Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tech Spotlight: High Efficiency Dual-Junction Solar Cell

Due to the increasing need for renewable energy sources, photovoltaics has been the fastest growing energy technology since 2002, growing at an approximate rate of 48% per year. Photovoltaic arrays generate a form of renewable electricity that can be used to power grid-tied electrical systems, buildings, transportation, remote area power systems, satellites and space probes, and stand alone devices.

Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the University of Colorado have collaborated to develop a high efficiency dual-junction solar cell, which includes a thin multi-quantum well structure. The initial analysis predicts a maximum conversion efficiency of 26% for the long wave junction, which does not include shadowing effects, reflection and unwanted recombination of minority carriers. In combination with a bulk AlGaAs cell with an optimal bandgap of 1.7eV, total efficiency is increased by 12%, while using a QW cell adds another 8% for a total efficiency of 46%.

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.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

CU Announces Annual Technology Transfer Awards

Denver (January 20, 2010)  – The University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office will host its annual awards ceremony tonight, honoring five faculty researchers, two companies founded on university research, and an Aurora organization helping local bioscience companies start up and grow.

Over the past two decades, CU researchers have developed technologies that have led to the creation of 94 new companies (PDF). Of these, 77 have operations in Colorado, seven have “gone public,” becoming publicly traded companies (either through an IPO or via a reverse merger), and 12 have been acquired by public companies. Companies created based on CU technology have attracted a total of over $4 billion in financing.

“Technology transfer is the process of conveying university research inventions to companies. Most of the companies that license CU technology operate in Colorado.This annual event is one way to highlight one often overlooked aspect of CU’s impact on the State’s economy and human betterment,” said David Allen, associate vice president for technology transfer at CU.

Faculty and companies recognized this year represent all CU campuses, and are working on the development of treatments for infectious diseases, programs to help recovering trauma victims,  human eyecare, human medical devices and children's literacy. This year’s award winners include:

Robert T. Batey; Inventor of the Year, CU-Boulder.
Batey, an associate professor of chemistry & biochemistry, works with riboswitches (recently discovered genetic regulatory elements). A large portfolio of riboswitch technologies from Batey’s lab have been licensed by BioRelix, Inc., a company developing novel and highly potent anti-infective compounds against pathogens resistant to currently available drugs.

Robert S. Hodges; Inventor of the Year, UC Denver. Hodges, a professor of biochemistry & molecular genetics, works on understanding protein structure and function through synthetic peptide and antipeptide therapeutic approaches. Antimicrobial peptide technology from Hodges’ lab was licensed to BioAMPS International in 2009; he is currently collaborating on a project to develop a universal vaccine against influenza infection.

Mark E. Rentschler; New Inventor of the Year, CU-Boulder. An assistant professor of mechanical engineering, Rentschler’s work is focused on biomechanics, medical devices and robotics, particularly actuator and sensor design and development for micro-robotic applications. 

Malik Y. Kahook; New Inventor of the Year, UC Denver.
An associate professor of ophthalmology, Kahook specializes in the medical and surgical care of glaucoma and cataracts. Kahook recently received sponsored research funds from a pharmaceutical company which may be followed up with an option agreement for one of his inventions, a non-invasive device for lowering intraocular pressure.

Charles C. Benight; New Inventor of the Year, CU-Colorado Springs.
Benight, a professor of psychology, studies human adaptation from trauma; over the past 14 years, he has focused research on recovery from natural disasters, man-made disasters,  motor vehicle accident trauma, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and bereavement. In 2009, Dr. Benight’s trauma recovery programs were licensed by BlueSun, Inc.

GlobeImmune, Inc.; Bioscience Company of the Year. GlobeImmune, based in Louisville, CO, is a private biopharmaceutical company developing targeted molecular immunogens (Tarmogens) for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. GlobeImmune has two products in randomized Phase 2 clinical trials: GI-5005 for chronic hepatitis C infection (HCV) and GI-4000 for pancreas, lung and colorectal cancers caused by mutations in the Ras oncogene. GlobeImmune has raised over $145M in venture and alliance funding to date.

