Thursday, January 27, 2011

Soligenix Executes Exclusive License with CU for Vaccine Thermostabilization Technology

Soligenix, Inc., a late-stage biopharmaceutical company, today announced that it has entered into a definitive license agreement with the University of Colorado (CU) for novel technology for use in the development of subunit vaccines with long-term stability, including stability at elevated temperatures. Soligenix has been developing this stabilization technology under an option-to-license agreement from CU that was initiated to support the technology development efforts funded by a $9.4 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The underlying technology has been developed by Drs. Amber Clausi, John Carpenter and Theodore Randolph at CU.

Read the full release from Soligenix.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tech Spotlight: Method for Radical Polymerization of Unactivated Alkenes

A research team from the University of Colorado led by Dr. Josef Michl has discovered that certain salts of the lithium cation are soluble in non-polar solvents. These solutions catalyze the otherwise impossible radical polymerization of simple alkenes, such that it proceeds at ambient temperatures and pressure. The catalyst in this process is easily recovered at the end of the reaction and can be reused without detectable loss of activity.

Polyalkenes are used for several applications including making blown film, rash guards, or under-garments for wetsuits. The new method of catalysis developed in the Michl lab promises to reduce the cost and complexity of polyalkene synthesis for these and many other applications.

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

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January 2011 Newsletter Now Available

Top stories from TTO's January newsletter:

CU Announces Annual Technology Transfer Awards
TTO hosted its annual awards ceremony on January 18, honoring six faculty researchers, two companies founded on university research, and several members of the local entrepreneurial community. The awards followed a panel discussion focused on the state of Colorado's venture capital community, moderated by Rex O'Neal, executive partner at Faegre & Benson LLP; panelists will include Jim Linfield of Cooley LLP (PDF of presentation), Richard Duke of the Colorado Institute for Drug, Device and Diagnostic Development, and David Allen of TTO. Faculty and companies recognized this year represent three of CU's four campuses, and are developing technologies ranging from biofuels and hybrid aircraft engines to novel treatments for cancer, heart disease and eye disease.

OPXBIO Recognized for "Renewable Chemical Product of the Year"

Zostavax Cuts Risk of Shingles by Half, Researchers Find

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

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

CU Announces Annual Technology Transfer Awards

Researchers working on biofuels, cancer treatments and addiction support among those honored for technology commercialization.

DENVER, Colo. (Jan. 18, 2011) – The University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office will host its annual awards ceremony tonight, honoring six faculty researchers, two companies founded on university research, and several members of the local entrepreneurial community.

The CU Technology Transfer Office will recognize this year’s honorees during a special banquet on Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 5:30 p.m. at the historic Tivoli Turnhalle. The awards will follow a panel discussion focused on the state of Colorado’s venture capital community.

Over the past two decades, CU researchers have developed technologies that have led to the creation of 103 new companies. Of these, 79 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.

“CU plays a big part in the economy of Colorado and the lives of Colorado’s citizens, and technology transfer – the process of conveying university research inventions to companies – is one dimension of that impact,” said David Allen, associate vice president for technology transfer at CU. “Most of the companies that license CU technology operate in Colorado. This event recognizes excellence in the people and licensee companies that are part of the CU technology transfer environment.”

Faculty and companies recognized this year represent all CU campuses, and are developing technologies ranging from biofuels and hybrid aircraft engines to novel treatments for cancer, heart disease and eye disease. This year’s award winners include:

Ryan T. Gill, Inventor of the Year, Boulder. Gill, an associate professor of chemical and biological engineering, is developing new tools and applications for directed evolution of genomes. In particular, his work focuses on metabolic engineering for sustainable bio-diesel and bio-gasoline production. Technology from the Gill lab has formed the basis of OPX Biotechnologies, a venture-backed Boulder company making renewable bio-based chemicals and fuels that are lower cost, higher return and more sustainable than existing petroleum-based products.

Malik Y. Kahook and Naresh Mandava; Inventors of the Year, Anschutz Medical Campus. Kahook, an associate professor of ophthalmology, and Mandava, chair of ophthalmology, work on novel treatment for eye diseases including glaucoma, macular degeneration, and retinal detachment.

Jean N. Koster, New Inventor of the Year, Boulder. A professor of aerospace engineering, Koster has done work expanding the concepts of hybrid vehicles to airplanes; his team’s research is the foundation of a new company, Tigon EnerTec.

Dan Theodorescu; New Inventor of the Year, Anschutz Medical Campus. Theodorescu, director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center, has demonstrated efficacy of a new class of drugs in the treatment or bladder, prostate and lung cancer and successfully formed a collaboration team to pursue new compounds to take into clinical trials.

