BALTIMORE, Dec. 08, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- University of Maryland (UM) Ventures and Pataigin, LLC, announced today that the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) has granted Pataigin worldwide, exclusive licensing rights to UMB patents and technology to develop a method to quickly and accurately identify dangerous pathogens. Robert Ernst, Ph.D., associate professor of microbial pathogenesis at University of Maryland School of Dentistry, and David Goodlett, Ph.D., professor of pharmaceutical sciences at University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, are patent inventors. The University of Washington is also a co-owner on one of the patents Pataigin (the Irish word for pathogen) is licensing. Erik Nilsson, who has headed software and mass spectrometry companies for nearly 20 years, will serve as Pataigin’s CEO and President.
Infectious diseases remain a major global killer, responsible for 18 million deaths worldwide every year. And yet, detecting potential infectious agents remains hampered by current technological methods that are slow, require cell culture and are expensive and labor-intensive. The licensed technology exploits the presence of lipids in the outer membranes of pathogens that are unique to each pathogen strain. A “barcode” for each lipid coating is created that allows laboratory staff to quickly use available mass spectrometry methods to identify specific strains of bacteria, fungi and yeast that cause disease. The technology will allow pathogen identification directly from tissues like blood, urine, and wounds, without the need for cell culture. And importantly, the technology can differentiate between drug-susceptible and drug-resistant variants; thereby allowing for quicker medical treatment decisions as well as containment of dangerous pathogens.
Phil Robilotto, D.O., M.B.A., Chief Commercialization Officer, UM Ventures, Baltimore, said, “We are delighted to license this promising technology to Pataigin, an exciting new startup with excellent scientific and business leadership. The Company is well situated to validate and commercialize this important diagnostic technology that has the potential to positively impact the treatment of infectious disease by significantly reducing the time required to accurately identify and treat specific pathogens.”
Erik Nilsson has 30 years of experience in software, mass spectrometry and biotechnology. He is currently CEO of Deurion, a software development company that developed new technologies for mass spectrometry, bioinformatics and microfluidics. He previously served as President of machine learning software company Insilicos, and previously held several leadership positions (including President) of software platform developer GraphiCode, which he sold in 1999.
“I’m proud to be part of the effort to transform this valuable technology into better methods for infectious disease pathogen detection,” said Mr. Nilsson. “Pataigin has created a library of chemically barcoded pathogens that can be checked to determine what type of an infection a patient has, making such detection faster, cheaper and more accurate.”
Pataigin’s leadership team will also consist of Dr. Goodlett and Dr. Ernst.
Founded in 2014, Pataigin is a Baltimore biotech company developing new diagnostic tests for bacterial infections, to reduce the suffering and expense of infectious disease. Pataigin was founded by UMB researchers, based on their discoveries of unique chemical signals of infection that promise faster and more accurate diagnosis of many common infections, including those behind the most serious hospital-acquired infections. Pataigin's new diagnostics promise a better diagnosis sooner, leading to less over-prescription of unneeded antibiotics and faster administration of potentially life-saving therapies.
About UM Ventures
UM Ventures is an initiative to channel the tremendous technical resources and research expertise of the University of Maryland, engaging partners in industry and social ventures to expand real world impact. By encouraging students and faculty, providing expert advice and business services, more discoveries will reach the market. By engaging directly with external partners UM Ventures brings new investment, expanded markets and more start-up ventures. Visit http://umventures.org/ to learn more.
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Source:University of Maryland, Baltimore