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George F. Heinrich, MD Vice Chair and Chief Executive Officer
Foundation Venture Capital Group

George F. Heinrich, MD, is the vice chair and chief executive officer of Foundation Venture Capital Group, a position he also holds with New Jersey Health Foundation.

Dr. Heinrich received his MD degree from New Jersey Medical School and served his residency in Internal Medicine at Martland Hospital in Newark.

He has dedicated his career to the advancement of medical research and education and has served in a variety of capacities on many boards including those of hospitals, medical centers, nursing homes and charitable organizations within New Jersey and New York.

James M. Golubieski President
Foundation Venture Capital Group
New Jersey Health Foundation

James M. Golubieski is president of Foundation Venture Capital Group and New Jersey Health Foundation.

Mr. Golubieski had been chief financial officer of Array Medical, Inc., a medical device company established in 1995 that developed a groundbreaking blood test to assess platelet function. The company was sold in 1999.

Previously, he was chief operating officer and senior executive vice president of Glendale National Bank and a member of its board of directors, president of Glendale Investment Corp. and Glendale Mortgage Services, Inc. and chief financial officer of Glendale Bancorp.

For 10 years prior, he had been with KPMG, one of the largest professional services companies in the world.

Mr. Golubieski is a member of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority's Technology Advisory Board, which evaluates and recommends start-up companies for investment and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development's BIO-1 Project, a plan to retain and expand high-quality jobs in central New Jersey's bioscience sector.

Chair Roger S. Fine Retired Vice President & General Council Johnson & Johnson

Vice Chair and CEO George F. Heinrich, MD

Secretary Sandra Brown Sherman, Esq. Partner Sherman Wells Sylvester & Stamelman LLP

Treasurer Susan J. Flynn-Hollander, Esq.

Robert W. Pierce, II

Vice President Michael Wiley Tel: (908) 731-6612 mwiley@njhf.org

Vice President
Finance
Aggie Worthington Tel: (908) 731-6602 aworthington@njhf.org

Vice President
Human Resources & Administration
Laura Harrel Tel: (908) 731-6603 lharrel@njhf.org

Vice President
Communications
Dale R. Heffler Tel: (908) 731-6605 dheffler@njhf.org

Venture Associate Paul Lee Tel: (908) 731-6597 plee@njhf.org

Venture Associate Alexander Li Tel: (908) 731-6590 ali@njhf.org

Venture Associate Sara Soler Tel: (908) 731-6599 ssoler@njhf.org

Venture Operations Associate Ginny Rutkowski Tel: (908) 731-6596 vrutkowski@njhf.org

  • What is Foundation Venture Capital Group, LLC?
  • Foundation Venture Capital Group, LLC, uses impact investing to provide pre-seed and seed funding to health-related start-up companies at organizations affiliated with its parent company, New Jersey Health Foundation, to help them advance toward and through commercialization.
  • What organizations does this group support?
  • We support faculty and staff at Kessler Foundation, Princeton University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rowan University, Rutgers University and Stevens Institute of Technology who have formed, or intend to form, companies to move their projects to commercialization.
  • Can’t researchers find this funding in other places?
  • This extra early funding means that emerging medical breakthroughs in research and technology businesses can be sustained by sufficient venture capital to optimize their chances of success.
  • How can other venture capital firms become involved?
  • Once these companies are established with this funding, Foundation Venture Capital Group, LLC, will seek to work with other traditional venture capital companies to partner in the effort to advance these technologies and companies.
  • What effect can these new ventures have?
  • This forward-thinking concept can prove transformational for the faculty, staff and students who start their own companies, for their research organizations, for Foundation Venture Capital group and most importantly, for patients who will ultimately take advantage of the newest products or services to be developed.

Recent News

Foundation Venture Capital Group, LLC provides pre-seed and seed funding to new health-related companies in New Jersey to help them advance toward commercialization. Its parent company, New Jersey Health Foundation, funds health-related research and education programs at organizations with which it has affiliations.

Portfolio

Actinobac Biomed

Actinobac Biomed is advancing its new therapeutic agent, Leukothera®, as a treatment for white blood cell related illnesses such as hematological malignancies (leukemia, myeloma and lymphoma), autoimmune/inflammatory diseases and latent infections.

