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January 5, 2000


Israel-based biotech firm IntelliGene is among three new companies that have joined the UMBC Technology Center.

IntelliGene is establishing a product development facility at the Technology Center. The company is marketing low-cost, rapid, ultra-sensitive and simple-to-use tests to identify non-viral sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

IntelliGene\\'s first tests will use a direct ribozyme assay technique to detect chlamydia and gonorrhea in urine. The company plans to market the tests to hospitals and large physician practices. The tests are point-of-care, yielding results during a patient visit. Currently patients must wait several days for results from a ship-away lab.

IntelliGene came to UMBC as a result of an economic development trade mission to Israel set in motion by the Maryland/ Israel Development Center (MIDC). Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development biotech specialist Martha Connelly also helped steer IntelliGene toward the UMBC center.

In addition to its Jerusalem research labs, the firm has a U.S. division in Hartford, Connecticut. IntelliGene also collaborates with faculty at the University of Maryland Biotech Institute (UMBI) on product development.

Another UMBC Technology Center tenant, international biotech training organization PDA, also helped connect IntelliGene to Baltimore. Dr. Mike Korcynski, director of PDA, had previously worked with IntelliGene USA\\'s VP of Operations and Engineering David Bach. When Bach, an Ellicott City resident, was tapped to lead a new division in Baltimore, the UMBC Technology Center\\'s Catonsville location was a natural fit.

The second newcomer to the UMBC center is Columbia Technologies, LLC, an integrated environmental sampling, testing and analysis firm. The company identifies emerging technologies for the environmental market, assists in product development and then deploys the technologies to industry and environmental consulting firms. Columbia is working with UMBC chemistry faculty to further develop new chemical sensors, data management systems, and Internet based applications.

\\"Our partnership with the UMBC Technology Center provides an excellent opportunity to tap the research capabilities of the university faculty and staff,\\" said Columbia co-principal John Sohl. \\"This helps solve the difficult problem facing most small business owners of doing the research and development required for new products and services.\\"

The third new arrival at UMBC is Chromatin 1, which supports biomedical advances in the growing field of chromatin research. Chromatin, or the active form of chromosomes in cells, acts as the on-off control switch for genes. \\"This gene regulation is of central importance in biology, and chromatin research is yielding significant insights into many normal and abnormal processes,\\" said Chromatin president Jim Wagner.

The company will offer purified cellular and chromatin components, reagents and other experimental tools for researchers working with chromatin. \\"We were attracted to the incubator program at UMBC because of the relatively low costs, the support services offered, and the possibility of interaction with other scientists,\\" said Wagner.

Posted by dwinds1 at January 5, 2000 12:00 AM