A UW-Madison biotech spin-off, Lytic Solutions, has earned substantial profits from producing its specialized product, correctly folded proteins.
Lytic Solutions specializes in making one of the most important groups of proteins—antibodies. Fritz Schomburg, the owner of Lytic Solutions who earned both his master’s degree and Ph.D. from UW-Madison, said the correct production of proteins is a complex process, according to a university release.
“Every project is new and different, and it can be frustrating, but when something is solved, it’s cathartic. If it’s too easy, it’s boring,” Schomburg said in the release. “If it’s too difficult, you will never achieve anything. But if it’s hard enough, and still solvable, that’s wonderful.”
While most UW-Madison spin-offs earn money from federal research grants, Lytic Solutions, with its lab still on Madison’s south side, earns its money commercially.
The production of antibodies has a rapidly expanding world market that is expected to grow from $75 billion in 2013 to $125 billion in 2020, according to the release. Schomburg said finding customers has not been an issue.
“Most of our business comes from repeat clients, who understand you are going to do what you told them you would do,” Schomburg said in the release. “If we can’t, we thoroughly explain the issues and work with clients to retool the protein to produce an effective replacement for their needs.”