Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tech Spotlight: MicroRNA-based Prediction of Survival and Response to EGFR-targeted Cancer Therapy

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are abundant small noncoding RNAs that play important regulatory roles at the post-transcriptional level by binding to the 3’ untranslated region (3’UTR) of messenger RNAs and blocking either their translation or initiating their degradation. MiRNAs are predicted to regulate over 50% of human genes including those involved in crucial biologic processes such as proliferation, differentiation, development, and apoptosis.

A CU research team led by Dr. Glen J. Weiss and Dr. Lynne Bemis have identified and corroborated regulation of EGFR by miRNAs in lung cancer cell lines. Translating these findings, the team developed a quantitative method of measuring copy number of specific miRNA’s that regulate EGFR. A frequent occurrence, the deletion of these specific miRNA loci is associated with survival and response to EGFR-TKI therapy. In fact, these researchers have found that the loss of these specific miRNA’s correlate significantly better to patient response for EGFR-TKI therapy than both mutation analysis and FISH, the two predominant methods employed today. Beyond the exciting conclusion that this technology may be used as a more effective diagnostic to select responsive patients, two therapeutic approaches that build upon this science are in development.

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.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Podcast: Delivering Value in FY2009

This podcast presents a fiscal year end update from David Allen, Associate VP for Technology Transfer and Tom Smerdon, Director Of Licensing & New Business Development. Net: in a challenging fiscal environment, TTO managed well, and focused on continuing to deliver value to its primary internal and external constituents and stakeholders.

Listen to the podcast.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

University of Colorado Announces $1.6M in Bioscience Commercialization Grants

With matching funds from the State of Colorado, grants will bring promising CU bioscience technologies nearer to commercialization

Boulder (August 20, 2009). The University of Colorado has selected 11 projects for funding under a 2008 legislative initiative to increase the commercial potential of bioscience technologies from Colorado research institutions. These grants, known as ‘proof of concept’ grants, fill a crucial gap in funding between basic research funding (typically from federal agencies) and industrial commercialization of technology (funded by companies). The grants are designed to move promising new drugs, diagnostic tests and medical devices closer to commercial readiness. Under House Bill 1001, passed in 2008, the State of Colorado provided a total of $1.5 million to Colorado research institutions in 2009, matched by equal funding contributed by the universities. Grants to CU researchers (including matching grants) totaled $1.64 million; the winning grant proposals were:
• Natalie Ahn PhD, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, CU-Boulder, for targeted drugs to treat melanoma.

• K. Ulrich Bayer PhD, Department of Pharmacology, UC Denver, for a new drug to prevent permanent neurological damage in stroke patients.

• Mark W. Duncan PhD and Anthony Elias MD, Division of Pulmonary Medicine and Division of Medical Oncology, UC Denver, for improved diagnosis and early detection of breast cancer.

• Heide L. Ford PhD and Rui Zhao PhD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics, UC Denver, for the identification and development of novel therapeutics that may be used to treat a wide variety of cancers.

• Emily A. Gibson PhD and Timothy Lei PhD, Department of Pharmacology and Department of Electrical Engineering, UC Denver, for an improved flow cytometry device for analysis of blood samples.

• Bradley Olwin PhD, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, CU-Boulder, for a method of repairing damaged muscle (including damage from Muscular Dystrophy) using stem cells.

• Daniel Schwartz PhD, Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering, CU-Boulder, for liquid crystal-based DNA microarrays to cost effectively measure genetic material and quickly gather gigabases of genomic data.
• Timothy F. Scott PhD, Department of Mechanical Engineering, CU-Boulder. Photodegradable materials for temporary and minimally-invasive implantable medical devices.

• Robin Shandas PhD, Division of Cardiology, UC Denver and Department of Engineering, CU-Boulder, for a medical device to treat venous valve incompetence.

• Wei Tan PhD, Department of Mechanical Engineering, CU-Boulder, for a new type of vascular graft to provide improved access for dialysis patients.

