Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tech Spotlight: Breakthrough Therapies for Neuropathic Pain Targeting Glial Cells

Dr. Linda Watkins’ CU-Boulder lab studies how to treat chronic pain and increase the efficacy of analgesic drugs while decreasing their negative side effects. While all currently available therapies for acute and chronic pain target neurons, the focus of the Watkins lab is radically different; namely, a type of non-neuronal cells called glia. Dr. Watkins’ work has shown that glial activation can compromise the ability of analgesics to suppress pain, contribute to the development of tolerance (wherein more and more drug is required to obtain pain relief), and contribute to the development of dependence (an increasing issue with pain meds). Her work has shown that variants of known opioids, as well as drugs targeting Toll-Like Receptor 4 (TLR4), can suppress glia activation and thereby treat chronic pain as stand-alone therapies; they can also increase analgesic efficacy while decreasing analgesic tolerance, dependence, and reward, and other negative side effects.

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

Monday, October 26, 2009

Podcast: Colorado Institute for Drug, Device & Diagnostic Development

W3W3 radio spoke with Rick Duke and Kevin Smith, directors of the newly-launched Colorado Institute for Drug, Device & Diagnostic Development (CID4) on how and why it was formed, and what's next.

Listen to the podcast, or view an archive of all TTO podcasts.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tech Spotlight: Novel Cancer Therapeutics Targeting the Homeobox Superfamily of Genes

Tumor growth and normal development share many properties - both processes involve alterations in cell proliferation and differentiation, alterations in cell death, neovascularization, cell motility, and invasion of surrounding tissue. Genes involved in normal developmental processes may therefore contribute to tumorigenesis if mis-expressed. Dr. Heide Ford of the University of Colorado Cancer Center has done intensive research on the homeobox superfamily of genes, which encode transcription factors that are essential during normal development and are often dysregulated in cancer. In elucidating the molecular mechanisms by which homeobox genes influence cancer, Dr. Ford has developed a number of novel methods to treat carcinomas, including inhibition of Cyclin A1, a potential anti-cancer therapeutic approach, and associated miRNA, transcription factor and phosphatase anti-cancer targets.

To read a non-confidential summary of this technology, including links to key patent and scientific documents, please click the image above. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.

Monday, October 19, 2009

October 2009 Newsletter Now Available

Highlights from TTO's October 2009 newsletter:

Xalud Therapeutics Launched to Commercialize CU Breakthroughs in Pain Management
TTO recently executed an option agreement with Colorado-based Xalud Therapeutics, Inc., giving Xalud the right to commercialize a novel treatment approach for neuropathic pain and other diseases of the central nervous system invented by Dr. Linda Watkins of CU-Boulder. The company's lead product candidate is a proprietary, non-opioid based therapy that eliminates neuropathic pain in highly-predictive, gold-standard rodent models; the company also believes its treatment approach may be effective against diseases of the central nervous system. Neuropathic pain is a chronic, debilitating condition affecting millions of people in the U.S., and is expected to grow into an $8.5B market by 2018.

Update: Bioscience Discovery Evaluation Grant Program
In early October, TTO received 36 applications for the Colorado Bioscience Research and Evaluation Grant  (BDEG) program. After internal TTO review, 15 applications were forwarded to the external VC/business review panels, who will then decide which proposals will reach the final stage of live presentation to the panels. TTO expects to fund 9-11 proposals total for this round of grants. Additional information on the BDEG program is available online.

Read the full newsletter, or sign up to receive a monthly email update.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Podcast: Universities Step Up to the Plate for Entrepreneurs

W3W3 radio chatted with Paul Jerde, Executive Director of CU-Boulder's Deming Center for Entrepreneurship, and Larry Jones, a member of the center's Executive Committee, about the center's operation and relationship with the CU Tech Transfer Office.

Listen to the podcast (part 1) (part 2), or view an archive of all TTO podcasts.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tech Spotlight: Hybrid Integrated Photonics - Optical Packaging and Circuit Fabrication Systems

Current optical packaging systems are a direct descendant of gun sights developed in WWII, in which optics are manually aligned and then epoxied to machined metal scaffolds. The results are typically unreliable, large, expensive and of limited complexity due to the moderate individual yield.

Dr. Robert McLeod of the University of Colorado has developed optical packaging and circuit fabrication systems and associated methods of use that are compatible with hybrid integration of virtually any optoelectronic component. This invention employs a three-dimensional directwrite lithography system capable of writing deeply-burned, localized index structures into diffusion-mediated photopolymer, providing advantages including greater flexibility in the writing media and the ability to use low power, inexpensive, continuous-wave lasers. Index structures are written both parallel and perpendicular to the writing beam in different types of photopolymers, providing control over the feature size and shape. These systems are fully automatic, compact, mechanically robust, and inexpensive to operate for both large and small production volumes.

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, October 12, 2009

TTO Releases Updated Bioscience Technology Pipeline

TTO has released its 2009 updated Bioscience Technology Pipeline, providing an overview about CU therapeutic, diagnostic, and medical device technologies at all stages of development. To view the pipeline please visit our Tech Explorer site. (Look for an updated Physical Sciences pipeline soon.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tech Spotlight: Prevention of Salivary Gland Hypofunction During Radiation Therapy

Head and neck cancers affect over 55,000 patients in the United States every year, most of whom undergo some form of radiation therapy, often requiring multiple doses. This therapy has long been known to cause damage to salivary gland tissue, leading to a "dry mouth" syndrome called xerostomia, which diminishes the quality of life for these patients as it makes articulation (clear speech) difficult, makes swallowing foods difficult and dangerous, and makes the oral cavity more susceptible to chronic infection.

It has long been thought that this salivary damage was necrotic in nature and thus not preventable, but Drs. Steven Anderson and Kirsten Limesand of the University of Colorado have shown that this damage is actually apoptotic and is affected by the Akt pathway. Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is a known activator of Akt, and Drs. Anderson and Limesand have gone on to show that IGF-1 can be used to protect salivary gland tissue from the radiation induced damage, thereby preventing the onset of xerostomia. The model has been partially validated in mice and a provisional U.S. Patent Application was filed on the technology as a method for preventing xerostomia in patients undergoing radiation therapy for head and neck cancers (except for salivary gland tumors).

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.