Sam Lai, Ph.D., is the founder of Mucommune.
Sam Lai, Ph.D., is the founder of Mucommune.

Mucommune, LLC, is the fourth company spun out of the research enterprise at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy to take up residence in the Eshelman Institute for Innovation MicroIncubator located at the School.

Mucommune was born in 2015 from the work of Assistant Professor Sam Lai, Ph.D. Its core focus is the engineering of antibodies and biologics that have precisely tuned affinity to mucins, enabling them to work in tandem with protective mucus to facilitate the elimination of microbes at all mucosal surfaces, including those in the lung airways, GI tract, female reproductive tract and the eye.

“Catalyzing the commercialization of intellectual property developed by its faculty, students and staff at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy is a primary goal of the Eshelman Institute for Innovation,” said Bob Blouin, Pharm.D., dean of the School and director of the institute. “To that end, we’re delighted and proud to have Mucommune join the community of innovators currently housed in the MicroIncubator.”

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease awarded Mucommune a Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer grant, which requires the small business to formally collaborate with a research institution. The company officially begins operations in the EII MicroIncubator at UNC in May 2016.

The UNC Eshelman Institute for Innovation MicroIncubator is located on the second floor of Kerr Hall on the UNC Chapel Hill campus. The facility is designed to support up to six faculty-founded startup companies to further develop their technology or product and includes wet lab space and shared office space. Mucommune joins Capture Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Initos Pharmaceuticals, LLC; and Meryx, Inc. in the MicroIncubator.

About the Eshelman Institute

The Eshelman Institute for Innovation provides a mechanism for faculty, staff and students at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy to seek funding for bold, transformative ideas and also provides opportunities to educate and train students and postdoctoral fellows; foster collaboration, creativity and innovation; and stimulate commercialization of intellectual property and entrepreneurial development. The institute was created by $100 million gift from Fred Eshelman, Pharm.D, made in December 2014.

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