The University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Office of Technology Transfer has completed a license agreement with Bali BioSciences LLC, an early-stage company pursuing an unusual, yet clever, strategy to combat disease.
The company, together with its affiliated operating company Bali Medical Inc., is developing a medical food product as adjunctive therapy for patients with burn- and trauma-related sepsis, HIV/AIDS, and other endotoxin-mediated diseases.
"Our concept is to vaccinate dairy cows with an anti-sepsis vaccine and harvest colostrum [immune milk] that is enriched with highly specific yet broadly cross-reactive antibodies against endotoxin. The enhanced colostrum-based product will aid patients by reducing the nutritional deficits associated with burns, trauma, and HIV/AIDS," says Bali BioSciences CEO and founder Zeil Rosenberg, MD, MPH.
A specialized anti-sepsis vaccine was developed by Alan Cross, MD, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and his colleagues at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island.
The vaccine has already proven safe in human trials, and showed protective efficacy in various animal models. Thus, it has potential for use in both prevention and treatment of sepsis. UMB technology transfer officials completed a royalty-bearing license for the jointly owned technology and related patent rights to Bali BioSciences. There are also plans for a sponsored research collaboration to tap into Cross’ considerable expertise to aid the company’s early research and development efforts.
There are more than 33 million people worldwide living with HIV, which constitutes a significant population in need of adjunctive nutritional therapy. "Bali BioSciences will help address that need with its affordable medical food product," says James L. Hughes, MBA, vice president for research and development at UMB.
Cross is a physician with 35 years of research experience in the fields of inflammation and infectious disease and is the author of 173 peer-reviewed publications. His numerous professional honors include the U.S. Army’s Legion of Merit in 1994, service as president of the International Endotoxin and Innate Immunity Society from 2008 to 2010, and multiple advisory committee memberships over the past decade for the FDA, NIH, and the National Academy of Sciences.
Rosenberg is a physician-executive with 25 years experience in management of domestic and international health issues, including immunization programs and pediatric infectious diseases. He was previously CEO of Immuron Ltd. and served for eight years as Becton Dickinson’s worldwide business leader and medical director for immunization.
UMB has a portfolio of hundreds of technologies available for licensing that are a mix of vaccines, drug targets, therapeutics, devices, and cutting-edge techniques that promise to make a quantifiable impact on human health and the environment. The internationally recognized medical, dental, and pharmaceutical research underway at UMB provides a robust pipeline of more than 100 new innovations each year.
The Office of Technology Transfer (OTT), part of the Office of Research and Development, works with the inventive researchers on UMB’s campus to protect their ideas through patenting and seeks industry partners to develop these ideas into useful medical products. Real-world examples of medical products originating from research at UMB and licensed to companies by OTT are novel cancer-fighting drugs in development by Gliknik Inc, and a stroke rehabilitation device being sold by Encore Path, Inc.