Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tech Spotlight: Sequential Click Reactions for Synthesizing and Patterning Hydrogels

University of Colorado scientists have developed a robust synthetic strategy for a hydrogel platform utilizing orthogonal click chemistries, one for hydrogel formation and another for biochemical patterning within the preformed material. The hydrogel is formed using macro-molecular precursors that react via a copper-free click chemistry, allowing for the direct encapsulation of cells within click hydrogels for the first time. Subsequently, thiol-ene photocoupling chemistry is used to pattern biological functionalities within the gel in real-time and with micron-scale resolution. The modular aspect of these reactions allows for independent control of the network structure and chemistry, and facile incorporation of biological epitopes.

These types of patterned hydrogels have use in many applications including guiding cell behavior (cell:cell interactions, cell differentiation, cell:material interactions), guiding cell migration (implications in tissue development, tissue repair, etc.), tissue engineering, biosensors and drug delivery systems.

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

Monday, November 23, 2009

Soligenix Options CU Vaccine Thermostabilization Technology

Soligenix, Inc. announced in November that it has formed a consortium to develop thermostable technology to advance its RiVaxTM and other rapidly acting vaccines. Soligenix received a $9.4 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to support this work. As part of the initiative, Soligenix has executed an option agreement with the University of Colorado coverning novel technology to develop vaccines that can maintain stability at elevated temperatures. This new technology will form the cornerstone of the company’s R&D effort, which will involve the development of formulation and manufacturing processes for vaccines, including RiVaxTM, that are stable at elevated temperatures.

Read the full press release.

November 2009 Newsletter Now Available

Highlights from TTO's November 2009 newsletter:

ValveXchange Licenses CU Tech for Personalized 3D Heart Modeling
Aurora-based ValveXchange Inc. recently executed a license agreement with the University of Colorado for a process to transform cardiac imaging data into high-quality three-dimensional models used for heart valve product development, clinician training, and pre-procedure planning. The CU technology converts data from routine medical imaging of soft tissues (ultrasounds and CT and MRI scans) into 3D models, which are then transformed into physical models using 3D printers. ValveXchange will use the technology in conjunction with its implantable heart valve program. (Clink the link above to read the full release).

TTO Releases 2009 Annual Report
TTO is happy to announce that its 2009 Annual Report, covering TTO activities from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009, is now available. Download it now in PDF format by following the link above.

Colorado Report on Higher Education and Entrepreneurship Released
In early November, CU’s Silicon Flatirons Center and the Governor’s Innovation Council released Higher Education and Entrepreneurship in Colorado (PDF), a report that examines entrepreneurship education at Colorado’s institutions of higher learning, and suggests ways to further promote it and the economic growth it brings. One key finding is that Colorado’s universities and federal laboratories train the next generation of entrepreneurs and incubate their spinoff ventures, contributing to the Front Range’s status as a “mega-region” – one of a dozen locales that together yield two thirds of global economic activity and 90% of innovation.

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

Friday, November 20, 2009

TTO Company Creation Timeline Poster Now Available!

CU TTO has released its 2009 Company Timeline Poster, providing information on companies created based on CU technology since 1994 (updated fall 2009). Click on the image for a high-res PDF view:



Thursday, November 19, 2009

ValveXchange Licenses CU 3D Heart Modeling Technology

CU technology converts complex medical images into physical models through 3D printing technology

Aurora (November 19, 2009). ValveXchange Inc. recently executed a license agreement with the University of Colorado for a process to transform cardiac imaging data into high-quality three-dimensional models used for heart valve product development, clinician training, and pre-procedure planning.

The CU technology converts data from routine medical imaging of soft tissues (ultrasounds and CT and MRI scans) into 3D models, which are then transformed into physical models using 3D printers. ValveXchange will use the technology in conjunction with its implantable heart valve program. ValveXchange is developing a novel artificial heart valve that has all the advantages of today’s tissue-based heart valves, but can be implanted and replaced through a small incision between the ribs. This approach is expected to replace traditional open-heart surgery for many heart valve procedures.


