Friday, September 19, 2014

September Newsletter Now Available

Top stories from TTO's September 2014 newsletter:

Spotlight on CU Startup Sustainability
Startups spun out of University of Colorado technology have enjoyed a much higher survival rate than the average small business nationally or statewide, according to an article in BizWest. CU TTO startup practices were also featured in Tech Transfer Tactics: Raise the bar for new venture creation to fuel start-ups with lasting power.

Move Completed for TTO's Boulder, Administrative Offices
TTO has moved its Boulder campus and UCCS licensing operations, as well as its system administrative offices, to a new location in Boulder.

Over $861M Awarded to University of Colorado for Sponsored Research

Save the Date for CU Conference: Technology Transfer, University Commercialization Efforts, and Patent Strategies

Collaboration Between CU Cancer Center and NantBioScience Targets Ral Protein

GlobeImmune's IPO Raised $17.25 Million

CU-Boulder Water Treatment Technology Shows Promise for Fracking

Move Completed for TTO's Boulder, Administrative Offices


On September 19, TTO moved its Boulder campus and UCCS licensing operations, as well as its system administrative offices, to a new location in Boulder. Our new address is:

CU Technology Transfer Office
4845 Pearl East Circle, Suite 200
Campus Box 588
Boulder, CO 80309

Phone numbers for the Boulder/UCCS licensing group and the administrative group have changed too! To find new phone numbers, please check the contact pages for TTO system administration and TTO Boulder/UCCS. (Our office at the Anschutz Medical Campus has not relocated, and phone numbers for the CU Denver|Anschutz licensing group will not change.)

Monday, September 15, 2014

NantBioScience and CU to Collaborate on Development of Novel Protein Cancer-Fighting Drugs

Partnership will focus on the Ral protein, an unexplored therapeutic target found to play a role in the growth and spread of cancer.

LOS ANGELES (Sep 15, 2014) - NantBioScience, a NantWorks company focused on the discovery and development of innovative treatments for diseases with high unmet medical need, announced today a research collaboration and a exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with the University of Colorado for the development and commercialization of anti-cancer agents designed to target the Ral protein, a cell signaling protein implicated in the growth and spread of cancer. Through this partnership, NantBioScience will receive the exclusive right to develop and commercialize therapeutic and diagnostic products relating to the research activities.

NantBioscience’s broad development program includes novel agents that are designed to stop growth and spread of tumors by interfering with cancer communication pathways. Although the Ral protein has been found to play a role in the most commonly activated signaling pathways across cancer types, including colon, lung and pancreatic cancers, it has not yet been successfully targeted for potential therapeutic intervention. NantBioscience’s partnership with the University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center is focused on the development of clinical compounds designed to block the function of the Ral protein.

“NantBioscience is committed to the discovery and development of cancer fighting therapies that target the key drivers and root causes of tumor growth and spread. Targeting the Ral protein expands our ongoing efforts to silence a key pathway, the RAS pathway, that has been found to be altered and constitutively activated in one out of three cancers,” said Shahrooz Rabizadeh, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of NantBioscience. “We are pleased to be partnering with the University of Colorado, leaders in the science of inhibiting Ral function, to accelerate the development of novel cancer medicines for patients.”

Through structural and computational analysis, compounds that block the activity of Ral were identified by DanTheodorescu,M.D.,Ph.D., director of the University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center, and colleagues demonstrating the feasibility of developing potential treatments for this target. The results were published on September 14 in the journal Nature.

This pursuit of a clinical product targeting Ral is a collaborative effort, with teams from both the University of Colorado and NantBioScience conducting research activities together.

“We are excited to partner with NantBioScience to one day bring our basic research of Ral protein inhibitors to the bedside of patients in the form of a new cancer fighting treatment,” said Theodorescu.

NantBioScience’s portfolio includes clinical compounds designed to target changes at the molecular level based on the genomic and proteomic profile of the tumor, nano albumin-­bound (nab®)‐based molecules, novel remediators of p53 function, mutant K‐Ras inhibitors, and potent multi-kinase inhibitors.

“This collaboration with Dr. Dan Theodorescu and the University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center, furthers our goal to catalyze personalized precision cancer care in our war against cancer," said Patrick Soon-­‐Shiong M.D., CEO of NantBioScience.

