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TTO Monthly Newsletter

Volume 9 ~ Issue 2 ~ August 2012       

What's Inside
Tech Spotlight
Recently at TTO
CU Technology in the News
Student Connection
Upcoming Events
CU Resources
Innovation in the News
Parting Quote

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Spotlight On:


Biotechnology of the Month:


Target for Metabolic Syndromes + Nascent Small Molecule Discovery Program





Physical Sciences Tech of the Month:


Protein-resistant Polymers for Advanced Biomaterials





*To view more CU technologies available for licensing and partnering, go to Tech Explorer.

Recently at TTO

TTO Head David Allen to Direct Tech Launch Arizona 

David N. Allen, CU Associate Vice President for Technology Transfer,is leaving the University of Colorado to become the executive director of Tech Launch Arizona (TLA), the new technology commercialization center formed at the University of Arizona. Allen will report to University President Ann Weaver Hart as part of her cabinet.  TLA includes the offices of technology transfer, corporate and business relations, as well as several business incubators and an extensive research park. Allen will assume TLA duties in Tucson on September 4.


Allen has headed the CU Technology Transfer Office since 2002, when he implemented a strategic plan designed to grow CU's pipeline of commercially-relevant technologies, establish best practices for licensing congruent with CU's national stature as a research institution, and achieve financial self-sustainability of the CU technology transfer operation. Says Allen: "My decade in Colorado was productive and enjoyable, and I'm confident that TTO staff will continue to deliver great service to CU faculty inventors and the business community."


Now Available: FY2011-12 Performance Overview
CU TTO has released its performance metrics for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012. Please follow this link to a short presentation summarizing our performance, and look for our full annual report and updated Companies Created poster in September 2012.


CU Research Attracts $815.3M in Sponsored Funding 

Work by University of Colorado faculty garnered $815.3M in sponsored research funding in fiscal year 2011-12, a rise of nearly $22M over the previous fiscal year. The preliminary figures indicate one of the highest research totals in CU history; the only higher total came in fiscal year 2009-10, when one-time federal stimulus dollars contributed to a final tally of $884.1M. Last year's total was $793.5M. Sponsored research funding from federal, state and local agencies targets specific projects to advance research in laboratories and in the field. Research funding also helps pay for research-related capital improvements, scientific equipment, travel and salaries for research and support staff and student assistantships. Distribution by campus: Anschutz Medical Campus, $407.3M; CU-Boulder, $380.7M; CU Denver, $22.3M; CU Colorado Springs, over $5M.


Panel: Cultivating Strong University-Industry Relationships 

University engagement with industry covers a host of related activities such as faculty advising and consulting, student internships and recruiting, classroom and student experiential projects, collaborative and sponsored research, and technology licensing to existing and start-up companies. Moderated by TTO head David Allen, this panel (part of the Colorado Innovation Network 2012 Inaugural Summit scheduled August 29-30) will examine these various activities to identify commonalities, opportunities and constraints among the various approaches.

CU Technology and Licensee Companies in the News

PeptiVir: Universal Stabilization (BioCentury) 

Current peptide stabilization technologies use chemical linkers to keep peptides in their natural state, but in some cases these can cause autoimmune reactions. PeptiVir Inc. aims to avoid such effects by placing hydrophobic amino acids in specific locations within the core of its synthetic peptides to stabilize the compounds. According to PeptiVir co-founder Robert Hodges, the technology "takes advantage of what nature has taught us over the last 50 years about the residues that are important to maintaining the alpha helical structures." Hodges is director of the structural biology program and professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.


Viral Genetics Begins Phase 1 Clinical Trial for Ovarian Cancer 

The first patient has now been enrolled into the Phase 1 clinical trial sponsored by CU licensee Viral Genetics and supported by a donation from Scott and White Foundation. The trial will study Metabolic Disruption Technology (MDT) compounds in combination with an existing cancer therapy to treat drug-resistant ovarian cancer.


Xeris Pharmaceuticals Awarded Phase I-II NIH SBIR Fast Track Grant to Advance Stable, Non-Aqueous Glucagon for Bi-Hormonal Artificial Pancreas 

CU licensee Xeris Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an Austin-based, emerging biopharmaceutical company developing patient-friendly injectable treatments for diabetes and other diseases, was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant for $336,793 to advance the company's room-temperature stable, non-aqueous glucagon formulation for the advancement of a bi-hormonal pump artificial pancreas.


10 Hot Networking Startups in 2012: LineRate Systems 

LineRate Systems is a four-year-old Colorado company (and CU licensee) that emerged from stealth mode during the Open Networking Summit in April. The company's software delivers services on top of virtualized networks and works on platforms running commodity x86-based servers, with the idea being to deploy network services much more easily without having to set up physical networking hardware.


CU Research: CU-Boulder Team Wins Nearly $780,000 'Reinvent the Toilet' Grant from Gates Foundation 

An interdisciplinary team of student and faculty engineers from CU-Boulder has won a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for its proposal to develop a solar-biochar toilet for use in developing countries throughout the world. Biochar is a highly porous charcoal made from organic waste. The idea proposed by the CU team (led by Karl Linden, R. Scott Summers and Al Weimer) involves using concentrated sunlight delivered through a bundle of fiber-optic cables to heat and decompose toilet waste for reuse in improving agricultural soils. (See also: CU Grad Student Investigates Biochar for Water Treatment in Developing Countries.)


