Researchers working on eye disease, chronic pain and cleantech among those honored for technology commercialization.
17, 2012) – The University of Colorado
Technology Transfer Office (TTO) will host its annual awards ceremony tonight,
honoring several faculty researchers, two companies founded on university
research, and several members of the local entrepreneurial community.
The TTO will
present these awards during a banquet on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 5:30 p.m. at the
historic Tivoli Turnhalle. The awards will follow a panel discussion offering
faculty perspectives on the origins of university inventions.
In the last
two decades, inventions by CU researchers have led to the formation of 114 new companies.
Of these, 85 have operations in Colorado, seven have “gone public,” becoming
publicly traded companies (either through an IPO or via a reverse merger), and
17 have been acquired by public companies. In total, companies created based on
CU technology have attracted over $5.6 billion in financing.
University of Colorado is a primary driver for the Colorado economy in many
ways – one way that is often less visible than our thousands of graduates, new
buildings and faculty accolades is the commercialization of research,” said
David Allen, associate vice president for technology transfer at CU. “This
event recognizes excellence in the people and licensee companies that exemplify
CU’s success in transforming research into real-world impact.”
researchers and companies recognized this year represent all CU campuses, and are
developing technologies ranging from novel treatments for chronic pain, eye
disease and metabolic syndrome to new materials with applications in clean
energy, and techniques for more efficient biofuels and solar power. This year’s
award winners include:
Jeffrey L. Olson,
Inventor of the Year, CU Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus. Olson, an associate professor
of ophthalmology, specializes in the medical and surgical management of retinal
diseases like macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and retinal detachment.
One of his inventions, a method for
preserving eyesight through the use of nanotechnology, is licensed to a CU
startup currently raising Series A financing.
Linda R. Watkins, Inventor
of the Year, CU-Boulder. Watkins, a distinguished professor of psychology, has
developed both novel drugs and new uses of known drugs targeting various
disorders with unmet medical needs, including chronic and neuropathic pain,
multiple sclerosis, ALS and addiction. Her inventions have led to numerous
industry collaborations and licenses, as well as the formation of a new
company, Xalud Therapeutics.
Richard J. Johnson, New
Inventor of the Year, CU Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus. Johnson is chief of
the division of renal diseases and hypertension; his research has focused on
the mechanisms of renal injury and progression, including in diabetes and
hypertension. Recent work has also examined the role of uric acid and fructose
in obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and hypertension.
Zhang, New Inventor of the
Zhang, an assistant professor of chemistry & biochemistry, is developing novel
materials with potential applications in solar energy conversion, gas
separation and storage, chemical sensing and catalysis.
O. Pinchuk, New Inventor of the
Year, CU-Colorado Springs. Pinchuk is an assistant professor of physics and energy
science; his research focuses on nano-materials for intracellular imaging and
optical bio-chemical sensors.
Biotechnologies, Bioscience Company
of the Year.
OPXBIO (Boulder, CO) is a venture-backed company making renewable bio-based
chemicals and fuels that are lower cost, higher return and more sustainable
than existing petroleum-based products.
Phobos Energy, Physical Sciences/Engineering/IT Company of the Year. Phobos Energy (Menlo
Park, CA; Lafayette, CO) is focused on increasing energy production, decreasing
costs, and opening up new applications for solar photovoltaic power production.
S. Gail Eckhardt,
Business Advisor of the Year. Eckhardt is chief of the division of medical
oncology at the Anschutz Medical Campus. As an advisor to TTO on drug discovery
and development projects, she has been critically important in facilitating
industry collaborations involving not just her lab, but labs of her CU
Michael R. Bristow,
Serial University Start-up Entrepreneur Award. Bristow, a professor
of medicine (division of cardiology) at the Anschutz Medical Campus, was a
founder and former chief science and medical officer of Myogen, Inc. (acquired
by Gilead Sciences, Inc. in 2006). He is the President and CEO of ARCA biopharma (Broomfield, CO), a company he founded in
2003 with the goal of developing genetically targeted therapies for heart
failure. In 2007 he co‐founded miRagen Therapeutics, (Boulder, CO), a
company dedicated to utilizing the biologic properties of microRNAs in
developing therapies for cardiovascular diseases.
two CU researchers were inducted into the Pinnacles of Inventorship, an
all-stars group recognizing continuous commitment to best practices in
technology transfer: Kristi S. Anseth (Distinguished
Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, CU-Boulder) and Charles A. Dinarello (Professor of
Medicine and Immunology, Anschutz Medical Campus).