Friday, May 23, 2008

Frederick incubator hatches a merger

Startups provide testing and other services for biotech industry

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Two startups in the Frederick business incubator, Advance Product Enterprises LLC and BridgePzath Scientific, have merged operations. The new company is called APE-BridgePath Scientific.

Both companies provide services to high-tech startups, but with different niches.

Advance Product Enterprises’ services include AIDS research and testing biofuels, while BridgePath focuses on the logistics of opening new laboratories. Both companies are in the Frederick Innovative Technology Center’s second incubator on Metropolitan Court and expect to graduate from the incubator this year.

‘‘We have collaborated on a number of projects, and joining the two companies will provide our clients with a complete list of value-added services from one organization,” said Joseph Garner, founder and CEO of APE.

‘‘We believe the addition of highly trained and business minded scientists to the product lines sold by BridgePath, will allow APE-BridgePath Scientific to provide a high level of understanding and technical support to commercial, academic and governmental researchers that is currently lacking in the industry,” Garner said in a statement.

Patrick Haley, co-founder of the incubator organization and president and CEO of BridgePath Scientific, said the merged companies, which will carry tens of thousands of products, have had a ‘‘non-competitive” partnership catering to the same clients.

The merged company anticipates moving out of the incubator this summer and is finalizing negotiations of the new space, Haley said.

Haley has also been a member of Tech Council of Maryland, Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley, and the Suburban Frederick Kiwanis Club. He is now chairman of the Business Development Advisory Council for Frederick County and member of the Frederick chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.

Founded in 2004 to tackle biopharmaceutical problems, APE thrived in its protein production for AIDS research and recently took on testing biodiesel fuels for purity. The two-man company analyzes proteins, including antibodies that have been proven to bind to the AIDS virus, and then clones the proteins for researchers.

BridgePath Scientific offers assistance for new labs, securing the necessary equipment and furniture for them. Garner would often provide advice on what BridgePath’s clients needed, Haley said.

With a combined staff of eight and three interns, and in addition to their ongoing projects, APE-BridgePath Scientific has secured two additional major research and development contracts, including one with the U.S. military, but Haley declined to release details. He and Haley also declined to disclose revenues and other financial data.