A patient-specific heart model created from CT and MRI scans of the patient, with all internal features and defects. The light gray areas are made of hard plastic, while the darker gray-blue areas are pliable, rubber-like sections suitable for practice and training. Photo (c) 2009 ValveXchange, Inc.

The licensed 3D heart modeling technology offers a unique opportunity to develop the valve technology using patient-specific heart anatomy examples, and later to train physicians in implant techniques in a highly realistic manner. Cardiovascular diseases, particularly heart attacks and strokes, are responsible for the death of seventeen million individuals worldwide annually. Improved valve designs coupled with more advanced clinician training and patient-specific procedure planning are expected to significantly improve both treatment and quality of life of patients requiring these implants.

 “We expect this advance in 3D heart modeling to provide ValveXchange with a real advantage in the market space,” said ValveXchange CEO Larry Blankenship. “By being able to work with a model of the specific patient’s heart before the heart valve replacement procedure, physicians are expected to be able to decrease procedure time and increase success rates. This will be one more reason for them to select the advanced heart valve technology being developed by ValveXchange.”

“The models are a powerful tool for procedure planning and physician and patient education, and they will complement ValveXchange’s expertise in medical device development,” added Paul Tabor of the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office. “We are hopeful the marriage of these technologies results in a leap forward in the design, testing and performance of implantable heart valves.” The licensed technology is based on the work of Adam Hansgen, John D. Carroll, Shiuh-Yung (James) Chen and Michael Kim, all of the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine (Department of Cardiology).

ValveXchange was recently notified of a grant award of $250,000 to develop this technology under Colorado’s Early Stage Bioscience Company Grant Program, one of several funding initiatives created by the State of Colorado in 2008 to accelerate the commercialization of bioscience technologies developed at the state’s research institutions. This state funding is matched by research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “Matching funds from the state are critical to filling in the funding gaps that invariably arise when rapidly moving technology companies rely on a centralized funding system designed to support basic research with typically a 5-year time horizon,” noted Dr. Ivan Vesely, a Ph.D. biophysicist, an NIH-funded scientist and founder of ValveXchange.

About ValveXchange, Inc.
ValveXchange, Inc. is developing advanced heart valve designs based on the work of Dr. Ivan Vesely, an internationally recognized expert in artificial heart valves. The company’s products are designed to resolve the decades-old dilemma of “How to live with an artificial Heart Valve”. Currently, the only choice is a mechanical valve with a lifetime on anticoagulant medication with severe side effects and a sedentary life style, or a tissue valve that will allow a full, active lifestyle but will wear out in 15 years and require open-heart surgery again to replace. The ValveXchange products are designed for minimally-invasive access through a small incision between the ribs, without cardiopulmonary bypass, so that neither the first implant nor the subsequent valve exchanges will require open-heart surgery. The company has been funded by government research grants and private investors. ValveXchange, Inc. is located in the Fitzsimmons BioScience Park Center in Aurora, Colorado.  For more information go to www.valvexchange.com.

TTO 2009 Annual Report Now Available!

The University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office is pleased to announce that its 2009 Annual Report (PDF) is now available, covering TTO activities from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009.

Also available: our Technology Pipelines and our "Companies Created at CU" timeline poster (PDF). Please contact us via email to receive print versions of these documents.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tech Spotlight: Diagnostic Screen to Distinguish Between Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

A University of Colorado research group has developed a method for screening for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and distinguishing it from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The biomarker identified by this research group (CD 116) allows the clinician to determine (by testing a whole blood sample) whether a patient may be suffering from IBD and not IBS. This probable diagnosis in turn provides justification for a more invasive and costly colonoscopy or CT scan to confirm the diagnosis. This screening will enable more accurate and efficient differentiation between IBS and IBD, allowing for earlier treatment of IBD, and eliminating unnecessary testing for patients with IBS.

