Irish biotech startup, Inform Bioscience, has signed a license agreement with the world renowned Mayo Clinic (USA) to acquire a portfolio of biomarkers for use in developing a prognostic test to detect preeclampsia in pregnancy.
Prognostic tests provide advance indications of an illness or condition, and currently there are no such tests available to detect preeclampsia, a potentially fatal condition affecting pregnant women and their babies. Manifesting abruptly in late pregnancy, preeclampsia poses a serious threat to both mother and her unborn child. In the most severe cases it can progress to eclampsia which often results in seizure, stroke, coma and death. Presently, the disease is diagnosed by symptoms that are non-specific to preeclampsia and often exhibit when the condition is already full blown.
Discovered through pioneering research conducted by Vesna Garovic, M.D., a Mayo Clinic nephrologist, the biomarkers licensed by Inform Bioscience have the potential to detect preeclampsia much earlier than current methods. Inform Bioscience plans to develop a simple urine test, employing the biomarker technology, which has the potential to revolutionise prenatal care programmes globally.
“Our goal at Inform Bioscience is to develop non-invasive tests targeting unmet medical needs so that physicians can provide more personalised patient care. This license will allow Inform Bioscience to determine if a patient has preeclampsia from week 26 in pregnancy. We are very excited to have executed this licence and to be working towards ensuring better outcomes for mothers and babies globally,” said Charles Garvey, CEO, Inform Bioscience.
“Inform Bioscience is bridging the gap between the discovery of quality technology and its commercialisation. Today is a key milestone in the development of Inform Bioscience and demonstrates our capacity to work with and integrate the work of world-class research institutions such as Mayo Clinic and the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute (BDI) at Dublin City University to bring innovative new technologies to market. We look forward to working closely with the BDI through an Enterprise Ireland supported Innovation Partnership to advance the work of Dr. Garovic into commercialisation,” added Mr. Garvey.
“Enterprise Ireland and Mayo Clinic recently formalised a collaboration which will see the commercialisation of up to 20 novel medical technologies in Ireland over the next 5 years, creating high value medical technology spin-out companies. This latest licensing of technology by Inform Bioscience is in addition to this agreement, and shows the potential for Irish companies to develop commercialisation strategies as a result of these exciting innovations” said Dr.Keith O’Neill, Director of LifeSciences Commercialisation at Enterprise Ireland.
“The Biomedical Diagnostics Institute at DCU is excited by this opportunity to work with Mayo Clinic and Inform Bioscience. We strongly commend the initiative of Enterprise Ireland in facilitating and supporting this endeavour through its strategic collaboration with Mayo Clinic and look forward to working together to deliver this important new diagnostic test”, said Mr. Joseph McManus, Director BDI.
Inform Bioscience has secured seed round funding from AIB Seed Capital. The company is a subsidiary of Metabolomic Diagnostics, which is an innovative medical diagnostics company involved in the development of a breakthrough technology to provide early pregnancy risk stratification testing for preeclampsia. The technology being licensed by Inform Bioscience is very complementary to this technology.
About Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia affects 3 million mothers worldwide every year and is associated with premature births and infant illness including cerebral palsy, blindness, epilepsy, deafness and lung conditions. There is no effective detection method for the risk of preeclampsia and the cause is unknown. It is estimated that preeclampsia costs the global health care system US$3 billion per year.
About Inform Bioscience: Inform Bioscience is an indigenous Biosciences Company that has licenced innovative technology from Mayo Clinic to develop a prognostic test for preeclampsia. A high potential startup (HPSU) company it is supported by Enterprise Ireland. The company is based at Hoffman Industrial Park, Little Island, Cork. www.informbio.com
About Mayo Clinic: Recognizing 150 years of serving humanity in 2014, Mayo Clinic is a non-profit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life.150years.mayoclinic.org,
About DCU: Dublin City University is a young, dynamic, globally-engaged, research-intensive university with a focus on translating science and knowledge into economic benefit. AsIreland’s University of Enterprise, DCU creates an environment that encourages creativity and fosters the development of entrepreneurial and innovative thinking in students and staff alike. Industry-academic collaboration has been a substantial and distinctive element of the DCU research profile since its establishment. DCU has consistently over the past five years signed more licence and option agreements for its innovative technology than any other Irish university. In the past 12 months, DCU has spun out seven new enterprises and signed 20 licensing agreements with industry that will see DCU research delivering tangible impact.
About BDI: The Biomedical Diagnostics Institute (BDI) is an Academic-Business-Clinical partnership that carries out cutting-edge research into the development of next-generation biomedical diagnostic devices creating Point-of-Care solutions that will have a major impact on diagnosing disease and sustaining human health.
About Enterprise Ireland: Enterprise Ireland is the Irish Government agency charged with developing and promoting Irish enterprise with the ultimate objective of increasing exports, employment and prosperity in Ireland. Enterprise Ireland partners with entrepreneurs, Irish businesses, and the research and investment communities to develop Ireland’s international trade, innovation, leadership and competitiveness.