Wednesday, April 29, 2009

BlueSun, Inc. Commercializing CU Trauma Recovery Program

COLORADO SPRINGS (Apr. 29, 2009). BlueSun, Inc. has finalized an agreement with the University of Colorado to license the Journey to Disaster Recovery™ and Journey to Trauma Recovery™ programs developed by Dr. Charles Benight and his collaborators at the Trauma, Health, and Hazards Center and the Computer Science Department at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. “The mission at BlueSun, Inc. is to harness the capabilities of technology and psychological science to help empower people in dealing with serious life experiences,” explains Benight. “We envision working with a host of organizations who are responsible for the welfare of people facing traumatic or life changing events.”

The Journey to Recovery™ websites are ideal for disaster recovery situations where traumatized individuals have little access to recovery assistance due to environmental logistics – for example, when there are few mental health providers available – and in situations where public movement is restricted like a pandemic influenza outbreak, or when people fear being labeled because they are accessing mental health services. The Journey to Recovery websites are anonymous, operate 24 hours a day, and can be accessed most anywhere in the world.

The Journey to Recovery™ websites can help people from all walks of life including the general public, emergency services workers, hospital personnel, school personnel, and mental and physical health providers. The customizable nature of the Journey websites provides a unique opportunity to generate an adaptable site that is culturally relevant to different users. Early in 2005, Dr. Benight joined Dr. Josef Ruzek from the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress at the Veterans Administration to collaborate on an interactive website for trauma survivors. Through initial seed money from the Network Information and Space Security Center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, an initial prototype was developed.

BlueSun, Inc. was founded by Dr. Benight in 2008 to commercialize the program. The company has received a $250,000 Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) award from the National Institute of Mental Health to develop the program for commercial deployment, and the company has also received approximately $90,000 in matching funds from the State of Colorado for business development purposes, via the Colorado Early-State Bioscience company Grant program. “The Journey to Recovery program is built on leading edge research on trauma and mental health,” says Kate Tallman, Director of Technology Transfer for CU-Boulder and CU-Colorado Springs. “The Colorado Early-State Bioscience Company Grant funds will allow BlueSun to deliver it as a professional-grade service to anyone recovering from trauma, including returning veterans and first responders.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

InDevR Licenses CU FluChip Technology to Combat Deadly Swine Flu Virus

BOULDER (Apr. 28, 2009). InDevR Inc., a small biotech company in Boulder, CO, announced today that they have licensed the FluChip technology from the University of Colorado. The FluChip was invented by a joint team of scientists at the University of Colorado and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in an NIH-sponsored effort led by Professor Kathy Rowlen. Rowlen, now the CEO of InDevR, said that InDevR has arranged to test genetic material from the recent swine H1N1 virus on the MChip as well as other versions of the FluChip which are under development. According to Rowlen: “Based on work we conducted a couple of years ago, it appears that the M-gene version of the FluChip will be able to distinguish human H1N1 viruses from the new swine H1N1 virus. If that proves to be the case, the FluChip will be a much needed and powerful new tool for surveillance since all of the current influenza diagnostics on the market are unable to subtype this virus.” The most popular diagnostic tests for influenza include rapid immunoassays, which are only able to identify the type (A or B) of influenza virus, and reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assays, which were designed for human-adapted influenza viruses and are not able to identify the swine H1N1 subtype. State Public Health Laboratories must now send any influenza A viruses that cannot be subtyped using existing diagnostics to the CDC for analysis by genome sequencing or viral isolation. The CDC must select viruses to analyze since it is not possible to run every sample collected from a large number of Public Health Labs.

The M-gene based FluChip has been demonstrated to delineate human-adapted viruses from non-human viruses, such as the H1N1 virus that caused the 1918 flu pandemic (sometimes called the “Spanish Flu”). “Since the FluChip assay can be conducted within a single day, it could be employed in State Public Health Laboratories to greatly enhance influenza surveillance and our ability to track the virus,” Rowlen said. InDevR will combine the FluChip technology with an innovative detection technology (NESATM), which InDevR also licensed from the University of Colorado and further developed with NIH sponsorship, to make the FluChip assay inexpensive and easy to use in any lab that has basic capabilities for PCR (a widely-used technique for genetic manipulation and testing). “Kathy and her team have been engaged with this and similar diagnostic technology for many years,” said Mary Tapolsky, Senior Licensing Manager at the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office. “CU TTO is excited about this experienced and motivated group developing and commercializing this promising technology.”

Update: On May 5, InDevR and the Influenza Division of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed that the M-version of the FluChip can distinguish swine-origin H1N1 from seasonal human influenza viruses and avian flu. InDevR will immediately begin manufacturing FluChip kits for placement in a limited number of State Public Health labs, beginning with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

About InDevR
InDevR, Inc. is a small, privately held biotechnology company in Boulder, CO. Founded in 2003, InDevR employs a highly motivated team of individuals dedicated to the development and commercialization of innovative technologies that will help fill gaps in the current paradigm for virus-related diagnostics. InDevR is poised to launch two products later this year: the Virus Counter for rapid virus quantification of viruses, and a pathogen detection platform based on low-density microarrays and novel signal amplification technology. For further information, please visit

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Now Available: TTO 2008 Companies Created Timeline

CU TTO has released its 2008 Companies Created Timeline (PDF), providing information on companies created based on CU technology since 1994 (updated in January 2009).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tech Spotlight: Bryostatin Derivates to Treat Pulmonary and Systemic Vascular Diseases

A CU research group led by Edward Dempsey has identified that bryostatin and its derivatives may be used to treat pulmonary hypertension (PH), and other vascular diseases associated with cardiac hypertrophy. Data from a mouse model of chronic hypoxic PH shows that bryostatins reduce PH-induced chronic hypoxia. Additionally, recent assays have found that bryostatin caused a substantial reduction in pulmonary artery pressure in lab rats.

