Hark­erBio startup shuts down on med­i­cal cam­pus

The Buffalo News - - BUSINESS - By Matt Glynn NEWS BUSI­NESS RE­PORTER

Hark­erBio was a highly touted startup which grew out of tech­nol­ogy de­vel­oped at the Haupt­manWood­ward Med­i­cal Re­search In­sti­tute.

The con­tract re­search com­pany was founded in 2014 and had been ac­cepted into the state’s Start-Up NY tax-free zone pro­gram.

But Hark­erBio, which had grown to 18 em­ploy­ees, an­nounced Fri­day it was shut­ting down, a re­minder of the chal­lenges star­tups face to sur­vive over the long haul.

“De­spite our best ef­forts, Hark­erBio is not able to con­tinue op­er­a­tions,” the com­pany said in a state­ment on Fri­day. “The ini­tial re­sults the com­pany was able to achieve sim­ply have not been sus­tained, and are not suf­fi­cient to sup­port op­er­a­tions.

“We did not come to this de­ci­sion lightly,” the com­pany said. “We are proud of the work that has been done by our many com­mit­ted and tal­ented em­ploy­ees, and we ap­pre­ci­ate the busi­ness and re­search part­ner­ships Hark­erBio de­vel­oped over its his­tory.”

Hark­erBio was based at the Buf­falo Niagara Med­i­cal Cam­pus. The com­pany used struc­tural bi­ol­ogy to help phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies save money and time in their search for new drugs. In 2016, it was one of 142 semi­fi­nal­ists in the 43North busi­ness plan com­pe­ti­tion.

In Novem­ber 2017, Hark­erBio was ap­proved for a $500,000 low­in­ter­est loan by the Buf­falo and Erie County Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Corp. At that time, the com­pany had 14 em­ploy­ees and planned to add 16 em­ploy­ees over the fol­low­ing three years. Be­fore get­ting the RDC loan in 2017, the com­pany had tried un­suc­cess­fully to ob­tain fi­nanc­ing from Bank of Amer­ica but was turned down because it was a startup that was not yet prof­itable.

Hark­erBio on Fri­day de­clined to share fi­nan­cial de­tails. In Novem­ber 2017, The Buf­falo News re­ported the com­pany had $865,000 in rev­enues in 2016, and ex­pected to have rev­enues of $1.8 mil­lion in 2017. As of late 2017, it had a con­tract back­log of $1.6 mil­lion.

Asked if Hark­erBio would file for bank­ruptcy, a com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tive said: “The com­pany is com­mit­ted to an or­derly wind down of op­er­a­tions and is con­sid­er­ing var­i­ous op­tions.”

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