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TTO Monthly Newsletter

Volume 9 ~ Issue 3 ~ October 2012       

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

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Spotlight On:


Biotechnology of the Month:  


Small Molecule Inhibitors of Toll-Like Receptor 3 for Treatment of Inflammatory & Infectious Diseases  


Physical Sciences Tech of the Month:


Novel Microfluidic Biodetection Platform for Equipment-Free Field Diagnostics   


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

Recently at TTO

Tom Smerdon Tom Smerdon, Interim Associate VP for Technology Transfer    

TTO is pleased to announce that Tom Smerdon was appointed Interim Associate Vice President for Technology Transfer in August 2012 - as AVP he has responsibility for intellectual property and technology licensing matters across all CU campuses. Tom joined TTO in 2005 as Director of New Business Development, and since 2007 has served as Director of Licensing and New Business Development. In that role, he was involved in all aspects of technology licensing for all CU campuses, with a particular focus on start-up companies based on CU technologies, as well as shareholder and equity-related agreements for the University License Equity Holdings, Inc., which holds the private equity received in connection licenses to start-up companies.


Before joining TTO, Tom was Associate Director for The Ohio State University's Office for Technology Licensing. Prior to entering the university tech transfer arena, Tom was general counsel and director of environment, health and safety for an Ohio-based private adhesive and polymer manufacturer and before that was assistant general counsel of the Chemical Manufacturers Association in Washington, D.C. Tom is a graduate of Duke University and the University of Texas Law School.


Tom takes the place of David Allen, who left TTO in August to assume a new role at the University of Arizona.


Rick Silva and Kate Tallman, Senior Directors

TTO is also pleased to announce that, in recognition of the additional responsibilities they will now assume following Tom Smerdon's appointment, TTO's campus directors Kate Tallman and Rick Silva have been promoted to Senior Directors. Kate is now Senior Director of the Technology Transfer Office for CU-Boulder and UCCS, and Rick is now Senior Director of the Technology Transfer Office for CU Denver and the Anschutz Medical Campus.

CU Technology and Licensee Companies in the News

CU Lecturer and NIST Scientist Wineland Wins Nobel 

David J. Wineland, a lecturer in the CU-Boulder physics department and physicist with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, in early October won the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics. Wineland is internationally recognized for developing the technique of using lasers to cool ions to near absolute zero. His experiments have been used to test theories in quantum physics and may lead to the development of quantum computers. He shares the prize with Serge Haroche of France. (See also: CU-Boulder, NIST share 4 Nobel Prize winners.)


MiRagen Therapeutics - 2012 Fierce 15 

MiRagen Therapeutics (a CU licensee) has claimed verdant territory in the emerging field of microRNA drug development, with a lead candidate (MGN-9103) in preclinical development that could combat heart failure while providing a weight-loss benefit and other positive metabolic effects.


Xeris Pharmaceuticals Collects $1.1M Financing 

CU licensee Xeris Pharmaceuticals Inc. has received $1.1M of a planned $3M financing. The Austin-based company collected the capital from 20 investors, according to a recent SEC filing, an update to a June filing in which Xeris reported receiving $225,000 of the planned $3M from six investors. Xeris, which was founded in 2005, develops injectable drugs to treat endocrine and metabolic diseases.


OPXBIO Named to 2012 Global Cleantech 100 

CU licensee OPX Biotechnologies Inc. was named to the 2012 Global Cleantech 100 by the Cleantech Group, a global research and advisory firm focused on innovation in energy and the environment. The list represents the top 100 private companies in clean technology, derived from Cleantech Group's own data and research combined with the weighted qualitative judgments of hundreds of nominations and the viewpoints of a global panel of 75 cleantech experts.


CU-Boulder Professor Co-founds New Company to Develop Treatment for Genetic Heart Disease 

A new biomedical company involving the University of Colorado Boulder, Stanford University and the Harvard Medical School has been launched with $38M in financing to develop therapeutic treatments for genetic heart diseases. MyoKardia Inc. is developing small molecule therapeutics that address key clinical needs for patients with genetic heart disease, said CU-Boulder Professor Leslie Leinwand, one of four company founders who are all world leaders in the fields of muscle biology and cardiovascular genetics. (See also: CU-Boulder professor Leslie Leinwand helps found company targeting heart disease.)


Graphene Membranes May Lead to Enhanced Natural Gas Production, Less CO2 Pollution
A CU-Boulder research group led by mechanical engineering professors Scott Bunch and John Pellegrino have produced the first experimental results showing that atomically-thin graphene membranes with tiny pores can effectively and efficiently separate gas molecules through size-selective sieving. The findings are a significant step toward the realization of more energy-efficient membranes for natural gas production and for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plant exhaust pipes. 


