Biotech Spin-off Receives Private Investment

Five-year-old HocusLocus, LLC, a University at Albany biotechnology spin-off, received an investment that will advance its scientific reputation and increase National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding opportunities.

Edward Eveleth
Edward Eveleth

HocusLocus uses ribonucleic acid (RNA)-binding proteins to identify RNA involved in specific diseases and tissues. The company, which works with UAlbany inventor Scott Tenenbaum, received the funding in 2013 from private investment firm Eastern New York Angels (ENYA).

According to HocusLocus chairman Edward Eveleth, ENYA’s support bolsters the company’s credentials as it conducts research at both HocusLocus and Tenenbaum’s labs. It also adds weight to the company’s upcoming submission to NIH for a Phase II award, which would confirm the technical merit and commercial potential of the research, and bring an increase in funding of up to $1 million. HocusLocus earned an NIH Phase I award of $293,000 in September 2011.

Tenenbaum developed pioneering work on post-transcriptional regulation called RNA switching technology, which HocusLocus licensed in 2009. Since then, the company has been developing a diagnostic kit that allows researchers to detect the real-time production of specific miRNAs in living cells without destroying them in the process, an important advance for basic biological research and a potential huge benefit to stem cell technology.