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Local Company Receives Funding From State Program

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Rochester: Local Company Receives Funding From State Program
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OyaGen is a Rochester-based bio-pharmaceutical company that is on the leading edge of research and development of drug treatments for HIV, AIDS and other viral diseases.

Dr. Harold Smith is the founder of the company. Smith welcomed State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to town Monday and led him on a tour of the facility.

DiNapoli announced the company will receive an additional $150,000. Since 2006, the pension fund's in-state private equity program has invested nearly $1.4 million in OyaGen.

"With an early investment, then a larger investment is called for and we move through in steps like that so we use the money wisely, and that we are now where we are, which is
recognized as leaders in this area," Smith said.

Funding from the state pension fund has allowed OyaGen to purchase a robotic drug screening device. That device is helping researchers develop drug treatments for HIV, AIDS and other viral diseases."

"That allows us to screen tens of thousands of chemistry, all with the robot operating independently and signaling us, flagging us, when we hit the right chemistry and that's all part of the design."

OyaGen is seen as just one of several success stories statewide. The investment program partners the fund with more than a dozen private equity managers, and is on the lookout to help businesses start up and grow in New York.

"We have increased our focus on looking for great opportunities to invest right here in New York State, where we then get the benefit of enhanced returns for the fund, but also get that double bottom line. The opportunity to be a partner with entrepreneurs, with scientists, with companies that have a great vision for the future," DiNapoli said.

OyaGen's vision is becoming clearer as the company says it is less than two years away from entering into clinical trials with the FDA for its work in finding more effective drug interventions for the HIV virus.

"To think that the collaboration from this company, and the University of Rochester, and our capital being put to good work is really very exciting and very important," Smith said.

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