Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Syberenety Options Addiction Support Software from CU

Social networking software will enable those recovering from substance addiction to interact with a network of mentors and peers in real-time, safely and privately.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – June 23, 2010 – A social networking tool developed jointly by the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Syberenety LLC may soon be available to help recovering addicts stay connected to support and accountability. Through an interactive, online social support network environment, coupled with applications on a handheld device, users will stay connected in real-time with professional and personal mentors, to give those battling addiction the best chance at avoiding and coping with potential relapse. Technology underlying the social network tool was recently optioned to Syberenety LLC, a Colorado-based company seeking to help those recovering from addiction find support in a secure online network.

It is well documented that patients struggling to overcome a dependency or addiction benefit from consistent and frequent interaction with their medical professional, assigned mentor, and approved peers and family members. However, constant interaction with these groups is typically not practical or realistic, particularly during a crisis which could involve or lead to a relapse. A social networking tool developed by Rory Lewis and Terry Boult of the UCCS computer science department is the crucial element of the Syberenety system, which creates a dynamic social network in which patients recovering from substance abuse can interact privately and safely with peer and professional mentors. This social networking aspect is combined with smartphone applications which monitor and test specific aspects of the physiological and geographical state of the end user.

The technology employs biometrics, GPS, and other elements to gather relevant data about the user. This data may be interpreted by a designated person in the user's support network to determine whether the user is intoxicated (causing a recovery relapse), or in a location which may be bad for recovery (for instance, near a bar or liquor store); the technology also employs safeguards to ensure that the intended user is actually the person using the app. Depending on how the data is qualified, key persons in the user’s support network determine how to interact with the patient.

The architecture of the system has been engineered to protect patient privacy in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) while enabling designated mentors to receive information at these critical moments. Additionally, the smartphone app monitors the sobriety levels (and number of days sober since relapse) of all participants in the network through tests of balance and reaction time. This is key to preventing a known problem in peer-to-peer addiction recovery mentoring, in which a recovering addict experiencing a relapse crisis seeks support, but triggers a relapse in their peer mentor. Monitoring of sobriety and length of time since last relapse allows the networking tool to avoid enabling of this ‘feedback loop’ of relapse.

“The systems of Syberenety will give organizations additional tools to provide enhanced recovery support to individuals battling dependencies,” said Steve Bassett, Chief Executive Manager of Syberenety. “The disease of alcohol and drug addiction costs society over 200 billion dollars annually – even the smallest offset to that cost is of very high monetary and cultural value. We are pleased to be bringing University of Colorado technologies to bear on this critical national problem.” Syberenety hopes to launch the tool in spring 2011.

About Syberenety LLC
Syberenety is a Colorado company formed by a team of entrepreneurs and specialists from the computer technology and substance rehabilitation industries. Syberenety’s mission is to engage the process of innovation to create products and services that “change the game” in the addiction rehabilitation and recovery industry by improving treatment, restoring lives and lessening the burden on society.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sandhill Scientific Options CU Diagnostic Device for Esophageal Diseases

Optioned technology is a minimally-invasive means of diagnosing acid reflux and other esophageal diseases

AURORA, Colo. – June 21, 2010 – A diagnostic device developed at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine and the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine was recently optioned by Sandhill Scientific, Inc., a Colorado-based company developing diagnostic devices for a variety of gastrointestinal illnesses.

Diagnosing inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract such as severe gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), inflammatory bowel disease (lBD), and a number of other diseases can be difficult. Blood, stool and x-ray tests are not sufficient to diagnose any of these conditions definitively, or to differentiate them, and more invasive methods such as endoscopy are costly and carry potential complications.

The optioned technology provides a less invasive way for doctors to determine the cause and appropriate treatment of esophageal inflammation. The technology, which was developed by Dr. Glenn T. Furuta (an associate professor of pediatrics at UC Denver, The Children’s Hospital and National Jewish Health) and Dr. Steven J. Ackerman (a professor of biochemistry & molecular genetics and medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago) is an inert capsule that is swallowed, deploying a line into the esophagus. The line binds relevant diagnostic markers that can be measured using standard laboratory techniques. Development of this technology was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, American Gastroenterological Association and the Campaign Urging Research on Eosinophilic Diseases (CURED).

“This device could greatly improve a physician’s ability to diagnose GERD and EoE patients, in particular pediatric patients, since this procedure is far less invasive than the existing techniques,” said David Poticha, Senior Licensing Manager at the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office. “The university is excited to partner for the development of this device with a local company of Sandhill’s reputation; we feel they are perfectly situated to bring this simple but elegant new device to market.”

“Knowledge of the epidemiology and manifestations of EoE has grown markedly in the past few years, and scientific evidence clearly emphasizes the importance of EoE diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment serial monitoring for recurrence,” added Jerry E. Mabary, Vice President of Sandhill Scientific. “These diagnostic requirements demand more accurate, minimally invasive diagnostic tools. We are optimistic that innovative, paradigm-shifting diagnostic capabilities can be attained by virtue of this product development effort.”