Leukothera®, a naturally produced protein, targets and depletes white blood cells activated by the presence of disease. In laboratory experiments, malignant white blood cells and primary cells from autoimmune disease patients have been shown to be much more sensitive to Leukothera than their normal counterparts.

Animal studies using mouse models for human leukemia and lymphoma have shown Leukothera® to possess significant anti-cancer activity. Actinobac is presently working with several academic institutions and the pharmaceutical industry to examine the therapeutic utility of Leukothera® for cancer and a number of other medical indications such as psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, dry eye and in the treatment of HIV infection.

Actinobac plans to file an Investigational New Drug application with the Food and Drug Administration within the next two years.

For more information visit Actinobac’s web site or contact Mike Wiley, vice president, Foundation Venture Capital Group, at (908) 731-6612 or mwiley@njhf.org.

Affineti Biologics, Inc.

Affineti Biologics, Inc. is advancing its research in the development of therapeutic and diagnostic products based on new discoveries in oral biology and dental medicine.

The company has seen positive results from studies for anti-caries and periodontal therapy that look promising in their ability to affect plaque reduction, influencing dental hygiene and systemic medicine.

Affineti scientists use biological principals to create hybrid or fusion proteins that adhere to tissues with potent but non-toxic antimicrobial effects. They plan to use these proteins to deliver effective substances locally, avoiding systemic complications and are currently working on conditions related to the oral cavity, focusing on anti-caries and periodontal disease.

The company is also developing a mouthwash based on natural ingredients to treat dry mouth. In the future, it plans to expand its work to include mucosal infections in other sites throughout the body and has begun to develop pioneering diagnostic tools that utilize salivary and serum biomarkers for rapid and advanced diagnosis of oral diseases.

Affineti has been granted US patents and has international patents pending.

For more information, contact Mike Wiley, vice president, Foundation Venture Capital Group, at (908) 731-6612 or mwiley@njhf.org.

Celvive

Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating neurological condition with limited therapeutic options. In the United States alone, there are more than 250,000 people living with SCI; approximately three million worldwide are affected.

Because SCI is so debilitating, patients require extensive care and lifetime support. Estimates in the US alone indicate that more than $7.7 billion is spent annually to treat and care for affected individuals.

Celvive researchers working on regenerative medicine approaches have developed a new method for treating patients with chronic SCI using a patient's own adult stem cells that are derived to enhance regeneration of spinal nerves. Through Celvive, technology has been developed to deliver bone marrow regenerating cells from the hips of SCI patients by passing them through a sealed device and delivering the cells directly to the patient's spinal cord. The current focus of the company is to develop technology for the isolation and administration of different types of stem cells for neural regeneration in patients of SCI and other regenerative medicine applications harnessing the regenerative power of adult stem cells.

Celvive has very promising data with this therapy in large SCI animal model studies, which recently appeared in an advanced online peer-reviewed publication and revealed that these stem cells homed to the injury site and resulted in neural regeneration and regaining of motor functions, all without any observed side effects.

This led to initiate an overseas, randomized controlled registered phase I/II trial in humans including 70 chronic SCI patients. The trial has been completed, was published and featured on the cover of the April 2014 issue of the prestigious peer-reviewed regenerative medicine journal "Cell Transplantation". Data from these studies indicate the safety and efficacy of Celvive's therapeutic approach. For the first time in a large regulated clinical trial, adult BM-derived stem cells allowed chronic paralyzed SCI patients to regain sensory functions and some abilities to walk.

In addition, Celvive has partnered with a US-based FDA-approved manufacturer to produce the StemCure™ cell isolation and delivery system which has been tested to prepare for an IND application with the FDA for the second phase of clinical studies in the US. Celvive plans to quickly advance to a point where it can embark on multicenter clinical trials in North America, Europe and India. Further development will permit using this technology to isolate and deliver stem cells for multiple regenerative medicine applications.

For more information visit Celvive’s web site or contact Mike Wiley, vice president, Foundation Venture Capital Group, at (908) 731-6612 or mwiley@njhf.org.

