Thursday, July 31, 2008

Press Release: 3QMatrix to Commercialize Wound Healing Technology from Univ. of Colorado

(LINK)

BOULDER, Colo. (July 31, 2008) - The University of Colorado’s Technology Transfer Office (CU TTO) has executed an exclusive option agreement with 3QMatrix, Inc. for degradable thiol-ene hydrogel technology developed in the laboratories of Christopher Bowman, Associate Dean for Research, and Kristi Anseth, Distinguished Professor and HHMI Investigator, both in the Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Founded in 2008 by local entrepreneurs Johan Baeck, Praful Shah and Tim Prodanovich, Boulder-based 3QMatrix is focused on the development and commercialization of novel wound healing and drug delivery products based on the proprietary thiol-ene hydrogel product platform.

The company’s first product will be a bi-layer dressing for treatment of skin graft donor sites in burn patients. These donor sites are prone to infection and extremely painful, especially since their dressings must be changed frequently. “The thiolene-based bi-layer dressing, since it degrades in a controlled fashion at the wound site, has the potential to eliminate the frightful pain associated with donor site dressing changes, and hence be of tremendous importance to thousands of burn patients,” notes Dr. Gordon Lindberg, Director of the Burn Center at University of Colorado Hospital Burn Center and member of 3QMatrix’s Scientific Advisory Board.

“3QMatrix shows the value of opening CU's patent portfolio to entrepreneurs in the Boulder community who know how to drive a new business forward,” adds Kate Tallman, Director of Technology Transfer for CU-Boulder. 3QMatrix was developed and launched through a partnership between CU TTO and the Boulder Innovation Center, a Boulder business development organization.

About 3QMatrix, Inc.
3QMatrix focuses on the development and commercialization of novel wound healing and drug delivery products using a proprietary product platform. This technology can be used for wound care and slow release drug delivery by both the trans-dermal and subcutaneous routes, offering patients a safer and more effective treatment for a variety of serious diseases. The company plans to introduce a comprehensive line of products based on this proprietary technology platform, to address unmet needs in clinical practice, and to do so in a cost-effective manner. For more information, please go to http://www.3qmatrix.com/.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Podcast: Tech Transfer Challenges, Choices and Champions

In this w3w3.com series, four TTO leaders -- Dave Allen, Associate VP for Technology Transfer; Kate Tallman, Director of Technology Transfer (Boulder and Colorado Springs); Tom Smerdon, Director Of Licensing & New Business Development; and Rick Silva, Director of Technology Transfer (UC Denver and Anschutz Medical Campus) -- discussed the revenue challenges, infrastructure building and other elements of TTO's FY2007-08 performance.

Listen to the podcast.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

July 2008 Newsletter Now Available

Highlights from the July 2008 TTO newsletter:

Boettcher Foundation, Webb-Waring and CU Partner to Support Medical Research
Colorado's medical research industry will receive a boost of up to $40M by the creation of a grant program aimed at advancing medical research. The program is the result of an innovative agreement among the Boettcher Foundation, the Webb-Waring Institute for Biomedical Research and the University of Colorado to leverage the Colorado Biosciences Fund (created in April 2008 by HB-08 1001), which has $5M a year over five years to promote biosciences and technology transfer.

CU-developed Gene Test May Change Treatment, Extend Life for Lung Cancer Patients
Researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center (UCCC) have shown that a readily available gene screening test developed at UCCC can help doctors know which people with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer will benefit from adding a second cancer drug to standard chemotherapy.

Investment Firm Allied Minds to Commercialize New CU Cancer Diagnostic Technology
Allied Minds, a pre-seed investment firm specializing in early stage university business ventures, has partnered with the University of Colorado to establish Precision Biopsy, LLC, which is developing an optical biopsy needle to be used in the improved diagnosis of prostate cancer, the most common cancer affecting men and a leading cause of cancer deaths. The optical biopsy technology was developed by CU's Dr. Priya Werahera and Dr. John Daily. (See also: CU technology fights prostate cancer, BCBR)

CU Diagnostic Technology Optioned to Colorado Company
HepQuant, LLC, a Colorado-based startup company, has optioned a proprietary technology developed by Dr. Gregory Everson, Professor and Director of Hepatology at the School of Medicine at UC Denver (Anschutz Medical Campus). HepQuant plans to further develop and internationally commercialize the technology, a method to measure hepatic function in humans.

Science-based Toy Company Licenses CU Space Habitat Educational Technology
TTO recently executed an exclusive license agreement with Fascinations, a Seattle-based maker of science-oriented educational toys and gifts. The technology, developed by researchers at CU's Bioserve Space Technologies center, involves living habitats and ecosystems designed to monitor inter-species interaction in space. Fascinations plans to develop a line of educational science toys from these habitats.

Read the full newsletter.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Press Release: Investment Firm Allied Minds to Commercialize New Univ. of Colorado Prostate Cancer Diagnostic Technology

(LINK)

BOSTON (July 16, 2008) - Allied Minds, a pre-seed investment firm specializing in early stage university business ventures, has partnered with the University of Colorado to establish Precision Biopsy, LLC, which is developing an optical biopsy needle to be used in the diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting men and a leading cause of cancer deaths. Current diagnostic methods are widely accepted as flawed and inadequate; these include digital examination, PSA biomarker testing, and random needle biopsy. There is a clear unmet need for a method of accurately locating and diagnosing prostate cancer and for measuring the grade and extent of cancerous tissue within the organ to help determine the optimum course of treatment.

