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Battelle Invests in Genomics-Driven Microbial Information Tech Tools

The independent R & D organization recently announced a strategic investment in CosmosID™, Inc., a College Park, Maryland based metagenomics software-solutions company focused on environmental biosurveillance and microbial identification.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio--Battelle, the world’s largest independent research and development organization, recently announced a strategic investment in CosmosID™, Inc., a College Park, Maryland based metagenomics software-solutions company focused on environmental biosurveillance and microbial identification.

The Battelle investment is part of CosmosID’s recent $4 million financing and supports the company’s ability to deliver pathogen identification in a single, rapid and accurate service, based on patent-protected methods.

Identification of pathogens, antibiotic resistance, and virulence factors is based on proprietary technology, MetaSeq™ Genomics. MetaSeq™ relies only on unassembled reads from NexGen Sequencing, probabilistic algorithms, and reference databases, and is a universal pathogen diagnostic screening method. The software is broadly scalable and updated iteratively, thereby providing a significantly more efficient method to drive lower cost diagnostics for all types of microbial agents. It is targeted for development of diagnostic testing within the public safety/security, medical treatment, environmental monitoring and drug development business sectors. CosmosID’s proprietary metagenomics software platform integrates DNA sequence files, reference databases, and its MetaGen™ algorithms into bioinformatics solutions and microbial tools for key strategic industrial and governmental needs.

The company was founded in 2007 by Dr. Rita Colwell, former Director of the U.S. National Science Foundation appointed by President Bill Clinton, and currently Distinguished Professor at both Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Maryland College Park. Colwell is CosmosID Board Chairman and the CEO is Dr. Doug Brenner, an experienced life sciences corporate executive. As part of the financing, Battelle made an undisclosed equity investment into CosmosID and has set up a strategic partnership with the Company to develop and market microbial metagenomics toolkits for public safety and medical treatment applications.

Steve Kelly, President of Battelle’s National Security Global Business, said, “The strategic investment supports his growth strategy and should expedite delivery of meaningful, timely intervention intended to save lives. We've been working on bioidentification solutions for a long time, and we believe that the approach taken by CosmosID promises to be a great improvement in breadth and speed,” Kelly said. “Working together, we expect to deliver much more timely and actionable solutions for our clients."

CosmosID CEO Dr. Doug Brenner said the opportunity to have an industrial partner like Battelle with its deep history and experience in commercialization of technological innovations is a testament to the growth and maturity of Cosmos’ business model. “What’s exciting about where we are today is that we’re really seeing our business model come to life. We’re building strong industrial alliances with a broad spectrum of innovative companies—leaders in their respective fields—across a wide variety of markets,” Brenner said. “We’re thrilled that industry leaders like Battelle want to be part of what we’re building, to fast-track our genomics-driven SaaS solutions/tools to full industrial commercialization.”

Dr. Ralph Taylor-Smith of Battelle Ventures, a venture capital fund established by Battelle and now a member of the CosmosID board, said, “The equity investment and associated strategic partnership demonstrates confidence in the future of CosmosID.”

It also represents a new opportunity for Battelle in new governmental and commercial business markets. “Battelle is a leader in science, technology and the business of innovation, and its National Security Global Business Unit has a strong market presence in specific key areas including chem-bio detection, undersea robotics and cybersecurity,” Taylor-Smith said. “With this strategic investment supporting CosmosID Inc. and its metagenomic SaaS software platform, Battelle believes it is aggressively broadening its core technological capabilities into new and existing markets within the biotechnology sector.”