About Sandhill Scientific, Inc.
Sandhill Scientific, Inc is a private corporation which develops, manufactures and markets a series of gastrointestinal diagnostic devices. Founded in 1981, Sandhill Scientific, Inc. product technologies include leading edge patented products for diagnosis of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and esophageal motility disorders. Sandhill is the worldwide technology leader for non-endoscopic esophageal diagnostics with world headquarters located in Highlands Ranch, Colo., manufacturing in Prague, Czech Republic and administrative offices in Eynsham, UK.

Friday, June 18, 2010

New Study on Innovation Shows Challenges Facing Colorado’s Medical Research Workers, Stresses Need for Federal Innovation Policy

Via the Colorado BioScience Association:
Colorado's Bioscience Industry supporters gathered this week at the Colorado State Capitol for a Medical Innovation News Conference. The conference was sponsored by the Council for American Medical Innovation (CAMI) and was held to focus on a new national research study on the topic and how findings affect Colorado.
Review the study, titled Gone Tomorrow: A Call to Promote Medical Innovation, Create Jobs, and Find Cures in America, or visit the CBSA blog for video recaps of the press conference.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June 2010 Newsletter Now Available

Highlights from TTO's June 2010 newsletter:

Taste Connections Licenses University of Colorado Low Protein Meat Supplement
TTO and Taste Connections, LLC, a California-based company, have completed a licensing agreement allowing Taste Connections to commercialize a CU technology for low-protein meat products. A research group led by Laurie Bernstein, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the UC Denver School of Medicine, has developed a low-protein substitute for bacon, which is usually too high in protein for patients that are on amino acid restricted diets. Using the formula developed at CU, the protein composition of the bacon substitute can be reduced by up to 80% or more compared to the original meat product. These lower protein levels allow an individual to continue consuming low protein food options that add flavor and increase satiety, while still limiting the intake of the specific amino acids that cannot be broken down.

CU/NREL Collaboration Displays Cleantech Innovations
Hybrid airplanes, the newly discovered graphene material and modular photovoltaic and thermal panels were a handful of technologies featured in May as part of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute's efforts to fuel research and commercialization in the cleantech industry. The new institute - a collaboration CU and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory - was formed last June to tackle energy issues through research, discovery, education and technology commercialization. May marked an early milestone for the joint institute when RASEI officials unveiled the results of "market assessment programs" on seven technologies. (Learn more about the MAP program.)

Entrepreneurial Education and Proof of Concept Funding Will Improve Technology Transfer, Subcommittee Hears
In June, the House Committee on Science and Technology's Subcommittee on Research and Science Education held a hearing to review the process of transferring knowledge and technology from academic researchers to the private sector. Specifically, the Subcommittee examined the appropriate role of the National Science Foundation (NSF), beyond their support for basic research, including support for entrepreneurial education and proof of concept activities. To highlight the success of these programs, NSF Assistant Director Thomas W. Peterson discussed the success of a company started from NSF funding called ColorLink (a CU licensee) which was later acquired by RealD and developed the technology behind the 3D effects for the blockbuster hit Avatar. (Click here to view two white papers submitted by TTO in response to a request for information from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Economic Council, asking for input on how to support the commercialization of federally-funded research and Proof of Concept Centers.)

Omni Bio Announces FDA IND Clearance for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin (AAT) Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Trial

NIH Awards $537,000 SBIR to ImmuRx for Combination Therapies

Taiga Biotechnologies Receives SBIR Grant for Improved Cancer and Infectious Disease Vaccine

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

Podcast: Dave Allen, Tech Transfer Office

W3W3 radio talked with David Allen, Associate Vice President for Technology Transfer at the University of Colorado, to get caught up on federal public policy related to university technology transfer:
Overall, we are finally seeing some attention being given to university tech transfer at the federal level. The biggest shift is a realization that the transfer of research from the lab to a company doesn’t occur through checking boxes or filling out forms, happenstance or luck, rather the work of technology transfer is complex and involves many aspects beyond the university. You just can’t take a complex asset and apply simple (non complex) solutions or you’ll sub-optimize the system objectives, which is our case is commercialization.
Listen to the podcast or view an archive of all TTO podcasts.

Tech Spotlight: Simplified Semiconductor Laser-Based Sensing Device

A research team led by John Korah at the University of Colorado has developed a novel semiconductor laser system that can be used to determine distance or displacement, or to obtain images of a target object. This laser system is an enhanced and simplified version of laser based distance and displacement sensing devices that have been around for many years. Previous models require the use of both a laser emitter and a separate detector to determine the distance/displacement of a target object, while this novel device monitors both distance and displacement without the use of a separate detector. Instead of a separate detector, this laser monitors the electrical characteristics of the laser itself. It works when either the vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL), or the edge emitting laser is directed toward the object and the light is reflected back towards the laser. Since the amount of light reflected back to the laser is determined by the distance of the target object, the electrical characteristics of the laser determine the distance to the target object.

