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Traditionally, Golden Tickets lead to chocolate rivers or everlasting gobstoppers. For biotech startups, though, Golden Tickets lead to something with (potentially) fewer pitfalls: money from major pharmaceutical companies. 

On Thursday, Pfizer announced it would give two startups, Neutrolis and Mediar Therapeutics, so-called Golden Tickets to LabCentral, a noted Cambridge, Mass., biotech incubator. The tickets act as vouchers for the cost of a bench in the incubator for a year. In theory, it sounds like a grand opportunity. But in reality, what has it meant for past recipients?


In honor of this week’s announcement, STAT spoke with officials from the two companies that won the same prize around this time last year, Tevard Biosciences and QurAlis, about whether and how the ticket helped them. Tevard is working on an RNA therapy for a rare form of epilepsy; QurAlis is developing new treatments for ALS.

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