Life Science Laboratory
Honors and Awards

IALS’ Cyta Therapeutics Named Best Startup at Massachusetts Life Sciences Innovation Day

UMass Amherst Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS) startup Cyta Therapeutics was the Judges’ Choice Best Startup at the 16th annual Massachusetts Life Sciences Innovation (MALSI) Day in Boston on July 27.

Cyta at MALSI
Accepting the award for Best Startup at Massachusetts Life Sciences Innovation Day on behalf of Institute for Applied Life Sciences startup Cyta Therapeutics are (l-r) 2023 Judges’ Choice winner Shelley Amster, co-founder of 3Daughters; Karen Utgoff, director of venture development at IALS; Cyta CEO Bonnie Fendrock; Peter Reinhart, director of IALS; and Vinit Nijhawan, vice chair and managing director of MassVentures.

Cyta Therapeutics is an early-stage life sciences company developing proprietary products to treat obesity and related metabolic conditions. Cyta is building a pipeline of products based on a novel class of polymer-based nanogels, called IntelliGels, developed in the laboratory of S. Thai Thayumanavan, distinguished professor of chemistry and biomedical engineering department head. Thayumanavan is also director of the Center for Bioactive Delivery in IALS.

UMass Amherst was well represented, with four startup teams developing technology based on faculty research. This is the second consecutive year that a woman-led venture from the university has secured the top prize. Karen Utgoff, director of IALS Venture Development, was on the planning committee for this year’s event.

“Winning this MALSI award is a tremendous honor for the university and validates the startup portfolio, the venture mentoring teams, and the supporting ecosystem we have built at IALS,” says Peter Reinhart, founding director of IALS.  “Cyta Therapeutics is a company we continue to support, and believe their novel technology has the potential to treat obesity and other metabolic conditions such as NASH, Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.”  

Bonnie Fendrock Cyta
Cyta Therapeutics co-founder and CEO Bonnie Fendrock

More than 200 biotech executives from business, academia and the larger investment community attended the event, which was held at the headquarters of Halloran Consulting in Boston. Pitching and accepting the award was Cyta Therapeutics Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Bonnie Fendrock.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have won this award, as we are in the midst of fund raising,” Fendrock says. “MALSI is an excellent forum to engage with industry and investment leaders.”

MALSI Day is the biggest day for life sciences startups and innovation in the commonwealth, bringing together scientific leaders and business experts to mingle with scientists, post-docs, professors, entrepreneurs, innovators and venture capitalists.