New Assistant Counsel for TTO

The TTO is happy to announce that Annalissa Philbin joined CU's University Counsel office (part of CU System Administration) in late August as Assistant Counsel. In her half-time role at TTO, Annalissa will help the licensing team in negotiation and review of agreements, as well as managing any other legal issues that arise. Before joining the System Administration office, she served as a Senior Research Associate Attorney in the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus Office of University Counsel. Prior to that, she served as TTO's patent administrator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Environmental Science and Environmental Analysis and Policy, magna cum laude, from Boston University and received her law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law.


TTO Hires Licensing Consultant

TTO pleased to announce that it has hired Kristin M. Gray as a consultant in its Boulder licensing group. Kristin is a technology transfer expert with more than 20 years of experience. She has negotiated more than 150 license agreements and was honored by the Baltimore Business Journal with a 40 Under 40 award for "business success and community contributions." Kristin was part of the original team that established the first Office of Technology Transfer at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in 1999, and became director of the APL OTT in 2006. Prior to that, she worked at the University of Maryland's technology transfer office for eight years. AT CU TTO, Kristin will design a patent express licensing program to assist companies seeking access to CU technology assets, especially those that are suited for non-exclusive licensing, such as software and basic, pre-competitive research. She will also work with the Boulder group on general marketing and licensing of technologies in the physical sciences portfolio.

Six CU Faculty Members to be Named Distinguished Professors
Six University of Colorado faculty members will be named Distinguished Professors, the most prestigious honor for faculty at the university. Each year, the recognition goes to faculty members who demonstrate exemplary performance in research or creative work, a record of excellence in classroom teaching and supervision of individual learning, and outstanding service to the profession, university and its affiliates. 2012 honorees:

  • Christopher N. Bowman, Ph.D., professor and Patten Chair of chemical and biological engineering at CU-Boulder 
  • Robert "Bob" Camley, Ph.D., professor of physics at UCCS 
  • Richard F. Hamman, M.D., Dr.PH, professor of epidemiology at CU Anschutz Medical Campus, founding dean emeritus at the Colorado School of Public Health
  • James "Casey" Hynes, Ph.D., professor of chemistry at CU-Boulder
  • Richard D. Krugman, M.D., vice chancellor for health affairs for CU Denver, Dean of the CU School of Medicine 
  • Pierre Schlag, J.D., Byron R. White Professor of Law at CU-Boulder

CU-Boulder Engineering Professor Awarded $875,000 Packard Fellowship 

Milos Popovic, assistant professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering at CU-Boulder, has been awarded the prestigious Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering. Popovic's research may enable ultra-low energy, "smart" self-adaptive circuits, and technology for communication and computation using quantum mechanics.


CU Bioengineering Faculty Win Major Grants from the National Institutes of Health 

Faculty in the CU Denver Department of Bioengineering have been awarded more than $8M in new grants from the National Institutes of Health. This includes two grants to bioengineering chair Robin Shandas, and one each to bioengineering researchers Kendall Hunter and Daewon Park.


CU-Boulder 'Photo Origami' Proposal Wins $2M NSF Grant 

The art of origami has inspired children and artists all over the world because of the amazing objects that can be created by folding a simple piece of paper. Now a CU-Boulder research team led by associate professor of mechanical engineering Jerry Qi has won a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a light-controlled approach for "self-assembly" mechanisms in advanced devices based on the same principles.


CU-NIST Scientist Deborah Jin Receives L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award

Deborah Jin, an adjoint professor of physics at CU-Boulder and a fellow of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, has been awarded the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science award. Jin was cited by the awards jury "for having been the first to cool down molecules so much that she can observe chemical reactions in slow motion, which may help further understanding of molecular processes which are important for medicine or new energy sources."


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

CUNVC Crash Course: How to Pitch 

October 24, CU-Boulder

Learning how to communicate the value of your startup effectively and concisely is critical to the success of your startup. Presented by Nicole Glaros, Managing Director of TechStars. Hosted by Silicon Flatirons, and part of the CU New Venture Challenge.


CTA DEMOgala Innovation Conference 

October 25, Sheraton Hotel, Denver

The Colorado Technology Association's 8th annual DEMOgala highlights technology entrepreneurs across the state and provides endless opportunities for its exhibitors, sponsors and attendees. Register online.


CO-LABS Governor's Award for High-Impact Research 

October 25, CU-Boulder

The CO-LABS Governor's Award for High-Impact Research Award celebrates the achievements of Colorado's outstanding federal researchers, with special recognition for scientific breakthroughs that have wide reaching impacts. The 2012 awards ceremony and reception will provide a unique opportunity to show your support for Colorado's federal labs and connect with leading scientists and lab directors, business leaders, university faculty and leadership, entrepreneurs, and local, state and federal officials. Register online.


