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Kathi Durdon, who heads Upstate's CNYBAC, named Economic Development Superstar of the year by Med Tech Association

Kathi Durdon, executive director of Upstate’s CNY Biotech Accelerator (CNYBAC), has been named as Economic Development Superstar of the year by the Med Tech Association, a Syracuse-based trade association for the bio/med industry.

The award is given to an individual who has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to create positive change for New York’s bio/med industry.

The selection committee said it was impressed by Durdon’s leadership and the impact the CNYBAC has had on incubating medical technology innovation in New York.

Under Durdon’s leadership of the CNYBAC, she has helped the region put its stamp on pharmaceutical, biologic and medical device innovation. Durdon has worked to create a business incubator that has proved successful for many biotech/biomed innovators.

One such innovator that has found significant success as a client of the CNYBAC is Zetagen Therapuetics, a private, clinical-stage, biopharmaceutical company, which last year, received Breakthrough Device designation from the Centers for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its ZetaMet™ technology. And most recently, Zetagan was awarded a $2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute for Phase 2 study of ZetaMet for the treatment of metastatic bone cancers. ZetaMet™ is a synthetic, small-molecule, inductive biologic technology being developed to target and resolve metastatic bone lesions while inhibiting future tumor growth and regenerating bone.

Durdon has worked to inspire medical device start-ups by offering the popular Medical Device Innovation Challenge (MDIC). The program is a six-month intensive mentorship/network expansion/resource rich program for early-stage innovators. The program accepts five to six teams annually to participate. To date, 26 teams have graduated from the program and have secured key milestones during and following their participation. The MDIC serves as a complement and a pipeline to other incubation/acceleration programs.

Under Durdon’s leadership, the CNYBAC was just awarded $625,000 by New York to continue its work as a state-certified business incubator.

Durdon began her work at the CNYBAC as director of operations in 2015 and was appointed to her current post in 2019.The CNYBAC is a 52,000 square foot-building that includes state-of-the-art wet labs, shared equipment, a TED-enabled 200-seat theater and National Grid Creation Garage with 3D printing hardware. CNYBAC staff promote matching assistance to Upstate’s experts, facilities and equipment and to an expansive innovation ecosystem including other NYSTAR assets.

The CNYBAC, located at 841 East Fayette St., currently has 22 clients.