CU Research: Heroin, Morphine Addiction can be Blocked 

An international team of scientists from the University of Adelaide and University of Colorado Boulder (Senior author Linda Watkins, Center for Neuroscience) has proven that addiction to morphine and heroin can be blocked, while at the same time increasing pain relief. The results - which could eventually lead to new co-formulated drugs that assist patients with severe pain, as well as helping heroin users to kick the habit - will be published in the Aug. 15 edition of the Journal of Neuroscience. (Learn more about this IP portfolio

CU Research: Drug Shown to Improve Memory in Down Syndrome
Researchers at the CU School of Medicine led by Alberto Costa have found a drug that boosts memory function in those with Down syndrome, a major milestone in the treatment of this genetic disorder that could significantly improve quality of life.

TTO's Learning Laboratory: The Student Connection 

Rob Lawrence is a second-year law student at CU-Boulder. He joined the TTO team in May 2012 to help assess the patentability and commercial viability of medical inventions and research generated at CU's Anschutz Medical Campus. Rob graduated with a B.S. in Biology and an M.B.A. from the University of Central Florida, and worked for the Florida Department of Health before moving to Colorado to attend law school.  


Marta Viscut is a student in the environmental engineering program at CU-Boulder. She joined the TTO operations group this summer, where she works with companies and researchers to facilitate transfers of materials for research purposes. After completing her degree, she plans to pursue a career in water treatment and resources. 


Tech Transfer Attorney Catherine Shea to Become Next CU-Boulder Chief of Staff 

CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano has named Catherine Shea as his next chief of staff, effective Aug. 20. Shea currently serves as senior associate counsel for technology transfer and research compliance for the University of Colorado system. The chancellor's chief of staff reports directly to the chancellor and is a member of the chancellor's senior leadership team, serving as a point of contact for the chancellor in coordinating with the cabinet and executive committee, campus faculty and students, and other internal and external constituencies.


Four CU-Boulder Scientists Get Early Career Awards from White House 

CU-Boulder is second in the nation this year in the number of awards the White House has given to scientists who are early in their careers. Four CU faculty members are among 96 U.S. researchers named by the White House as recipients of the "Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers." The CU winners are: Erin Furtak of the School of Education; Cindy Regal of the physics department; David Noone of the atmospheric and oceanic sciences department; and Rebecca Washenfelder, a scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.


CU Cancer Center Researchers Earn Major Grant to Develop New Bladder Cancer Drugs 

A major grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) will help the University of Colorado Cancer Center develop new drugs aimed at stopping bladder cancer's spread, which will kill an estimated 15,000 people in the United States this year. UCCC director Dan Theodorescu will co-lead the project with David Ross (Pharmaceutical Sciences).


Do you know of a recent award, new position or transition of interest to the CU tech community? Please send information to
Upcoming Events

Boulder/Denver New Technology Meetup 

September 4, CU-Boulder

This ongoing event provides a forum for technologists and entrepreneurs to showcase the new (especially web-based) technology developing in Boulder/Denver tech community. Five companies have five minutes each to demonstrate their new technology, followed by five minutes for Q&A from the audience.


Tech Transfer Office Hours @ Caruthers 

September 5, CU-Boulder

Representatives from the Technology Transfer Office will be on-hand to meet one-on-one with members of the CU research community. If you have questions related to research commercialization, please stop by, have a donut or cup of coffee and get some information.


SoPE: Stories from the Trenches from 3 Physician Entrepreneurs 

September 6, COPIC Auditorium at Lowry, Denver
The Society of Physician Entrepreneurs (SoPE) helps healthcare professionals get their ideas, discoveries and inventions to market by providing them with education and connections to people and capital. This chapter meeting features stories from 3 physician entrepreneurs; RSVP and CoPE (free or premium) membership required. 


BioWest Conference 2012 

September 11, Marriott City Center, Denver

The BioWest Conference is a one-day event attended by more than 500 industry leaders, government representatives, executives, researchers, investors and entrepreneurs. Registration now open.


USPTO America Invents Act (AIA) Roadshow 

September 17, Denver Public Library, Denver

The United States Patent and Trademark Office will stop in Denver as part of its Fall Roadshow to discuss the new provisions from the America Invents Act that will go into effect on September 16th. No cost; seating is first-come, first served.


CBSA - CCIA Oktoberfest 

September 20, Governor's Residence, Denver

Join the Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA) and the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association (CCIA) for the 2nd Annual Oktoberfest at the Governor's Residence. Local breweries will showcase their sustainable brews and seasonal flavors for 250 biotech and cleantech professionals. You will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with professionals in two of Colorado's fastest growing industries.


