Research Report '04
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Tech Start-Up to Market Fertility Breakthroughs

Extension Program Boosts Small Business Support

Tech Start-Up to Market Fertility Breakthroughs

If a woman's own immune system could be coaxed into blocking the action of proteasomes -- the enzymes that allow sperm to penetrate eggs in the ovary -- safe and reliable contraception might become as easy as an annual injection. If "semen quality" tests could use protein markers to identify damaged sperm, infertility diagnostics and treatment for farm animals, pets, and people, could be improved.

These are just two of the fertility-related breakthroughs being pioneered by reproductive biologist Peter Sutovsky, an assistant professor of animal science and clinical obstetrics and gynecology at MU. Last year, with the help of the Office of Technology & Special Projects (OTSP) and a UK-based technology management firm, Sutovsky formed a privately-funded reproductive testing and technology development company to commercialize his intellectual capital. He predicts the company, called AndroLogika, will attract a wide range of clients.

"Initial customers are producers and breeders of cattle, hogs, horses and pets," Sutovsky told a reporter working with the Missouri Innovation Center in a recent interview. "Expansion to human male infertility diagnostics and contraceptive development is planned in the second phase of company development." AndroLogika has already earned national media attention, including a profile in the June 2004 edition of Discover Magazine.

"The economic development mission is very new to the University, so there are still many rules that need to be established and adjusted as we go," Sutovsky says. "But the people at the Office of Research and the OTSP have both been of great help to us."

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