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News and Events > Newsletters > Monthly Newsletter: March 2005

University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office

Monthly Newsletter

Volume 1 ~ Issue 7 ~ March 2005

Today at the TTO

Proof of Concept (POC) Funding Application Deadline on March 25, 2005A revised web page has been created to facilitate the 2nd round of Proof of Concept (POC) funding applications. The site contains information about the structure of the program and the determination of the award winners. Applications for 2nd round POC funding will be accepted between 2/11/05 and 3/25/05. (more)

TTO Gearing Up for Summer Program
For the past two summers the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office (TTO) has operated a program that expedites the process of technology commercialization by forming project teams to evaluate CU technologies and develop concept companies. Project teams consist of CU student interns, TTO licensing staff and members of the Front Range professional business community. Since its inception, more than 75 professionals, including prominent IP attorneys, venture capitalists, management consultants, technology domain experts and serial entrepreneurs, volunteered their time, contacts, expertise and energy. (more)

Expanding Homocysteine Assay Market Attracts New Licensee, GenChem
GenChem, a diagnostic reagent manufacturer announced on March 11th its license to HSC's homocysteine assay patent. The market for the medical test is rapidly expanding and GenChem is the fourth major new license since a patent dispute was resolved last fall. The Robert Allen and Sally Stabler discovery earns royalties from industry leaders including Bayer, Abbott, Quest, and Diagnostics Products. Patent enforcement and licensing of the assay are managed for CU by Competitive Technologies, Inc. (more)

Enteroviral Diagnostic Invention Licensed to Cepheid
Cepheid, a manufacturer of systems for performing genetic analysis, has entered into a nonexclusive license agreement for an HSC method for rapid diagnosis of human enteroviral infections using a modified polymerase chain reaction. Enteroviruses infect millions each year in the U.S., causing a spectrum of illnesses ranging from the common cold to meningitis. The discovery was made by Dr. Harley Rotbart (Pediatrics) in 1988, and several nonexclusive licenses to the laboratory diagnostics industry have generated royalties for CU for more than a decade.

TTO Options Technologies to CLP Microtechnologies, Inc.TheUniversity of Colorado announced that it has optioned two technologies to CLP Microtechnologies, Inc. CLP Microtechnologies, a start-up based on University of Colorado technology, specializes in the microfabrication of polymeric devices with diverse chemical, electrical and mechanical properties. Chris Bowman, Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and colleagues developed the two technologies optioned by CLP Microtechnologies. These technologies will increase CLP's ability to design and fabricate small, inexpensive devices for diverse applications.

Creating A Startup Climate: Ideas for Next-Generation Technology Transfer
An article written by David Drake, outgoing Director of Business Development, has appeared in the Fall 2004 edition of The Journal of the Association of University Technology Transfer Managers. Read the article online at the TTO website. (more)

TTO's Learning Laboratory: The Student Connection

TTO Hiring for Student Intern Positions
The TTO has openings for Summer Interns. Both the Boulder Campus Office and the Denver/HSC Campus Office are seeking to hire interns to assist in technology licensing. MBA student are preferred but other students with science/technology and business backgrounds are also encouraged to apply. Read the job descriptions here.

TTO Student Employee Kimberly Merryman Recently Nominated for Student Employee of the Year
CU-Boulder's 2005 Student Employee of the Year luncheon will honor TTO employee Kimberly Merryman and 33 others nominated campus-wide for the award. An April luncheon hosted by Chancellor Distefano will recognize the contributions made by outstanding student employees to the CU-Boulder community. Everyone in TTO appreciates Ms. Merryman's earnest interest in TTO workings, and her aptitude for managing complex projects assigned her by the Patent Administrator. Additionally, she helps out with important special projects, such as collecting and compiling data from more than 30 University start-up companies for the President's Economic Impact Report. She's helped at the annual TTO Awards dinners, attended by over 200 notables in the University community. Enthusiastic, competent, and reliable, Kimberly Merryman is an absolutely delightful presence in the Technology Transfer Office.

CU Technology and Licensee Companies in the News

Colorado Refocuses on Technology Transfer's Potential
Economic development officials in Colorado are hopeful that "technology transfer" will create new opportunities in a sector that suffered heavy job losses in recent years because of consolidation and offshoring. But while leaders of technology-transfer initiatives say Colorado's universities have come a long way in recent years, others say the state still has a huge reservoir of untapped potential. (more)

A Gold Mine Drug for Macular Degeneration Grew from a CU Lab
The 37-year-old graduate student sat on a stool in a molecular biology lab one late night in 1989 and stared at a gel. Craig Tuerk was tired and had been running experiments for 18 hours straight, and with growing excitement scribbled down chemical sequences. If what he saw were true, his experiment reproduced a result that nature had taken thousands of years to produce. By sifting and resifting molecules, he found a sequence of molecules that fit a protein like a hand in a glove, stopping DNA from replicating. He also found several unexpected sequences out of 56,000 possibilities that could equally fit the protein like a key in a lock. (more)

