About Us



Tom Mercolino, PhD

CertiRx Corporation

Dr. Mercolino is President & CEO of CertiRx, a company whose technology will make pharmaceutical products safer from counterfeits.  He has a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology.  Previously, he was VP of business development at Global Vaccines.  During a lengthy tenure at Johnson & Johnson, Tom was a Corporate Director in the Office of Science and Technology and was a consultant to the National Academics of Science’s Drug Development Forum.  He was also global-head of the pharmaceutical R&D organization repsonsible for creating “external R&D” capacity .  He started his industrial career at Becton Dickinson and Company, where he was an inventor of today’s most-widely used technology for HIV disease monitoring.

Steven Paladino, CPA

Scale Finance

Mr. Paladino is CFO and Partner of Scale Finance, a company that offers controller services. He is a seasoned senior financial executive and business owner with experience ranging from Big Four Public Accounting to executive leadership positions in both private and publicly held companies. He has been involved in successfully buying and selling numerous companies, installing several small and large ERP systems, raising private and public equity, and improving the operational and financial performance of over a dozen companies.

Incubator and Business Support

First Flight Venture Center

FFVC; to develop and grow companies

The First Flight Venture Center (FFVC) is a technology incubator located in the heart of Research Triangle Park.  FFVC offers space for up to 25 technology companies.  FFVC represents a significant asset in the overall entrepreneurial development and economic diversification of the rapidly growing Research Triangle Park.  Since opening in 1992, FFVC has evolved into a flagship business incubator, serving as model program for other business incubators across the state.  Global interest in the Research Triangle Park incubator is demonstrated by the roster of international visitors to the Center each year, including entrepreneurs, economic developers, and government officials.  At FFVC, you are surrounded by successful business mentors, your peers, and important resources such as lawyers, finance and SME’s on a daily basis.  It’s a proven technique designed to help build solid and sustainable companies.  Growth is about connections.

Membership / Services

Council for Entrepreneurial Development

CED: identify, enable, and promote high growth and high impact companies

CED is a community of people inspired by entrepreneurship, and includes a wide range of members including startup companies, more mature growth-stage firms, investors, service partners, academics, and individuals.  CED was founded in 1984, and later incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, to identify, enable and promote high-growth, high-impact companies and accelerate the entrepreneurial culture of the Research Triangle and North Carolina.  CED provides education, mentoring and capital formation resources to new and existing high-growth entrepreneurs. http://www.cednc.org/

North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center

NC SBTDC: expert business advisors

The  SBTDC has helped North Carolina businesses grow and create new jobs since 1984.  We provide management counseling and educational services to small and mid-sized businesses.  By providing entrepreneurs with the tools they need to build and grow successful businesses, the SBTDC positively impacts NC’s economy.  http://www.sbtdc.org/

North Carolina Biotechnology Center

NCBC: cultivating a rich biotech landscape

The Centers of Innovation consortia of biotech sectors bring together researchers, professionals and businesses to strengthen communities and speed biotechnology advancements to market.  Go anywhere in the state and you’ll find a Biotech Center office — catch one leveraging NC’s rich geographic diversity & our world-class educational resources.  http://www.ncbiotech.org/