BMB’s first patent, titled “Separatome-based protein expression and purification platform” (US8927231) was issued today. This patent protects our Lotus® E. coli manufacturing platform and the production and purification of recombinant proteins. We are very excited to achieve this milestone in the development of our Lotus® Platform technology and anticipate more patents to be awarded in the years to come.
We are celebrating at BMB today! We have just received a Notice of Allowance from the USPTO in connection with our application Serial Number 14/056,747. This application covers our Lotus™ E. coli cell lines and the production and purification of recombinant proteins, including both therapeutic proteins and enzymes, from these cells. We expect that this is the first of many patents on our ground breaking Lotus™ expression and purification platform.
The Journal of Biotechnology has recently published an article discussing the work leading up to the development BMB’s separatome platform. The work focuses on the modification of a known IMAC HCP contaminant such that the protein no longer binds to IMAC resin. Check out the full article here.
Congratulations to both the University of Arkansas and the University of Pittsburgh for being ranked #68 and #33 respectively in the Intellectual Property Owners’ (IPO) recently published list of the top 100 universities worldwide granted U.S. patents in 2013. BMB is proud to be continuing our work to support the actions of both universities in the IP space.
Congratulations to our CSO Dr. Ellen Brune for being selected by the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal to be part of the 6th class of the Fast 15.
Excerpt from the business journal article:
“Since 2009, our Fast 15 program has recognized success at a young age, from emerging entrepreneurs to those making an impact in large organizations.
These 15 young people, chosen by the editorial staff of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal, are some of the best and brightest in our area.
To be eligible, individuals had to be under the age of 30 and proven to their employers and peers they are on the fast track to success….
The up-and-comers profiled here are just now beginning to make their mark on Northwest Arkansas’ business and cultural scene.
They have traveled a short, winding road thus far, but we’re inclined to believe they are on the right path to becoming part of the next generation of leaders in our area.”
See the full article here.
Our CSO was featured this week on the cover of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal.
Business and Science a Good Mix for Brune
Science is in her blood, so it’s not really surprising that Ellen Brune earned her doctorate in chemical engineering, invented a patent-worthy technology and founded her own pharmaceutical company by the time she was 27 years old.
The St. Louis native and graduate of the University of Arkansas is the chief scientific officer at Boston Mountain Biotech LLC, formed in 2011, and as the company’s momentum grows, Brune finds herself right where she wants to be — shaking hands, making connections and speaking on behalf of her creation.
Check out the full article here.
Start-up now a Genesis technology Incubator client
Thursday, August 15, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Boston Mountain Biotech LLC, a company founded by University of Arkansas graduate Ellen Brune, is now a Genesis Technology Incubator client at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park.
Earlier this month, the start-up firm moved into its new office and laboratory space at the park, which is managed by the University of Arkansas Technology Development Foundation.
Brune, who earned a doctorate in chemical engineering with a focus in bioprocessing in May, started Boston Mountain Biotech after developing a patent-pending method to simplify the pharmaceutical production of proteins used in drugs that treat a variety of diseases and health conditions.
Brune was among an interdisciplinary group of researchers who filed an intellectual property disclosure form in early 2012. The University of Arkansas filed a provisional patent application and issued a license to commercialize the technology to Boston Mountain Biotech last fall.
The research group also filed for an international patent under the Patent Cooperation Treaty. After that application publishes in mid-September, the research group will be able to release some technical data. That information is currently confidential.
“We’re finishing prototype development and hopefully we can get that done quickly and start generating sales,” Brune said.
Brune conducted research at the university as a Doctoral Academy Fellow, where she created a series of custom strains of the bacteria Escherichia coli that express minimized sets of contaminants or “nuisance” proteins.
In the laboratory, Brune worked under the direction of chemical engineering professor Bob Beitle, one of several researchers who have been investigating this problem for more than a decade. Brune designed custom strains of “Lotus” E. coli. Lotus refers to a suite of cell lines optimized to work with specific separation techniques and characteristics.
She accomplished this through bio-separation and genetic manipulation, specifically by removing the sections of DNA that code for the contaminant regions. Her work simplifies the purification process on the front end of protein pharmaceutical production, so that the cell line is specifically developed for manufacturing.
In addition to receiving a total of more than $1 million in research grants through the National Science Foundation and Arkansas Biosciences Institute, Brune participated in the graduate entrepreneurship certificate program at the university and participated on a team that built a business plan around Brune’s discovery. The team won $43,350 in prize money in graduate student business plan competitions.