Rory A. Lewis; New Inventor of the Year, Colorado Springs. An assistant professor of computer sciences, Lewis developed a social medial platform for addiction recovery that is now optioned to Syberenety, Inc., a Colorado Springs startup company which won a Phase I SBIR award to develop the technology.

miRagen Therapeutics; Bioscience Company of the Year. miRagen Therapeutics (based in Boulder, Colo.) is a biopharmaceutical company focused on improving patients’ lives by developing innovative microRNA (miRNA)-based therapeutics for cardiovascular and muscle disease. miRagen has raised $12M in capital from several top-tier venture firms.

Sundrop Fuels; Physical Sciences/Engineering/IT Company of the Year. Sundrop Fuels (based in Louisville, Colo.) is a solar gasification-based renewable energy company developing a technology to turn any type of plant material into ultra-clean, affordable liquid transportation fuel for use in today’s automobiles, diesel engines and aircraft. In September 2009, Sundrop began operations at an 80 kW (thermal) solar research facility in Broomfield; the company plans to build a full-scale commercial plant capable of producing 100 million gallons of fuel a year by 2015.

Lauren C. Constantini; Business Advisor of the Year. Constantini has over 15 years of experience in pharmaceutical development and is a recognized leader in the area of central nervous system (CNS); she is a frequent participant in review and strategy sessions used to move forward development of CU technologies and start-up companies.

Mikhail “Misha” Plam; Serial University Startup Entrepreneur Award. Plam has built a distinguished career on successfully bringing university innovations to market. He has founded three companies based on inventions from the University of Colorado: AmideBio, BiOptix Inc. and Sievers Instruments (acquired by GE).

James C. T. Linfield; Colorado Technology Infrastructure Leadership Award. Linfield is a partner in the Cooley LLP Business department and Partner-in-Charge of their Colorado office; he serves on the advisory boards of numerous CU entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives, and is among the leaders promoting new initiatives and collaboration strategies in Colorado.

Tech Spotlight: Improved Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell (DSSC) for Higher Energy Conversion Efficiency

A University of Colorado research group led by Richard Noble has developed a novel approach to dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) that increases solar-to-electrical energy conversion. Typically, DSSCs contain two planar conducting electrodes separated by a mesoporous material such as titanium dioxide, which produce a high surface area to enhance light absorption of the dyes. In the improved model, the mesoporous material separating the two planar conducting electrodes is nearly doubled in thickness by adding a second porous layer, resulting in over double the energy conversion efficiency of a typical DSSC. Bilayer thickness optimization may result in even higher energy conversion. By using an intermediate, layered mesoporous electron collection material, the total electron transporting distance is shorter and thus results in a higher total current level.

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 11, 2011

Tech Spotlight: Detection of Cellular Recognition Events with Fluorescent Polymer Based Amplification


Immunofluorescent staining is a fundamental cell biology technique for visualizing cellular structures and proteins as well as understanding cellular functions and disease pathology. Immunofluoresence can be used for surface biorecognition (e.g. microarrays) as well as direct cell staining. Historically, fluorescent signaling at biorecognition sites has been achieved through direct labeling with a conjugated primary or secondary antibody, but direct labeling may be insufficient for detecting low abundance antigens.

A University of Colorado research group led by Christopher Bowman have developed a novel method of fluorescent signal amplification ideally suited to low abundance antigen detection in cells or on microarrays. The Fluorescent Polymer Based Amplification (FPBA) method uses polymerization initiators to immobilize fluorescent particles in a polymer film anchored to the biorecognition site. The reaction can be tuned to achieve custom polymer thicknesses to visualize a variety of sub-cellular features. This novel method is capable of the same specificity as traditional direct labeling methods, while achieving much greater signal intensity. Furthermore, the FPBA method is capable of much more sensitive detection of low abundance antigens than direct fluor-labels.

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

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tech Spotlight: Improved Treatment of Inflammatory Lung Injuries by Inhibition of Urokinase

Acute lung injury (ALI), Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and asthma have been linked to the molecular signaling molecule urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA), a serine protease that catalyzes the conversion of plasminogen to plasmin. Levels of uPA are increased in acute inflammatory diseases, such as sepsis or ALI, and are associated with an increased rate of mortality. A research team led by Dr. Edward Abraham has identified the kringle domain (KD) of uPA as the proinflammatory domain being responsible for the potentiation of lipopoly-saccharide (endotoxin) induced neutrophil activation, which is the initial phase of acute inflammatory responses, including ALI. Dr. Abraham's data demonstrate that blocking the KD of uPA protects organs in models of ALI/ARDS; he has also found that blocking the KD decreases organ injury and improves survival in sepsis. With current genetic evidence suggesting the involvement of the uPA pathway in asthma, blockade of the uPA KD is also likely to prove useful in asthma treatment. Currently the inventor is working with a cloned mouse uPA kringle domain and has produced antibodies to the uPA KD, which reduce the severity of acute lung injury and therefore have significant potential therapeutic properties.

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.