About NantBioScience
NantBioScience, a NantWorks company, is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery of medicines designed to target the root cause of cancer growth and spread. Dr. Patrick Soon-­‐Shiong, the creator of Abraxane® and the founder of the nano albumin-­‐bound (nab®) technology platform, established NantBioScience in 2011. With a pipeline of nab®-­‐based molecules and inhibitors of proteins that drive tumor growth, NantBioscience’s mission is to develop medicines designed to treat patients based on the unique molecular fingerprint of the tumor, not the tissue or organ from which the cancer originated. Patients entering clinical trials would be identified after comprehensive genomic and proteomic analysis and enrolled based on this molecular profile to maximize clinical outcome and minimize side effects. NantBioScience and NantWorks, are uniquely positioned to develop molecularly designed drugs and identify patients and their tumor signature at the most granular levels with their suite of analytic tools and cloud based supercomputing capabilities. For more information please visit www.nantworks.com.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Spotlight on CU Startup Sustainability


Startups spun out of University of Colorado technology have enjoyed a much higher survival rate than the average small business nationally or statewide, according to a BizWest article featuring the infographic above.

CU TTO startup practices were also featured in Tech Transfer Tactics:
"What I see happening is a lot of investments by universities in robust start-up infrastructure, trying to drive their start-up communities. I think one of the keys to our success is that the we understand that our role is to be a feeder. I would not say that we are picking winners and losers. What we are doing is picking potential winners to fill a pipeline, and they don't all turn into start-up companies that receive investment, but we have been able to create the platform and potential for these start-ups to happen." (Kate Tallman, CU TTO head)
Tech Transfer Tactics: Raise the bar for new venture creation to fuel start-ups with lasting power.

Click the image below for an interactive poster of CU startup company sustainability:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Ocugen Commercializing Two CU Biological Drugs to Treat Eye Diseases

One licensed drug candidate has received FDA orphan designation to treat retinitis pigmentosa, allowing for accelerated development. 

AURORA (Jun. 5, 2014) – Ocugen, Inc. and the University of Colorado today announced exclusive license agreements that will allow Ocugen to continue developing two drug candidates for the treatment for ophthalmology indications, and that one of the assets, OCU100, recombinant lens epithelium derived growth factor 1-326 (LEDGF1-326), received orphan-drug status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a rare eye disease.

“Orphan drug designation from the FDA’s Office of Orphan Products Development is a significant milestone that will allow Ocugen to accelerate the clinical development of OCU100, which has the potential to be the first approved therapeutic for retinitis pigmentosa,” said Shankar Musunuri, PhD, MBA, founder and chairman of the Ocugen Board of Directors.

Ocugen scientific founder and board member Uday Kompella, PhD, a professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ophthalmology and Bioengineering at CU’s Anschutz Medical Campus, is the inventor of OCU100. Ocugen licensed all assets related to LEDGF, including LEDGF1-326 and OCU200, an anti-angiogenic tumstatin fusion protein, to be developed for treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), from the University of Colorado in March 2014.

Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare eye disease caused by inherited gene mutations that lead to retinal degeneration affecting approximately 100,000 people in the United States, according to the Foundation Fighting Blindness. People with RP experience a gradual decline in their vision because photoreceptor cells in the retina die. It is a progressive disorder, and most people with RP are legally blind by age 40. There is no FDA approved therapeutic for RP.

“OCU100 has shown potential as a promising therapeutic agent for treating retinitis pigmentosa by reducing protein aggregation and associated cellular stresses, which are known to contribute to this condition,” said Dr. Kompella. “With impressive preclinical data, we look forward to progressing with a phase 1 study for safety and tolerability in patients sometime in 2015.”

Dr. Kompella said a variety of mutations, including P23H mutation in rhodopsin, a critical protein in the retina that is responsible for vision, have been linked to the development of RP. P23H rhodopsin is known to form large clusters or aggregates within retinal cells, leading to cellular stress and ultimately cell death.

“The role of mutant proteins such as P23H rhodopsin in RP is clearly evident, and OCU100 has shown the potential to be a therapeutic agent that reduces protein aggregation and associated stresses in retinal cells,” he said. “It has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of RP.”

About Orphan Drug Designation
FDA Office of Orphan Products Development (OOPD) grants orphan designation for novel drugs or biologics that treat a rare disease or condition affecting fewer than 200,000 patients in the U.S. Orphan designation qualifies the sponsor of the drug for various development incentives of the Orphan Drug Act (ODA) including seven-year period of U.S. marketing exclusivity, tax credits for qualified clinical testing, waiver of prescription drug user fee for marketing application, and ability to apply for grants. The OOPD also works on rare disease issues with the medical and research communities, professional organizations, academia, governmental agencies, industry, and rare disease patient groups.

