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September 12, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Orion Therapeutics wins $100,000 in genetic medicine grand challenge

The Knoxville start-up that came out of stealth mode just a year ago is on a roll.

Orion Therapeutics Inc., a Knoxville biotechnology company that had been operating in stealth mode until about a year ago, has come out swinging.

After being selected to join the prestigious MassBioDrive accelerator program as a member of the 2022 cohort (see September 26, 2022 article here) and a month later being invited to join the local “Spark Incubator Program” at the University of Tennessee (UT), Orion Therapeutics recently learned that the company has been named one of the winners in the prestigious Eli Lilly and Company “Genetic Medicine Grand Challenge,” sponsored by Nucleate.

“The competition was fierce, and we had the honor of sharing the stage with some of the most innovative minds in the biotech industry,” wrote Richard “Trey” Fisher, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our LNP delivery platform for targeted RNA therapeutics captivated the judges, and we’re honored to receive one of the $100,000 non-dilutive grant awards. We extend a heartfelt thank you to our incredible team – Jennifer Zachry, Ph.D., Deidra Mountain, Ph.D., Michael McCaman, Ph.D., Leanne Minall, Natalie Gosnell, and Devon Adamy. Your dedication, expertise, and relentless pursuit of excellence made this achievement possible. This award is not just a milestone for Orion Therapeutics; it’s a testament to the promise and impact of genetic medicine.”

Fisher is the inventor of a novel, nano-scale delivery system for RNA therapeutics and vaccines. He developed this technology as a former Ph.D. student for Mountain, an Associate Professor at the UT Health Science Center’s Graduate School of Medicine in Knoxville. Her preclinical research has resulted in the discovery of several gene therapy targets with the potential to revolutionize treatments for vascular disease patients.

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