New Biomedical Company Emerges from URI with Support from Slater Technology Fund
Vitrimark Developing Cryogenic Imaging Technology for Disease Detection, Therapy Monitoring
Providence, R.I., June 5, 2007 Slater Technology Fund announced today that it has committed $250,000 in seed funding to Vitrimark, Inc., a biotechnology startup spun out of cryogenic imaging research at the University of Rhode Island’s College of Engineering.
Co-founded by Dr. Arijit Bose, URI professor of chemical engineering, Vitrimark is developing new biomarkers for use in the drug development process. A biomarker is a measurable characteristic that is an indicator of normal biological or pathogenic processes or pharmaceutical responses to a therapeutic intervention. Identification of disease-specific biomarkers reduce the cost associated with drug development by identifying failures at an early stage, and identifying niche patient populations with high drug efficacy.
The market for new biomarkers is exploding as their use in drug development grows. Worldwide, the market is expected to grow from revenues of $427 million in 2006 to more than $1 billion in 2010.
Vitrimark exploits the unique advantages provided by nanoscale cryoimaging of biofluids to identify ultrastructural biomarkers. Current methods for determining biomarkers involve functional assays. The fundamental premise of Vitrimarks patent-pending technology is that ultrastructural changes precede functional changes and thus allow earlier detection potential.
Vitrimarks initial focus is on developing structural biomarkers for prostate cancer. To that end, the company is working with Tufts University to obtain prostate cancer serum, and is utilizing the laboratory resources of URI to advance its research. Vitrimark has also hired a senior scientist, Dr. Riyaz B. Mahammad, formerly a research assistant professor at the URI College of Pharmacy, to oversee the companys research operations.
With the help of Slater, we have been able to begin the critical process of demonstrating the viability of our technology, said Dr. Bose, Vitrimarks founder and chief technology officer. We are encouraged by our preliminary findings, and are looking forward to accelerating our efforts to bring this innovative new technology to market.
Slaters investment in Vitrimark is the latest example of our longstanding commitment to expand the biosciences industry in Rhode Island, said Richard G. Horan, managing director of the Slater Technology Fund. We believe Vitrimark has a unique technology with enormous potential for the drug development market, and we are pleased to support the company as it develops and commercializes its cryogenic imaging process.
Vitrimark leverages its unique expertise in nanoscale cryoimaging to identify structural biomarkers for the early detection of disease, and exploit their utility and integration in the drug development process. For more information, visit www.vitri-mark.com.
About Slater Technology Fund
The Slater Technology Fund supports the development of emerging industries with potential for significant long-term growth within the State of Rhode Island. Slater focuses its resources on the support of entrepreneurs who have the vision, leadership and commitment to build substantial commercial enterprises. Slater typically invests at the inception stage in the development of a new venture, often based upon ideas and technologies originating in academic institutions and/or government research laboratories located within the region. In most cases, investments are premised upon the possibility of raising substantial follow-on financing, from venture capital investors or from strategic partners, with a view toward accelerating the generation of significant numbers of high-value, high-wage jobs over the intermediate to longer-term. For more information, visit www.slaterfund.com.
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