About Ocugen, Inc.
Ocugen is advancing novel biologicals discovered based on endogenous proteins with well understood biology at the molecular, cellular, and whole animal level to treat eye diseases. The therapeutic proteins in the pipeline are derived from cell survival factors such as lens epithelium derived growth factor (LEDGF) and anti-angiogenic proteins such as tumstatin. The intellectual property covers a variety of related protein constructs including fusion proteins with superior activity. www.ocugen.com.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

TTO Announces CU Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus Technology Transfer Awards

Researchers and companies working on improved medical devices and innovative diagnostic approaches are among those honored for technology commercialization.

AURORA (Jun. 3, 2014) – The University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office (TTO) presented awards yesterday to University of Colorado Denver and Anschutz Medical Campus researchers, companies and advisors who best represent both the spirit of innovation at CU and best practices in commercialization of university technologies.

In the last two decades, inventions by researchers from CU’s four campuses have led to the formation of 132 new companies. Of these, 89 have operations in Colorado, seven have “gone public,” becoming publicly traded companies (either through an IPO or via a reverse merger), and 18 have been acquired by public companies. In total, companies created based on CU technology have attracted over $6.2 billion in financing. Four FDA-approved drugs have resulted from CU innovations, positively impacting the lives of millions of patients.

“Year after year, CU faculty continue to impress by bringing clinically relevant innovations in the door, and successfully engaging advisors and entrepreneurs to bring those innovations to life,” said Rick Silva, senior director of technology transfer for CU Denver|Anschutz. “We are especially delighted that this year’s innovators are all positively and directly impacting patient care right now, by virtue of the use of their innovations in the clinic.”

The researchers and company recognized this year are developing innovative diagnostics and medical devices. This year’s award winners include:

Robert C. Doebele, Inventor of the Year, CU Denver|Anschutz. Doebele is an Associate Professor in the Division of Medical Oncology at the CU School of Medicine, and a physician at University of Colorado Hospital. His research focuses on oncogenic gene fusions in lung cancer, using molecular, cellular, genetic, and translational approaches to elucidate both the sensitivity and cellular resistance to oncogene-targeted therapy. Since 2012, Doebele has worked with TTO to commercialize two novel companion diagnostics to guide therapy for NSCLC patients, both of which are currently being licensed for development by a large molecular diagnostics company.

Christopher M. Yakacki, New Inventor of the Year, CU Denver|Anschutz. Yakacki is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at CU’s Denver campus, where he runs the Smart Materials and Biomechanics (SMAB) Lab. Since joining CU’s faculty in 2012, he has fabricated a medical imaging accessory device to solve an unmet need brought to him by clinicians in interventional radiology, with a prototype device being used on patients within months of initial development; he has also worked with TTO on two subsequent ideas that have received positive early commercial feedback.

Steve VanNurden, Business Advisor of the Year. VanNurden is President and CEO of the Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority. He came to Colorado in 2012 from the Mayo Clinic, where he had responsibilities ranging from the establishment of Mayoclinic.com, to managing a venture portfolio, to overseeing a technology licensing and commercialization enterprise. VanNurden’s experience in new enterprise formation, investing, and commercial development has been readily available and invaluable to TTO and to CU faculty members working towards commercializing CU research.

EndoShape, CU Denver|Anschutz Company of the Year. EndoShape is a medical device company in the coil embolization and occlusion market. The company was founded based on shape memory polymer technology licensed from CU in 2007, from the laboratory of Robin Shandas, who remains on the board and executive team of EndoShape today. The company’s Medusa™ Vascular Plug product received 510(k) marketing clearance and will be commercially available in 2014, with the potential to positively impact the 50,000 U.S. patients who have peripheral vascular embolization procedures each year.

Awards to researchers and startups at other CU campuses were presented at separate campus events in April.

See also:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May Newsletter Now Available

Top stories from TTO's May 2014 newsletter:

Technology Transfer Awards for Boulder, Colorado Springs 
In April, TTO presented awards to researchers and companies from CU's Boulder (link) and Colorado Springs (link) campuses who best represent both the spirit of innovation at CU and best practices in commercialization of university technologies. Awards to CU researchers, startups and advisors at CU Denver|Anschutz will be presented in June 2014.

TTO has released an updated CU Startups poster providing info on financings, acquisitions and more for companies created based on CU technology since the early 1990's. Click on the image at right for an interactive PDF including links to CU startups.

Advanced Industries Win Support in Colorado Legislature

Forget Clip-On Trackers and Wristbands: This Smart Shoe Insole Will Track Your Physical Activity

Omni Bio Pharmaceutical Announces $3M Private Financing Plan

New Malleable, Recyclable Plastic Developed at CU

Monday, April 21, 2014

TTO Announces Boulder Campus Technology Transfer Awards

Researchers and companies working on ultrafast lasers, ultracold matter and DNA sequencing methods are among those honored for technology commercialization.

