CIT’s Virginia Founders Fund Invests in Techulon to Advance the Development of Targeted Antibiotics

Startup is developing targeted solutions for targeted diseases to address antibiotic resistance, one of today’s biggest threats to global health

Richmond, VA, Aug. 31, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) today announced that the Virginia Founders Fund (VFF) has invested in Blacksburg, Va.-based Techulon, a preclinical-phase therapeutics company developing a new class of novel antimicrobial compounds to target antimicrobial resistant pathogens. Techulon’s discovery process and therapeutic platform for developing pathogen-specific antibiotics is undergoing extensive preclinical validation. The startup plans to use this VFF capital to help advance its Acinetobacter and Pseudomonas drug candidates and to fund ongoing development of other pipeline drugs.


Resistance to antibiotics is one of the biggest threats to global health and food security today. Approximately three million Americans per year become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, resulting in at least 35,000 deaths each year; not to mention increased hospital stays and higher medical costs. Current treatment options are becoming highly resistant and are ineffective, creating a desperate need to rapidly develop new antibiotics for the treatment of bacterial infections. Techulon is addressing this challenge with their drug discovery platform, which is pathogen-specific and allows for rapid discovery of new, novel antibiotics for pathogens that are highly resistant.


“Each year, we lose thousands of people due to the severity of antibiotic resistance. Techulon’s scalable platform improves discovery outcomes and lowers healthcare expenses. To date, we have developed several lead candidates, the most advanced targeted toward MRSA, Pseudomonas, and Acinetobacter infections with successful in vitro and in vivo studies,” said Bud Thompson, CEO of Techulon. “Our mission is to open the door for new treatment options for physicians to improve patient care. We are grateful for the support of CIT’s Virginia Founders Fund, which is enabling accelerated development of new drug candidates.”


Techulon’s Rapidly Adaptable Nanotherapeutic Platform (RANT) Technology platform generates rationally designed antimicrobial targets directed toward a bacterial pathogen of interest. It is a highly efficient drug discovery process that is pathogen-specific, creating the potential to materially expand the pipeline. Techulon is focused on developing antibiotics that specifically target the EKSAPE (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species) pathogens which cause most nosocomial infections. Because it targets essential bacterial gene functions instead of proteins, resistance is less likely to develop.


“Techulon is advancing a new generation of therapeutics with broad application based on technology that is highly selective of disease targets. This results in more effective drugs that exhibit fewer side effects to patients,” said Tom Weithman, Managing Director of CIT GAP Funds and Virginia Founders Fund. “The startup has already demonstrated the benefits of this targeted approach and is working towards human proof-of-concept studies and translating these findings into clinical applications. We look forward to being part of Techulon’s success.”


Launched in 2018, the Virginia Founders Fund (VFF) shines a light on the creativity and impact of entrepreneurs arising from Virginia communities traditionally underserved by risk capital. Through VFF, CIT GAP Funds has committed more than $3M of its returns for reinvestment in female founders, founders of color, veteran founders, and founders located in regions outside of Northern Virginia, seeking to maximize both the economic development and social equity imperatives of the Commonwealth. 


About Techulon
Techulon is a Blacksburg, Virginia-based company with over $3.5M in investments from private and public sources. The company is an early-stage translational firm that maintains a strong collaborative relationship with Virginia Tech and was founded by leadership within the University’s College of Science. The company’s management team is seasoned in biotech startups, applied R&D, and commercialization. Techulon’s unique ability to pioneer effective delivery mechanisms for therapeutic applications formed the basis for the first products. The company maintains offices with a full research lab at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.


About the Virginia Founders Fund
Launched in 2018, the Virginia Founders Fund (VFF) is focused on providing venture capital for Virginia’s traditionally underrepresented entrepreneurs. Proceeds from the Center for Innovative Technology’s (CIT) successful GAP Funds investment program are being reinvested into the Virginia economy through the VFF, which specifically supports female, minority, or veteran founders, or other entrepreneurs located in regions outside of Northern Virginia who are emerging into sectors such as software, hardware, life science, cleantech, and technology-enabled services. The VFF works with regional startup initiatives, early-stage funds, and accelerator programs across the Commonwealth to identify strategic opportunities for investment and potential co-investment to leverage additional capital. For more information, please visit


About CIT GAP Funds
CIT GAP Funds makes seed-stage equity investments in Virginia-based technology, cleantech, and life science companies with a high potential for achieving rapid growth and generating a significant economic return for entrepreneurs, co-investors, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. CIT GAP Funds’ investments are overseen by the CIT GAP Funds Investment Advisory Board (IAB). This independent, third-party panel consists of leading regional entrepreneurs, angel, and strategic investors, and venture capital firms such as New Enterprise Associates, Grotech Ventures, Valhalla Partners, Harbert Venture Partners HIG Ventures, Edison Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Intersouth Partners, SJF Ventures, Carilion Health Systems, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, and Alpha Natural Resources. For more information, please visit

About the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT)
Investing for Commonwealth Growth | CIT concentrates on the early commercialization and seed funding stages of innovation, helping innovators and tech entrepreneurs launch and grow new companies to create high-paying jobs throughout the entire state of Virginia. Founded in 1985, CIT, a nonprofit corporation, has been a primary driver of advocating for innovation and entrepreneurship in the Commonwealth. CIT accelerates next-generation technologies and technology companies through commercialization, capital formation, and market development initiatives. Our programs include | CIT GAP Funds | Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) | Virginia Founders Fund | Broadband/Rural Broadband | Smart Communities | Cybersecurity | Unmanned Systems | SBIR/STTR Support (Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs) | University Partnerships | Startup Company Mentoring & Engagement on behalf of Virginia Entrepreneurship & Economic Development. CIT’s CAGE Code is 1UP71. Contact: 2214 Rock Hill Road #600, Herndon, VA 20170 | 703.689.3000 | | You can also follow CIT on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. *Techulon is also an awardee of CIT CRCF funding in FY20 | The Commercialization Program incentivizes commercialization of high-potential technologies or services by Virginia’s private sector.


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