• Linda Watkins PhD, Department of Psychology, CU-Boulder, for a novel approach to treating chronic pain and increasing the clinical efficacy of opioid pain relief drugs.
The winning grant proposals were selected from a pool of 25 applications through a competitive internal review process, followed by approval from the State of Colorado.

The State of Colorado conducted a pilot version of this program in 2006, funding 13 projects at the University of Colorado under a similar matching-funds process. Of these 13 grants, four of the resulting technologies have been licensed or optioned to Colorado-based companies, with advanced commercialization discussions underway with four other Colorado-based companies. “We are delighted to see these proof-of-concept research projects move forward, “said David Allen, CU’s Associate Vice President for Technology Transfer. “Many of these projects will become the basis of new Colorado companies and jobs in a few years, and medical benefits across the globe.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

CU TTO Reports Performance Metrics for FY2008-09

In August 2009 TTO released its performance metrics for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009. Please follow this link to a short presentation summarizing our performance, and look for our full annual report in September 2009.

Link: CU’s Technology Transfer Office Brings Research to Businesses

TTO Director Kate Tallman (CU-Boulder and CU-Colorado Springs) was featured in this post on the 8th Continent Space 2.0 blog:
"We help our faculty make their research discoveries commercially viable and into something that someone would want to invest in, while at the same time protecting their stake in the technology.[...] Inventions, scientific and technological advances seldom occur within the context of a well defined problem; rather it is typical for faculty to develop technology ‘solutions’ independent of market-defined needs or problems. Most university IP is considered ‘raw technology’; it is incomplete, unrefined, and years from being formulated into products or services ready for commercial markets."
Read the full post.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tech Spotlight: Synthesis of Polymerizable Reactive Oxygen Species Antagonists to Reduce ROS Damage in Transplanted Medical Devices

Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) are highly reactive moieties that can cause cellular damage on a broad scale. Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) is an enzyme that catalytically degrades highly the reactive radical O2- before it can cause damage. However, due to the instability of the SOD protein, SOD mimetics have been generated. Frequently, SODm are delivered in a soluble fashion, where the molecule can penetrate the cell to act intracellularly. However, this method of therapy may not impart any reduction in extracellularly generated O2- levels and continued administration of SODm is required for continued efficacy.

A University of Colorado research team led by Dr. Kristi Anseth has generated an acrylated SODm demonstrating SOD activity similar to that of the commercially available molecule on which it is based. This new molecule may be directly polymerized into hydrogel barrier systems that encapsulate pancreatic islet grafts (used in transplantation therapies for Type I Diabetes Mellitus) as well as into polymers utilized in drug-eluting stents to reduce inflammatory damage during blood vessel reperfusion in the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

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.

Monday, August 17, 2009

August 2009 Newsletter Now Available

Highlights from TTO's August 2009 newsletter:

TechoShark Licenses CU Technology for Mobile Social Networking
The University of Colorado and TechoShark, Inc. recently executed an exclusive licensing agreement to develop and commercialize technology enabling mobile, location-aware social networking. The technology underlying hoozat, the iPhone application recently launched by TechoShark, was developed in the lab of Richard Han, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Available for download in the iPhone App Store, hoozat interacts with Facebook to allow users to both connect with friends and meet and learn about new people in real-time based on location. In January 2009 the company won a six-month, $100,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Science Foundation to develop the technology platform into a preference-aware mobile application linking a user's location with coupons from local stores and restaurants.

Biotricity Medical Options CU Bioelectric Power Technology
The University of Colorado and Biotricity Medical Inc. recently executed an option agreement allowing Biotricity Medical to develop technology for implantable biogenerators. These biogenerators provide a long-term (potentially inexhaustible) power supply to implanted medical devices such as pacemakers and insulin pumps, removing the need for repeated power replacement operations. The underlying technology was developed in the lab of Dr. Simon Rock Levinson, a professor of physiology and biophysics at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine.

