Biomedical firms co-founded by CALS researchers boost UW’s economic impact

Health-related spinoff firms co-founded by CALS researchers were among examples given last week in a UW-Madison news report of the statewide economic impact of UW biomedical work.

Those firms are among at least 283 UW-Madison startup businesses contributing an estimated $2 billion to the state’s economy each year, according to a study that pegged the total statewide annual economic impact of the campus at $12.4 billion.

One of the firms mentioned the article is Conjugon, Inc., co-founded by Richard Burgess, professor emeritus of oncology and Marcin Filutowicz, a professor of bacteriology. Conjugon is developing ¬†beneficial bacteria to help overcome the antibiotic-resistance crisis. Building on a discovery that earned the 1958 Nobel Prize for Joshua Lederburg, who founded UW-Madison’s department of medical genetics, Conjugon is developing “friendly” bacteria that conjugate with and kill pathogenic bacteria.

Another startup mentioned is Isomark, a Madison firm that is testing a non-invasive method that, in animals, has detected severe bacterial infections hours sooner than other tests. Mark Cook, a professor of animal science, is a co-founder of the firm.