Summer 2013

Innovation earns company national award

A biotechnology company created as a startup 10 years ago by a Binghamton University alumnus has been honored by the U.S. Small Business Administration for excellence in innovation.

CPSI Biotech of Owego, N.Y., is a research and development company focusing primarily on therapeutic devices and strategies for treating cancer and cardiovascular disease. One of the company’s specialties is cryotherapy, using low temperatures to ablate unwanted tissues such as cancer. For its work, CPSI received the Tibbetts Award in May. The award is given to small businesses that have used federal Small Business Innovation Research grants for achieving success in technological innovation, meeting the needs of federal research and development, encouraging diverse participation in technological innovation and increasing the commercialization of federal research.

John M. Baust, PhD ’01, founded the company and is its lead scientist. He has more than 15 years of experience in medical device development and is an expert in low-temperature biology. CPSI employs a number of Binghamton alumni, including Kristi Snyder, PhD ’05, principal scientist and director of operations; Melissa K. Dobson, Esq., MS ’01, corporation counsel; Anthony Robilotto, MS ’05 and Will Corwin, PhD ’13, both research scientists. In addition, the company has three PhD students from Binghamton University and, this fall, will have one undergraduate doing research at the facility.

Baust was a PhD student of Robert Van Buskirk, professor of biological sciences at Binghamton, and son of John G. Baust, also a professor of biological sciences and Director of the Institute of Biomedical Technology at Binghamton. After post-doctoral work at Harvard, the younger Baust returned to the Binghamton area to pursue his research as both a scientist and an entrepreneur. Snyder, who earned a PhD in molecular biology with Van Buskirk as her advisor, has been with CPSI from the start. The alumni link to the company is important, she says.

“One of the benefits of recruiting Binghamton alumni to our company is that they have a solid grounding in science as well as communication skills,” she says. “Many of the people here have grown to like the area and are committed to staying.”

The Binghamton connection goes beyond alumni; Van Buskirk is vice president of CPSI and the elder Baust is on the advisory panel. And CPSI hosts lab sessions for the two professors’ students.

“We are honored and humbled to receive the 2013 Tibbetts Award, which serves as a recognition of our efforts and successes over the years,” John M. Baust says. “Today, thanks to the Small Business Innovation Research program, we have had a number of successes, and CPSI has been able to grow through a strategy of innovation and new technological development.”