Contacts: Dave Kruse, Isomark
Jennifer Sereno, WARF
WARF startup focuses on development of portable device to identify onset of serious infections
MADISON, Wis. – Neil Holland has been named chief executive officer of Isomark, a startup company based on technology developed at the University of Wisconsin–Madison to identify the early onset of bacterial infections, including serious hospital-related infections such as sepsis.
Holland has more than 25 years of medical device industry management experience and previously served as vice president of global device research and development with Hospira, a $4 billion global leader in injectable pharmaceuticals and medication delivery systems. At Hospira, he was responsible for the development and market launch of infusion pumps, cardiac monitors, medication management software, wireless connectivity systems and clinical decision support software.
Holland’s most recent work as president of Medical Product Consulting, developing business strategy in imaging and diagnostic technologies, led to his connection with Isomark. Holland said the company’s technology represents an important new tool in the effort to prevent life-threatening infections from taking hold following surgery or other hospital procedures.
“Isomark’s technology relies on exhaled breath samples and is powerful enough to detect the onset of an infection within two hours,” he said. “Each year, 1.7 million U.S. hospital patients contract infections and more than 750,000 of those infections lead to sepsis, with 200,000 patient deaths. The key to combating these aggressive infections is early identification and our diagnostic equipment offers significant advantages over the existing slower and more invasive options such as blood tests.”
The technology enables rapid detection and diagnosis based on the carbon isotope ratio in a patient’s breath. Infections lead to shifts in the isotope levels that can now be captured and measured by a portable device with results in less than two hours after the onset of infection—eight to 12 hours earlier than traditional diagnostic and monitoring indicators.
Developed in the laboratories of UW–Madison scientists Warren Porter, Isabel Treichel and Mark Cook, the technology was patented by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and licensed exclusively to Isomark. It also may be used to monitor animal health, but with serious infections leading to patient deaths, birth defects, disabilities and premature births requiring more than $33 billion in initial treatment each year, Isomark intends to focus first on maximizing the human health potential.
Holland said the company’s next steps include raising additional capital for product development and clinical trials. Isomark, which has raised $250,000 to date, now employs three.
Since its founding in 1925 to manage a UW–Madison discovery that eventually eliminated the childhood disease rickets, WARF has been working with industry to transform university research into products that benefit society. As a private, nonprofit organization, WARF accomplishes its mission of supporting scientific research by patenting and licensing inventions arising from university discoveries. Since making its first grant of $1,200 in 1928, WARF has contributed more than $1 billion to UW–Madison through annual “margin of excellence” grants and other funding.