This fall we had the chance to catch up with Dr. Eddy C. Agbo, who is the Chairman and CEO of Fyodor Biotechnologies. We asked him about his company; see his answers below.
Tell us about your company:
Fyodor is a socially responsible biotechnology company that addresses urgent global healthcare needs in emerging economies. Fyodor achieves this mission by developing and commercializing novel biotechnologies that provide simple and practical healthcare solutions that affects patients on both personal and economic development levels.
We’re very excited to get our flagship product – Urine Malaria Test TM (UMT) into the hands of the end user to see the impact it will deliver in addressing a significant health problem. The UMT is used to tell if a fever is due to malaria or not in about 20 minutes, using only a few drops of patient urine. The UMT technology (licensed with exclusive global rights from Johns Hopkins University) incorporates a novel dipstick technology that is ideal for rapid point-of-need diagnosis of clinical malaria from urine instead of blood. The fact that it is non-invasive offers significant advantages over microscopy and other malaria diagnostics, which require the use of blood. The UMT dipstick detects the parasite proteins shed in the urine of febrile malaria patients and can be performed and read by persons with little or no training.
At what stage of development are you in?
Our most advanced product candidate, the UMT, is nearing launch soon in a particular geographic market. We look forward to sharing news before the end of 2015.
For context, one of the most pronounced problems in controlling malaria is the limited availability and access to accurate at-home or point-of-care diagnosis. The World Health Organization recommends confirmed malaria diagnosis prior to treatment in all cases of fever, presently a core intervention strategy in most African countries. This policy has been difficult to achieve using available blood-based diagnostic tools. We believe that the UMT could potentially facilitate the delivery of this policy mandate in all healthcare settings.
What can you tell us about your fundraising efforts?
Our funding mechanisms have not been conventional. We have funded through competitive grants and individual/non-governmental investors rather than institutional investors. This fits with our mission.
What strategic relationships, particularly at UM Baltimore, have been helpful to your company?
For what we do, we wouldn’t have gotten to this point without strategic relationships with multiple players such as the UM BioPark, UM School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, University of Lagos and other international groups who have helped us in various stages of preclinical and clinical development. We also are striking relationships with specific marketing partners in places like West Africa. These partnerships and external resources help us to keep our limited resources focused on internal efforts.
We offer special thanks to the State of Maryland. Representatives there believed in our technology early, and have supported us through various funding mechanisms over the past seven years, such as the TEDECO and DBED Biotechnology Commercialization Awards – which we won in FY2009 and FY2010. The State’s support has been critical to our product advancement.