U.S. DoD Invests in Israeli Biotech Firm

The biotech start-up Atox Bio has received an additional $3.1 million grant from the U.S. Defense Department to continue development of a molecule that delays the toxic effect of germs adapted for use as biological weapons. The new funding follows an earlier DoD grant of $3.4 million.

The funding agreement stipulates that U.S. Army and NATO troops will be equipped with kits containing this molecule, supplied by Atox Bio, after development is completed and the molecule is successfully tested on humans.

The molecule was developed by a research team led by Professor Raymond Kaempfer, a molecular virologist at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School. Atox Bio operates under the auspices of the university's commercial Yissum Research Development Company.

The CEO of Yissum, Avi Barak, said that Atox Bio is in the initial stages of raising capital from private investors.

The molecule developed by Atox Bio is intended to delay the effect of streptococcus and staphylococcus infections that induce toxic shock that is fatal within 24 to 48 hours. Some 250,000 people die each year in the United States from toxic shock syndrome.