Snoasis Licenses CU Advanced Wound Healing Technology
Current growth factor products, which help speed wound healing and improve outcomes, cost between $200 and $2,500 per dose; when used in dental applications. A less expensive option, which requires drawing blood from the patient, is the use of autologous blood derived growth factors; costing between $150 and $400. Colorado-based Snoasis Medical has completed an agreement with the University of Colorado for the world-wide, exclusive dental rights to human platelet morphogen (HPM); a new growth factor solution (invented by Dr. Mark Roedersheimer, assistant research professor at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine) expected to be distributed at a fraction of the cost.

CU Receives Record $711M in Sponsored Research Funding in 2008-09
University of Colorado researchers across four campuses received more than $711M in sponsored research funding in fiscal year 2008-09, a record high that reaffirms CU’s position as one of the top public research universities in the United States. Total sponsored research dollars received by CU’s four campuses in 2008-09 exceeds the record-setting $661M the CU system received in fiscal year 2007-08, according to preliminary data provided by the university’s institutional research officials. In fiscal year 2008-09 the University of Colorado Denver and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus together received more than $363M in sponsored research funding; the University of Colorado at Boulder received nearly $340M; and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs received nearly $8.7M.

TTO Initiates Second Licensing Associate Search
The CU Technology Transfer Office is seeking a Life Sciences Licensing Associate for its Anschutz Medical Campus office (Aurora, CO). The Licensing Associate has responsibility for the management and administration of a portfolio of intellectual property, which involves identifying, soliciting, and evaluating invention disclosures for patent and market potential, prioritizing investments in the portfolio, and negotiating and administering option and license agreements. Please review the full requirements - to apply, visit www.jobsatcu.com (posting #807777).

Read the full newsletter.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Snoasis Licenses CU Advanced Wound Healing Technology

HPM: A MajesticTM wound healing cocktail opens new doors

Denver (August 12, 2009). Current growth factor products, which help speed wound healing and improve outcomes, cost between $200 and $2,500 per dose; when used in dental applications. A less expensive option, which requires drawing blood from the patient, is the use of autologous blood derived growth factors; costing between $150 and $400. Colorado-based Snoasis Medical has completed an agreement with the University of Colorado for the world-wide, exclusive dental rights to human platelet morphogen (HPM); a new growth factor solution expected to be distributed at a fraction of the cost. Not only will Snoasis be able to offer Majestic, the name of its new product, at a lower price of around $100 per dose, this new, less expensive option is also patient friendly, eliminating the need to draw blood.

According to Paul Rosen, DMD, MS: “If the promise of a low cost, efficacious, growth product becomes reality, clinicians would be able to incorporate the use of Majestic into the majority of their cases, rather than only the most challenging ones.” In early 2007, Snoasis Medical indentified HPM through one of its scientific advisors, and began the process of licensing the technology. HPM inventor Mark Roedersheimer, M.D explains: “Wound healing is a complex process. Current products only contain a single growth factor; therefore, they only offer part of the solution in terms of speeding up and enhancing the healing process. HPM is a cocktail of numerous growth factors.” Roedersheimer is an assistant research professor at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine.

Robert Tofe, president of Snoasis Medical, began pursuing HPM for two reasons: “data suggesting superior angiogenic potential compared to recombinant platelet derived growth factor (rhPDGF), and a proprietary manufacturing process. HPM utilizes a natural source of growth factors, rather than recombinant technology; dramatically lowering manufacturing costs.”

To help support the development of Majestic, Snoasis Medical and CU were recently awarded a National Institute of Health (NIH) Phase I research grant. The completion of the license agreement with CU provides Snoasis with a second technology platform to go along with its line of placental based membranes. According to Tofe, “the addition of HPM will further strengthen Snoasis Medical’s position in the dental regenerative products market, and help fulfill Snoasis’ goal of becoming the number one dental regenerative products company.”

