Monoclonals Inc. Continues to Research and Develop Diagnostic Kits at Union River Center for Innovation
Many diseases have threatened the world in recent years, and a key component to preventing these pandemics is the rapid diagnosis and containment of the disease. Rapid detection and diagnosis can be difficult to facilitate in rural areas affected by disease epidemics, however monoclonal antibodies can be used to combat these issues. Antibodies are created by the body when a viral, bacterial, or parasitic infection is detected by the immune system, and monoclonals are then used to diagnose and treat the disease by binding to specific proteins to inactivate them.
With interest stemming from the unmet needs of rare and neglected diseases and a lack of effective diagnostic tools, Monoclonals, Inc. was born. Christine Soto, a biological research scientist from Pennsylvania, founded Monoclonals, Inc. with the goal of developing and researching monoclonal antibodies to better understand the function of genes, proteins, and disease pathways, developing new antibodies, rapid diagnostic kits, and treatments for widespread illnesses. Attracted by the supportive community and thorough understanding of the biotechnology sector, Monoclonals decided to relocate their business practices from Pennsylvania to the Union River Center for Innovation in Ellsworth. Using lab space provided by the Center, Christine is able to research how monoclonal antibodies can be used to diagnose and treat serious diseases, such as cancer, arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, and severe asthma, among others.
Since arriving in Ellsworth, Christine has been an active member of Union River Center for Innovation’s business incubator program, where small and startup businesses utilize the space and amenities provided by the Center to advance their business, all while still focusing on their products or service offerings. For Christine, the Center offers an ideal environment for the production and storage of proteins and other reagents, as well as access to equipment and lab space. Lab space offered by the Center has been vital to the continued growth and success of Monoclonals, Inc., providing the business with the stability to focus on their product and a supportive working environment conducive to collaboration and experimentation.
A major funder of the Union River Center for Innovation, the City of Ellsworth has helped the Center and its entrepreneurs connect to community resources and funding, which has been an important factor in the growth of Monoclonals, Inc. “Ellsworth has provided the Center, access to funding, and has been very active in informing the community to understand our mission,” shared Christine. Monoclonals, Inc. has also benefited from business coaching resources at the Union River Center for Innovation.
The business coaching sessions provided by the Center have been a particularly valuable resource of the Center’s incubator program, where area business experts offer personalized training, consulting, and business advice to the Center’s entrepreneurs in specific business areas, such as marketing, accounting, and leadership. “Business coaching and availability of funding opportunities has been the key to our success and growth,” shared Christine. Each individualized session with a business coach is tailored to that particular business’s strengths and challenges to create specific action plans for that entrepreneur. Follow up sessions go over the success of the action plan and next steps to continue to develop growth in their field.
Christine is happy to be a part of the positive workplace dynamic at the Union River Center for Innovation, with her favorite elements of the Center being the supportive community and team members, as well as the continued growth opportunities through business coaching sessions, funding opportunities, research space, and more. In the future, Christine would like to continue researching how these antibodies can be used to understand, diagnose, and treat other diseases. Going forward, Christine offers this advice to aspiring biotechnology entrepreneurs: “Be confident in your product, yourself, and your approach. Individual uniqueness and thought process is at the heart of every new product.”