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Quintessence Secures Financing

MADISON, WI. - Quintessence Biosciences, Inc., a biotechnology company developing pharmaceutical products for use in research, has finalized a three million dollar financing deal. The majority of the funding, $2.3 million, was received from individual investors, and the remainder was borrowed from the Madison Development Corporation, Wisconsin Department of Commerce, and m2 Lease Funds, a private investment firm. The funds raised will be allocated to build on the scientific and business underpinnings of the company and fund the research and development of new products.

Quintessence Biosciences is a three-year old biotech company co-founded by UW-Madison professors Laura Kiessling in the Chemistry department and Ron Raines of the Biochemistry department. It is located in the University Research Park. It is currently under the leadership of Ralph Kauten, chairman and CEO of the company.

"I’m thrilled that Quintessence was able to bring in $2.3M during these tough financing times,” said Adam Bock, of Early Stage Research “Ralph [Kauten] has a great track record as one of Madison’s top biotech entrepreneurs, and it is great to know that he plans to stay in the game and help develop new companies.”

Quintessence Biosciences is devoted to research and development of new products based on chemistry and biochemistry advancements discovered at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is licensed by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). It has developed newly patented technologies that will enable more effective drugs to be created and therapies against inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and lupus.

“Ralph Kauten has been one of the leaders of the growth of the biotechnology industry in Wisconsin, recently serving as the President of the Wisconsin Biotechnology Association,” said James Leonhart, Vice President of the Wisconsin Biotechnology Association. “With the financial support that his newest company, Quintessence Biosciences, has received, it has been placed in the exciting position of entering the marketplace with highly sought new tools for protein research.”
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One of the projects of Quintessence Biosciences is the formulation of multivalent drugs. Multivalent drugs are a new class of medications able to attach to pathogens with several binding sites, enabling them to be precise enough tools to treat a wide variety of diseases while minimizing side effects. These drugs will be influential in treating bacterial infections, cancer, and other autoimmune diseases. Traditional drugs are limited in that they can attach to only one binding site on a pathogen.

The drug technologies patented by Quintessence Biosciences enable a more effective means of constructing proteins integral for drug research from their individual amino acids. They allow proteins to be synthetically built, eliminating the need for the more traditional and expensive method of formulating these proteins. Quintessence Biosciences will assist other research companies requiring this technology by providing the necessary tools.

The Assembler™ process, discovered by Raines, could greatly shorten the time required to produce human proteins. Quintessence’s process could be used to develop new proteins that have practical pharmaceutical applications. Research companies who could benefit from Quintessence’s Assembler™ technology include pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Researchers could use the technology to explore the human genome for new pharmaceutical discoveries.

Quintessence is also seeking to further develop the "hyper-stable collagen" discovered by the Raines research group. The group has developed a means of increasing the stability of collagen, the fibrous protein component of bone, cartilage, tendon, and other connective tissue. Strengthening natural collagen would provide a treatment for joints damaged by arthritis, for heart valve or vessel repair, and for reconstructing damaged cartilage or ligaments. Also, collagen is also required for the healing of wounds; products using synthetic collagen could assist in wound treatment.

"It’s worth noting that both Quintessence and Nutra-Park, which also announced a round of financing last Thursday, were presenters at the November 2002 Wisconsin Life Sciences Venture Conference sponsored by the Wisconsin Technology Council." said Still.


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Jamie Lyn Hofmeister is a freelance technology writer and regular contributor to the Wisconsin Technology Network. She can be reached at jamie@wistechnology.com

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