COLLEGE PARK, Md. The latest success of Martek Biosciences, a rising-star among Maryland biotechs, began more than a decade ago in a plain, brick building on the University of Maryland campus. With a good idea and early-stage nurturing from the university's Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), the company has been able to grow into a major international business.
On December 21, a Dutch firm acquired Martek for $1.1 billion <http://www.mtech.umd.edu/news/news_story.php?id=5408> the latest in a string of successes for Mtech alums. It's the second Mtech 'graduate' company to sell for more than $1 billion in the past three years. Digene Corporation, which also made extensive use of Mtech's innovative array of venture-building and biotechnology support, sold for $1.6 billion in 2007.
"The success of Martek and other Mtech graduates illuminates the path to economic growth and job creation for the state," said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. "Nurturing and supporting innovators early on is a smart investment. The university's concentration of technological, business and economic expertise can make the critical difference for Maryland entrepreneurs and innovators seeking to turn a bright idea into a thriving business that can benefit many."
Martek made its mark by developing a process for producing DHA from microbial algae. It says its sustainable, vegetarian DHA is now widely used in products such as infant formula in 99 percent of formula sold in the U.S. The company acknowledges Mtech's vital role in the company's success.
In 1985, Martek entered Mtech's Technology Advancement Program (TAP) incubator. Then, with funding from Mtech's Maryland Industrial Partnerships program, Martek turned to the university's Bioprocess Scale-Up Facility to see if its process could be commercialized.
"When I came to Mtech years ago, we h
|Contact: Neil Tickner|
University of Maryland