Monthly Archives February 2021

Start-up Gregor Diagnostics Advances New Diagnostic Technology

Joel Wipperfurth, Senior Research Associate, performs analysis on Gregor Diagnostic lab benches within Forward BIOLABS. Photo courtesy of the MGE Foundation

From February through June, we’ll spotlight the ways UW-Madison is fueling the state’s economy through research and innovation, educating the next generation, and reaching out to the people of Wisconsin to improve their lives. The theme for February is economic prosperity. Watch for more on #CantStopABadger and #UWimpact on social media. Your support can help us continue this work.

Tobias Zutz found himself looking for a new challenge in 2015.

With R&D experience in test development and molecular diagnostics, he was a member of the R&D team at Exact Sciences that developed Cologuard, a non-invasive colorectal cancer screening test.

So Zutz sat down with Jennifer Gottwald, Director of Licensing at the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, whom he knew from their Masters in Biotechnology program at UW-Madison, to review WARF’s patent portfolio and discuss diagnostic technologies. which could be licensed and potentially marketed.

“One that wasn’t on my list was these methylated DNA biomarkers for prostate cancer, and she put me in touch with David Jarrard, associate director of translational research at the Carbon Cancer Center,” who discovered these biomarkers, ”Zutz explains.

Zutz licensed the technology from WARF and founded Gregor Diagnostics.

“WARF is a key partner,” says Zutz, CEO of Gregor, who also holds a BS in Biochemistry and Genetics from UW-Madison. “He is also an investor.

Gregor Diagnostics is developing a prostate cancer screening test using seminal fluid as a source.

“When I started looking for what to work on next, testing rates had been going down since 2008,” says Zutz. “Prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in men and the second killer, so why are the rates going down? “

Zutz learned about the history and current state of prostate cancer screening and knew there had to be a better solution. With so few people getting reviewed, Zutz saw a huge market opportunity, as did the team at WARF Ventures.

“This is another great opportunity and a much needed solution in the prostate cancer market,” said Greg Keenan, Senior Director – Venture and Accelerator at WARF Ventures. “The market opportunity here is huge. “

“Gregor Diagnostics demonstrates the power of our ecosystem. Gregor is a startup that integrates UW technology and is a prime example of how UW knowledge is translated into companies that solve important problems in the world and create jobs.

Aaron Olver

WARF Ventures invests seed capital in emerging companies and provides connectivity and market expertise, with the goal of advancing technologies in the market and driving a return to UW-Madison. WARF Ventures also attracts venture capital from other regions.

“We’ve been quite successful in leveraging additional VC funds into our businesses through these networks,” says Keenan. “When the talent is in Madison, we bring investor money to those companies.”

Keenan says it’s helpful for Gregor Diagnostics to be part of an ecosystem in Madison that includes big companies like Exact Sciences for potential exit opportunities.

“Toby is a great example of someone who worked at a successful business that developed a cancer diagnosis and then built a business around a technology he found on campus,” Keenan said. “Madison has a long history in diagnostics at UW and with startups. We have a community of diagnostics and business success experts like Exact Sciences. There is a symbiotic relationship between a leading business that benefits the university and UW’s research and technology that can benefit businesses as they grow.

The company uses the basic facilities of UW-Madison, which is both economical and provides access to instrumentation experts from the university.

“We can’t buy an instrument for $ 200,000, but we can rent time on it,” Zutz explains.

The company has published the first results and will begin a second study in March. Next steps will include a large FDA pivotal trial to screen asymptomatic patients, fundraising, and finding a clinical site partner. The company has raised a total of $ 2.9 million to date.

“The ultimate goal is to bring this new screening test to market,” says Zutz.

Gregor Diagnostics is incubating within Forward BIOLABS, an independent nonprofit within the University Research Park that was established to provide lab facilities to start-up biotech startups.

“It was a huge advantage,” Zutz says. “We raised $ 900,000 in 2018 to begin development work, but equipping a full lab costs $ 250,000, so having access to Forward BIOLABS equipment and facilities has really helped. “

In addition, the small team of Gregor Diagnostics benefits from being part of the Forward BIOLABS startup community.

“Having access to a fully equipped lab makes the capital required to start a biotech company more comparable to software startups,” says Aaron Olver, CEO of University Research Park. “The ability of Forward BIOLABS to help businesses at an early and crucial stage and to extend this support well beyond the initial help is crucial. “

Olver says that start-ups frequently “graduate” from Forward BIOLABS to other spaces in the university research park, such as the MG&E Innovation Center.

“Gregor Diagnostics demonstrates the power of our ecosystem,” says Olver. “Gregor is a startup that integrates UW technology and is a great example of how UW knowledge is translated into companies that solve important problems in the world and create jobs. “

“A strong UW-Madison is a key contributor to the birth of new biotechnology companies and jobs,” says Jessica Martin Eckerly, CEO and co-founder of Forward BIOLABS. “Gregor Diagnostics demonstrates how UW-Madison directly affects Wisconsin’s biotech industry – their founder is a UW-Madison graduate who works to bring UW-Madison technology to patients, and he hires UW-Madison graduates to fulfill that mission. Growing the number of UW spin-outs that then hire talented UW graduates and helping those spin-outs succeed is a goal shared by many leaders in our ecosystem.

UW-Madison contributes $ 20.8 billion a year to Wisconsin’s economy, and UW-Madison-related startups contribute an additional $ 10 billion. Read more here.


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NMSU autism diagnostic center open for telehealth appointments

As the pandemic delayed the physical opening of New Mexico State University’s new autism diagnostic center, the center now offers telehealth services to children under 36 months in need of diagnostic evaluation of autism spectrum disorders.

