COVID-19  July 16, 2020

CSU team licenses RNA testing platform for COVID use

FORT COLLINS — A Colorado State University research team has entered an agreement with Quara Devices Inc., which does business as Edoceo Devices, to license its viral RNA-testing platform. 

According to a news release from Edoceo, the CSU technology advances the biotech company’s goals to develop and commercialize portable COVID-19 tests. Edoceo’s state of incorporation is in Wyoming, but its business office is based in Boulder.

CSU researchers Brian Geiss, Chuck Henry and David Dandy developed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic a paper-based technology that detects small amounts of antibodies in a person’s blood. 

According to the news release, the research team began developing the device more than a year ago with the goal to detect organisms with antimicrobial resistance. They later realized they could generalize the platform into a sensitive test for RNA viruses, including coronaviruses similar to SARS-CoV-2. 

Ken Reardon, Edoceo’s chief science officer and a professor in the CSU Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, initiated the licensing deal when the coronavirus proved to be a global threat.

“This technology predated the pandemic but because of its versatility as a platform, and the significant need for high accuracy in detecting COVD-19 in patients, we see an urgency to get it out now,” Reardon said. “We are trying to get this into the market within the year, which is a pretty aggressive acceleration.” 

Quara filed an offering statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a Regulation A Offering to raise capital to commercialize the CSU device and related technologies in a 12 month period.

The offering states, “We are seeking to raise up to $17,880,118 and our selling shareholders are seeking to raise $2,119,883 from the sale of common stock to the public. As a result, the maximum offering amount is $20,000,001. There is no minimum offering dollar amount.”

CSU Ventures mediated the licensing agreement that was inked this summer. CSU Ventures declined to provide the finances of the deal.

According to Todd Headley, president of CSU Ventures, the university has seen around 20 technologies over the past several months in response to COVID-19. Some technology builds off previous research, like the device that Geiss, Henry and Dandy licensed to Edoceo. Others are new developments.

“We have seen a number of technologies come in over the last few months because researchers, as you can imagine, have really been honing in on helping to find solutions for a number of different issues out there,” Headley said. “Whether it’s personal protective equipment, or vaccines, or diagnostics, the university has been very active in pivoting a lot of the research into those areas.”

At this time, CSU Ventures has seen a quarter to a third of CSU COVID-related intellectual property either licensed, in the final stages of deals or beginning conversations with potential partners, he said.

© 2020 BizWest Media LLC


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