05 May eMetagen’s infectious disease technology licensed by WARF
MADISON – eMetagen announced Monday it has completed a license agreement with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation to commercialize technology developed by Robert Goodman and collaborators at the University of Wisconsin-Madison over the past nine years.
Founded by Goodman, a UW professor, and G. Steven Burrill Technology Business Plan Competition winner, Anca Copaescu, eMetagen’s licensed technologies contribute to understanding the therapeutic potential of previously uncharacterized and inaccessible microorganisms.
The key advantage of eMetagen’s technology is that it allows scientists to identify and obtain compounds produced by bacteria and fungi in soil, without first having to bring the organisms into culture. Most microbes are resistant to culturing, making this process a major hurdle for traditional drug discovery.
“Our focus is on soils because bacteria and fungi isolated from this environment have proven to be a rich source of drugs,” Goodman said. “Nearly all of the world’s antibiotics … have come from soil microbes, as well as many other therapeutics for indications ranging from cancers to hypertension to psychiatric disorders. eMetagen’s technologies provide access to the biosynthetic machinery of the vast diversity of organisms in the environment that cannot readily be cultivated in the laboratory and the tools to screen for new natural products with activities useful in human therapeutics.”
eMetagen’s drug-discovery program is focused on the discovery of biologically active small molecules, with an initial focus on the treatment of infectious diseases. The company’s technologies also have applications in the food, consumer products and fine chemicals markets.
To advance proof of concept within the infectious disease target market, eMetagen received a $488,520 STTR Grant from the National Institutes of Health in March. The grant will fund research to find novel anti-bioweapon compounds in eMetagen’s natural product libraries. The company will begin operations at the McAllen T.E.C. Incubator on May 15th, 2004.
As a winner of the UW Business School’s Burrill Competition in 2001, Copaescu reflected on how the experience affected her work for eMetagen. “Winning gave me motivation, enthusiasm and belief that writing a business plan can convert into a business – that it is not just a dream or idea, and you can turn it into reality,” she said.
WARF serves the UW-Madison by patenting and licensing inventions created by the university’s faculty and staff and returns the licensing proceeds to the university to support