About Snoasis Medical
Founded in 2007, Snoasis Medical (Denver, CO) is focused on the development and commercialization of products for use in dental regenerative procedures. For additional information please visit www.SnoasisMedical.com.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Biotricity Medical Options CU Bioelectric Power Technology

Colorado company to develop implantable biogenerator to power implanted medical devices

Boulder (August 11, 2009). The University of Colorado and Biotricity Medical Inc. recently executed an option agreement allowing Biotricity Medical to develop technology for implantable biogenerators. These biogenerators provide a long-term (potentially inexhaustible) power supply to implanted medical devices such as pacemakers and insulin pumps, removing the need for repeated power replacement operations. The underlying technology was developed in the lab of Dr. Simon Rock Levinson, a professor of physiology and biophysics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

The company’s first planned product, EpiVoltTM, is a tiny, implantable biogenerator that will provide power indefinitely to devices including pacemakers, insulin pumps, cochlear implants, artificial retinas and vagal nerve stimulators. The EpiVoltTM device is made of living electricity-generating cells that use the body’s own natural chemicals and processes to create electric power. “It‘s an inexhaustible source of power that will be much smaller than the batteries it will replace,” explained Dr. Levinson. “This will allow the EpiVoltTM to be permanently implanted in very small spaces along with the device that it powers, without the need for long connecting wires running through the body to a remote battery power source.” The company believes its products will improve the quality of life for millions of people with diabetes, chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, and those with pacemakers, cochlear implants and other implanted devices.

Biotricity Medical is led by Dr. Stephen Rathmill, a business driver with 27 years of experience creating and managing high-tech businesses, with Dr. Levinson serving as Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer. “If the EpiVoltTM proves to be scalable and commercially feasible, it can be a powerful platform for miniaturization, expand design flexibility, and push back the practical limitations for implantable electronic medical devices,” said Rick Silva, Director of Technology Transfer for UC Denver. “We have been impressed by the technical challenges already addressed, and are optimistic about demonstrating the feasibility of the technology in animals in the relatively near future.”

About Biotricity Medical Inc.
Biotricity Medical is a medical device research and manufacturing company specializing in developing long-term power requirements for implanted devices based on bioelectric generation. Founder Simon Rock Levinson, Ph.D., Chief Scientist, is a noted researcher in the field of bioelectricity generation in the nervous system and is a professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Cofounder Stephen Rathmill, Ph.D., President, is a business performance specialist and an expert in leadership and organizational systems. www.biotricitymedical.com

Tech Spotlight: Protein Biomarkers for Differential Diagnosis of Thyroid Cancers

With the use of protein biomarkers, a research team led by Dr. Mark Duncan of the University of Colorado has demonstrated that several proteins are present at markedly different levels in malignant and benign thyroid nodules, as well as in tissue samples and fluid samples. At this time, this research group has validated one of these biomarkers in serum/plasma, with further work underway now to develop serum/plasma assays for the validated markers. These protein biomarker demonstrations have lead to the prediction that these proteins will offer sensitive, specific, cost-effective, and rapid diagnostic tools for thyroid cancer, which would allow for increased diagnostic and/or prognostic power.

This approach to clinical research of proteins is broadly applicable and can be used to investigate any disease. Dr. Duncan’s research team at the University of Colorado also has ongoing studies in drug sensitivity in lung cancer, improved diagnostic markers of breast cancer, improved prognostic markers in prostate cancer, and viability of pancreatic islets for transplantation.

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.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tech Spotlight: MRDI - A Diagnostic Tool for Metastatic Cancer Progression

Professor Natalie Ahn and her research group at the University of Colorado have developed a novel diagnostic tool to monitor the progression of malignant melanoma. Cell lines from melanoma tumors at varying stages revealed that RhoA is selectively activated in cells of metastatic origin. Using a functional proteomics strategy, the research team identified a protein that is induced in metastatic cells by constitutive RhoA activation, which promotes cell invasion; this protein has been termed Mediator of RhoA-Dependent Invasion, or MRDI. Analysis of human melanomas has demonstrated that MRDI localization within the tumor cells aids in identifying the stage of the tumor (ie. nuclear localization in nevi and early stage tumors and cytoplasmic localization with plasma membrane accentuation in late stage tumors). Extensive studies of the MRDI protein have demonstrated that it is essential for cell motility and promotes cell invasion; a polyclonal antibody to MRDI has also been generated.

This technology is potentially useful as a diagnostic tool for cancer stage determination, or as a diagnostic marker for cancer detection in human serum samples.

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.