In order to receive treatment, a child must have a medical diagnosis of ASD from a qualified assessment provider. Since the center opened last year, staff have seen strong demand from parents and children, not just from southern New Mexico, but across the state.

While there are several providers of autism assessment, the state’s only other diagnostic center is located at the University of New Mexico, and there is a wait of up to two years for a diagnostic evaluation. Such a long wait could lead to delayed access to necessary interventional services, an increase in the cost of lifelong care and less favorable outcomes.

The evaluations are currently being carried out by Dr Cosette Montañez who leads the interdisciplinary team at ADC. She is a registered psychologist and NMSU Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Disorders. She is also a Stage 1 Applied Behavior Analysis Stage 1 Autism Assessment Practitioner and Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

“We have received referrals from 13 counties, including as far away as Farmington,” Montañez said. “There is such a long wait everywhere, and the pool of diagnostic assessment providers in the state is very limited.”

Montañez has over 15 years of experience performing school and clinical assessments for autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders with children aged 18 months to 17 years. In addition to her degrees and academic training experience, she is bilingual in English and Spanish and is able to work and support people in both languages.

Montañez said the current telehealth process has made it easier for parents to submit documents and conduct interviews online. The CDA will more than likely adopt some of these procedures when the center begins to accept in-person appointments.

A safety plan has been submitted to the NMSU for a return to campus, but no timeline has yet been determined, Montañez said. There are also plans to hire additional staff, including a clinical psychologist, a social worker and an administrative assistant.

The Communication Disorders Department led the project, working closely with former State Senator Mary Kay Papen and NMSU Senior Director of Government Affairs Ricardo Rel to secure funding.

For more information, call the Autism Diagnostic Center at 575-646-3177.

Author: Adriana M. Chavez – NMSU

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Abu Dhabi University forges strategic partnership with Advanced Cure Diagnostic Center

  • The MoU aims to promote the links between the two institutions through student internships, training programs, sharing of facilities and resources and exchange of knowledge.
  • Abu Dhabi University and the Advanced Cure Diagnostic Center will cooperate in the areas of counseling, academic studies, institutional support and development, and research and development.

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi University (ADU) has entered into a strategic partnership with Advanced Cure Diagnostic Center (ACDC), following the signing by both parties of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Founded in 2007 as a comprehensive ambulatory care unit with over a dozen specialties, ACDC is home to leading physicians in a variety of medical fields.

The MoU aims to promote the links between the two institutions through student internships, training programs, sharing of facilities and resources and exchange of knowledge. The deal will see the two sides cooperate to mutually benefit from advice, academic studies, institutional support and development, and research and development.

Joint research and academic activities are some of the key areas in which the two institutions are ready to work together, in addition to the exchange of students and faculty members. The two institutions seek to expand their exchanges of educational, cultural and administrative material, through various academic programs.

Commenting on the agreement, Professor Wassim Y. Almawi of ADU, said: “We are delighted to enter into this strategic partnership with Advanced Cure Diagnostic Center, which reflects our commitment to work collaboratively with leading institutions in the academic, health and research fields. Our aim is to provide our students with the crucial training and transferable skills they need to succeed as future healthcare professionals and meet the needs of the healthcare sector of Abu Dhabi, UAE, CCG and beyond.

He added, “This agreement will pave the way, providing a sustainable environment that encourages creativity and innovation and the development of scientific research, community engagement, as well as the dissemination of knowledge between Abu Dhabi University and the Advanced Cure Diagnostic Center. We are optimistic that this collaboration will be fruitful in the fields of research and professional development and we look forward to working together successfully. “

As per the agreement, ADU offers its pedagogical expertise and faculty to deliver lectures and training workshops to strengthen the role of human resources and administrative and leadership practices at ACDC.

Additionally, ADU will have access to the medical diagnostic laboratories and educational expertise of ACDC, to train ADU students in the areas of diagnostic medicine, nutrition technology and dietetics and others. .

ADU and ACDC will work together to facilitate information exchange and networking between students, faculty and staff, by organizing conferences, workshops, seminars, academic and training programs, in order to present the latest developments and best practices in areas of common interest.

For more information, please visit: www.adu.ac.ae

Ends

About Abu Dhabi University:

Established in 2003, the University of Abu Dhabi (ADU) is the largest private university in the United Arab Emirates. With campuses in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain and Al Dhafra, the university has a total enrollment of 7,800 students of over 80 nationalities. Structured into colleges of arts and sciences, business, engineering, law, and health sciences, ADU offers undergraduate and graduate programs in a wide range of disciplines.

Abu Dhabi University is recognized as a world-class institution dedicated to excellence in teaching, research and student experience, as evidenced by its prestigious regional and international accreditations. The University was the first private higher education institution in the CCG to achieve international accreditation from the Californian Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). ADU’s College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the prestigious EFMD Quality Improvement System (EQUIS). At the program level, the College of Engineering has received international accreditation from the world-renowned Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), and the Bachelor of Architecture has received Part 1 validation from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The College of Health Sciences has obtained accreditation from the Agency for Accreditation of Public Health Education (APHEA).

According to the 2021 QS World University ranking, Abu Dhabi University ranks among the top 750 universities in the world and among the top 150 universities in the world under the age of 50. ADU also secured a top 3 place in the world for international faculty and maintained its long standing position among the top 11 universities globally recognized for the diversity of their student body.

Media contacts
Weber Shandwick for Abu Dhabi University
Ghada El Makadma
[email protected]
+971 2 449 4457

© Press release 2021


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