The optical biopsy needle invented at the University of Colorado’s Denver and Boulder campuses by Dr. Priya Werahera and Dr. John Daily will incorporate two spectroscopy techniques into the tip of a standard biopsy needle. These techniques will detect the difference between healthy and malignant tissue on a real-time basis and if the presence of cancer is detected, a biopsy will be taken for further evaluation. The information will be used to create an accurate image of the tumor and assist physicians in selecting the appropriate therapy. This technology could be adapted for use in other types of diagnosis where tissue morphology is crucial, such as breast cancer.

“Prostate cancer is very treatable when diagnosed early and accurately. This technology will help to ensure that diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment are delivered quickly and accurately”, says Allied Minds CEO, Christopher Silva.

The initial funding for Precision Biopsy is being provided by Allied Minds. To learn more about Precision Biopsy, please visit http://www.precisionbiopsy.com/.

About Allied Minds, Inc
Allied Minds is a pre-seed investment company creating partnerships with select universities to fund corporate spin-offs resulting from successful early stage technology research. By providing corporate development support as well as funding, Allied Minds aims to guide early stage companies to commercial success, thereby generating value for all stakeholders. For more information, logon to http://www.alliedminds.com/.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Press Release: CU-Developed Gene Test May Change Treatment, Extend Life for Lung Cancer Patients

New study shows that patients who test positive for the EGFR gene live twice as long when taking a combination drug therapy as those who test negative. (LINK)

AURORA, Colo. (July 10, 2008) – Researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center have shown that a readily available gene screening test can help doctors know which people with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer will benefit from adding a second cancer drug to standard chemotherapy.

Patients who test positive for the EGFR gene may live twice as long as those who are EGFR negative when given the a combination of chemotherapy and cetuximab—a drug that blocks a key pathway particular gene-driven tumors use to grow and spread—as the first-line of treatment, the study shows.

“The results of this study could very well change the way lung cancer patients are treated in the future, similarly to how screening for estrogen-driven breast cancer changed how patients with ER+ breast tumors are treated,” said Fred R. Hirsch, MD, PhD, professor of Medicine at University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine and the paper’s lead author.

The paper, published in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, is from a phase II randomized study out of the Southwest Oncology Group, a consortium of cancer researchers. It comes on the heels of the large, randomized European FLEX study, which showed that some advanced non-small-cell lung cancer patients who got the combination therapy lived longer than others who got the same therapy. The results of the current study will be validated in a large prospective study also performed by the Soutwest Oncology Group.

“We needed a tool to tell us which patients to put on cetuximab, because it does not make sense to give an expensive drug that gives only side effects for someone it will not help,” Hirsch said. “We believe that EGFR FISH is that tool.”

The EGFR FISH test, which was developed at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, is available in most laboratories, so lung cancer patients around the world could be quickly screened in the future to see if they would benefit from cetuximab plus chemotherapy. They will soon begin a 1,000-patient phase III trial to validate the findings, and they anticipate FDA approval of the tool to select patients for EGFR inhibitors in the near future.

“When we give patients the right drugs for their exact tumor type, we can help them live a longer, more comfortable life with the disease,” said Paul A. Bunn, Jr., MD, UCCC director and professor of Medicine at UC Denver, who co-authored the study. “I am already using this test to screen my patients for this gene, and if they test positive, I am giving them the combination therapy. They are doing very well on it. We are hopeful that this test will shift how we choose which therapies to give to each individual patient, which is key to getting the best results.”

In the UCCC study, EGFR+ patients lived an average of 15 months after diagnosis with the combination therapy, compared to an average of 7 months for EGFR- patients. EGFR+ patients’ tumors also shrunk twice as much on the combination therapy.

The Colorado group, which includes Hirsch, Bunn, and UC Denver Professors Wilbur Franklin, MD, and Marileila Varella-Garcia, PhD, previously found similar results using the EGFR FISH test to predict which patients would do well on Tarceva (erlotinib), another EGFR inhibitor drug. EGFR also plays a role in colorectal cancer, so the test could also be used to predict which of those patients may benefit from EGFR-blocking drugs.

Approximately 215,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008, according to the American Cancer Society. Only about 40 percent will be alive one year later, and only about 15 percent will be alive five years later. Because there is no effective screening test for lung cancer, most people are diagnosed when the disease has spread beyond the lung. Lung cancer kills more adults in the United States than any other cancer.

About UCCC
The University of Colorado Cancer Center is the Rocky Mountain region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. Headquartered on the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus, UCCC is a consortium of three state universities (Colorado State University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Colorado Denver) and six institutions (AMC Cancer Research Center, Denver Health Medical Center, Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center, National Jewish Medical and Research Center, The Children’s Hospital and University of Colorado Hospital). Together, our 400+ members are working to ease the cancer burden through cancer care, research, education and prevention and control. Learn more at http://www.uccc.info/.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

CU TTO Reports Performance Metrics for FY2007-08

In July 2008 TTO released its performance metrics for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008. Please follow this link to a short presentation summarizing our performance, and look for our full annual report in September 2008.

University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office Launches Blog!

Welcome to the official blog for the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office (TTO). Here, we will keep you up-to-date on TTO news and events, and share our perspective on the research and technology coming out of the University. We will also share information about the tech transfer community in general, and in Colorado. CU TTO newsletters, events and press releases will also be cross-posted here.

To find out more about CU, please visit the link section at right; you can also contact us by email or visit our main page to find a specific person or office.