ImmunoChemistry Technologies (ICT), a Minnesota-based biotechnology company that supplies unique biochemical laboratory reagents and assay tests to medical researchers, has changed ownership. Now majority women-owned, ICT develops new products to help researchers discover new treatments and drugs for cancer and other diseases affecting both animals and humans.
The privately held company is now majority owned by Sally Hed, VP of Marketing and Operations, and Carol Lee, secretary and board member. Dr. Brian Lee, president and co-founder, owns one-third of the company and is in charge of ICT’s research and development. ICT has consistently achieved double-digit growth thanks to a solid customer base with an international distributor network serving labs all over the world.
“We’re now poised for new product growth,” Lee said. “We’re focused on getting new products out that are pertinent to the scientific marketplace and enable researchers to do their jobs better.”
ICT’s proprietary products are providing researchers the tools to monitor the effectiveness of cancer treatments. For example, researchers can now determine if the treatment is killing the cancer cells in laboratory animals. Eventually when the product is approved for use in humans, they will be able to tell if the patient is getting the correct dosage or if another treatment or drug would be more effective.
“Currently, it may take several days to a week for doctors to gauge the effectiveness of a particular chemotherapy regimen in their cancer patients,” Hed said. “One day, that answer may be made available to doctors in 48 hours or less.”
ICT makes several proprietary reagents as well as a wide array of assays that enable scientific researchers to detect apoptosis or programmed cell death, and caspases, the enzymes involved in apoptosis. ICT also makes blocking buffers, wash buffers and other solutions for researchers who are developing ELISA tests. ELISA, or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, revolutionized immunology research and product development 30 years ago. Commonly used in medical research labs all over the world, ELISA still enables researchers to detect and quantify specific proteins present in biological fluids.
ICT received its first patent in 2012 for the use of its FLIVOTM apoptosis detection technology to detect early stage eye disease such as macular degeneration before any vision loss has occurred. This proprietary technology can be used to detect cell death or apoptosis in living subjects because the detection tracers are non-toxic, cell-permeant reagents. FLIVO technology also enables researchers to develop more efficient and cost-effective ways to evaluate and screen chemotherapy drugs.
ICT’s customers are established and published biomedical research scientists at leading universities such as Harvard, Yale, Vanderbilt, and the University of Minnesota. Researchers at prominent cancer research centers such as Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Moffitt Cancer Center, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and MD Anderson Cancer Center also use ICT’s products to investigate and evaluate the biochemical basis for new cancer treatments.
Working in labs in academic institutions and biotech and pharmaceutical companies all over the world, researchers use ICT’s products in scientific experiments; their results are published in scientific papers and journals. ICT’s experts are readily available to talk with researchers to help them choose the right product for their research projects and assist them in interpreting their data.
Sally Hed joined ICT in 1996 after working as a laboratory associate at R&D Systems. Dr. Brian Lee co-founded ICT after developing products for R&D Systems and SurModics. Carol Lee is a systems test engineer at General Dynamics.