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.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

March Newsletter Now Available

Top stories from TTO's March 2014 newsletter:

From Classrooms to Capitalism: CU's Tech Transfer Office Aims to Turn Big Ideas into Businesses
ColoradoBiz feature story on CU's tech transfer program, featuring CU startup Double Helix.

OcuTherix Developing CU Next-Generation Glaucoma Treatment
OcuTherix, Inc. and CU have completed an exclusive license that will allow the company to continue developing a new non-invasive procedure for the treatment of glaucoma that uses patent-pending technology developed at CU.

Advanced Conductor Technologies Commercializing CU High Performance Superconducting Cable
Advanced Conductor Technologies and CU have completed an exclusive license agreement that allows the company to continue its work developing high-temperature superconducting cables to provide flexible, high-current density power transmission.

GlobeImmune Will Try Again to Go Public 
CU startup GlobeImmune Inc., which called off its IPO last year, filed a registration statement for an initial public offering, which says the company hopes to raise $35M from the IPO. The company is developing its Tarmogen vaccine platform for cancer and infectious disease.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

OcuTherix Developing CU Next-Generation Glaucoma Treatment

With the help of a device developed at CU, a new glaucoma procedure could offer patients a non-drug, non-surgical treatment option. 

AURORA, Colo., March 19, 2014 – OcuTherix, Inc. and the University of Colorado (CU) have completed an exclusive license that will allow the company to continue developing a new non-invasive procedure for the treatment of glaucoma that uses patent-pending technology developed at CU.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of worldwide blindness, and is treated by lowering the fluid pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure). Topical eye-drop medications are often used to lower eye pressure, but because these medications can cause discomfort, patients often fail to take them correctly and consistently. Laser and surgical procedures are also used to reduce eye pressure; however, these techniques are fraught with complications and do not consistently reduce eye pressure in the long term.

A research team led by Malik Kahook, MD, Slater Family Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology at the CU School of Medicine, has developed a compact, non-invasive device that uses carefully calibrated external sonic oscillation to stimulate drainage of the eye’s fluid, reducing eye pressure. This innovative procedure, called Deep Wave Trabeculoplasty (DWT), is intended to be an efficient, safe and effective in-office treatment.







Image: OcuTherix rendering of the DWT device developed at CU.









Studies have shown that DWT does not cause tissue damage and lowers eye pressure consistently. An ongoing clinical study is intended to demonstrate that DWT has long-lasting benefits and can be repeated when needed. “The initial DWT study in humans revealed consistent eye pressure lowering without adverse events,” said Kahook. “Our team believes that DWT will play a significant role in the treatment of glaucoma in the United States and across the globe.”

“Gradual vision loss is devastating, and I am proud to be working with outstanding partners to develop DWT as we strive to save vision in people with glaucoma,” added OcuTherix CEO Robert Atkinson. “I strongly believe that DWT represents a new age in glaucoma treatment.”

“We believe this device represents a completely novel approach to the treatment of glaucoma, and the University is excited to work with a company that will help Dr. Kahook develop such a pioneering technique,” said David Poticha of CU’s Technology Transfer Office.

About OcuTherix, Inc.
OcuTherix, a spin-out company of medical device incubator Prospex Medical, Inc., is dedicated to medical device innovation to save vision in people with glaucoma. CAUTION: Deep Wave Trabeculoplasty (DWT) is an investigational device and is not approved for sale. www.ocutherix.com

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Advanced Conductor Technologies Commercializing CU High Performance Superconducting Cable


Company advancing work on thinner, more versatile superconducting cables for nuclear fusion power, military power transmission. 

BOULDER, Colo., March 6, 2014 - Advanced Conductor Technologies and the University of Colorado have completed an exclusive license agreement that allows the company to continue its work developing high-temperature superconducting cables to provide flexible, high-current density power transmission.

High-temperature superconducting (HTS) cables were initially developed for use in metropolitan electrical networks because of their efficiency and large transmission capacity. Danko van der Laan, a physicist with appointments at CU-Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), has developed a technique to make thinner, more flexible HTS cables that can carry the same (or greater) current. These more-compact cables (conductor on round core, CORC) have immediate applications in electrical grids and scientific and medical equipment; they may also enable HTS power transmission for military applications and in data centers.


[Image: A coil and cross-section of the high-temperature superconducting cable invented by van der Laan. In the center are copper wires bundled with nylon and plastic insulation. The outer rings are a series of superconducting tapes wrapped in spirals around the copper]


After optioning the technology from CU in 2012, the company received a Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant for $1M from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop its CORC cables for use in powerful magnets that can be used to generate nuclear fusion power. The company began work on this grant in April 2013. Earlier this year, the company was also awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the U.S. Navy to develop its CORC cables for shipboard power transmission cables.

“We recently received our first commercial order for a high-current CORC magnet cable and are currently winding the cable needed to fill the order,” said van der Laan. “We’re optimistic that more orders will follow, enabling us to scale up our cabling facility.” The company has leased space in Boulder and has expanded its staff to three full-time employees.