Mentor InterActive, Inc.; Physical Sciences/Engineering/IT Company of the Year. Mentor InterActive, Inc., based in Boulder, CO, publishes and markets interactive software based on the proven Foundations to Literacy reading program developed at CU-Boulder. The first products in the My Virtual Tutor™: Reading line debuted in September 2009 at leading retailers throughout the US and Canada. Mentor InterActive recently signed a licensing agreement with Nintendo of America Inc. to develop My Virtual  Tutor™: Reading for Nintendo DS™ and Wii™ video game systems.

Fitzsimons BioBusiness Partners, Michael Artinger, Director; Business Advisor of the Year. Fitzsimons BioBusiness Partners (FBBp) is the premier advisory group serving the Colorado bioscience community, nurturing bioscience businesses in order to establish a global position for the industry at the Colorado Science + Technology Park at Fitzsimons. FBBp plays a critical part in helping CU Tech Transfer fulfill its role in spinning out new enterprises and helping those enterprises compete for grants and investment  capital, and become sustainable and growing companies.

January 2010 Newsletter Now Available

Highlights from TTO's January 2010 newsletter:

TTO Announces Annual Award Winners
On January 20, TTO presented its eighth annual awards to CU researchers and companies working on the development of treatments for infectious diseases, programs to help recovering trauma victims,  human eyecare, human medical devices and children's literacy.

AmideBio Licenses CU Peptide Manufacturing Technology
CU and AmideBio, LLC have executed an exclusive license agreement allowing the company to develop, manufacture and commercialize peptides  based on the work of Michael Stowell, Ph.D., an associate professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at CU-Boulder. The CU technology is a method for manufacturing recombinant proteins and peptides (molecules which are similar to proteins but smaller). These types of molecules are often key for treating diseases that cannot be addressed using conventional chemical therapeutics, but the field has historically been limited by challenges such as economical manufacturing and delivery. CU's technology circumvents these problems, particularly those associated with longer and more complex proteins, by leveraging a proprietary recombinant strategy that is economically viable and environmentally sustainable.

AgriHouse Completes Exclusive License for CU Water Management Technology
Agri-biotech company AgriHouse, Inc. recently executed an exclusive license with CU for intelligent leaf sensor technology enabling more precise control of water use in farming and greenhouses. AgriHouse, headquartered in Berthoud, Colo., is developing leaf sensors to measure and monitor plant moisture demands and other plant physiological sensing applications. The company's SG-1000 Leaf Sensor is being used by researchers working in plant growth, as well as in commercial greenhouses; in addition to saving water and preventing loss of plants, the leaf sensor allows for direct measurement of plant hydration, replacing current monitoring technologies that direct watering indirectly from indicators such as soil moisture and air temperature.

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

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tech Spotlight: Inhibition of Inflammatory Response to Treat Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury

Dr. V. Michael Holers of the University of Colorado has developed a method to prevent or treat ischemia-reperfusion injury in an individual by administering an agent that blocks or inhibits the binding of natural antibodies in the individual to annexin-4 and/or a phospholipid expressed on the surface of a cell that is in or adjacent to a tissue that is undergoing, or is at risk of undergoing, ischemia-reperfusion injury.

These discoveries may be used to develop therapies that interrupt the inflammatory response at its earliest point by blocking natural antibody recognition of ischemia-induced targets. In this way, it may be capable of ameliorating inflammation caused by ischemia reperfusion injury in a variety of areas in critical care medicine, including myocardial infarction (over a million patients each year in the US), acute coronary syndrome (~1.5 million), ischemic stroke (600,000), sepsis (750,000) and kidney failure (400,000).

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, January 12, 2010

Podcast: Commercialization Resources at the Boulder Innovation Center

W3W3 radio spoke with Tim Bour, Executive Director of the Boulder Innovation Center (BIC), and Kate Tallman of the CU tech transfer office, about commercialization resources available to CU inventors and entrepreneurs via the BIC.

Listen to part one or part two of the interview, or view an archive of all TTO podcasts.

