BALTIMORE, Dec. 08, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — University of Maryland (UM) Ventures and Pataigin announced today that the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) has granted Pataigin worldwide, exclusive licensing rights to UMB patents and technology for a method to quickly and accurately identify dangerous pathogens. Robert Ernst, Ph.D., associate professor of microbial pathogenesis at UMB School of Dentistry, and David Goodlett, Ph.D., professor of pharmaceutical sciences at UMB School of Pharmacy, are patent inventors. The University of Washington is also a co-owner on one of the patents. Erik Nilsson, who has headed software and mass spectrometry companies for nearly 20 years, will serve as Pataigin’s CEO.
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 detects lipids in the outer membranes of pathogens that are unique to each pathogen. A “barcode of lipids expressed by each organism is created that allows laboratory staff to quickly 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. Importantly, the technology can differentiate between drug-susceptible and drug-resistant variants, accelerating 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’s leadership team will also consist of Dr. Goodlett and Dr. Ernst.