by Evan Belanger
Soluble Therapeutics, a Birmingham-based biotech startup, has received $1 million in venture capital as it prepares to ramp up marketing its locally developed technology that dramatically speeds up the development of protein-based drugs and vaccines.
University of Alabama at Birmingham , has also announced a new partnership with DiscoveryBioMed and Vivo Biosciences, both of Birmingham, to expand services offered to drug developers.
Soluble was in the process this week of relocating its lab from UAB to Birmingham’s Innovation Depot, a business incubator that focuses, in partnership with UAB, on emerging life-science and other technology companies.
For the time being, Soluble will market its technology as a lab service, but Garner said they are currently developing a third generation of the technology with plans to market it as a commercial device available to large drug developers. With beta testing of that device to begin within 18 months, full commercial development will be complete within two years, Garner estimated.
“It wouldn’t surprise me over the next 18 to 24 months if we grow by 100 or 200 percent,” he said.
The technology, developed at UAB and Mississippi State University, allows drug developers to cut the formulation of protein-based drug solutions, a process that normally takes a lab of five people about a year to complete, to just 45 days in most cases. In addition, technology offered by DiscoveryBioMed and Vivo Biosciences helps drug companies more easily and inexpensively identify potential drugs and test formulated solutions without lengthy and expensive animal studies.
The commercial versions of the drug devices won’t come cheap. Soluble Research and Business Development Associate Devon Laney said Soluble is the fourth UAB spinoff to relocate from UAB in the last 16 months and the Depot is working with other UAB companies that will hopefully make the move soon.
“Typically, companies stay in the program about five years, but with biotech and life-science companies, there really is no hard-and-fast rule since time to market and revenue generation is so much longer in those industries,” he said.
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