Denver Magazine Reviews the Colorado Bioscience Industry

Recently, Denver Magazine featured an in-depth review of the history and development of Colorado's bioscience/biotech industry:
Colorado is a prime location to develop the bioscience economic sector. The state has a uniquely entrepreneurial population and a highly educated workforce. Its geographically central location places it in an advantageous position for future economic development and growth. The scenery and lifestyle attract top-quality talent. Most importantly, Colorado has a vision for the future.
Read the full column.

Monday, January 11, 2010

AgriHouse Inc. Completes Exclusive License for University of Colorado Water Management Technology

CU-developed leaf sensor saves water by telling growers when to irrigate.

Boulder (January 11, 2010). Agri-biotech company AgriHouse, Inc. recently executed an exclusive license with the University of Colorado for intelligent leaf sensor technology enabling more precise control of water use in farming and greenhouses.

AgriHouse, headquartered in Berthoud, Colo., is developing leaf sensors to measure and monitor plant moisture demands and other plant physiological sensing applications. The company’s first product, the SG-1000 Leaf Sensor and Precision Irrigation Control Software, became commercially available in the 4th quarter of 2009. The SG-1000 Leaf Sensor is being used by researchers working in plant growth, as well as in commercial greenhouses; in addition to saving water and preventing loss of plants, the leaf sensor allows for direct measurement of plant hydration, replacing current monitoring technologies that direct watering indirectly from indicators such as soil moisture and air temperature.

In a 2008 test at a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) research farm near Greeley, the company’s leaf sensor demonstrated an approximate 25% water savings over conventional watering schedules. (Colorado farmers currently spend more than $100 million annually for water and energy to irrigate their crops.)

Data monitoring captured by the leaf sensor and software also measures plant responses to evaporation, temperature and humidity fluctuations, along with wind gusts, soil moisture levels and natural rainfall. The sensors work in real time, and are functional during the entire growing season for any type of crop. “Because of its low-profile and non-intrusive features, the sensor can benefit researchers needing to better understand water flow mechanics, nutrient uptake and yield performance,” says Richard Stoner, founder and president of AgriHouse. “The SG-1000 Leaf Sensor is another tool in the farmer’s toolbox for controlling and lowering the cost of on the farm inputs. It is simply smart sense for water management and water & energy conservation.”

The sensors work by combining magnetic resistance and radio frequency to enable on-demand watering, providing a localized alternative to current technologies of soil-based moisture monitoring and aerial infrared imaging. The technology was developed in the University of  Colorado Department of Aerospace Engineering, and was the subject of a $150,000 Small Business Technology Transfer grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2008. The first patent covering the technology was granted in the 4th quarter of 2009.

“AgriHouse has been extremely efficient in converting this technology from lab demonstration to pilot production,” said Ted Weverka, a licensing manager at the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office. “They get the technology in front of the customer, get feedback and launch product without delay.”

AgriHouse is currently beta-testing wireless versions of the sensor, which would enable use in home gardeners, greenhouses, farmers and other large-scale operations. Both the current version and the wireless leaf sensor interface seamlessly into precision irrigation control software developed by AgriHouse

About AgriHouse:
AgriHouse is a leading edge agri-biotechnology company offering advance high performance food production systems for earth and space. AgriHouse was found in 1992 by Richard Stoner and Dr. Ken Knutson, Plant Pathologist, Colorado State University. The company has a broad portfolio of IP and patents to deliver cost effective green technologies to increase food production, conserve water and natural resources, reduce the reliance on toxic pesticides, and allow plants to regulate their own environmental needs through intelligent bio-feed systems.

In 2009 AgriHouse released its ODC™ Colloidal Chitosan for beetle kill protection. The USDA Forest Service tested ODC in 2008, on pine trees. ODC significantly increased (40%) pine resin pitch-out revealing a potential reduction (37%) in beetle eggs in pine trees.  ODC was first sponsored by BioServe Space Technologies, NASA-sponsored Research Partnership Center, aboard the space shuttle. BioServe is located on the campus of the University of Colorado, Boulder, CO. For additional information visit www.agrihouse.com and www.leafsensor.com.