Save the Date: CU Innovations Breakfast

October 10, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder

As part of the Boulder Chamber of Commerce ESPRIT Entrepreneur series, TTO will host this event highlighting emerging technology companies from every part of the CU-Boulder ecosystem: technology transfer, the cross-campus New Venture Challenge, CU Cleantech, the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship and the CU Innovation Lab. Short presentations from five entrepreneurs will be followed by time to mingle with the presenters, as well as with other members of the CU-Boulder innovation community - details, agenda and registration available soon.


To have your event featured here, please send an email to

CU Resources 

CU Denver Students Direct Companies through Bridges VC Fund  

The CU Denver Bard Center for Entrepreneurship exposes entrepreneurs to a variety of funding sources in order to help them pursue their business dreams. One of these sources is the Rutt Bridges Venture Capital Fund, which started in 1998 from an endowment gift by Rutt Bridges. This fund was created in order to provide seed capital for start-up companies affiliated with the Bard Center and has funded five companies to date.

The Rutt Bridges Venture Capital Fund is looking for innovative businesses to invest in. The fund is managed by a team of student associates and advisors from the Bard Center Advisory Council. The fund provides initial startup capital and the possibility of up to one additional round of funding for eligible companies. The typical deal uses a convertible debt structure and the fund participates in the ongoing growth of these young ventures. 


Full information about the fund can be found online. 

Innovation in the News

Colorado: Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority Opens New Accelerator in its Life Science District
Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority (FRA) officially opens its new $8M million, 37,000 square-foot Accelerator Building today, adjacent to its original Incubator Building at the Bioscience Park Center (BCP) in the Fitzsimons Life Science District. Steve VanNurden, FRA President and CEO, says, "The addition of this Accelerator will offer companies growing in the Incubator an opportunity to expand and continue their expansion nearby."

Boulder Valley Sets Pace Nationally for Landing VC
Companies in the Boulder Valley received more venture-capital investment - $375.7M - than any other region of its size in the nation in 2011 and the first quarter of 2012, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and the National Venture Capital Association, using data from news company Thomson Reuters. Overall, the Boulder Valley received about $100M more in venture-capital investment for the most recent five quarters than similar technology hub regions such as Chapel Hill, North Carolina; the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington, region; and Baltimore.


2 Reasons for Optimism Right Now in University Technology Transfer 

From commercialization partnerships to startup incubators and new sources of funding, universities seem to be getting creative in how they're breathing innovative thinking into their technology commercialization efforts. And leaders at the federal level are following suit by coming up with new ways to give additional resources to universities to boost their technology commercialization.


Swimming Through the Crowd: Crowdsourcing and Tech Transfer 

While crowdsourcing stories from the business and artistic worlds tend to make the headlines, there are many out there working to apply crowdsourcing to tech transfer and university research.


Student Entrepreneurs Critical to Commercializing University Startups 

Graduate and post-doctoral students are critical participants in university commercialization efforts, according to a study released by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. "University Technology Transfer through Entrepreneurship: Faculty and Students in Spinoffs" (PDF) examines students' roles in university startups and compares the functions and responsibilities of faculty, entrepreneurs and students in successfully moving university innovations to market.


BioEntrepreneur: How Much Risk are You Prepared to Take? 

Any faculty member wishing to commercialize a discovery or technology should contemplate the pros and cons of pursuing the entrepreneurial route or licensing to an outside entity.


BioEntrepreneur Archives: Building Relationships with Technology Transfer Officers 

Good relationships between inventors and technology transfer officers can reap dividends at every stage in the marketing of an invention or in forming a company. Conversely, a lack of communication can play into the hands of investors.


Collaboration in Academic R&D: A Decade of Growth in Pass-Through Funding 

Research collaboration involving multiple institutions is a growing trend. One measure of this research collaboration is the amount of total expenditures for R&D that universities pass through to others, including both academic institutions and other entities. These pass-through funds represented 7% of total academic R&D expenditures in FY 2009, compared with 5% in FY 2000, according to the National Science Foundation.


Roundup: University, Community, State, National and International Initiatives


House Members Urge NIH to Implement Proof-Of-Concept Program 

In late July, a bipartisan group of eleven House Members wrote to NIH Director Francis Collins expressing strong support for the proof-of-concept pilot program authorized last year as part of the small business research reauthorization. The pilot program would allow NIH to award competitive grants of up to $1M to universities to support researchers exploring the potential commercialization and licensing of their discoveries. Despite legal authorization for the program, and support from a number of university associations, the NIH has yet to move forward in creating the program.


Getting Their Tech Transfer Act Together: Examples Abound around the World 

A review of tech transfer inter-institutional consolidation efforts in New Zealand, Ireland, Israel and other locations.

Parting Quote
"I believe there is no philosophical high-road in science, with epistemological signposts. No, we are in a jungle and find our way by trial and error, building our road behind us as we proceed."

Max Born, German Nobel Prize-winning physicist

University of Colorado's Office of Technology Transfer Mission Statement

The mission of the CU Technology Transfer Office is to aggressively pursue, protect, package, and license to business the intellectual property generated from the research enterprise, and to serve faculty, staff, and students seeking to create such intellectual property.

(303) 735-3711