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Promiliad Biopharma wants to wipe out "superbugs"

A pair of Ohio University professors who turned their academic pursuits into a drug discovery company are getting closer to their goals.

Chemistry Professors Stephen Bergmeier and Mark McMills launched Promiliad Biopharma in 2002 after failing to get a National Institute of Health research grant for similar work they were doing at the university. Their research looked at ways to combat antibiotic resistance to so-called "superbugs." One of the most commonly known is MRSA or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, an infection is caused by a staph bacteria that has become resistant to traditional antibiotics.

"We were doing academic research and applied for an NIH grant to help fund it. We failed to get the grant, but when the reviews came back a couple of reviewers said our application sounded more like a business plan than an academic research grant," says Bergmeier.

An idea was born.

"We said, Let's make a go of it," Bergmeier says.

The company is currently in preclinical trials. Its technology works by stopping a process bacteria needs to grow. If that process is hindered, the bacteria die. Antibiotic resistant indirections have become a growing international health problem, with a lack of new drugs to treat them.

Promiliad Biopharma is located in Ohio University's Innovation Center, an incubator which recently opened the Biotechnology Research and Development Facility to support the region's biotech research community.

Promiliad Biopharma has six employees and a part-time secretary. It's been awarded about $4 million in funding through the NIH's Small Business Technology Transfer program. It recently received a $100,000 grant from TechGrowth Ohio, an Athens-based development organization that receives funding from Ohio Third Frontier.

Promiliad Biopharma will continue its preclinical testing for the next couple of years, and will file an Investigational New Drug application with the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration, Bergmeier says.

Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Source: Stephen Bergmeier, Promiliad Biopharma
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