Photo: SG-1000 Leaf Sensor Photo © 2009, AgriHouse, Inc.

AmideBio Licenses Peptide Manufacturing Technology from CU

Boulder, (January 11, 2010). The University of Colorado and AmideBio, LLC have executed an exclusive license agreement allowing the company to develop, manufacture and commercialize peptides  based on the work of Michael Stowell, Ph.D., an associate professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The CU technology is a method for manufacturing recombinant proteins and peptides (molecules which are similar to proteins but smaller). These types of molecules are often key for treating diseases that cannot be addressed using conventional chemical therapeutics, but the field has historically been limited by challenges such as economical manufacturing and delivery. CU’s technology circumvents these problems, particularly those associated with longer and more complex proteins, by leveraging a proprietary recombinant strategy that is economically viable and environmentally sustainable. 

 “We are pleased to be able to commercialize this technology developed at the University of Colorado, with which I have had an extensive and robust association,” said Misha Plam, AmideBio President and CEO. “This advance in peptide manufacturing provides AmideBio with a real advantage in the market, by providing historically difficult-to-produce peptides, without compromising quality, yield or economics.”

“We are pleased to see the launch of this new life science venture based on technology developed in Dr. Stowell’s lab,” added Tom Smerdon, Director of Licensing and New Business Development at the CU Technology Transfer Office. “We believe this technology has strong commercial potential, and AmideBio has the business leadership necessary to make it a commercial reality.”

About AmideBio, LLC
AmideBio based in Boulder, CO is a biotechnology company focused on providing recombinant peptide research and clinical products for a diverse array of disease research and disease targets. AmideBio maintains a proprietary platform vector technology that addresses the challenges of historically difficult to manufacture peptides by providing products that are reliable (BioPure™), economical and incorporate environmentally sustainable practices. For more information please visit www.AmideBio.com.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Now Available: CU's Starting a Startup Guide

The CU Technology Transfer Office (in conjunction with the CU-Boulder Entrepreneurial Law Clinic and Snell & Wilmer L.L.P.) is pleased to present an updated and revised edition of Starting a Startup: Successfully Managing the Dynamics of a New Company (PDF). This guide provides an introduction to academic technology entrepreneurship, covering issues ranging from university intellectual property and conflict of interest policies to the logistics of forming a new company based on CU technology.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tech Spotlight: FluChip / MChip: Rapid Identification of Influenza Viruses using a Single-Gene DNA Microarray

A University of Colorado research group has used functional genomics to develop the FluChip, a DNA microarray that provides information about the particular type and subtype of the virus that may be infecting a patient. The FluChip enables simple (and potentially even automated) interpretation of results, providing an important advantage over real-time PCR. The FluChip could act as a first line of defense in the identification of both seasonal, novel, and emerging influenza viruses, alerting public health officials to specimens requiring more detailed analysis. 

The same group has also developed the MChip, a second low-density DNA microarray targeting only the matrix gene segment of influenza A. This chip differs from most influenza diagnostics in that it can provide subtype information using a more stable gene target that is less susceptible to mutations than those targets typically used to subtype influenza. The MChip could be utilized to quickly separate seasonal infections from those involving novel or pandemic viruses, and to enhance the global surveillance efforts of governments and public health organizations.

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, January 4, 2010

CU-Boulder Ranked #6 for Cleantech Entrepreneurialism

The Cleantech Group went looking for the best places in the country for "collaboration between academics, businesses and investors":
Where will the cutting edge companies that transform the industries of cleantech going to come from? Odds are that it will be from one of the top cleantech universities. [...] In my latest rankings, I sought to identify the 10 U.S. academic institutions best suited to take advantage of this trend. I looked whether there exists—and to what degree—a pipeline of collaboration of businesses, universities, state initiatives, investors and research dollars. The mix has to be just right to accomplish the end goal of a commercially viable product.
CU-Boulder's entry at position six notes the relaunched Renewable & Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI), as well as ION Engineering and OPX Biotechnologies, two cleantech companies recently created based on CU technology.