CVM start-up company Embark graduates from McGovern Center incubator

Sterifre Medical's Jonathan Green, left, Lionano's Yingchao Alex Yu, Lou Walcer, director of the Kevin M. McGovern Family Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences, and Embark's Ryan Boyko enjoy a celebratory moment following the McGovern Center's graduation ceremony Nov. 13. Photo by Chris Kitchen/University Photography.

Cornell’s Kevin M. McGovern Family Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences business incubator graduated Embark Inc. and two other companies at a ceremony in Weill Hall Nov. 13.

A dog DNA testing service, Embark Inc. was founded by Ryan Boyko, the company’s chief executive officer, based on research by his brother, Adam Boyko, assistant professor in biomedical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Through genetic testing and analysis, Embark Inc. offers pet wellness advice with comprehensive ancestry, morphological traits, and genetic disease information for dog owners.

Provost Michael Kotlikoff gave the commencement address and conferred certificates. “Incubation in early stage technology companies is a proven model for increasing the success and sustainability of startups. And these young companies … bear this strategy out,” Kotlikoff said. “The three companies graduating today developed innovative products that reflect the breadth of exciting research going on at Cornell.”

Kotlikoff reminded the festive crowd: “The McGovern Center plays a special role in Cornell’s fulfillment of its mission as the land-grant institution to New York state. This mission dating back to the university’s founding is to develop and disseminate knowledge for the benefit of people across the state and across the country.”

Two other companies that graduated are Lionano Inc., which has developed a patent-pending, nano-engineered material for lithium ion batteries, and Sterifre Medical Inc., which specializes in sterilization and decontamination. They join the McGovern Center’s previous two graduates, Agronomic Technology Corp. and ArcScan.

The McGovern Center incubator helps companies develop their products, build their business plans, and strengthen management teams to achieve self-sufficiency or receive investments, said Lou Walcer, the center’s director.

“All of these companies at one time were startups. All of these companies at some point were nothing more than a vision in the minds of their inventors and entrepreneurs,” Walcer said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to work with them, taking them pretty far forward. Now we have a triple graduation, indicating that the center is reaching its stride.”

By Blaine Friedlander

A version of this story appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.