Colorado Companies Make Best of Transfers
Technology transfer is a meeting of the minds -- those who think in terms of academic experimentation and those who think in terms of market capitalization. The process involves universities licensing intellectual property developed through educational research to outside companies. Licensing agreements generally give universities equity in partner companies and a percentage of royalties. In return, businesses gain exclusive access to innovative technology. (more)

ALD Nanosolutions Moves to Broomfield
ALD NanoSolutions Inc., a 4-year-old startup based on the work of University of Colorado professors Steven George and Alan Weimer, recently opened its research and development center at 580 E. Burbank St. in Broomfield. The company, which specializes in Atomic Layer Deposition coating chemistry, expects to produce samples of its work in April for commercialization.

Allos Therapeutics Gains $50M in Financing, Reports Results
Allos of Westminster said it has made an agreement with Warburg Pincus Private Equity VIII, L.P., of Delaware to sell $50 million of exchangeable preferred stock at $22.10 per share. The closing is expected to happen Friday. Allos plans to use the proceeds to fund its research-and-development work, and for working capital and general corporate purposes. (more)

Louisville Company Hopes "Digital Mailbox" Relieves Seniors' Isolation
Michael Williams describes the technological divide between older and younger generations like this: Elders prefer pen and paper. Younger folks prefer cellphones, e-mail and Internet. As society becomes more intertwined in all things wired and wireless, the elderly tend to get overlooked. (more)

CU Awarded $1.2M for Energy Research
The ingredients for reducing both greenhouse-gas emissions and dependence on foreign oil may be simple: a lot of sun and water, some argon and a bit of zinc oxide powder. At least those may be a good start, said Alan Weimer , whose University of Colorado research team received a $1.2 million federal grant to research a clean, renewable source of hydrogen fuel. The researchers' focus is water, which is made up of oxygen and hydrogen. (more)

Genetic Engineering News Tutorial: High-Hydrostatic Pressure Refolding of Proteins
BaroFold, a University of Colorado start-up, contributed a Bioprocessing Tutorial to the February 15 issue of Genetic Engineering News. The tutorial describes how BaroFold implements its proprietary technology for high pressure protein refolding. The Boulder company provides expertise and research capacity for cost-effective treatment of proteins enabling therapeutic, vaccine and diagnostic applications. The High Pressure Refolding technology was developed by John Carpenter and Theodore Randolph of CU's Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. (more)

Spotlight On:

CU-Boulder's Technology of the Month CU HSC's Technology of the Month CU's Company of the Month
2002.082B - Solar-Thermal Fluid-Wall Reaction Processing CU1146H - Diagnosis of Diseases and Monitoring of Therapy Success Using Gene Expression Analysis of Peripheral Blood Cells - COPD PhosphoSolutions
A solar-thermal process is being developed for rapidly dissociating NG to co-products H2 and carbon black. The process allows rapid on/off processing that is very compatible with the on/off nature of sunlight. Conversions approaching 80% have been demonstrated at residence times on the order of 0.1s without the addition of carbon particles to couple radiation heat transfer to the flowing NG. The product carbon black is a fine amorphous powder having a particle size distribution in the range of 20 to 40 nanometers.

A 5 M kg/yr carbon black / 1.67 M kg/yr H2 co-product plant can be constructed for $12.7 M and achieve a 15% IRR (after tax) when the selling price of carbon black is $0.66/kg and the H2 sells for $13.80/GJ. The H2 can be sold for $10/GJ if the carbon sells for $0.80/kg. The world market for carbon black is 7.9 M t/yr. The specialty carbon black market is 8% of this (~ 0.6 M t/yr). The 5 M kg/yr carbon black plant evaluated here represents 0.8% of the world specialty black market and 0.06% of the world carbon black market. The world carbon black market would be saturated with the construction of approximately 1650 co-product plants described here. The operation of these 1650 plants (replacing furnace black processing) would avoid the consumption of 7.6 x 1011 MJ fossil fuel/yr and 3.8 x 1010 kg-equivalent CO2/yr. Nonetheless, this is a bridge process until another use for the carbon black can be found. The demand for H2 will be so great that the co-produced carbon black via this process will eventually saturate the market. The development of carbon conversion fuel cells [15] to efficiently produce electricity appears to be a key technology for the long term development of processes that produce H2 by dissociating NG.
The inventors have devised effective and precise algorithms for subtyping COPD by use of a noninvasive blood sample with a panel of predictive biomarkers for COPD. An assay measuring relative changes in the most robust panel of makers could then be used to differentiate patients at highest risk of developing symptomatic COPD. Further study and validation of the biomarkers is expected to specifically differentiate smokers that are at the highest risk to develop disease before disease sets in.