“In collaboration with ACT, the university has filed for extensive international patent coverage of this valuable technology,” added Ted Weverka of the CU Technology Transfer Office. “We are proud to be working with ACT, and excited to see such an aggressive startup spin out of the university.”

About Advanced Conductor Technologies
Advanced Conductor Technologies LLC focuses on the commercialization of high-temperature superconducting cables using the new cable technology developed by its founder, Danko van der Laan, while at the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The cable technology opens the door to new markets that require flexible, high-current density power transmission cables. It also forms the basis for the first practical superconducting cable for high-field magnets that operate at magnetic fields above 20 Tesla, or at temperatures exceeding 20 Kelvin. http://advancedconductor.com.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

February Newsletter Now Available

Top stories from TTO's February 2014 newsletter:

Tissue Fusion to Commercialize Laser Surgical Device
Tissue Fusion and CU recently completed a license agreement that will allow the company to continue developing a new surgical device that utilizes lasers, rather than staples and sutures, to close wounds during nasal surgery. 

SixOne Solutions Developing Targeted Breast Cancer Therapy
SixOne Solutions and CU have completed an exclusive license agreement, allowing the company to develop new, targeted therapeutics for treating and preventing the spread of breast cancer with far fewer expected side effects than traditional chemotherapy.

Interview: Innovation Center of the Rockies
CU's longtime partner Innovation Center of the Rockies received a national award from the State Science & Technology Institute (SSTI) for its work in commercializing university research in the Rocky Mountain region.

TTO Annual Report for 2012-13 Now Available 
TTO is pleased to announce that our annual report covering our activities from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 is now available for viewing (PDF). 

Now Available: TTO Annual Report, 2012-13

TTO is pleased to announce that our annual report covering our activities from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 is now available for viewing. Please click this link to view a PDF version of the report.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tissue Fusion to Commercialize Laser Surgical Device Developed at CU


Laser tissue fusion device will make surgeries quicker and simpler, reduce side effects



COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., February 19, 2014 - Tissue Fusion and the University of Colorado recently completed a license agreement that will allow the company to continue developing a new surgical device that utilizes lasers, rather than staples and sutures, to close wounds during nasal surgery.

The two most common nasal surgeries are septoplasty (repair of deviated or deformed septum, thousands performed each year) and rhinoplasty (“nose job,” over 150,000 performed each year). Currently, wounds are closed during these surgeries using staples, sutures or intranasal packing, all of which can be dangerous (needles can break, and bleeding can occur) as well as uncomfortable for the patient. After the procedure, techniques like stapling or suturing can cause infection, scarring or other side effects.

Lasers have been used for decades in place of scalpels to cut tissues in procedures like LASIK eye surgery. Lasers also have the ability to ‘weld’ tissue together, but have not been widely used in this capacity due to the complexity of the laser (different parameters for different tissues) and the exceptional surgical skill required to use them.

A team led by mechanical and aerospace engineer Michael Larson, El Pomar Endowed Chair of Engineering and Innovation at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, has developed a laser-based device for closing wounds during nasal surgery that circumvents these technical hurdles. The device generates heat and pressure to fuse tissue membranes together, but is designed specifically for use in septoplasty and rhinoplasty, using pre-set parameters to make the device easy to use by a surgeon or a trained medical technician. In addition to making the surgical procedure faster and simpler, the fusion device also has the potential to shorten healing time and reduce side effects like swelling, scarring, and infection.

[Image: Michael Larson (left) with student. Photo courtesy UCCS.]

Tissue Fusion is currently gathering data on the efficacy and safety of the device in controlled trials. The company will use the results in seeking approval from the FDA for clinical use in procedures related to the ear, nose and throat. Ultimately, the company hopes to introduce additional surgery-specific devices; further research by Larson’s team shows that the technology holds promise for “spot welding” layers of tissue in a range of surgeries, including microsurgical applications. “We’re pleased to be working in partnership with the University of Colorado to commercialize a new medical technology that is already adding jobs to the Colorado economy,” said Larson, who also serves as the company’s CEO.

“The technology licensed to Tissue Fusion has been a great example of Colorado’s innovation infrastructure, since it represents years of development efforts at MIND Studios in Colorado Springs, as well as a state grant to bring it closer to commercial readiness,” said Molly Markley of CU’s Technology Transfer Office. “We are looking forward to following the company’s progress as it moves towards FDA approval.” Tissue Fusion received a State of Colorado Early-Stage Company grant in 2013 under its Bioscience Discovery and Evaluation Grant program.

About Tissue Fusion 
Tissue Fusion LLC is a medical device startup in Colorado Springs, CO, which is committed to creating a suite of wound closure instruments for improving surgical procedures and outcomes. The company is a spin-out from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Tissue Fusion is a recipient of an award from the State of Colorado’s Bioscience Discovery and Evaluation Grant Program, a program which is moving promising commercial technologies to market and supporting the development of the biotechnology industry in Colorado.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

SixOne Solutions Developing CU's Targeted Breast Cancer Therapy

By inhibiting two proteins not currently targeted by conventional cancer treatments, CU’s platform could block the growth and migration of cancer cells with fewer side effects, and reduce tumor resistance to chemotherapy and radiation.

