OTC News Archive
The University of Texas at Austin licenses molecular recognition assay technology to Beacon Sciences, LLC
Austin, TX, April 10, 2007
Beacon Sciences, LLC, announced today that it has obtained an exclusive license from the University of Texas at Austin for a “lock and key” chemistry platform for the detection of a wide variety of chemical and biological agents for medical and industrial diagnostic applications. Beacon Sciences, LLC, is an Emergent Technologies Fund IV portfolio company.
A key aspect of the technology platform is its ability to generate a chemiluminescent signal—or “glow”—when an agent is detected. A world-renowned leader in supramolecular recognition and binding, Eric Anslyn, Ph.D, is Chief Scientist of Beacon Sciences. Damon Borich, M.D., and Brian Windsor, Ph.D., will serve as Co-Managing Directors of the company, both of whom have extensive experience in assay development and commercialization.
Anslyn is one of the top scientists in the world in creating chemosensors, and has recently extended this expertise to the field of “glow chemistry.” His research has encompassed physical organic and bio-organic chemistry, specializing in the use of synthetic receptors for sensing and catalysis applications.
A Ph.D. graduate from the California Institute of Technology and Columbia University National Science Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow, he now serves as Norman Hackerman Professor of Chemistry at The University of Texas at Austin.
Among his numerous accolades, Dr. Anslyn was named the 2006 Cope Scholar by the American Chemical Society for his pioneering research in the fields of pattern recognition and supramolecular chemistry, and was recently elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His research has applications in environmental, industrial and medical diagnostics.
“Synthetic receptors are now commonly used in academic and industrial settings, and Beacon Sciences has the unique ability to create such receptors for many different kinds of analytes,” Anslyn said. “Using new chemical principles, these receptors can be used to signal the presence of their target analyte by producinga naked-eye visible glow.
“While many chemiluminescent assays use enzymes or antibodies, Beacon Sciences’ assays do not require either of these biological molecules and arecompatible with a wide variety of compounds, even non-immunogenic metals, cations, and anions.
“We are actively screening collaborative partners who need specialized binding assays for novel biomarkers and other important analytes,” Borich said. “Development licenses are available for a variety of fields, including clinical diagnostics, drug discovery, or other life sciences.
The exclusive-licensed assay development platform utilizes supramolecular recognition chemistry, or “lock-and-key” chemistry, rather than antibodies or enzymes to create a binding event in an assay. Custom chemistry scaffolds enable Beacon Sciences to design a custom, non-biological receptor for many classes of biological or non-biological molecule—even those too small for current antibody-based assays to detect. The technology is also compatible with existing assay techniques and can possibly improve antibody- or enzyme-based assays.
Windsor, who also serves as Senior Vice President of Business Development for ETI, said, “We are very excited to be working with research leader and innovator, Dr. Anslyn. Beacon Sciences is the second company to be funded from the ETI Fund IV. Our joining with Beacon Sciences further strengthens ETI’s role in funding and developing early-stage companies whose clinically relevant and commercially viable products and services address large or emerging markets.” ETI is a venture capital firm focused on early technology deals from universities with the goal of partnering with industry leaders to commercialize the technology.
Chemiluminescence (CL) is a highly sensitive detection method used in life science research and clinical diagnostics. CL is one of several types of luminescence that specifically involves a chemical reaction for which light is one of the products released. CL assays typically involve an activator molecule, that, in the presence of the target analyte, is triggered to relax some of its high-energy electrons, resulting in the release of light that be can quantified by the naked eye or simple instrumentation.
About Beacon Sciences
Beacon Sciences is a biotechnology company founded on the pioneering research of Dr. Eric Anslyn and his research team. The Beacon Sciences platform utilizes supramolecular recognition chemistry rather than antibodies or enzymes to create a binding event in an assay. Custom chemistry scaffolds enable Beacon Sciences to design a custom, non-biological receptor for many classes of biological or non-biological molecule – even those too small for current antibody-based assays to detect. The technology is also compatible with existing assay techniques and can possibly improve antibody- or enzyme-based assays. It has wide-ranging applications, including medical diagnostics, biowarfare detection, molecular tools, environmental monitoring, food and beverage testing, chronic disease monitoring, and pre-clinical drug safety testing. Beacon Sciences is actively seeking in-licensing opportunities for novel biomarkers and rapid detection analyte markers. For more information, visit the Beacon Sciences website, www.beaconsciences.com
About Emergent Technologies Fund IV, L.P.
Emergent Technologies Fund IV, L.P., (Fund IV) has been established to invest in early-stage companies formed to commercialize technologies created, developed, owned, and/or synergistic with The University of Texas System. The UT System consists of nine academic and health institutions and, in fiscal year 2007, spent in excess of $1.8 billion in research endeavors. This resulted in 117 U.S. patents and 655 invention disclosures last year alone.
About Emergent Technologies, Inc.
Emergent Technologies Inc. (ETI), founded in 1989 by Thomas A. Harlan, is a unique life sciences venture firm that forms and manages companies and funds that commercialize groundbreaking institutional and university-based technologies. ETI is a turnkey solution for converting university science into high return ventures. ETI works with regional economic development groups and universities to capitalize on the technology assets unique to their region. For more information, visit the company website www.etibio.com