Durin Technologies, Inc.

Over 50 million people worldwide suffer from neurodegenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer's (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). And, considering our aging population, the number of people who will develop these devastating and debilitating diseases is expected to increase dramatically in the future.

Unfortunately, at this time, there are no definitive methods to detect these conditions before significant and irreversible brain damage has occurred.

Durin Technologies, Inc., is developing diagnostic kits to detect, identify and stage neurodegenerative diseases in patients long before physical symptoms become pronounced. The company's technology, which monitors the body's response to illness, requires only a single drop of blood and can be performed as part of an individual's annual physical examination.

Durin focuses its research on the identification and potential utility of monitoring autoantibodies formed by the patient's immune system during disease progression, a concept steadily gaining support in the scientific community. Since different medical conditions result in damage to certain organs or parts of organs, autoantibodies that specifically bind to only those tissues are formed, sometimes years in advance of the appearance of physical symptoms. These autoantibodies can be used therefore, to design highly effective diagnostic methodologies.

Durin has completed research into the design of its diagnostics and is presently assembling its first prototype diagnostic kit.

For more information, contact Mike Wiley, vice president, Foundation Venture Capital Group, at (908) 731-6612 or mwiley@njhf.org.

GeneAssess, Inc.

GeneAssess, Inc., is dedicated to developing its breakthrough discovery of the FRY gene as a predictive biomarker for breast and other cancers. The company will use proprietary antibodies to validate loss of the FRY protein as a cancer biomarker, using targeted genomic sequencing to detect genetic mutations in FRY associated high-risk populations and explore target validation for FRY. The signature gene could provide a more accurate diagnostic biomarker for cancer staging.

Mutations in the gene increase rat susceptibility to mammary cancer and FRY reduced the growth of highly aggressive human breast cancer cells. FRY could potentially be used as a platform to develop cancer gene-based susceptibility tests, for disease progression and for tumor grading. This tumor suppressor gene could also be useful for developing new targeted drugs, especially for the treatment of aggressive and/or advanced cancers originating from many tissue types.

The GeneAssess research team found that:

  • Rats carrying a mutant FRY gene are highly susceptible to mammary carcinogenesis.
  • Expressing FRY in human breast cancer cells prevented tumor growth in nude mice.
  • Reduced FRY expression in many cancer types is associated with more aggressive growth and predicts poor clinical outcomes.

GeneAssess is currently validating these results with clinical samples from cancer patients and examining FRY's correlation and association with these samples for diagnostics and outcome predictions.

For more information visit GeneAssess’s web site or contact Mike Wiley, vice president, Foundation Venture Capital Group, at (908) 731-6612 or mwiley@njhf.org.

Longevica Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Longevica Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is a privately held health-related technology company that is developing novel, proprietary drugs with potential use in the treatment of cancer, degenerative diseases and age-related disorders. The company was formed primarily to commercialize the discoveries demonstrating that inactivation of an alpha kinase, EF2 kinase, protects normal (non-cancer) cells and tissues from the toxic effect of chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

Despite the tremendous progress in drug cancer chemotherapy, most of the drugs used today have a pronounced toxicity effect, killing normal cells along with cancer cells. The work being done by scientists at Longevica may lead to a novel approach in cancer therapy that can significantly improve the efficiency of the current methods of cancer treatment.

The discoveries are also expected to be helpful in treating patients suffering from ischemia, stroke and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease by protecting cells and tissues from stress damage.

Foundation Venture Capital Group sold its equity interest in Longevica to Rostock International Ltd., a subsidiary of Rostock Group, a Moscow (Russia) headquartered global investment firm focused on investments in breakthrough technologies that can radically increase human lifespan and improve quality of life. The sale to Rostock International represented a substantial return on investment in less than 18 months.

For more information, contact Mike Wiley, vice president, Foundation Venture Capital Group, at (908) 731-6612 or mwiley@njhf.org.

MentiNova, Inc.

