A start-up company established by a Nobel Laureate chemist is the first tenant in the UTech Dorm Room, a cooperative research laboratory located at The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Pharmacy.
Altermune, home-based in Corona del Mar, California, is expected to begin operations this month in the UTech Dorm Room wet laboratory. Dr. Kary Banks Mullis, a 1993 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, established Altermune, a company that seeks to use the body’s own immune system to specifically target and attack infectious diseases and cancers through “programmable immunity.” Utilizing the body’s natural antibody defense, Altermune drugs work to redirect antibodies to specific cellular biomarkers using modified nucleic acids called aptamers.
“We are delighted to welcome as our first tenant a research company with such impressive credentials from its founder,” said Dr. Lynn Crismon, Dean of the College of Pharmacy at UT Austin. “Altermune is on the forefront of the battle against infectious diseases. I am delighted that our professional degree students, as well as our graduate scholars will have opportunity for interaction in these research efforts.”
The UTech Dorm Room is a cooperative venture between the College of Pharmacy, the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) and the City of Austin. While most labs at UT Austin are devoted to the research of a particular faculty member, the UTech Dorm Room is designed to provide bioscience entrepreneurs outside the university community the opportunity to contractually reserve wet lab space for a period of time, as they test and develop their technologies and potential products.
“There are few start-up incubator facilities in a city where bioscience entrepreneurs are flourishing,” said Bradley Hall, lead scientist for Altermune’s product development. “Wet lab space is required for bioscience research and Altermune is excited to begin work in the UTech Dorm Room. As a former UT graduate student and research educator through the Freshman Research Initiative, I look forward to working with bright students and world class professors.”
The City of Austin, through its economic development department, committed $35,000 to assist in purchasing equipment and in refurbishing the lab space. The funds will also support the salary of the lab management team.
Dr. Cindy WalkerPeach, ATI Biosciences Director, said the deal with the first tenant represents a success story in Central Texas to support life sciences and biotechnology startups. “The UTech Dorm Room is the beginning of our long-term plans to encourage interaction between healthcare-focused start-up companies and university faculty and reduce facility barriers to commercialization. Access to Web Labs is critical for proof of concept testing in bioscience, yet space is rare and very expensive. We all worked tirelessly – ATI, the City of Austin, the UT Austin College of Pharmacy – to create the UTech Dorm Room, and to make sure it extends beyond university students to serve industry needs overall. Welcoming Altermune to the UTech Dorm Room is a huge validation of this commitment.”
View http://www.utexas.edu/pharmacy/news/spotudr11.html for the full release.
For additional information concerning this story, please contact:
• Dr. Bradley Hall, Altermune
Bradley.firstname.lastname@example.org, or (512) 809-1800.
• Dr. Janet Walkow, Drug Dynamics Institute, UT Austin College of Pharmacy
email@example.com, or (512) 471-4841.
• Dr. Cindy WalkerPeach, Austin Technology Incubator
firstname.lastname@example.org, or (512) 305-0040