The novel semiconductor laser based sensing device does not require a separate detector and therefore has benefits in reduced costs and simplicity. Professional uses for a laser based sensing device are often found in confocal microscope systems where it is desired to determine an image or a characteristic of a very small portion of a sample material. Typically, sample material is scanned using a  laser beam and then is projected on to a separate device that can map the characteristics or create an entire image of the sample material. However, with this technology, the sample materials characteristics and distance can be determined by the laser itself, without a separate device.

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, June 8, 2010

Tech Spotlight: Novel Organic Porous Materials Consisting of Shape-Persistent 3-D Molecular Cage Building Blocks

Wei Zhang and his University of Colorado research group have been able to achieve highly efficient synthesis of shape-persistent 3D organic cage molecules through the use of Dynamic Covalent Chemistry (DCC). These cage-like molecules show extraordinarily ideal selectivity (>100:1) for the absorption of CO2 over N2 at ambient conditions (1 bar, 293 K). Further, these 3-D molecules have been synthesized in one-step from readily accessible, solely organic-based building blocks. In contrast to the poor solubility of conventional MOFs and COFs, Dr. Zhang’s cage molecules possess excellent solubility in a variety of solvents, which greatly facilitates membrane fabrication for gas separations. This novel material consists mainly of only light elements (C, N, O etc.) connected by covalent bonds, giving it high thermal and chemical stability and low density.

This is truly a “building-block” approach, lending itself to the synthesis of an endless variety of 3D, non-collapsible molecular cages with controllable size and functionalities. Besides being used in new membrane fabrication, these materials can be used to improve gas separation capabilities of current porous materials (e.g. silica gel, activated carbon, MOFs), and have applications to catalysis and chemical sensing.

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, June 1, 2010

Taste Connections Licenses University of Colorado Low Protein Meat Supplement

AURORA, Colo. – June 1, 2010 – The University of Colorado and Taste Connections, LLC, a California-based company, have completed a licensing agreement allowing Taste Connections to commercialize a CU technology for low-protein meat products.

Protein is an essential element of our everyday diet, and is necessary for growth, repair and upkeep of the human body. However, some individuals are unable to completely break down dietary protein because they are missing a particular enzyme (due to a variety of inherited disorders), and a buildup of specific amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) occurs. This buildup can lead to neurological damage, coma or death. From infancy, these individuals are limited in their whole protein choices; their diets are supplemented with metabolic formulas that supply most of the calories, vitamins, minerals and total protein they need, but their diet must still be kept low in specific amino acids.

A research group led by Laurie Bernstein, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, has developed a low-protein substitute for bacon, which is usually too high in protein for patients that are on amino acid restricted diets. Using the formula developed at CU, the protein composition of the bacon substitute can be reduced by up to 80% or more compared to the original meat product. These lower protein levels allow an individual to continue consuming low protein food options that add flavor and increase satiety, while still limiting the intake of the specific amino acids that cannot be broken down. Individuals who are on low-protein diets for other reasons such as kidney disease may also find these products useful.

Taste Connections plans to use the technology, which it exclusively licensed from CU, to develop low-protein bacon bits. “Preparing low-protein products that taste delicious is the main goal for my company and adding this new product will enhance our ability to offer a satisfying menu of products,” said Malathy Ramanujam, CEO of Taste Connections. “We are hopeful that these new products will contribute to a higher quality of life for individuals suffering from inherited metabolic disorders,” said Rick Silva of the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office.

About Taste Connections, LLC
Taste Connections was founded in 2003 by Malathy Ramanujam, whose son was diagnosed at the age of 2 with homocystinuria, a rare metabolic disorder necessitating a low-protein diet. Over the past 26 years, Malathy has been formulating easy-bake mixes that make it easier to prepare low protein meals; the most successful of these have been packaged for sale by Taste Connections. The company has developed a variety of low-protein products such as cookies, breads, etc. and the company is committed to providing best quality low-protein products without the addition of artificial chemicals.

Tech Spotlight: Non-invasive Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer using Semen or Other Biological Samples

A research team led by Michael Glode of the University of Colorado has developed a novel diagnostic tool for prostate cancer detection. The present invention provides a method for the isolation of epithelial cells from a solution and a method for detecting the presence of cancerous vascular endothelial cells. The biological sample may be blood, urine, semen, seminal fluid, lymph, cerebrospinal fluid, mucus, tears, sweat, gastric fluid, saliva, synovial fluid, or a bone marrow suspension.

This diagnostic method has multiple benefits over other methods. In addition to being non-invasive, increased sensitivity and selectivity result from the fact that the biological agents only bind to cancerous cells and prostate epithelial cells. In addition, another advantage is the ability to distinguish between living and dead prostate cells.

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.