First Ever Duke Golden Ticket Awarded to Dr. Eric Benner

December 10, 2019

Duke Golden Ticket awardDuke Clinical & Translational Science Institute and BioLabs North Carolina have awarded the first ever Duke Golden Ticket to Dr. Eric Benner, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Duke School of Medicine, and co-founder of Tellus Therapeutics.

The award includes the $500,000 Transformative Funding Agreement from Duke CTSI Accelerator and one year of lab space in BioLabs NC’s facility at the Chesterfield Building in downtown Durham, NC.

"With this inaugural Duke Golden Ticket, we have created a public-private partnership between Duke CTSI and NC BioLabs that represents a profoundly different model to support enterprise," said Dr. Barry Myers, Director of Innovation at Duke CTSI and Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Duke Pratt School of Engineering.

Myers highlighted the ecosystem that helps translate exciting research from the lab to the commercial space: "The Duke Office of Licensing and Ventures provides guidance to Dr. Benner through experts in technology transfer along with assigned Experts and Mentors In Residence. Duke CTSI awarded Dr. Benner our Transformative award, which provides Project Management support along with $500K of financial support. The Duke Golden Ticket provided by BioLabs NC completes the bridge from academics into an operational enterprise."

Team photo of Ed Field, Eric Benner, Tarun Saxena, and Barry Myers
From L to R: Ed Field of BioLabs NC, Dr. Eric Benner,
Dr. Tarun Saxena of Duke CTSI Accelerator,
and Dr. Barry Myers.

Benner is a neonatologist specializing in the care of high-risk infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and his research focuses on perinatal brain injuries. The Duke Golden Ticket will enable him to advance a highly promising, novel therapy that uses molecules derived from human breast milk to treat and reverse white-matter brain injuries, which are most common among premature babies and can lead to lifelong conditions such as cerebral palsy.

Learn more about Dr. Benner’s work here.

"The Duke Golden Ticket gives the awardee free access to fully equipped wet lab space in BioLabs NC for one year," said Ed Field, President of BioLabs NC. "The goal of this Duke Golden Ticket is to allow the awardee access to a facility to continue to perform additional proof of concept experiments that will eventually attract licensing partners or capital for a new company. Additionally, the BioLabs NC ecosystem provides the awardee access to a rich scientific and entrepreneurial environment and connections to multiple potential pharmaceutical licensing partners and investors, including BioInnovation Capital."

Previously, Duke CTSI Accelerator supported this research with its Translational Accelerator Funding Award and by providing project management through its team of Project Leaders.