Karim Budhwani at EDPA Launchpad

Karim Budhwani at EDPA Launchpad Competition

Dr. Karim Budhwani, a former GRSP recipient and CEO of CerFlux, competed in the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama’s (EDPA) Launchpad competition in early 2019.  The Alabama Launchpad competition provides funding for Alabama entrepreneurs. CerFlux is a biotech company that has developed a test to identify the most effective first-line cancer treatment for personalized medicine.  Compared to traditional protocols, this method saves precious time and money and keeps patients from enduring side effects from ineffective treatments.

CerFlux is constructing a state-of-the-art lab in the historic Rush Hotel in downtown Birmingham.  The company will put the $50K Launchpad award toward its six-month roadmap, which will include:

  • Completing renovations and construction of the lab.
  • Refining the design and manufacturing process of the CerFlux platform for matching tumors with treatments.
  • Gathering preliminary data required for national Small Business Innovation Research grants to underwrite subsequent research and development costs for translating the platform from “lab-2-life.”

Dr. Budhwani was asked, “Why Birmingham, Alabama”? It comes down to the five P’s essential for startup communities, Budhwani said- particularly for companies in the cancer biotech space. Those five P’s are people, pillars, places, public policies, and private investments.

“In Birmingham, we have a good mix of (1) people: researchers, scientists, entrepreneurs; and (2) pillars: O’Neill Comprehensive Cancer Center, Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama, University of Alabama at Birmingham graduate school, drug discovery firms like Southern Research, health insurance firms like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama and patient/survivor organizations like Forge Cancer Survivor Center. We have a growing option of (3) places, such as Innovation Depot, Dynamic Biosciences and Forge Coworking. Finally, we have an improving (4) policy landscape- EDPA, Birmingham Small Business Council- and (5) private investment appetite for start-ups.” For more information, log onto http://cerflux.com.

Included with permission from Birmingham Now.