Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tech Spotlight: Target for Metabolic Syndromes, and Nascent Small Molecule Discovery Program

Metabolic syndrome combines a variety of medical disorders including obesity, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and refractory hypertension, all of which increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. At this time, strategies that target the syndrome as a whole are not utilized to the extent with which patients receive individual disorder treatments, and are therefore less effective.


A research group led by Richard Johnson has identified the use of a specific variant of adenosine monophosphate deaminase 2 (AMPD2) as a target or switch for fat accumulation, insulin resistance, fatty liver, and persistent hypertension. Triggered by an interest in the role of uric acid in metabolic disease, Dr. Johnson has compiled data supporting the expectation that AMPD is a central regulator of lipid metabolism, lipid trafficking, and blood pressure regulation. Dr. Johnson’s group is now seeking an industry partner to support small molecule lead identification and optimization.

To learn more, including a summary of recent data, please click the image above. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tech Spotlight: Dual Cure Polymer Systems for Use in Biomedical and Optical Applications

Shape-memory polymers (SMPs) are polymeric smart materials that can return from a deformed state (temporary shape) to their original (“permanent” or “memorized”) shape by application of an external stimulus, such as temperature or light change. However, a drawback of SMP systems, especially for biomedical applications, is a lack of mechanical strength and modulus once the material has undergone its shape change from its temporary shape to its permanent shape.

A University of Colorado research team led by Christopher Bowman has developed a novel dual-cure shape memory polymer system which has the capacity for high strains and deformation at the end of the Stage 1 cure, but produces a final polymeric device with high modulus and stiffness at the end of a Stage 2 cure. This system is appropriate for all applications that can exploit SMP systems, including biomedical applications in orthopedics, dental materials, stents, and endovascular coils. The unique properties of these materials also enable the introduction of refractive index gradients, or patterns, into the final polymer; applications of these optical properties include optical interconnects and manufacture of contact lenses, among others.

To learn more, please click the image above for a non-confidential summary of this technology, or go directly to the patent application. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ten CU Research Groups Receive Tech Commercialization Grants from State of Colorado

Grant recipients are developing new treatments and diagnostics for diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and other disorders; the grants are designed to bring the research programs closer to market readiness. 

DENVER (June 7, 2012) – Ten CU research projects were recently selected to receive grants through Colorado’s Bioscience Discovery Evaluation Grant Program (BDEG-Co). The State of Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade began the BDEG program in 2007, providing proof-of-concept grants to move promising CU biotechnologies closer to market readiness, as well as early-stage matching “seed” grants to enable the development and commercial validation of technologies that are licensed from Colorado research institutions by Colorado based start-up companies (learn about 2011-12 grants to CU licensees under this program).

CU research projects that have received (or will soon receive) funding in the 2011-12 round:

Christopher Bowman, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, CU-Boulder, for inexpensive, highly-efficient synthetic nucleic acids for use in nanoassembly, biodetection and other biofunctional applications.

Heide Ford, Ph.D.
Heide Ford, Department of Pathology and Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Andrew Thorburn, Department of Pharmacology, CU Anschutz Medical Campus, for a novel biomarker to predict treatment response in solid tumors.

Robert Garcea, BioFrontiers Institute, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, CU-Boulder, for a next-generation vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV).

Richard Johnson, Department of Medicine (Renal Diseases & Hypertension), CU Anschutz Medical Campus, for a novel treatment to prevent acute kidney injury following surgery or use of radiocontrast agents.

Malik Kahook, Department of Ophthalmology, CU Anschutz Medical Campus, for an implanted device to reduce intraocular pressure and treat glaucoma.

Uday B. Kompella, Ph.D.
Uday Kompella, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, CU Anschutz Medical Campus, for a new drug to treat “wet” age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Leslie Leinwand, BioFrontiers Institute, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, CU-Boulder, for novel drugs to protect from cardiac disease.

David Wagner, Department of Medicine (Pulmonary Sciences & Critical Care Medicine), CU Anschutz Medical Campus, for a drug to prevent/reverse high blood sugar in type-1 diabetes.

Xiao-Jing Wang, Department of Pathology, CU Anschutz Medical Campus, for a drug to treat oral mucositis, a common side effect of radiation therapy.

Hang (Hubert) Yin, Ph.D.
Hang (Hubert) Yin, BioFrontiers Institute, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, CU-Boulder, for more sensitive biomarkers for metastatic cancers and other diseases in body fluids.

“The BDEG award winners this year show an incredible breadth and depth of bioscience research and innovation,” said Tom Cech, Director of CU’s BioFrontiers Institute, an interdisciplinary center designed to explore critical frontiers of unknown biology and translate new knowledge to practical applications. “The BDEG program provides a powerful catalyst to get these ideas out of their academic institutions and into the marketplace.” The institute provided the required matching funds for the grants to Boulder-based researchers Christopher Bowman, Robert Garcea, Leslie Leinwand and Hang (Hubert) Yin.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tech Spotlight: Rational Design of α-Helical Antimicrobial Peptides

Cationic antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have been recently been discovered as a new class of antibiotics.The two major classes of AMPs are the α-helical and the β-sheet peptides. The α-helical peptides are ideal for use as antibiotics, but can be toxic to normal cells.

A research team led by Robert S. Hodges of the University of Colorado has employed a synthetic peptide approach to the rational design of new amphipathic α-helical AMPs that dramatically reduces or removes their toxicity. These peptides have potent antimicrobial activities and are useful against gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria (including mycobacterium tuberculosis, fungi, viruses, and protozoa). The peptides are effective compounds for use in human and/or veterinary medicine or as agents in agricultural, food science, or industrial applications.

To learn more, please click the image above for a non-confidential summary of this technology, or go directly to a key scientific publication. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.