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August 27, 2013

Beekmantown man earns $450,000 grant for research



The problem with cell therapy is availability.

“We just can’t get cells in high-enough volume,” Moody said of the reality that cell therapy currently relies on cell donors. “We need manufacturing processes that allow us to generate cells on the same scale as small-molecule drugs.”

Moody’s current research aims to solve the manufacturing issue for the production of rare blood-stem cells. He recently received a $450,000 grant from the Life Extension Foundation to seed his start-up company, Ichor Therapeutics Inc., which focuses on tackling key bottlenecks in the field of regenerative medicine. 

“I’ve been interested in pursuing this project for a year and a half or so,” he said. “When I got to medical school, I decided to raise money to pursue that idea.”

Moody first considered doing his research through university affiliations but then chose to operate through a business and formed Ichor Therapeutics Inc.

“Start-up companies are the vehicle of choice to drive disruptive technological innovation to satisfy this and other unmet medical needs,” he said of efforts to improve the treatment of chronic, age-related disease. “They are lean, efficient and can respond rapidly to changes in our understanding of the therapies we develop, and the diseases they are intended to treat.”

After graduating from Plattsburgh State, Moody was recruited for a position as chief technology officer at ImmunePath, a biotech start-up company in Silicon Valley, Calif., funded by Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal and the initial outside investor of Facebook.

At ImmunePath, Moody was involved in stem-cell research aimed at helping reduce the impact chemotherapy has on the body’s immune system during cancer treatments.

The research was successful in using stem cells to replace damaged immune cells in mice, but the company was unable to attract enough investors to support extended — and expensive — human clinical trials.

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