AURORA, Colo., November 21, 2013 – SixOne Solutions and the University of Colorado (CU) have completed an exclusive license agreement, allowing the company to develop new, targeted therapeutics for treating and preventing the spread of breast cancer with far fewer expected side effects than traditional chemotherapy.

A research team at the CU School of Medicine led by Heide Ford, Ph.D., and Rui Zhao, Ph.D., has identified two proteins, Six1 and Eya2, that play key roles in the growth and spread of cancer cells. Importantly, while these proteins are also active in normal embryonic development, they are inactive in most healthy adult tissue. As a result, the therapeutics developed by the Ford/Zhao group to inhibit Six1 and Eya2 are expected to have minimal effects on healthy cells, while specifically targeting cancer cells – this targeting means fewer or minimal side effects.

Six1 and Eya2 are highly active in a majority of breast cancer tumors, including difficult-to-treat triple-negative tumors. These two proteins are also active in many other types of cancer, including ovarian, cervical and pancreatic cancer, gliomas, and Ewing’s Sarcoma; thus, the Six1/Eya2 inhibitors being commercialized by SixOne Solutions may be effective across a wide variety of cancers. What’s more, it is anticipated that they will be able to be combined with existing chemotherapies due to their low expected toxicity to healthy cells. Use of combination therapies reduces the development of tumors that are resistant to treatment, and helps prevent relapse.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women. Currently, chemotherapy and radiation are the main methods of treatment, along with surgery. Chemotherapy, which affects healthy as well as cancerous cells, causes severe and sometimes fatal side effects. Immediate side effects of chemotherapy can include nausea, vomiting, hair loss and diarrhea, while long-term side effects can include infertility and even the development of a second cancer. Targeted drugs have been developed, but are only effective in patients with specific genetic mutations, typically 20 to 30 percent of breast cancer patients.

“New drug development is a long process, but we are doing all we can to move this exciting new treatment approach into the clinic as soon as we can,” said Ginny Orndorff, SixOne’s CEO. The company was recently awarded a $50,000 BioScience Discovery Evaluation Grant from the State of Colorado to evaluate the effectiveness of these drugs in patients with triple-negative breast cancer.

 Ford, an associate professor of pharmacology, and Zhao, an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, co-founded SixOne Solutions earlier this year to commercialize their research in this area.

“Drs. Ford and Zhao are working on a truly novel and exciting cancer therapy,” said David Poticha of the CU Technology Transfer Office. “The university is confident that their collaboration with Ginny Orndorff and SixOne creates a significant opportunity to advance this therapy into clinical development.”

About SixOne Solutions
SixOne Solutions LLC is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel products for the treatment and diagnosis of breast cancer. Their initial product is a small molecule, targeted therapeutic for breast cancer that may also be effective in treating many other cancers, including ovarian, cervical, and pancreatic cancer, as well as gliomas, Wilms’ tumor and Ewing’s Sarcoma. www.sixonesolutions.com.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

November Newsletter Now Available

Top stories from TTO's November 2013 newsletter:

CU Receives Colorado BioScience Association Founders Award
At a banquet hosted last week by the Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA), the University of Colorado, along with two other key players in the state's bioscience ecosystem, was honored with a Founders Award recognizing CU's support and investment in CBSA since the organization's founding in 2003.

Galaxy Ophthalmics to Develop CU's Improved Glaucoma Therapy 
Galaxy Ophthalmics and CU have completed an exclusive option agreement to allow the company to commercialize an implantable medical device to help prevent loss of vision resulting from glaucoma.

National Science Report Highlights CU Spinoff Companies 
A new national report highlighting the success of 100 university spinoff companies tracing their roots to federally funded research includes two companies that sprang from cutting-edge research at the University of Colorado Boulder. The report, "Sparking Economic Growth 2.0: Companies Created From Federally Funded Research, Fueling American Innovation and Economic Growth," was released in late October by the Science Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of more than 50 of the nation's leading public and private research universities, including CU-Boulder. The two Boulder startup companies highlighted in the report are ColdQuanta and LineRate Systems.

ARCA biopharma Announces IND Submission to US FDA for Gencaro for the Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation 

CU Receives Founders Award from Colorado BioScience Association

At a banquet hosted last week by the Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA), the University of Colorado, along with two other key players in the state's bioscience ecosystem, was honored with a Founders Award recognizing CU's support and investment in CBSA since the organization's founding in 2003:
As initial founders of CBSA, Colorado State University, Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority and the University of Colorado understood the value of a state-wide organization providing networks, educational resources and advocacy to advance the growth of the bioscience cluster in Colorado. Their investment in the Association since 2003 provided the ability for CBSA to get off the ground and grow to a mature organization recognized as one of the top 5 nationally. CBSA thanks CSU, FRA and CU for their vision ten years ago, not only for the foundation of CBSA but also for creating initiatives that have fostered the development of commercial technologies in Colorado.
Read the full CBSA award announcement and press release, or view photo highlights from the banquet.

Photo: TTO's Kate Tallman and Rick Silva accept the Founders Award from CBSA's April Giles.