2012, he returned to the Syracuse area to attend SUNY Upstate Medical University. As a medical student, Moody independently won a $540,000 research grant from Life Extension Foundation, which he used to found Ichor Therapeutics. “It was actually easier and less expensive for me to create a start-up company in my apartment than to operate through a university or existing company,” recalls Moody. “There is a misconception out there that the barriers to entry for this sort of work are unsurmountable, but that is not the case. No one believed that my living room was as well-equipped scientifically as any faculty lab at my medical school – except the investors and clients who actually saw it.”
Ichor quickly caught the attention of several prominent research organizations in the United States and abroad. By the end of Moody’s 2nd year of medical school, Ichor had raised over $1 million in grants and contracts, and expanded to its current LaFayette location. To enable more time for research, Moody transferred from SUNY Upstate to an executive Ph.D. program through the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, designed for working professionals. In the past year, the company has continued to grow. Its many backers and supporters include the Methuselah Foundation, a major sponsor of Ichor’s oncology program. “Mr. Moody and the scientists at Ichor are making a signal contribution to exploring and solving the degeneration of aging,” stated Dave Gobel, CEO at Methuselah Foundation. “We frequently call on Ichor when a knotty problem needs to be unraveled, or to verify critical findings from other investigators.”
To help balance the intense workflow of a start-up biotechnology company, Ichor facilitates a casual work environment. New employees receive challenges to earn company paraphernalia, including t-shirts, personalized lab coats, and ultimately NERF guns for use in company sponsored activities. Unfortunately for Roger and Ichor’s other investors, Moody insists that “T-shirts, personalized lab coats, and NERF guns are earned at the company and cannot be bought.” Roger noted that he plans on lobbying Ichor management in an attempt to overturn this, “outdated and persnickety policy.”