Biotech loans help university spinoffs

Staff WriterJune 30, 2009 

— The N.C. Biotechnology Center has made $100,000 in low-interest loans to help two companies spun out of local universities develop their products.

Agile Sciences, founded in 2007 by N.C. State University professors Christian Melander and John Cavanagh, received $50,000 to develop nontoxic organic compounds that can disperse colonies of microorganisms called biofilms, according to the Biotech Center. Biofilms are up to 10,000 times more resistant to antibiotics than free-floating bacteria, making such infections hard to treat.

NeuroScience Pharmaceuticals received the other loan. The company, led by Gabriel Cipau, is trying to commercialize brain-disorder therapies developed at Duke University. They show potential to treat conditions including anxiety, depression and epilepsy. The company is about to begin Phase II clinical testing of its lead product, which would treat schizophrenia.

Staff writer Jonathan B. Cox

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