Immigrant Learning Center Honoring Two Local Entrepreneurs

November 7, 2023
Isabel Aznarez, co-founder of Stoke Therapeutics on Wiggins Avenue, has been named as one of the winners of the Barry M. Portnoy Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards for 2023. Courtesy photo

Two Bedford entrepreneurs are among 20 people who will be recognized by the Immigrant Learning Center in ceremonies at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge on Nov. 8.

Isabel Aznarez, co-founder of Stoke Therapeutics on Wiggins Avenue, and Frank van Mierlo, CEO of Cubic PV on Preston Court, have been named nominees for the center’s Barry M. Portnoy Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards for 2023.

Aznarez, now senior vice president of discovery research at Stoke, earned her undergraduate degree in biology and human genetics at the University of Uruguay, her native land. She holds a Ph.D. in molecular and medical genetics from the University of Toronto.

She has extensive experience in human genetics, RNA metabolism and modulation of RNA processes. Her experience includes researcher at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Stoke Therapeutics, which opened in Bedford in 2015, is a biotechnology company that addresses the underlying cause of severe diseases by upregulating protein expression with RNA-based medicines. The company has a staff numbering around 110.

Stoke’s first compound, STK-001, is in clinical testing for the treatment of Dravel Syndrome, a severe and progressive genetic epilepsy. The company also is pursuing the development of STK-002 for the treatment of the most common inherited optic nerve disorder. 

Van Mierlo, with degrees from Stanford University and Masschusetts Institute of Technology, is from The Netherlands. He has headed Cubic PV since June 2021, after founding and directing 1366 Technologies, a solar technology company.

Cubic PV says its technologies “are at the vanguard of a barrier-breaking solar future defined by powerful tandem modules.”

The Malden-based Institute for Immigration Research, a joint venture with George Mason University, conducts research on the economic contributions of immigrants. Barry Portnoy, who died in 2018, founded The RMR Group, an alternative asset management company. He was a founding board member of The Immigrant Learning Center, which was established by his wife Diane.

The Select Board presented resolutions congratulating Aznarez and van Mierlo at their meeting on Oct. 23.

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