TEDCO logo over a backdrop of the Maryland flag

TEDCO Kicks Off Summer With New Round of Biotech/Medtech Investments

By Alex Keown
June 5, 2023

TEDCO kicked off the summer with more than $500,000 in investments backing multiple burgeoning biotech companies in support of Maryland’s growing life sciences ecosystem.

With $300,000 from its Venture Funds, TEDCO, the state’s economic engine for technology companies, provided support for Pathotrak, a College Park-based startup that has developed foodborne pathogen enrichment kits that can rapidly assess food safety. Pathotrak’s technology, jointly developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Maryland, uses microfiltration processes to create an environment where the bacteria reproduce quickly in order to effectively test food in approximately six hours, rather than the current 22 hour process. The company’s rapid detection process has the potential to decrease food waste and increase the time food can be placed on the shelves of stores. Additionally, the Pathotrak technology has the potential to reduce the costs of warehousing and refrigeration.

Katherine Hill Ritchie, TEDCO’s senior director of Venture Funds, said Pathotrak’s innovative approach has the potential to change the food industry. The company’s technology can save food producers money, as well as limiting food borne illnesses, she added.

“This kind of innovation is why TEDCO exists—we are looking to make an impact and create a better future, all while growing Maryland’s innovation economy,” Hill Ritchie said in a brief statement.

TEDCO’s evergreen Venture Funds are dedicated to supporting the growth of the next generation of early-stage businesses in Maryland.

“Until Pathotrak, producers would need to wait for the results of pathogen tests, leading to costly warehousing and refrigeration costs,” Javier Atencia, CEO and founder of Pathotrak said in a statement. “Through our innovative solution, we are eliminating this need by cutting down the time it takes to get results, which will also help prevent costly recalls and food waste.”

Pathotrak has been a TEDCO portfolio company for the past several years. The company has received funding and support from both the Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII) and N-STEP (NIST – Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Program).

In addition to Pathotrak, TEDCO invested $250,000 into medical device company CarrTech Corp. The investment was made through TEDCO’s Seed Funds, which are used to support early-stage companies.

Frederick-based CarrTech Corp., which is a graduate of the Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc. (FITCI)’s EDGE Accelerator program, has developed FROG (Filter Removal of Glass), a combination package filter and a hypodermic needle. The FROG program minimizes the risk of glass shard contamination while administering medications from glass ampoules. The device streamlines the administration of medicine and also reduces environmental waste.

CarrTech founder Sue Carr said the current eight-step process healthcare professionals are required to take to administer certain medicine is inefficient and high-risk of needle-stick injuries and glass shard contamination to the patient. By eliminating the need to attach and detach multiple needles, Carr said patients are able to get access to the medication they need “faster and safer.”

Teddy Gresser, a TEDCO investment analyst, said CarrTech’s FROG device is an innovative approach that can save lives. Gresser said TEDCO anticipates continued support for CarrTech.

Gaithersburg-based Hememics Biotechnologies also secured funding from TEDCO, part of a $2 million Seed 2 financing round that included additional investors. Hememics develops the HemBox, a multiplexed biosensor platform that can test antibodies, antigens and molecular targets simultaneously. The company uses graphene-based sensors along with its patented bio preservatives to bring handheld, lab-quality testing performance to wherever needed, including a hospital setting or on the battlefield.

Earlier in the spring, TEDCO also invested $200,000 into Rise Therapeutics from its Seed Funds. Earlier this year, the Rockville-based company was cleared by the FDA to initiate a Phase I study of its lead asset, R-3750, an experimental oral therapeutic designed to treat the underlying immunological basis of gastrointestinal-associated inflammatory disease.

Gary Fanger, president and CEO of Rise Therapeutics, said the TEDCO funding will allow the company to accelerate its clinical development programs, bringing the company’s synthetic biology-based immunotherapy drugs to market.

“We are thrilled to receive this follow-on investment from TEDCO,” Fanger said in a brief statement.

Previously, TEDCO invested in Rise Therapeutics in support of the validation of its Tripartite X drug delivery platform. The TPX platform enables any biological therapy to be delivered orally, allowing it to hit the gut microbiome, where it can then be delivered to the desired target area. In a previous interview with BioBuzz, Fanger said Rise Therapeutics is “redesigning microbiome products and directing functionality” in order to treat human diseases.

In addition to R-3750, Rise Therapeutics’ pipeline includes R-2487, a targeted oral immune therapy for the treatment of Sjogren’s syndrome and R-5780, the company’s lead oncology drug candidate.