September 2017
Vol 5 | Issue 139

Q&A with Andrea Nye

Chief Executive Officer of East River BioSolutions.

Principle Series:

Family Office Insights sits down with Andrea Nye, CEO of East River BioSolutions, to discuss the innovative, patent-pending TissueSpec™ product that allow scientists to study and culture cells in vitro while in their natural environment—leading to better science and faster translation of results.


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Tell us about your background and your company, East River BioSolutions.

I received my BA in Anthropology-Biology at Western Washington University, and my Masters in Public Health and MBA from Columbia University. As an advocate for public health, I joined the Peace Corps in Nicaragua as a Health Educator. I went on to be a Director of Programs and Evaluation at the Columbia University Medical Center for over a decade, and then Director of Columbia University’s Biomedical Accelerator, which aims to catalyze the advancement of biomedical innovations by providing funding, education, resources and mentorship to teams of clinicians, engineers, scientists and students working to develop solutions to clinical unmet needs. While public health and academia was a great opportunity for me, I found that entrepreneurship in biotech was much more exciting, cutting edge, and suited my personality more. At the Columbia Biomedical Accelerator is where I met my team that approached me about joining them at East River BioSolutions, Inc. as Chief Executive Officer.

East River BioSolutions, Inc. was founded in 2016 to provide and help scientists save money and time in getting clinical solutions to patients. We bridge the multi-billion dollar gap between in vitro (performing a given procedure in a controlled environment outside of a living organism) and in vivo (experimentation done in a whole, living organism’s natural environment) research through our proprietary platform of tissue-specific biomaterials. Rather than isolated components or synthetic materials, we developed an innovative, patent-pending TissueSpec™ product to allow scientists to study cultured cells in vitro but still within its natural environment leading to accurate results and better science. We have produced extracellular matrix products from over 25 different organs and organ regions from healthy, diseased, and transgenic sources. With our core expertise in the isolation, preservation, and processing of organ-derived extracellular matrices, we developed a series of native and disease specific products in multiple formats—including hydrogels, sponges, scaffolds, and solutions—for cell culture applications across life sciences and biomedical research.

Who is your target audience?

Our primary customers are pharmaceutical companies, researchers, biotech companies, academics, and anyone involved in preclinical research. We provide scientists working in cell biology research, pharmaceutical development, and regenerative medicine with a natural, physiological cell culture environment to develop, test, and deliver treatments and cures to patients more quickly and less expensively.

What are some of the challenges you face in this industry?

A challenge we face as a new competitor in this field is demonstrating that we are superior to the leading products that already exist, and getting the foothold to engage people. The good news is once people use our products, they recognize how much we provide at a fraction of the time and cost, with accurate results, compared to what already exists. We just need to continue to put ourselves out there and get our product line in the hands of as many users as possible.

How are you different from your key competitors? Who are your key competitors?

Our competitors are those in the cell-culture market. We provide tissue and organs specific to whatever the scientists are working on to grow cells and study the cells in the most accurate and natural environment. Cells act naturally when they are in the body, but to study them, you have to take them out of its natural environment, which means the cells will no longer act naturally. The whole point is to study the cells when they act the way they would in the body, but if you put the cells in a synthetic environment or something made of collagen, which is natural but not tissue specific, cells will not respond or act the same way. Our product supports natural cell growth and function in ways other competitors do not. When cells are outside the body, it limits the cell’s survival rate, which costs companies time and money, up to 20 years and billions of dollars. Our product ultimately lowers the cost of R&D and minimizes the research and trial times. Our patent-pending tissue specific product mimics the native cell environment with regulatory functions that leads to faster time to study and to market.

How are you changing the landscape of your industry?

There are no organ or tissue specific organs out there, so we are totally changing the landscape of our industry. Once scientists see that they’ll be able to grow cells naturally with our TissueSpec™, they will see that this is the gold standard for how cell-culture research should be done.

How much are you looking to raise and who is your ideal investor?

We are looking to raise up to $3M, with minimum investments of $50K-$3M from each investor, closing by the end of this calendar year. We would love to have lead investors with experience in this field and a desire to get involved (i.e. sit on the board) by taking on $1-$3M themselves. Our ideal investor is an excited angel investor or family office looking to partner with an early stage biotech company with tremendous opportunity and growth. We are on a journey and looking for people that want to go on this journey with us.

What’s your mission?

To help improve and create more efficient natural research paths forward.

What’s next for you?

We are scaling our existing product line and going into research for additional products to launch in the future.


Andrea Nye

CEO of East River BioSolutions, Andrea Nye, is an experienced leader focused on scaling innovative medical technologies aimed at improving health outcomes. She has deep knowledge of the biomedical entrepreneurship sector, with proven ability to translate vision into implementation and extensive experience vetting and supporting early stage ventures working to bring med tech products to market. Andrea graduated magna cum laude from Western Washington University with a major in Biology-Anthropology and minor in Chemistry, and received an MBA and MPH, both from Columbia University.

 

For more information, please reach out to Andrea at andrea@eastriverbio.com.