Richard S. Larson, MD, PhD Richard S. Larson, MD, PhD

Bright Future

Biotech Startup to Manufacture Pharmaceuticals in Albuquerque

Bright Path, a new venture that has adapted cutting-edge technology and methods to produce drugs for “orphan” diseases, is launching a manufacturing enterprise in Albuquerque, it was announced Tuesday.

“There are 340 known potential drugs for orphan diseases that aren’t being produced,” said Richard S. Larson, MD, PhD, executive vice chancellor of The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and president of the New Mexico Bioscience Authority, which helped attract Bright Path to the state.

The company uses continuous flow bioreactor technology to produce in a few minutes pharmaceutical compounds that might take days to produce using conventional methods, Larson said. This makes it cost-effective and efficient to produce drugs to treat relatively rare conditions.

Bright Path, has chosen to locate in Albuquerque in large part because of the New Mexico Bioscience Authority, said Bright Path founder Tony Quinones.

“We are excited that we can locate to a state that has recognized the need for a coordinating agency to grow and target the bioscience ecosystem,” Quinones said.

“The creation of the Bioscience Authority indicated to Bright Path that New Mexico was fostering a supportive environment,” Larson said. “It strongly influenced their decision to locate a branch of their business here. They also worked with the Bioscience Authority to locate the local resources they’ll need for their venture to succeed.”

Quinones, a former CIO at Cavendish Impact Capital, said the bioreactor technology uses rotation to dramatically speed the rate at which chemical reactions occur. “We’ve been able to demonstrate in the lab synthesis that can reduce days down to seconds,” he said. “Our technology gets the product to market much more efficiently.”

The process also generates less waste than conventional manufacturing processes, reducing or eliminating the need for heavy chemical solvents, and smaller quantities of pharmaceuticals can be produced affordably.

By making drugs more widely and inexpensively available to people suffering from rare diseases, “We could be a model for solving global health issues,” Quinones said.

UNM’s bioscience research capacity was an added attraction, Quinones said. “Having the scientific expertise of the UNM Health Sciences Center faculty located close by will also be of great benefit to our company,” he said.

The New Mexico Bioscience Authority was created by the Legislature in 2017 as a public-private partnership to spur the development of a robust biotechnology industry in New Mexico.

It plays several roles, including serving as the catalyst to attract venture capital and entrepreneurs to invest in biotech startups spun off from technology developed at New Mexico’s research universities and national laboratories.

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