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ITEC Pre-seed Fund Makes Award to Ohmx Corporation

March 7, 2006 | by Megan Fellman

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Illinois Technology Enterprise Center (ITEC)–Evanston at Northwestern University has invested $25,000 in Ohmx Corporation, a privately held protein biosensor company located in Evanston.

Ohmx is focused on the development of portable, electrical detection devices for use in diagnostics, drug development and industrial applications such as biodefense, food, water, animal and environmental testing. This is the seventh investment ITEC has made from its pre-seed fund for technology startup companies.

Thomas Meade, Eileen M. Foell Professor in Cancer Research and professor of chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology, neurobiology and physiology, and radiology at Northwestern University, is founder and chairman of the board of Ohmx and also founder of two other biotech companies. His revolutionary research provides the basis for a new, simple and easy way to electronically detect a wide variety of targets such as bacteria, viruses and mold.

Meade saw the potential to build a world-class biotechnology company in Illinois, a state with critical entrepreneurial resources such as ITEC–Evanston. “From day one, ITEC has been a great resource for Ohmx, and the staff has shown a willingness to help us in whatever way possible,” said Meade. “They were very helpful in preparing the company for initial investors and identifying federal and state grant funding opportunities. We look forward to continuing our relationship with them in the future.”

ITEC–Evanston was not only impressed by Meade’s previous experience with startup companies but also with the technology behind Ohmx. “In just the first year of operations, Ohmx has grown at a tremendous rate, and we are excited to help fund critical validation studies for their platform,” said Jeff Coney, director of ITEC–Evanston. “We expect great things from this company.”

Ohmx is developing a low-cost, reusable biosensor reader, similar in size to a personal digital assistant, that uses a disposable biosensor chip to detect a variety of targets within a fluid system, providing immediate and accurate detection results. Current diagnostic testing equipment occupies tabletops or entire rooms, requires highly trained operators and costs hundred of thousands of dollars. In contrast, Ohmx is building a device that will be inexpensive, small and portable -- designed to enable its use in multiple applications at the point of use. The company has raised more than $3 million since it began operations in 2005.

ITEC–Evanston was established in 2000 as a partnership between Northwestern University and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to provide technology commercialization assistance services relevant to the formation, growth and retention of early-stage technology companies in Illinois. Since its inception, ITEC–Evanston has served more than 350 entrepreneurs and early-stage companies and assisted the formation of more than 50 new ventures. ITEC–Evanston clients have received more than $25 million in venture, debt and grant financing.