Ultimately, the diagnostic platform would ideally be based upon a high throughput, low cost system detecting the known and validated changes in gene expression of biomarkers associated with COPD. This format would be precise, accurate, scalable, portable, and widely feasible. Alternatively, the technology could be rolled into a more extensive panel of similar pulmonary diagnostic chips for more extensive applications in drug development, biomedical research, or clinical diagnostics.

The biomarker panel has potential applications in diagnostics, prognostics, genetic-based medicine (pharmacogenomics/customized treatment), and most immediately, clinical drug development. The biomarker panel can be used for the following applications:
  • Disease staging
  • Risk factor determination
  • Diagnosis/prognosis
  • Surrogate endpoints for chronic treatment trials
PhosphoSolutions was created to manufacture and distribute proprietary research tools at the cutting edge of proteomics. PhosphoSolutions' principal product is phosphoprotein antibodies, the nanoscale research tools used in the study of phosphoproteins. These antibodies greatly accelerate drug discovery in cancer and in neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease.

The company was formerly known as Tangible Research Solutions and it focused initially on licensing antibodies from researchers at CU and at other universities. The company then sold these antibodies to individual researchers around the world through its distribution network. The company then paid a royalty on these sales to the University. Since 1997 the company has paid CU more than $350,000 in royalties on the sales of these antibodies.

In 2001, Dr. Andrew Czernik joined the company as its chief scientific officer. Dr. Czernik had helped to pioneer a revolutionary new antibody that binds to proteins in an activation-state dependent manner. At that time the company changed its name to PhosphoSolutions and began to use Dr Cernik's know how to manufacture the highly prized phosphorylation state-specific antibodies. In August of 2001, the company moved into the Colorado Bioscience Park at Fitzsimons where it labs are currently located. The company has 4 employees and has been profitable since its inception in 1997.

Search our database for licenseable CU Technologies

Technology Transfer Bulletin of the Month

Biomarkers--molecular indicators directly and highly predictive of a biological process --can be valuable intellectual property. High throughput genomics and proteomics technologies have led to the emergence and rapid proliferation of clinical use and commercial demand for biomarkers.

Upcoming Events

2nd Annual Startup Summit
The CSU Center for Entrepreneurship and the Northern Colorado Idea lab have teamed again with the Northern Colorado Business Report to host the 2nd Annual Startup Summit on March 29th at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins. This all-day event is designed to empower entrepreneurs through knowledge and networks. Keynote speakers are Dr. Larry Penley, President of Colorado State University on 'The Role of Colorado State University in Entrepreneurship and Economic Development' and Brian Vogt, Director of the Governor's office Economic Development and International Trade on 'How the State of Colorado Promotes and Supports Entrepreneurship'. (more)

Innovation in the News

In 2 Surveys, Science Association Assesses Impact on Research of Quickening Drive for Patents
The American Association for the Advancement of Science wants to know if scientists believe that academe's growing pursuit of patents, and related practices for commercializing research, "are aiding or hindering the progress of science." Beginning as early as this week, an arm of the association will begin surveying 4,000 selected scientists from its membership on their experiences and attitudes toward the patenting and licensing of academic research.

Tech Startups Rate High in Funding
Colorado's tech community ranks fifth in the nation when it comes to raking in research money from the nation's $2 billion Small Business Innovation Research program. Colorado's tech startups won approximately $81 million in SBIR funds in 2003, more than comparable tech hubs in New York, New Jersey, Texas or Washington state. The states in front of Colorado are hard to beat: California and Boston are the nation's two largest tech markets, while Maryland and Virginia are boosted by their proximity to federal agencies.

No More Crash-Test Surgery
We'd like to think that when surgeons cut open a patient, the one wielding the scalpel has a pretty good idea of how the surgery will turn out. We'd like to think a surgeon is at least as sure as, say, a mechanic is of a vehicle's safety. In reality, each surgery is the equivalent of a crash test. Chances are the surgeon has never operated on that particular human being before, and the doctor has no way of knowing how the organ in question, not to mention peripheral blood vessels or arteries, will react.

Wyeth Exec Says R&D Productivity Is Dropping in Drug Industry
Dr. Robert Ruffolo told a conference that while fewer drugs are getting introduced into the market even as R&D budgets climb, genomics-based drugs are expected to more consistently come onto the market over the rest of this decade. He blamed merger and acquisition activity for the dropping R&D productivity, as well as regulatory conservatism, differing regulatory standards worldwide and increasing drug costs.

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