Ellen Brune, 28, founded Boston Mountain Biotech, a manufacturing company in Fayetteville that produces pharmaceutical proteins using a method she helped develop at the University of Arkansas. She is one of 18 women worldwide to be selected.
“The Cartier Women’s Initiative is an international business plan competition created in 2006 to identify, support and encourage projects by women entrepreneurs,” a UA news release said.
Brune is one of two women from the United States who will compete in France in October for a prize package that includes $20,000 and a year of coaching in business development and marketing.
Brune conducted research as both an Honors College Fellow and Doctoral Academy Fellow at the U of A, and earned a doctorate in chemical engineering with a focus in bioprocessing in 2013. She founded Boston Mountain Biotech after helping develop a patented method to simplify the production of pharmaceutical proteins used in drugs that treat a variety of diseases and health conditions.
While at UA, she created a series of custom strains of the bacteria Escherichia coli that produce minimized sets of contaminants or “nuisance” proteins, simplifying the purification process on the front end of protein pharmaceutical production.
“I am very excited to be named a finalist for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award and to showcase my business at the fantastic venue in France this fall,” Brune said.
Boston Mountain Biotech is a Genesis Technology Incubator client at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park and is licensed to market the trademarked Lotus purification platform.
Brune has received more than $1 million in research grants through the National Science Foundation and Arkansas Biosciences Institute. She also participated in UA’s graduate entrepreneurship certificate program and on a team that built a business plan around her discovery. The team won $43,350 in prize money in graduate student business plan competitions.