University of Iowa diagnostic startup to present in national competition

Viewpoint Molecular Targeting focuses on detection and therapy for melanoma

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A University of Iowa startup that is developing drugs for diagnostic imaging and therapy for cancer is among a select group of companies that will make a presentation at a national conference later this month.

Founded with the support of UI Ventures and housed in the UI Research Park’s BioVentures Center, Viewpoint Molecular Targeting is one of 35 companies representing universities around the country to be selected as “Best University Startups 2016.”

The companies will make their pitch Sept. 20 to an audience of corporations, venture capitalists, angel investors and members of Congress during the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer (NCET2) University Startups Demo Day in Washington, D.C.

More than 800 university startups are launched each year, and roughly 200 companies were considered by NCET2.

“Viewpoint clearly stands out as having an exceptional blend of innovative biomedical technology and business leadership that will take the company to the next level,” NCET2 Associate Director Ria Ancheta-Adrias said in a news release.

Viewpoint is focusing on metastatic melanoma, one of the most common cancers in young adults, especially women, according to the American Cancer Society. About 10,130 people are expected to die of melanoma this year.

To date, the company has secured more than $1.2 million through National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research grants, Iowa Economic Development Authority demonstration funds, Innovation Iowa Corporation Matching Funds, and contracts with pharmaceutical industry partners.

Viewpoint aims to begin clinical trials of its lead product. It also has other products in the pipeline.

“Our technology has the potential to save lives,” said Dr. Frances Johnson, Viewpoint co-founder and chief medical officer. “The selection by NCET2 to present at Demo Day gives us another great opportunity to make that a reality.”

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