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ECI Biotech Establishes Graduate Fellowship at WPI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/January 26, 2006
Contact: WPI Media Relations, +1-508-831-5609

From left to right, WPI President Dennis D. Berkey, WPI graduate student Brett R. Ericson, and ECI Biotech President Mitch Sanders.

WORCESTER, Mass., January 26, 2006 -- Protein sensor company ECI Biotech Inc. has sponsored a graduate fellowship program in its name at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester.

The ECI Biotech Fellow Program provides tuition support and a stipend over a two-year period for an M.S. student to study in the university's Department of Biology and Biotechnology.

Brett R. Ericson from Holbrook, Mass. has been selected as the first recipient of the fellowship. Ericson earned his bachelor's degree from WPI in biochemistry in 2003, and is pursuing his master's degree in biotechnology at his alma mater. He will study under the mentorship of Reeta Prusty, WPI assistant professor of biology and biotechnology, in the area of microbial and fungal biology.

"ECI Biotech is very pleased to be able to establish this fellowship to help a student with his graduate studies at WPI," said ECI Biotech President Mitchell Sanders, who himself holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from WPI. In addition to running ECI Biotech, Sanders also has an appointment as an adjunct professor at WPI and teaches advanced molecular biology there.

The fellowship will provide Ericson support in pursuing his M.S. thesis research in Prusty's lab. Prusty is an expert in yeast genetics from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ericson's project will focus on the biochemical basis for invasive fungal infections, which is critically important basic research to develop both diagnostic and drug based therapies. He will also gain a foundation in translating his research from discovery to development and optimized application of methodologies that target the detection and identification of pathogens.

"ECI Biotech and Mitch Sanders have had the foresight to make an important investment in the future of the life science industry in the Worcester region," added WPI President and CEO Dennis D. Berkey. "We see this partnership between WPI and ECI Biotech as a model between academia and the region's burgeoning life-sciences sector. Young companies like ECI Biotech can play an important role in developing the human capital of central Massachusetts."

About ECI Biotech

ECI Biotech (www.ecibiotech.com) is a leading edge company engaged in research and development of new antibody detection technologies. In 1998 Sanders founded ECI Biotech, which is based in Worcester, Mass. Today the company holds one issued patent and has 17 more patents pending. The company makes protein-based sensors that detect pathogens.

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1865, WPI was one of the nation's first engineering and technological universities. Its 18 academic departments offer more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science, engineering, technology, management, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts. WPI's world-class faculty work with students in a number of cutting-edge research areas, leading to breakthroughs and innovations in such fields as biotechnology, fuel cells, information security, and nanotechnology. Students also have the opportunity to make a difference in communities and organizations around the world through the university's innovative Global Perspectives Program, at more than 20 project centers throughout North America and Central America, Africa, Australia, Asia, and Europe.