While working at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, David Mead, Ph.D., helped to develop the technology behind TA cloning, now one of the most popular methods for cloning-amplified PCR products using Taq and other polymerases. That technology was sold to Invitrogen (www.invitrogen.com), where it was incorporated into products that earn millions of dollars each year.
In 1998, Dr. Mead and Tom Schoenfeld, Ph.D., cofounded Lucigen (www.lucigen.com) “to duplicate that kind of success,” Dr. Mead says. The initial idea behind Lucigen was to find better polymerases in extreme environments like those of Yellowstone National Park, according to Dr. Mead, president of Lucigen. When Phil Brumm, Ph.D., an expert in hydrolases, joined Lucigen, the company added biomass and biofuels projects to its agenda.
In August 2006, Lucigen consolidated the biomass and biofuels work into C5-6 Technologies (www.c56technologies.com), a company that specializes in making enzymes that break down complex biomass into 5- and 6-carbon sugars. Dr. Brumm and John Biondi, then COO at Lucigen, spun out C5-6 Technologies, where Dr. Brumm serves as CSO and Biondi as president. C5-6 Technologies and Lucigen operate independently but share facilities in Middleton, WI.