MentiNova, Inc. is developing an oral medication that could alleviate L-Dopa Induced Dyskinesia in patients with Parkinson's disease. This chronic, progressive, neurodegenerative disorder affects one million people in the United States and seven million worldwide. While L-Dopa is effective in ameliorating disease symptoms particularly in its early stages, the vast majority of patients taking it chronically eventually develop L-Dopa Induced Dyskinesia (LID), abnormal involuntary movements that can be disabling. Currently, the medical management of these complications is a major unmet need for this patient population.

Based on proof-of-concept pre-clinical studies indicating robust efficacy and favorable safety profile, the company is now advancing to conduct a clinical trial testing the efficacy of this new treatment.

MentiNova's strategy is to use a drug that is currently clinically approved for another indication and repurpose it for the treatment of L-Dopa Induced Dyskinesia in Parkinson's disease patients. This path can provide a critically needed medication in a rapid timeframe. Additional therapeutic area opportunities exist for this drug that can also provide indications in other disease targets characterized by abnormal involuntary movements such as Huntington's disease, Tourette's syndrome, and Tardive Dyskinesia.

MentiNova is currently advancing on an accelerated clinical development path.

For more information visit MentiNova’s web site or contact Mike Wiley, vice president, Foundation Venture Capital Group, at (908) 731-6612 or mwiley@njhf.org.

NovoPedics, Inc.

NovoPedics, Inc., is developing an implantable medical device that restores mobility to patients suffering from severe meniscal knee injuries.

Meniscal tears are painful and the meniscus heals poorly with prolonged recovery. There are currently no FDA-approved products for replacement of the meniscus to help the more than 800,000 individuals who annually undergo meniscectomies in the US each year.

The company's first product, Meniscofix™, is a biodegradable polymer, fiber-reinforced scaffold for total meniscal replacement. It provides an innovative way to replace damaged meniscal tissue with a patented fiber-reinforced design similar to the native meniscus and can be attached to both soft tissue and bone, allowing it to be used in total meniscus replacement surgery. In addition to functional mobility Meniscofix™ may prevent the long-term development of arthritis that so often occurs as a result of meniscus knee surgery.

Pre-clinical studies leading to the creation of the company have shown strong results through one year post-implantation in large animal models such as sheep. NovoPedics is finalizing these studies and performing additional in vivo proof of concept studies. An article about its sheep studies will be published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine shortly. In addition, the company has already developed a second generation scaffold device which has proven to provide better support and repair capabilities than the first generation device.

NovoPedics has been granted two US patents and has international patents pending.

For more information visit NovoPedics’s web site or contact Mike Wiley, vice president, Foundation Venture Capital Group, at (908) 731-6612 or mwiley@njhf.org.

Snowdon, Inc.

Snowdon, Inc. has discovered prospective drug candidates that address the urgent need for safe and effective medicines in three major therapeutic areas –cancer, pain, and infectious diseases.

The company, which contracts with a number of pharmaceutical and biotech companies, utilizes its core capabilities in computer-aided molecular design and pattern recognition to identify prospective drug candidates. It has assembled an extensive library of commercially available compounds and natural products that can be screened in seconds using its proprietary Avalanche tool to jumpstart its drug discovery programs.

This seamless integration of computational tools, searchable chemical libraries, synthetic organic chemistry and biology is embodied in Snowdon's discovery platform.

Snowdon has received approximately $4 million in grants and contracts from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the New Jersey Commission on Science & Technology, the Department of Defense and the private sector.

For more information visit Snowdon’s web site or contact Mike Wiley, vice president, Foundation Venture Capital Group, at (908) 731-6612 or mwiley@njhf.org.

Visikol, Inc.

Visikol, Inc., is developing multiple bio‐imaging technology platforms based upon its patent pending Visikol® technology, a chemical formula that penetrates tissue and renders it transparent without causing structural damage, allowing researchers to effectively visualize biological tissues in 3‐D.

This technology is a nondestructive optical clearing agent offering a high level of transparency that greatly reduces problems with light scattering and enables high resolution images to be captured from biological tissues. It easily, effectively and quickly clears animal and plant tissue. The Visikol technology has applications in the fields of toxicology, pre‐clinical drug development, clinical diagnostics, basic research and plant biology and can be particularly valuable in fields like drug development and cancer diagnostics.