BOULDER (Apr. 21, 2014) – The University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office (TTO) will present awards this week to University of Colorado Boulder researchers and companies who best represent both the spirit of innovation at CU-Boulder and best practices in commercialization of university technologies.

In the last two decades, inventions by researchers from CU’s four campuses have led to the formation of 132 new companies. Of these, 89 have operations in Colorado, seven have “gone public,” becoming publicly traded companies (either through an IPO or via a reverse merger), and 18 have been acquired by public companies. In total, companies created based on CU technology have attracted over $6.2 billion in financing.

“TTO is pleased to take this opportunity to highlight the contributions that these researchers and companies have made to their fields,” said MaryBeth Vellequette, director of technology transfer for CU-Boulder. “Their commitment not only to performing world-class research but also to creating real-world impact for their work deserves recognition – congratulations to Drs. Kapteyn, Murnane, Chatterjee and Nagpal, and to Dr. Anderson and the ColdQuanta team.”

The researchers and company recognized this year are developing technologies that are helping push the envelope in physics and medical testing. This year’s award winners include:


Henry C. Kapteyn and Margaret Murnane, Inventors of the Year, CU-Boulder. Kapteyn and Murnane are both physics professors at CU-Boulder, as well as members of JILA, a joint institute of CU-Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The Kapteyn-Murnane research group develops ultrafast lasers and x-rays, which have important applications in research on natural processes and in the visualization of other nano-scale processes for the development of nano devices. In 1994, Kapteyn and Murnane founded KMLabs to commercialize their work and make their innovations available to academic and industry researchers, and (more recently) to companies developing technologies such as micromachining.

 Anushree Chatterjee and Prashant Nagpal, New Inventors of the Year, CU-Boulder. Chatterjee and Nagpal are assistant professors of chemical and biological engineering at CU-Boulder. In their joint research, they have developed a platform technology for fast, reliable, high-throughput and cost effective single-molecule sequencing of nucleic acids; this kind of sequencing is an important step in the development of new diagnostic tools for personalized medicine, as well as in rapid identification of DNA sequences that allow bacteria to develop drug resistance. Chatterjee and Nagpal are working with TTO to develop a commercial pathway for this technology.



ColdQuanta, Boulder Company of the Year. ColdQuanta produces high performance, cutting edge cold and ultracold atom technology. Their products utilize Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC), a new form of matter created just above absolute zero, with potential applications in a wide range of research and commercial settings, ranging from atomic clocks to improved navigation of submarines and spacecraft, and even quantum computing. The company grew out of decades of research by CU-Boulder physics professor and JILA member Dana Anderson, who also serves as the company’s CTO.

Awards to CU researchers, startups and advisors at other CU campuses will be presented at separate campus events in April and June.

See also:

CU Startups: Update Now Available!

TTO has released an updated CU Startups poster providing info on financings, acquisitions and more for companies created based on CU technology since the early 1990's. Click on the image for an interactive PDF including links to CU startups:

Friday, April 11, 2014

UCCS Biophysicist Receives CU New Inventor of the Year Award

UCCS biophysics researcher Janusz Hankiewicz will be recognized by the CU Technology Transfer Office for his work with next-generation medical imaging. 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Apr. 11, 2014) – The University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office (TTO) will present an award today honoring Janusz Hankiewicz, Ph.D. for his efforts in developing and commercializing new medical imaging contrast agents. Hankiewicz, a member of CU’s BioFrontiers Center and a research associate at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS), will receive the award during today’s Mountain Lion Research Day luncheon at UCCS.

Hankiewicz’s research focuses on diagnostic medical imaging techniques like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). Along with his UCCS colleagues, he has developed improved imaging procedures as well as several improved contrast agents – substances used to enhance the visibility of body structures like blood vessels during medical imaging procedures.

 In spring 2014, Hankiewicz and his collaborators were selected to receive a proof-of-concept award under the State of Colorado’s Bioscience Discovery and Evaluation Grant (BDEG) program. The grant will allow the team to further develop a novel contrast agent designed to provide precise internal temperature measurements, which can be used to detect some cancers and some types of inflammation. Additionally, temperature mapping is used to monitor the tissues surrounding metal implants during imaging procedures, and to guide certain therapeutic procedures. By providing precise, non-invasive 3D temperature sensing, this novel contrast agent represents a major improvement over conventional temperature monitoring, which is usually performed with invasive, single-point measurements.

Awards to CU researchers, startups and advisors at other CU campuses will be presented at separate campus events in April and June.

See also: