BALTIMORE, May 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- University of Maryland (UM) Ventures and Biomecite Diagnostics, LLC announced today the signing of an exclusive option by Biomecite Diagnostics for the rights from University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) to develop diagnostics to detect inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), such as ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD). Drs. Florian Fricke and James White developed the licensed technology while both were with the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS). The technology explores distinctive genomic variances in the populations of bacteria or microbiome found in the human gut to diagnose the closely related but differing gastrointestinal diseases, UC and CD.
Current methods for the clinical diagnosis of UC and CD, as well as between IBD and other gastrointestinal diseases, remain very challenging because healthcare providers must subjectively interpret clinical symptoms and because of the invasive nature of procedures such as endoscopies and colonoscopies. The UMB technology, however, relies on the analysis of signature genetic sequences obtained directly from the stool samples of patients. This state-of-the-art technology belongs to the rapidly expanding field of microbiome-based diagnostics, fueled by the development of increasingly efficient and cost-effective DNA-sequencing technologies.
"Biomecite Diagnostics is a particularly exciting UMB startup. Its next-generation, microbiome-based technology for diagnosing inflammatory bowel diseases has the potential to provide a non-invasive and more cost effective alternative to currently used diagnostic procedures," said Phil Robilotto, D.O., M.B.A., Chief Commercialization Officer, UM Ventures, Baltimore. "Biomecite has built a very strong scientific and management team with a well-established track record, and has already made significant progress on the development of relationships with several key partners to enable technology commercialization."
This Biomecite diagnostic tool currently focuses on the diagnosis of IBD (as opposed to IBS) and then the further identification of UC or CD. However, the technology carries the potential to foster the development of additional noninvasive clinical tests for the diagnosis of other gastrointestinal diseases.
Biomecite's interim Chief Executive Officer Gerard Eldering is the current President of Innovate Tech Ventures and is a nationally recognized authority on venture creation from technology transfer. Mr. Eldering founded Innovate Tech in 2007 and has since participated in the formation of more than 15 tech startups, one of which has led to the successful turn around and sale of a technology-consulting firm. Dr. James Robert White, co-inventor of the technology, is the President of Biomecite. He is an entrepreneur and expert in the field of computational and statistical microbiome sequence analysis.
Biomecite Diagnostics has received commercial support from the Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII) from TEDCO (Technology Development Corporation), an independent organization that strives to provide entrepreneurial business assistance and seed funding for the development of startup companies in Maryland's innovation economy.
About Biomecite Diagnostics, LLC
Biomecite Diagnostics, LLC is a development-stage medical diagnostics company commercializing an IBD diagnostic based on a microbiome signature technology developed at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. The company was founded in 2014 and expects to receive initial seed funding in the second quarter of 2015 to conduct a larger clinical trial proof-of-concept study. Current tests for IBD mostly rely on clinical symptoms and invasive procedures and depend on subjective interpretation of the practitioner, resulting in approximately 10 percent to 15 percent of colitis cases being labeled "indeterminate colitis." The development of a stool-based diagnostic test for IBD will provide a non-invasive alternative or supplement to currently available endoscopy-based tests, which is of particular importance in sensitive pediatric populations.
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.
SOURCE University of Maryland (UM) Ventures