Date: Feb 25, 2010 Author: press release Source: Business Wire (
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CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wexford Science & Technology, LLC today announced that its tenant in the Technology Business Center at the University Technology Park at IIT, Wrightwood Technologies Inc. (WTI), has secured a $750,000, two-year grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to improve a tool used for sorting, studying, and purifying natural components of incredibly complex mixtures produced both by nature and by man.
Our planet's flora and fauna provide an ever-changing, limitless supply of new and interesting chemical compounds. Throughout history--from ancient Chinese medicines, to modern designer pharmaceuticals--man has attempted to harness nature for the purpose of curing human disease. Today the challenge is sorting, isolating, and screening this endless supply of compounds in a cost-effective manner. “Our technology platform is ideally suited to overcome some of these challenges and position Wrightwood to participate in many projects that search for therapeutic agents from natural sources,” says Samuel Pro, President of Wrightwood.
The two-year Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant is WTI’s second from the NIH, and will allow the firm to adapt its proprietary technologies to existing chemical separation techniques, namely countercurrent chromatography (CCC) making this process dramatically easier and less costly.
Purified compounds isolated under this grant will be tested against the tuberculosis (TB) bacterium in collaboration with the University of Illinois and its Institute for Tuberculosis Research in search of therapeutic agents. Despite advances in treatment, TB remains a major cause of illness and death worldwide, with more than two million dying from the disease every year. The search for better treatments is ongoing and WTI will play an important technological role.
WTI, founded in 2006 as a collaboration between Samuel Pro, a computer scientist, Warren Friedl, an engineer, and Lucas Chadwick, a natural products chemist, began marketing existing countercurrent chromatography technology through Cherry Instruments, their instrument retail and customer service division. An initial grant from the NIH, along with matching funds from the State of Illinois, allowed WTI to demonstrate the feasibility of its technology.
“Wexford is thrilled to provide the platform for small firms such as WTI to grow,” said Catherine Vorward, Director, Business Development at Wexford Science & Technology. “We’ve provided the lab and office space for them to work, but they’ve definitely run with it. It is companies like WTI that will help Chicago become a global leader in biotechnology and help bring quality jobs to the city.”
About Wrightwood Technologies Inc.
Wrightwood Technologies Inc. is a technology development and licensing firm with a strong focus on robotics and machine intelligence applications and their integration into industries such as pharmaceuticals and health care. For more information, please visit http://wrightwoodtech.com.
About Wexford Science & Technology, LLC
Wexford Science & Technology, LLC (www.wexfordequities.com) is a privately held real estate investment and development company that delivers the real estate solution for science, technology, and healthcare based organizations. Headquartered in Baltimore, Wexford Science & Technology has projects in the contiguous United States with the University of Maryland, Baltimore, The Science Center (Philadelphia), Illinois Institute of Technology, Old Dominion University, the Hershey Center for Applied Research (Hershey Trust), the University of Miami, and Wake Forest University.
Catherine E. Vorwald
Director, Business Development
Wexford Science + Technology, LLC
Wrightwood Technologies Inc.