Biologists, biochemists and geneticists who need to visualize the anatomical location of cellular structure, proteins/enzymes, mRNA, and reporter genes within whole tissue are among those who can benefit from this innovative product, which can be used with light microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, confocal microscopy and single/multiphoton microscopy.

The Visikol technology is exclusively licensed through an agreement with Rutgers University and is already being used by more than 240 researchers around the world to aid in the study of plants. The breakthrough for the Visikol team was realizing that their formula is also capable of making animal tissue transparent and that it has substantial advantages over all other techniques for this purpose.

For more information visit Visikol’s web site or contact Mike Wiley, vice president, Foundation Venture Capital Group, at (908) 731-6612 or mwiley@njhf.org.

Funding Opportunities

In addition to promoting new start-up companies, Foundation Venture Capital Group's parent company, New Jersey Health Foundation, has several other programs to support research in New Jersey.

Foundation Venture Capital Group makes private equity investments in health-related start-up companies in New Jersey headed toward commercialization.

Companies can receive up to $500,000 each. Not only does FVCG provide vital pre-seed funding but it also performs all the other business transactions associated with starting a business so that company founders can concentrate on advancing their research. Investments must be used to fund only direct program costs.*

For more information view FVCG's current investment portfolio.

The New Jersey Health Foundation Research Grants Program provides funding with grants up to $35,000 each for health-related research and education programs and projects. Grants must be used to fund only direct program costs.*

Many scientists who have received this early funding for their work in the past have used it to advance their research to stages where they have become eligible for significant additional funding from national, state and private organizations.

Visit NJHF.org for more information.

To help meet an unmet funding need to advance research, New Jersey Health Foundation established the New Jersey Health Innovation Grants Program.

Grants from $10,000 up to a maximum of $50,000 each are available to researchers with promising ideas that may lead to developing intellectual property. Grants must be used to fund only direct program costs.

Visit NJHF.org for more information.

More News

Contact

George F. Heinrich, MD
Vice Chair & Chief Executive Officer
New Jersey Health Foundation
120 Albany Street, Tower II, Suite 850
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Email: heinrichmd@njhf.org
Tel: (908) 731-6607
James M. Golubieski
President
New Jersey Health Foundation
120 Albany Street, Tower II, Suite 850
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Email: jgolubieski@njhf.org
Tel: (908) 731-6601
Laura Harrel
Vice President
Human Resources & Administration
New Jersey Health Foundation
120 Albany Street, Tower II, Suite 850
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Email: lharrel@njhf.org
Tel: (908) 731-6603
Dale R. Heffler
Vice President
Communications / Project Development
New Jersey Health Foundation
120 Albany Street, Tower II, Suite 850
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Email: dheffler@njhf.org
Tel: (908) 731-6605
Jeannine Hodkey
Program & Finance Administrator
New Jersey Health Foundation
120 Albany Street, Tower II, Suite 850
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Email: jhodkey@njhf.org
Tel: (908) 731-6610
Paul Lee
Venture Associate
Foundation Venture Capital Group
120 Albany Street, Tower II, Suite 850
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Email: plee@njhf.org
Tel: (908) 731-6597
Alexander Li
Venture Associate
Foundation Venture Capital Group
120 Albany Street, Tower II, Suite 850
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Email: ali@njhf.org
Tel: (908) 731-6590
Ginny Rutkowski
Venture Operations Associate
New Jersey Health Foundation
120 Albany Street, Tower II, Suite 850
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Email: vrutkowski@njhf.org
Tel: (908) 731-6596
Sara Soler
Venture Associate
Foundation Venture Capital Group
120 Albany Street, Tower II, Suite 850
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Email: ssoler@njhf.org
Tel: (908) 731-6599
Michael Wiley
Vice President
Foundation Venture Capital Group
120 Albany Street, Tower II, Suite 850
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Email: mwiley@njhf.org
Tel: (908) 731-6612
Aggie Worthington
Vice President
Finance
New Jersey Health Foundation
120 Albany Street, Tower II, Suite 850
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Email: aworthington@njhf.org
Tel: (908) 731-6602