HarkerBio startup shuts down on medical campus
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.”