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Precision Agriculture Summit 2018

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NovaDigm developing life-saving Staph vaccine in Grand Forks

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Feeling that little needle prick in the upper arm is something most people dread, but to NovaDigm Therapeutics, that shot in the arm means huge success for the company. NovaDigm Therapeutics is creating a vaccine that fights infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus, more commonly known as Staph infections.

But the Staph infection NovaDigm is fighting against is a tough one. NovaDigm is developing a vaccine for MRSA, a strain of Staph currently resistant to antibiotics.

NovaDigm opened its laboratory in the REAC facility in January 2009, but the vaccine research had begun many years ago by doctors at UCLA. As the research grew, the only way to continue developing it was to start a company. NovaDigm was born in 2005, and $24 million was raised from venture capital investors and government grants to allow the company to begin developing the Staph vaccine in 2009.

“The Red River Valley Research Corridor initiative and the amazing laboratory space at the REAC facility is what brought us to Grand Forks,” said NovaDigm CEO, Tim Cooke. “In 2009 we moved in and began hiring technicians from UND and the region to take the research from an academic idea to an actual vaccine for humans.”

NovaDigm creates its Staph vaccine by purifying a protein made in yeast. The company then tests the vaccine prototype in lab mice to determine if the vaccine protects effectively against Staph infection. In all of NovaDigm’s testing on mice, the vaccine has proven safe and effective.

Read the full article at the Grand Forks Economic Development Corporation blog.

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