On The Way To Market

Iain MacLeod, right, with Aldatu co-founder David Riser
Iain MacLeod, right, with Aldatu co-founder David Riser

We wanted to update you on Dr. Iain MacLeod, another young HAI researcher, who is building a biotech start-up around a rapid HIV drug-resistance test that he and Dr. Christopher Rowley developed in the Essex Lab.

MacLeod and another Harvard colleague founded Aldatu Biosciences after winning the 2014 Deans’ Health & Life Sciences Challenge hosted by the Harvard Innovation Lab (i-lab).

This March, the Aldatu team won a $1.5 million Direct to Phase II Small Business Innovation Research award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The new funding made it possible for Aldatu to move into laboratory space at Lab|Central, a Kendall Square incubator that provides lab space and resources to support small biotech startups. The team is currently working with manufacturers to create a kit-based test specifically designed for resource-limited countries to detect HIV drug resistance in patients.

MacLeod and Rowley have been applying for funding to implement affordable, high-throughput resistance testing in Botswana for pregnant women receiving antiretroviral therapy, as well as for adults failing first-line therapy. They have also established collaborations with researchers at Stanford and in Zimbabwe to provide HIV drug-resistance testing as part of adolescent ART programs.