Boston Mountain Biotech has three employees: Brune, who serves as chief scientific officer and owner; Ricky Draehn, chief executive officer; and McKinzie Fruchtl, director of fermentation. Draehn is a licensed professional engineer with more than 30 years of experience in the food and beverage industry. Fruchtl received a doctorate in chemical engineering from the U of A in May.
Boston Mountain Biotech has submitted two grant requests totaling $1.75 million to the National Institutes of Health and, along with Beitle, to the National Science Foundation. The NIH grant is through the Small Business Innovation Research Program, which allows federal agencies to stimulate technological innovation in the private sector by strengthening small businesses that meet federal research and development needs.
Brune said she didn’t started her line of research thinking it would develop into a commercial enterprise. But after Beitle submitted a grant application to the NSF I-Corps Program in the winter of 2012, they discovered the perceived value of Brune’s invention.
“Under the grant, we had to make customer contacts to validate whether or not what we were doing made any sense, commercially,” Brune said. “Every one of the first 15 people we contacted said, ‘Can you have this to me tomorrow?’ At that point, Bob and I realized that this was a big deal; people seriously wanted this.”
Ellen Brune, chief scientific officer
Boston Mountain Biotech
Chris Branam, research communications writer/editor
Our Chief Scientific Officer, Ellen Brune, was recently featured on the University of Arkansas’ Newswire page. The article outlined the genesis process of Boston Mountain Biotech and our Patent-pending Lotus™ technology.
Read More about Lotus™.
This revolutionary process allows us to assist protein drug manufactuers to produce drugs cheaper, more quickly, and with less waste. This allows drug developers to develop drugs that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive, allowing for availability of previously unavailable life-saving treatments.
To read the rest of this exciting news, Visit the U of A’s Newswire page.
Ellen Brune’s “science project” turned into a viable business venture, one that could save lives.
Boston Mountain Biotech is Brune’s University of Arkansas startup that developed a way to simplify the production of proteins used in drugs to treat many diseases, including cancer and diabetes.
Basically, BMB’s technology cleans up protein contaminants, and drug companies spend roughly $8 million a year trying to do that during protein production, according to the UA.
The idea for the company was hatched in one of Carol Reeves’ entrepreneurship classes at the UA and has grown into an award-winning venture poised to compete in the protein purification arena.
Reeves is something of an entrepreneurship guru, recognized nationally for her work in mentoring UA startups to success against the likes of Ivy League institutions in international business plan competitions. She said Brune is standing out among the successful entrepreneurs she’s mentored.
“Ellen has done a tremendous job in moving Boston Mountain Biotech from a science project to a business,” Reeves said. “She is one of the rare scientists who understands how important it is to respond to the needs of her customers.”
The BMB technology was developed by Brune, a doctoral candidate in the UA’s Ralph E. Martin Department of Chemical Engineering, and researchers at the UA and the University of Pittsburgh.
BMB’s transformation from class project to research organization began in November 2011.
Ricky Draehn, Brune’s father and a former ConAgra and Anheuser-Busch executive, was brought in as CEO to lend his business expertise. He and Brune soon began competing in prestigious competitions, including Moot Corp at the University of Texas, and won a total of $50,000 in prize money.
In addition, Brune participated in the prestigious NSF I-Corp program at Stanford.
“The I-Corp program selected 25 teams from various universities to undergo startup training with expert entrepreneur Steve Blank,” Brune said. “The teams were awarded $50,000 to help with market research and to pay for two five-day ‘bootcamps’ at Stanford. It was through this program that we were able to further vet our technology with companies in the industry and begin searching for customers and future partners.”
BMB, an Innovate Arkansas client firm, just opened its first private equity round. Brune, who serves as the firm’s chief science officer, plans to keep the company in Fayetteville and operate as a contract research organization supporting the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.
Brune said BMB’s Lotus suite of designer cell lines stands out because it eliminates nuisance contaminants and is production ready, unlike other products in the industry.
She said pharmaceutical companies that start protein development with Lotus will have the ability to:
- Compress development timelines by up to one-third,
- Reduce manufacturing time and costs by up to half,
- Increase final product yields by at least 30 percent and
- Implement Lotus with their existing equipment.
Brune said BMB is further differentiating its research by focusing on “data-driven analysis of nuisance proteins” leading to “reduction of nuisance contaminants while accelerating growth.”
Reeves believes BMB’s research has the potential to “save thousands of lives” if it continues to progress. It will make orphan drugs cost effective, she said. Orphan drugs refer to those drugs developed specifically to treat an uncommon medical condition.
“It will also lower the cost to manufacture other pharmaceuticals, which is important as we struggle to improve health outcomes without increasing the price of drugs,” she said.