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October 25th, 2023 – Johnson & Johnson Innovation, in collaboration with Carilion Clinic Innovation, Verge Alliance (with support from City of Roanoke), and Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (VTCRC), announced today at the Harnessing the Potential of Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADC) in Oncology event at JLABS @ Washington D.C. that Bacchus Therapeutics, Luminary Therapeutics, and QurCan Therapeutics Inc., have been selected as the awardees in the Advancing Oncology InnoVAtion QuickFire Challenge.

The challenge invited innovators from across the globe with an active interest in the Virginia innovation ecosystem to submit potential solutions aiming to transform patient outcomes in oncology in adult populations with potential applications in pediatric oncology. The awardees hope to nurture Virginia’s outstanding innovation ecosystem and spearhead innovative solutions to enhance the quality of life for cancer patients across the globe.

Bacchus Therapeutics is a biotech company that exploits cancer’s hypermetabolic state by targeting specific cancer metabolic pathways.

Luminary Therapeutics is a clinical stage CAR-T therapy company utilizing a unique allogenic manufacturing platform.

QurCan Therapeutics Inc. is a biotechnology company that has developed the next generation nanoparticle for safer and tissue-selective drug delivery to extra-hepatic sites, including the brain and spleen. This technology unlocks the full potential of genetic medicine, delivering life-changing therapeutics.

The awardees will receive grant funding from a total pool of $300,000, VTCRC residency for one year which includes one bench & workstation, access to the global Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS network, and mentorship from experts across The Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies. *

*Subject to terms and conditions of applicable Quickfire Challenge and execution of all relevant and necessary award agreements

About Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC works across the pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer health sectors to accelerate early-stage, transformational solutions by catalyzing the best ideas wherever they are in the world. We do this by harnessing our deep scientific capabilities coupled with a wide range of tools, including customized deal structures, company creation, incubation and startup services, capital investments and other innovative business models that aim to meet the diverse needs of entrepreneurs, scientists, and emerging companies. Our goal is to help life science and health technology innovations thrive through collaboration and partnership with the global ecosystem so that together we can change the trajectory of human health. Meet our passionate team of science and technology experts and learn how to collaborate with us at

About Verge Alliance

Verge (formerly Valleys Innovation Council), which includes alliance members Roanoke- Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC) and the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program (RAMP), helps facilitate regional connection, communication, and collaboration by identifying regional priorities and funding to advance tech and biotech projects and solutions across the Roanoke and New River Valleys and Lynchburg. Verge serves GO Virginia Region 2 and works to form collaborations with government, business, academia, and other organizations to advance the region and grow a thriving innovation economy.

About Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (VTCRC)

The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center is an integral part of Virginia’s innovation ecosystem. Located a stone’s throw from Virginia Tech, one of the nation’s premier research universities, VTCRC is where bold thinkers turn big ideas into world-changing realities. VTCRC features flexible-lease wet and dry research labs, modern offices, and coworking space, all with top-tier amenities.

About Carilion Clinic Innovation

Carilion Clinic Innovation (CCI) is a catalytic agent and resource for innovators working for Carilion Clinic, a non-profit healthcare organization serving more than one million people in Virginia’s Blue Ridge and Southwest Virginia regions.

Carilion physicians, nurses and staff make unique discoveries through their research, and continuous improvements to the care they provide our communities. Some of these discoveries are innovations with commercial potential. First and foremost, they can benefit patients in our community. When inventions are brought to market by an Industry partner or spun out as a startup, patients across the country and globe may benefit from our employees’ curiosity and commitment to innovation.