Gateway Biotechnology Selected for MassChallenge Boston

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The vice president of drug development startup Gateway Biotechnology, Inc. in St. Louis, Missouri, Thomas Brutnell draws on more than 25 years of experience in plant molecular biology, genetics, and genomics to conduct research into preventing and treating hearing loss. During Thomas Brutnell’s tenure with the company, Gateway Biotechnology was selected to participate in the 2019 MassChallenge Boston.

A prestigious accelerator program, MassChallenge is a network that operates in Boston, Austin, Houston, and Rhode Island, as well as internationally in Mexico, Switzerland, and Israel. Participating startups receive access to coworking space and mentoring, as well as the potential to connect with venture investors. Gateway was among just 9 percent of applicants selected for the program, giving the company a chance to compete for over $1 million in cash prizes.

MassChallenge Boston marks a significant opportunity for Gateway Biotechnology, which has previously received funding from Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology. Gateway Biotechnology was also part of a $10 million Army grant to study hearing loss.

About the BIO Investor Forum Digital


With a Ph.D. in biology from Yale University in Missouri, Thomas Brutnell serves as vice president of Missouri-based Gateway Biotechnology focused on preventing noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus. In 2020, Thomas Brutnell attended the international biotech investor conference, the BIO Investor Forum Digital.

An international biotech investor conference BIO Investor Forum Digital is an annual event that dedicates its focus to realizing the growth of startups and emerging companies. Some featured sessions in the events include business roundtables and therapeutic workshops, plenary sessions, BIO One-on-One Partnering meetings, and plenary sessions. The event can be attended by members of the BIO committee, who are individuals with interests in public outreach and career growth acceleration among other motives.

The 2020 BIO Investor Forum Digital, featured 974 attendees from 697 companies, 2300 scheduled meetings, and 952 delegates from 32 countries. The forum provides an excellent opportunity for investors and small companies to connect and quickly explore opportunities.

About Gateway Biotechnology’s Current Projects

As an innovator in genomics technologies, Thomas Brutnell serves as the vice president of Gateway Biotechnology in St. Louis, Missouri. Drawing on over 25 years of molecular biology, genetics, and genomics experience, Thomas Brutnell oversees Gateway’s innovative drug research and development projects.

Founded in 2011, Gateway Biotechnology is a drug research company located in St. Louis. The company focuses on repurposing FDA-approved drugs for use in treating and preventing hearing disorders. Currently, there are no FDA-approved drug on the market for treating the majority of hearing problems that Gateway Biotechnology aims to address.

The company is currently conducting studies to deploy innovative solutions for noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus. One of their projects, funded by the US Department of the Army, centers on developing effective treatments for noise-induced hearing loss and is now being tested in a clinical phase II trial. Gateway’s research pipeline has largely been driven through non-dilutive grants from the National Institute of Health’s Small Business Innovation Research SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer STTR programs.

The company is now actively seeking investments to help accelerate the development of a product to protect against acute acoustic trauma.

SBIR Grant to Help Gateway Progress on Tinnitus Treatment

Thomas Brutnell, a skilled executive in the biotechnology sector, splits his time among a variety of endeavors. He is the founder of Viridis Genomics Consulting and serves as a visiting scientist for the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Beyond these roles, Thomas Brutnell is vice president of Gateway Biotechnology, a St. Louis-based drug-development business that recently secured over $2 million in federal funding.

The biotechnology startup received a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant in July 2020. At $2.2 million, the grant was provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Gateway was founded in 2011 with the purpose of developing drugs that prevent and treat hearing disorders. Since its founding, it has received several Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) and SBIR grants from the NIH. It also is part of a $10 million contract from the United States Department of the Army to develop a treatment to prevent noise-induced hearing loss. The drug produced through this project is part of a clinical Phase II trial.

With the new SBIR grant, Gateway plans on supporting the advanced development of a tinnitus treatment. Tinnitus involves a ringing in the ear and is associated with hearing loss. While several companies seek drugs that prevent and treat this condition, there are currently no FDA-approved drugs for tinnitus on the market. The funding will help Gateway expand pilot studies of their lead candidate, a plant natural product, and move closer to clinical trials and FDA approval.