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Tracking Killer Germs Faster

(PresseBox) (Stuttgart/Tübingen, ) CeCo Labs UG, founded as a spin-off from the University of Tübingen, has developed an internationally unique method for isolating bacterial cell walls. These are used in research to investigate antibiotic resistance, for example. Unlike conventional techniques, the method developed by CeCo Labs is able to supply a very high number of ultra-pure cell walls extremely quickly. Orders have already been placed by customers across the globe.

The start-up company which emerged from the University of Tübingen specialises in the analysis, production and marketing of peptidoglycan, also known as murein, from the Latin "murus" for wall. These macromolecules are the major constituent of bacterial cell walls. Research institutes and clinics need this material to investigate such topics as anti-biotic resistances. Increasingly, resistant strains of bacteria - killer germs - are causing infections that do not respond to any kind of antibiotics. Investigations into topics such as chronic inflammatory bowel conditions, e.g. ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, are also being conducted in cooperation with the University Hospital Tübingen based on bac-terial cell walls.

Previously, it took around two weeks to isolate cell walls. In contrast, the CeCo Labs team can isolate up to 96 cell walls for analysis per day with a method that is far kinder on the environment and does not use toxic solvents. "As far as we are able to de-termine, we are the only company worldwide who can offer such a service," says CEO Daniel Kühner, adding that "two years of intensive preparation and development have been invested in this method". And, judging by the queries and orders that the company has received from around the world, it seems like research institutes have been waiting for just such a solution.

In cooperation with Doğan Doruk Demircioğlu and Professor Friedrich Götz, who is head of the Microbial Genetics Department at the University of Tübingen, Kühner founded the company in August 2011 as an entrepreneurial company (Unternehmerge-sellschaft). At present, the laboratory facilities are still based in buildings on the university grounds. However, relocation to laboratories in the Tübingen-Reutlingen Technology Park is planned in the medium term, after which more employees will be employed and additional business ideas put into practice.

The young founders from the STERN BioRegion are not only interested in cell wall analysis. They are currently developing laboratory kits for schools in the form of handy boxes containing culture media and indicator dyes that schoolchildren can use to examine themselves, e.g. for tooth decay. "Biology lessons at schools could be so much more exciting if they only had more appropriate materials and instructions," believes Kühner. "After all, we are not the only ones who will need talented young scientists in the future".

About CeCo Lab:
CeCo Labs UG was founded in August 2011 by Daniel Kühner (CEO), Doğan Doruk Demircioğlu (CQO) and Prof. Friedrich Götz (CSO). The spin-off from the University of Tübingen specialises in the analysis, production and marketing of ultra-pure murein (peptidoglycan), the main constituent of bacterial cell walls. The online shop of CeCo Labs offers fragments of ultra-pure cell wall components and the customised isolation of peptidoglycan, such as the Staphylococcus aureus or Escherichia coli bacteria.

BioRegio STERN Management GmbH

BioRegio STERN Management GmbH is a skill-sharing network, providing a help and advice centre for founders of new businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers in the biotechnology sector in the region comprising Stuttgart, Tübingen, Esslingen, Reutlingen and Neckar-Alb in Germany. BioRegio STERN promotes cooperation between such different disciplines as medicine, biochemical engineering, sensor technology, dietetics, biochemical analysis and bioinformatics. Key areas of focus are regenerative medicine and medical technology. BioRegio STERN represents the interests of founders of new businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers when dealing with the political sector, the media and associations, coordinates economic promotional activities and marketing and provides advice for grant applications and corporate financing, all backed up with efficient press and public relations work. BioRegio STERN is supported by the Stuttgart and Neckar-Alb regional authorities and the municipal authorities of Stuttgart, Tübingen, Esslingen and Reutlingen. The Managing Director, Dr. Klaus Eichenberg, is a molecular and cell biologist and investment analyst.