Ernest Pharmaceuticals Wins Lever's Western Mass Health Technology Challenge

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BOSTON—Ernest Pharmaceuticals won $50,000 and Organicin Scientific won $25,000 in Innovation Grant funding after competing in Lever's Western Mass Health Tech Challenge.
The two startups were selected from among four finalists by a panel of expert judges.
The Challenge is funded in part by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MSLC), an economic development investment agency dedicated to supporting the growth and development of the life sciences throughout the state. Lever and MLSC have partnered since 2016, with the Western Mass Health Tech Challenge representing the seventh in a collaborative series of acceleration programs.
"The competitiveness of the companies we've seen has increased each year we've run this program," said Lever's Executive Director, Jeffrey Thomas. "To me, this demonstrates the increasing strength of the western Massachusetts startup ecosystem."
"We are incredibly proud to see the continued growth of the entrepreneurial community in Western Massachusetts," said MLSC Vice President of Industry Strategy and Investments Carla Reimold, Ph.D. "Organizations such as Lever are key collaborators to supporting our life sciences ecosystem. Congratulations to our winners and the robust pool of startups which competed in this year's challenge."
Ernest Pharmaceuticals seeks to create a novel bacterial platform that revolutionizes cancer treatment success through innovations in intracellular macromolecule delivery. They are based in Hadley, Massachusetts.
CEO and Co-Founder, Nele Van Dessel said "Participating in the Western Mass Health Technology Challenge enabled us to validate our business model and resulted in many new connections that can push Ernest Pharmaceuticals forward. With the help of this prize, we can perform the necessary safety studies to get our therapies into clinical trials. The Challenge brought us one step closer to our final goal, developing cancer treatments for advanced solid tumors. We are grateful to Lever for this opportunity and their guidance during this competition".
Organicin Scientific, Inc. discovers and develops bacteriocins to prevent disease and improve health. In the face of antimicrobial resistance, there is an urgent need for antibiotic alternatives that can mitigate disease challenges, in both agriculture and human health.
Both finalists participated in a question and answer session after their presentations with the audience that included Jennifer Griffin, Partner, Strategy & Investor Relations at Mission BioCapital; Jonathon George, Senior Associate at Flare Capital Partners; and Efe Sumer, Senior Investment Associate | Industry Strategy and Investments at the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.

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Pittsfield Firefighters Snuff Cellar Blaze

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters extinguished a fire in a West Housatonic Street in about 20 minutes. 
The blaze started near a dryer but the cause was being investigated.
The department responded to the call of smoke in a building at about 12:23 p.m. on Sunday. Upon arrival, firefighters found a light smoke showing from the front and back of the building. 
The found an active fire in the basement of the 2 1/2-story, wood-frame structure at 92 West Housatonic, which is being rented as a single-family occupancy.
Engine 1 crew advanced a 1 3/4-inch hose to the rear of the building, entered the bulkhead access to the cellar, and conducted suppression activities. Engine 3 crew conducted a primary search of the building. Engine 6 secured a water supply to E1 and Tower 1 ventilated the building. Engine 5 responded as the Rapid
Intervention Team for firefighter safety.
The fire was under control and extinguished in 20 minutes. At the time of this writing there were no civilian or firefighter injuries reported. 
Fire damage was confined to the laundry area in the cellar with the dryer unit, clothing, and household cleaning supplies sustaining damage. There was minimal smoke damage with the entire building being ventilated in short order.
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