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Two startups awarded $50,000 each in life-sciences accelerator program

Two Buffalo-based startups have won $50,000 each through an accelerator program that provides venture capital, networking and mentoring services to promising life-sciences companies.

Abcombi Biosciences and Disease Diagnostic Group were among 11 fledgling companies picked by the University at Buffalo, Launch NY, Invest Buffalo Niagara and the Western New York Incubator Network to take part in the five-month Critical Path program, sponsored by National Grid, Colligan Law and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The program ran from September through January and was a follow-up to AOL founder Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest tour that passed through Buffalo in fall 2015.

The VilCap Communities Accelerator Program, supported by Case, is based on an entrepreneurship program offered internationally since 2010 by Village Capital. It was available to life-sciences startups in the 27 counties in Western New York, the Finger Lakes, Central New York and the Southern Tier.

The 11 companies -- eight from Buffalo and one each from Ithaca, Rochester and Syracuse -- selected from among themselves the two companies that each received a $50,000 investment from the Launch NY Seed Fund.

Abcombi develops a “smart” vaccine for complex diseases such as pneumonia, and Disease Diagnostic Group builds a battery-powered device that uses magnets and lasers to detect malaria in a patient’s blood.

The companies made final pitches and the winners were announced Thursday afternoon at UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

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