A Simon Fraser University professor's research into new chemical structures that may combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria has attracted a $750,000 round of financing led by the Western Technology Seed Investment Fund (WTSIF). The deal, fostered by SFU's University/Industry Liaison Office, includes formation of a new spin-off company, Chirologix Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Saul Wolfe, an organic chemistry professor who holds some 40 patents in the field of antibiotics research, will serve as Chief Scientific Officer of the new company, which he has co-founded with Hugh MacNaught of WTSIF, who will hold the position of president and CEO.
"WTSIF reviews about 250 technologies a year and invests in about five of them," says MacNaught. Wolfe's research attracted attention, he says, because of the worldwide concern about antibiotic-resistant bacteria. "Antibiotics are a $25 billion (U.S.) annual market," he says. "When Dr. Wolfe synthesizes compounds effective against resistant strains of bacteria, clinical practice will benefit significantly, and the commercial potential will be immense."
SFU's University/Industry Liaison Office director Michael Volker is optimistic about this latest spin-off company, in which SFU holds an equity interest. "We often have promising technologies," he says, "but here we have all three components needed for the first stage of forming a real company - technology, investment and management."