UB Partnerships Allow Empire Genomics to Flourish

Norma Nowak, director of science and technology at UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, founded local company Empire Genomics

Local life sciences start-up Empire Genomics has gone global thanks to a partnership with the University at Buffalo. The firm has grown the business from a concept, to product, to a company wit

h rapidly growing revenues and a significant global customer base.

Formed in 2006, Empire Genomics provides businesses from around the world with products and services that detect genetic aberrations, including those correlated with diseases such as cancer.

The company’s founder and chief science officer, Norma Nowak, is a professor at UB and the director of science and technology at UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences. Nowak was also a key researcher in the international Human Genome Project, a study that successfully identified and mapped almost 25,000 genes that make up human DNA.

University entities such as UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and the UB Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology (UB CAT) help to facilitate these connections in the life sciences.

Until 2011, Empire Genomics was headquartered in the UB Center of Excellence, where the firm had access to specialized equipment in UB labs including microscopes and DNA sequencers.

Today Empire Genomics has about 10 employees and has outgrown its offices at the Center of Excellence. The company has moved into a new 6,800-square-foot facility located at 700 Michigan Ave. in Buffalo.

The company has a growing base of more than 1,000 customers, including pharmaceutical companies such as Eli Lilly and AstraZeneca and research institutions such as Stanford University, Columbia University and Oregon Health and Science University, to name a few. Clients include laboratories from over 34 countries, and the company’s most recent global developments include signing a distribution deal in Japan.

Empire Genomics’ success exemplifies how corporate and academic institutions are working together to promote Western New York’s economic growth.

To learn more about the UB CAT and UB CAT awards, visit http://www.bioinformatics.buffalo.edu/cat.php.

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Author: University at Buffalo

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