NM biotech industry gaining momentum - Albuquerque Journal

NM biotech industry gaining momentum

New Mexico biotech startup Viome Inc. is barely a year old, but it’s already raised $15 million in venture investment and employs 54 people in New Mexico and other states.

The company launched in October 2016 to do personalized microbiome testing to build individual health regimes that can help prevent chronic disease. It uses advanced analytics technology developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

It now operates a 21,000-square-foot lab in Los Alamos for clinical testing and product development, and it introduced its first product for customers last spring, Momo Vuyisich, Viome’s chief science officer, said during the Bioscience and Tech Knowledge Fair and Expo on Wednesday at the University of New Mexico.

“We’ve been very successful,” Vuyisich said in a keynote presentation. “It’s like one in a thousand biotech startup companies that achieve this much in so little time.”

The New Mexico Biotechnology Association, which organized the conference, touted Viome’s success as an example of the state’s potential for building a thriving life sciences industry. The association is one of the key drivers behind New Mexico’s Growbio initiative, which began in December to unite business leaders, government officials and economic development professionals in promoting biotechnology as a force for the local economy.

About 200 people registered to participate, association Executive Director Greg Byrnes said.

“We’re trying to expose more people to the biosciences and all the different technologies being developed or commercialized in New Mexico,” Byrnes said. “We have scientists, engineers, businesspeople, technology transfer professionals and others from across the state presenting at the conference.”

That includes representatives from the state’s research universities and national labs, which provide a steady stream of new technology that investors and entrepreneurs are working to take to market.

Dr. Richard Larson, executive vice chancellor at UNM Health Sciences Center, said the state’s research institutions provide rich fodder for industry. UNM alone has pumped about $1.5 billion into life sciences research in the past decade.

“That includes drug development, cancer therapies, molecular imaging, new medical devices, diagnostics, software development, genetics and more,” he said. “New Mexico has companies operating in all those areas, and the industry continues to grow.”

New Mexico Tech in Socorro, which has traditionally focused on mining and engineering, also has bustling research  programs underway. That includes a biotechnology doctoral program that began two years ago.

At Wednesday’s conference, Tech researchers showed three new life science inventions now under development: a topical cream to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria in skin infections, a method for using ultrasound to guide cancer drugs to targeted zones in the body and a robotics-based tool to train and evaluate orthopedic surgeons’ surgical skills.

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop


US stock indexes open lower on renewed concerns over ...
Most Recent Biz News
Stocks are opening lower on Wall ... Stocks are opening lower on Wall Street after the head of a major vaccine maker expressed concern about how effective current jabs will be ...
NM OKs lower workers comp costs
The Office of Superintendent of Insurance ... The Office of Superintendent of Insurance announced Monday it has approved a 5.5% decrease in loss c ...
Asia shares mixed as investors weigh omicron economic risks
Most Recent Biz News
Asian shares were mixed Tuesday as ... Asian shares were mixed Tuesday as investors continued to cautiously weigh how much damage the new omicron coronavirus variant may unleash on the global ...
Cyber Monday caps holiday shopping weekend as virus lingers
Most Recent Biz News
Americans are spending freely and going ... Americans are spending freely and going back to store shopping, knocking out some of the momentum in online sales from last year when Americans ...
Twitter CEO steps down, leaves company at a crossroads
Most Recent Biz News
Jack Dorsey is out of his ... Jack Dorsey is out of his post as Twitter's chief executive for the second time in his career -- this time, he says, by ...
Local wares and a tax holiday too: Small Business ...
Bright Spot
Small Business Saturday is a lifeline ... Small Business Saturday is a lifeline for some retailers
ABQ tech company growing again after pandemic downsize
ABQnews Seeker
The coronavirus bit hard into restaurant ... The coronavirus bit hard into restaurant operations and profitability, but point-of-sale software fi ...
Former CNM leader to head leadership organization
ABQnews Seeker
Former Central New Mexico Community College ... Former Central New Mexico Community College president Kathie Winograd will soon be taking over as th ...
New Mexico unemployment rate remains fifth-highest in the nation
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico had a seasonally adjusted ... New Mexico had a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.5% last month, down from 6.9% the month before, according to data from the U.S. ...