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LambdaVision, a UConn biotech start-up, secures $110 for state fund

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

LambdaVision Inc., a biotech start-up company that was launched by UConn Ventures, has received a funding commitment of $110,000 from Connecticut Innovations (CI), the state’s quasi-public authority responsible for growing Connecticut businesses through innovative financing and strategic assistance. CI announced last week that it has committed funding totaling $560,000 through its Pre-Seed Fund to four startup ventures in the state that are focused on innovations in bioscience and medical devices.

LambdaVision Inc. is developing a high-resolution, protein-based retinal implant intended to restore sight and improve the quality of life for the millions of people who have been blinded by photoreceptor degeneration in the outer retina – specifically, individuals affected by age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.

The company’s core technology was developed by Robert Birge, Ph.D., a UConn professor of biological and physical chemistry, who, along with students in his lab, founded LambdaVision in 2009. UConn Ventures is also participating in this pre-seed funding round. Prior to receiving this $110,000 in pre-seed funding from CI, LambdaVision received pre-seed funding of $40,000 from CI in June 2011.

“The funding and support from CI and UConn Ventures has helped to take LambdaVision from a concept to a business,” stated Nicole Wagner, CEO of LambdaVision. “Both CI and Uconn Ventures have played a critical role in the progress and development of the company. The recent funding provided by CI will allow LambdaVision to complete critical proof of concept studies.”

“We work very closely with faculty from day one to explore and evaluate the possibilities of their research driving the establishment of successful businesses,” said R. Mark Van Allen, President of UConn Ventures. “CI’s support will help LambdaVision move forward, and is a reflection of Connecticut’s full court press to nurture home-grown start-up ventures. We are energized by the tremendous potential of LambdaVision not only to bring financial return to UConn, but to succeed in the marketplace by making a difference people’s lives.”

“CI’s Pre-Seed Fund continues to be one of our most active initiatives supporting early-stage technology ventures,” said Claire Leonardi, chief executive officer and executive director of CI. “We continue to see a steady pipeline of new opportunities. This is exciting for the state, as it demonstrates ongoing expansion of our technology sector, an important goal of the Malloy administration.”

UConn Ventures, aligned with UConn’s Office of Economic Development, creates business start-ups by seeking out university-based research innovations, guiding the development process, soliciting funding and recruiting management based on technologies invented by UConn students, faculty and staff. It is a subsidiary of the UConn Foundation. Financial benefits achieved by the resulting start-up companies accrue to the individuals whose research innovation is at the core of the start-up, and UConn.

Connecticut Innovations (CI) is a quasi-public corporation providing equity, debt and bond financing and other forms of financial assistance to companies in all stages of the business life cycle.

“UConn Ventures provides the expertise and experience that is essential to successfully commercialize great research. LambdaVision provides a clear example of how effectively they work with faculty to advance great ideas,” said Mary Holz-Clause, UConn Vice President for Economic Development. “We appreciate CI’s support of LambdaVision and UConn Ventures.”

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