Friday, September 18, 2020

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Bright Ideas for Bioscience: Making the Pitch in Branford


Branford-based FreeThink Technologies Inc. representatives make their pitch at ABCT's Pitch to Build Your Venture 2019, held at Stony Creek Brewery on Oct. 15.

Pam Johnson/The Sound

Branford-based FreeThink Technologies Inc. representatives make their pitch at ABCT's Pitch to Build Your Venture 2019, held at Stony Creek Brewery on Oct. 15. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)

Move over, Shark Tank. On Oct. 15, bioscience and biotech rising stars brought their bright ideas to Branford for "Pitch to Build Your Venture 2019," organized by Accelerator for Biosciences in Connecticut (ABCT).

The three-hour event at Stony Creek Brewery gathered eight "pitching" representatives together with corporate supporters and potential investors for a night of job opportunities, networking and professional development. Based in Branford, ABCT ( is a competitive entry, 6-month long program designed for entrepreneurial research students and faculty, MBA's and MD's interested to form new ventures in biosciences. 

One by one, eight teams brought their pitches to the floor, followed by rounds of networking and one-on-one interviews. All of the night's prospects hailed from New Haven County companies and groups, including four based in Branford.

Branford First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove welcomed the program to town. He noted Branford is home to a small cluster of biotech and bioscience firms that the town is "quite proud of and quite supportive of." Cosgrove said Branford is working to help build the sector's "ecosystem" here, with support from the municipality and town staff and Economic Development Commission.

"Our Economic Development Commission has just recently begun a strategic plan focused on bioscience and biotech sector," Cosgrove said. "With that, we hope to further engage and connect industry; not only those directly in the sector itself, but also to provide resources and connections to those that support the sector."

Cosgrove also didn't miss the opportunity to make a pitch of his own on behalf of Branford.

"We view ourselves as the 'graduate space' for those that may get beyond the incubator and initial start-up phase. We feel that we have the resources and the space right here in town that can serve you," Cosgrove said. "So as you move forward, we not only welcome you here; but we're here to be a partner with you; and look forward to speaking to you not only tonight, but in the future."

Representatives making their pitch on Oct. 15 included those from Patient Wisdom, FreeThink Technologies, Tangen, Vanessa Research, Rev Medica, LifeStyleCX, Ancera and Sema4.  Corporate sponsors and partners helping to support the event were Aon, Fragomen, Synectic, BioCT, Wiggin and Dana, UConn Technology Incubation Program and Academic Venture Exchange.

ABCT program director Mary Howard thanked the night's supporting organizations and executives in the room who came to hear the pitches and share their knowledge.

"This is an opportunity to meet with these extraordinary professionals," she told members of the pitching groups.

Howard noted a number of the ventures at the Oct. 15 event have been beneficiaries of Connecticut Innovations (CI). CI was founded in 1989 as the state's venture capital arm, (for companies either located in the state or relocating to CT). CI invests in sectors including clean technology, industrial/energy technologies, life sciences, software and digital media. In another connection, CTNext, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CI, was the program initiator for ABCT. CTNext offers networking between service providers and entrepreneurs.

CI Managing Director Patrick O'Neill welcomed the 2019 participants and congratulated Howard and the ABCT team for developing the Pitch to Build Your Venture program. The annual ABCT program, which is now in its ninth year, gathered for the first time in Branford on Oct. 15.

"This is a great event, and the kind of event that's going to help create entrepreneurship in Connecticut," said O'Neill. "It's grown over the years. CI is very happy to be a part of that."

Pam Johnson covers news for Branford and North Branford for Zip06. Email Pam at

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