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

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Tale of Three Cities: How Boston, Boulder, and Seattle Measure Up as Tech Innovation Hubs

In Xconomy Seattle, Brad Feld (TechStars, Foundry Group) gives a history of tech entrepreneurship in Boulder:
In the mid-90s, because of the counter-culture community—and the Internet was purpose-built for places like Boulder—you had a lot of people who were independent, very smart, doing their own things suddenly intersecting with a medium that allows you to be anywhere.
  Read the rest, including comparisons to Boston and Seattle as "innovation hubs".

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tech Spotlight: Photolabile Hydrogels for Dynamic Tuning of Physical and Chemical Properties

Hydrogels are used extensively in the biomaterials industry for the fabrication of complex   devices, the creation of niches for tissue regeneration and the targeted release of drugs.    However, until now, no material has provided a truly dynamic environment in which physical and chemical cues are initially present within a gel and subsequently regulated on-demand, and in the presence of cells.

Dr. Kristi Anseth and colleagues have synthesized two photolytically-degradable monomers, both polymerizable in the presence of cells, to create photolabile gels whose chemical and physical properties are tunable in space and time with external triggers, and which have an  unprecedented level of spatial control over hydrogel scaffold structure and chemistry. Properties such as stiffness, diffusivity and water content can be manipulated with light intensity and wavelength, allowing on-demand control of material function and cellular interactions with the environment.

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, November 5, 2009

BIO Study Demonstrates Industry/University Partnerships Critical to U.S. Economy

From the BIO press release:
A study released in October by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) provides first-of-its-kind data on the importance of university/industry research and development partnerships to the U.S. economy. The study of university technology licensing from 1996 to 2007 shows a $187 billion dollar positive impact on the U.S. Gross National Product (GNP) and a $457 billion addition to gross industrial output, using very conservative models. [...] It assessed the economic impact of university licensing solely based on royalty data, and does not attempt to value other significant economic contributions of university-based research, and thus the estimates are considered to be significantly conservative.
View The Economic Impact of Licensed Commercialized Inventions Originating in University Research, 1996-2007 (PDF).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Maturing Early-Stage Biomedical Research: A Case Study

This paper (authored by UC Denver TTO Director Rick Silva, CU Vice President for Technology Transfer David Allen and UC Denver Vice Chancellor for Research Richard Traystman) was recently published in the new Medical Innovation & Business (MIB) journal:
There has been a philosophical debate about whether it is the proper role of universities to develop technology, spin companies out, and commercialize technology and how to resolve the conflicts apparent in such activity. Faculty and administrators are divided, to various degrees, on this issue at many institutions. Economic development and political leadership of many economic regions see their respective universities and public assets with a broader role than just advancing the frontiers of science. Universities are seen as economic engines, beyond the people they employ and educate. Many universities are seen as an integral and critical component of the knowledge economy. The progression is as follows: science leads to knowledge, which in turn leads to technology, which in turn leads to products and services, which in turn lead to business creation, and eventually to sustained job and wealth creation. The progression is not a consequence of happenstance; it must be planned and skillfully executed.
The paper goes on to examine the history of TTO's Proof of Concept (POC) program - read the full article.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tech Spotlight: Neural Cell Transplantation for Treatment of Huntington’s Disease, Other Neurological Disorders

A CU research team has developed a method of improving the motor skills of an individual with Huntington's disease, a degenerative neurological disorder that causes uncontrolled movements, loss of intellectual faculties, and emotional disturbance. Using hNT neuron cells from an immortalized culture, cells are implanted into the corpus striatum of an individual with Huntington's disease. Effectiveness of the immortalized cell line used for this invention has been demonstrated in animal models of HD, resulting in improved physical performance. This technology provides a method of providing cell therapy for HD, using a replenishable and reliable cell line, which avoids problems such as graft rejection, intense intracerebral inflammation, and tumor formation.

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.