To read a non-confidential summary of this technology, please click the image above. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

April 2009 Newsletter Now Available

Highlights from TTO's April 2009 newsletter:

CU Executes Option Agreement with Tusaar
TTO recently optioned a CU-Boulder water decontamination technology to Tusaar Inc., a privately-held Boulder-based company. The technology, developed by Professor Mark Hernandez of the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, is used to remove heavy metals from wastewater. Tusaar anticipates that the inexpensive ingredients used in this technology, plus low energy requirements, lower waste disposal costs and expected compatibility with existing treatment systems will allow the company to gain a significant share of the water treatment market.

TTO Tech Entrepreneurship Luncheon Kicks Off CU-Boulder Entrepreneurship Week

In mid-April TTO hosted a luncheon celebrating faculty entrepreneurship, and kicking off Entrepreneurship Week at CU-Boulder. The event, sponsored by Faegre & Benson and hosted by TTO and the Boulder Innovation Center (BIC), offered insight into the process of taking a technology from a University laboratory and steering it to commercialization, and featured a recent success story. A listing of upcoming Entrepreneurship Week events is available online.

Renewable Energy Ideas Abound at CU
CU received six pre-proposals in mid-March for its Renewable Energy Proof-of-Concept Grant (POCei) program, through which the CU TTO and the CU-Boulder Energy Initiative (EI) plan to award up to four $50,000 grants to researchers. The proposals cover a wide range of fields to include solar, biofuels, energy efficiency, fuel cells and batteries.

Read the full newsletter.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Link: CU-Boulder Researchers Develop New 3-D Platform for Growing Cells

It's easy enough for researchers in a laboratory to grow the cells they rely on for their work. Put them in a petri dish with a hospitable fluid, keep them at the right temperature and take care not to expose them to anything that might stunt their growth and soon the tiny specs will be bouncing baby cells, ready for whatever experiments scientist choose to use them for.

The problem with this tried-and-true method is that very few cells grow that way naturally. A petri dish is a two-dimensional home for a cell that would normally grow in a 3-D environment, like a living organism.

"There's a lot of interest in developing better cell culture platforms," said April Kloxin, a postdoctoral research associate with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the department of chemical and biological engineering at CU-Boulder. "There has been a lot of 2-D work, but research has shown that it's important that it happen in 3-D, in a situation that mimics the way it happens in the body."

To solve that problem Kloxin and chemical and biological engineering Distinguished Professor Kristi Anseth have developed a new cell culture platform that allows for more realistic experiments. The team's paper on the new substance was published this month in the journal Science.(Read full article.)

Click here and here for summaries of CU 3D hydrogel technology available for licensing.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Podcast: Dr. John Carroll & Dr. James Chen, UC Denver Inventors of the Year

Drs. Carroll and Chen have collaborated for nearly two decades to develop various computer-assisted utilities to facilitate diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in cardiac catheterization laboratories. Currently, several important research projects are underway, including online 4-D imaging to assist cardiac intervention for structural heart diseases, multi-modality fusion (CT, X-ray, and Ultrasound) and advanced quantitative estimates, and kinetic and deformation analyses on vascular structures and implantation devices. Larry talked with these collaborators on a number of topics including funding and its challenges during these economic times.

Listen to the podcast.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tech Spotlight: Chip-based Influenza Strain Detection

A research team at the University of Colorado has developed the FluChip-B, a low-density DNA microarray that specifically targets influenza type B viral RNA and distinguishes between the two most common B lineages. Improved genetic diagnosis, particularly for influenza B strain distinction, will allow enhanced monitoring and control of the virus' impact on human, avian and animal health within the U.S. and worldwide. In fact, a change from a Yamagata-like B to a Victoria-like B was recently made for the 2009-2010 vaccine strain selection, and the U.S. FDA has begin discussing the possibility of including two influenza B viruses in the vaccine to cover both lineages.

The same CU research team also developed the AVR-Chip, a DNA microarray that can distinguish between influenza A virus that is either sensitive or resistant to the amantadane family of drugs. Resistance to the adamantane class of drugs, once the most commonly prescribed influenza treatments, increased dramatically in 2003-04, resulting in the widespread se of oseltamivir; in 2007-08, a significant increase in the prevalence of oseltamivir resistance was reported among influenza A viruses worldwide, and preliminary CDC data from December 2008 indicate that 98% of the sampled influenza viruses circulating in the U.S. were resistant to oseltamivir, while all were susceptible to adamantane drugs. A need exists for identifying sensitivity or resistance of these viruses to current and developing therapies, to enable rapid and widespread infection management.

To read a non-confidential summary of these technologies, click the image above. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.