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The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus has gleaming new hospital buildings. It has academic research facilities. And it has a growing collection of adjacent real estate projects.
What it doesn’t have much of, yet, are high-growth startups in the medical field.
The leaders of Egret believe that has to change.
Egret is debuting in Buffalo this year as an investment vehicle that aims to identify high-growth startups, inject them with seed capital and help build out companies locally.
“There is an opportunity to build strong companies in Buffalo,” said Matt Colpoys, a veteran biotech executive who’s been tapped as CEO. “Not only do we have clinical and scientific resources but we have a lot of talent we can pull into these companies and move them forward.”
William Maggio is serving as executive chairman of Egret.
“There is no reason why Buffalo can’t be a relevant player in medical device innovation, especially in catheter-based technologies,” Maggio said. “What we’re trying to do is put some momentum behind that belief and collaborate with assets on the campus to do so.”
Egret will focus on medical devices, and connect to the existing research and clinical apparatus in Western New York. A cohort of three initial projects have been identified, including Vicora, which has been accepted into the Start-Up NY program and the Jacobs Institute’s Idea to Reality Center; Ampullae and Argus Care.
Colpoys said Start-Up NY designations and Jacobs Institute partnerships will be part of the standard consideration in helping the companies develop. The companies will be funded in cohorts, on a call-based model, from a network of investors.
“The goal for investors is to create high-value companies and a positive impact on everything we’re trying to accomplish in Buffalo in this space,” Colpoys said.
Egret is taking up a small office for now in the University at Buffalo’s Incubator @ CBLS.
Colpoys said future projects will be culled from local research projects but also will be recruited to Buffalo. Maggio, previously CEO of and now senior adviser to the Jacobs Institute, said the nonprofit has carved out a globally relevant niche in vascular and neurovascular research. The Jacobs Institute exists in a building that also houses Kaleida Health’s Gates Vascular Institute and the University at Buffalo’s Clinical and Translational Research Center.
“This can generate further investment and has transformative potential in Buffalo,” Maggio said. “We are trying to build a sustainable entrepreneurial belief that you can innovate here, that you can build here.”
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