AIAA Rocky Mountain Annual Technical Symposium 

October 26, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver

The first AIAA Rocky Mountain Region Annual Technical Symposium aims to bring together the Denver/Rocky Mountain Area's innovative, enthusiastic, and technical minds for a one-day event to collaborate, network, and share ideas about new technologies and implementation strategies. The theme for this year's symposium is "Game Changing Technologies and Strategies" - topics include Cockpit of the Future, Colorado Spaceport, Mars Atmospheric Refueling, Adaptive Leadership, the NASA-CAMT Space Act Agreement and more. Register online.


2012 UCCS Sports/Outdoors Business Plan Competition - Award Banquet 

October 26, Mining Exchange Hotel, Colorado Springs

The UCCS Sports/Outdoors Business Plan Competition is offered annually to student led venture teams from around the United States and internationally. Business plan competition winners will be announced at the banquet, and awarded with cash prizes - join us to meet all eight semi-finalists, a hosted cocktail hour, dinner, and keynote by U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Wrestler Brandon Slay. Buy tickets online.


CU New Venture Challenge: Kickoff & nLab Launch 

October 29, CU-Boulder

The fifth annual CU New Venture Challenge (NVC-V) will kick off on October 29, in conjunction with the launch of the nLab, the new cross-campus hub for students to explore and mobilize creative ideas. Howard Diamond, CEO of Aventura, will be the keynote speaker. There will be opportunities for networking before and after the event - open to CU students, faculty and staff, and members of the Colorado business community. Free and open to all.


CU New Venture Challenge: Team and Idea Night 

November 5, CU-Boulder

Hosted by the CU New Venture Challenge (CUNVC), Team and Idea Night is designed to address two of the most important aspects of starting a business: Creating and developing a great idea, and finding and thriving with the right team to turn the idea into a business. Speakers include Zach Nies, CTO of Rally Software, and Dan King, CEO of ReadyTalk. Free and open to all.


Boulder/Denver New Technology Meetup 

November 6, 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 

November 7, 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.


Entrepreneurs Unplugged: George Kembel, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Stanford D. School 

November 7, CU-Boulder

Entrepreneurs Unplugged is a meeting place where faculty, students and community members with technical backgrounds learn about and get involved in entrepreneurship. In particular, the program offers students and faculty an opportunity to learn how a successful start up is created as well as an opportunity to network. Hosted by Silicon Flatirons, ATLAS and the Deming Center - register online.


Conference: Financing Energy Innovation 

November 9, CU-Boulder

This conference will convene leading experts from law, industry, and finance to explore various aspects of energy innovation finance in the United States and its implications for clean energy deployment and competitiveness. Hosted by Silicon Flatirons - register online.


CBSA and Rockies Venture Club: Colorado Life Science Night 

November 13, EXDO Event Center, Denver

A collaboration between the Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA) and the Rockies Venture Club (RVC), this event will include a networking happy hour and four great life science pitches. Register online.


CU New Venture Challenge: Pitch Night 

November 13, CU-Boulder

Hosted by the CU New Venture Challenge (CUNVC), Pitch Night is an opportunity to give a short (less than 60 seconds!) pitch about your idea or your skill set. After the event, you'll have the chance to meet and talk to the other participants and some mentors whose skills and ideas match with your own. Free and open to all.


CBSA Medical Device Symposium 

November 14, Westin, Westminster

Hosted by the Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA), this half-day symposium focuses on trending topics with industry experts. Agenda items include panel discussions with clinical trial experts and industry CEO's. Register online.


Defrag 2012 

November 14-15, Omni Interlocken, Broomfield

Defrag started in 2007 as a forum for exploring information overload and building implicit tools for the web. In years 2-4, Defrag's focus shifted to things like enterprise collaboration, social media and big data. As Defrag entered its 5th year, it firmly established itself as one of the premiere thought leader discussions about "what's next" in tech. Register online.


CUNVC Crash Course: Effective Startup and Emerging Company Boards 

November 15, CU-Boulder

Hosted by Silicon Flatirons, and part of the CU New Venture Challenge. Presented by Joe Zell, General Partner at Grotech Ventures. Register online.


RVC Angel Investor Forums 

November 15, CBIZ, Denver

November 16, Boulder Library (Meadows Branch), Boulder

The RVC Investor Forum is a group of accredited investors who are interested in learning about private equity investing in Colorado. The forum helps to make Angel Investing fun and more efficient by pooling the wisdom, efforts and funding of many individuals and syndicating on investments. Register online.


Save the Date: CBSA Annual Awards Dinner
December 6, Hyatt Regency, Denver
  CBSA's annual celebration recognizing outstanding achievements in the Colorado life sciences industry and featuring keynote speaker George Sparks, President & CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Award nominations are now being accepted - please contact Tracey Nilson for info on nominations. Register online.


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

CU Resources 

CU-Boulder New Venture Challenge  

Interested in startups?  Want to connect to top entrepreneurs in the area? The NVC is a cross-campus business plan competition that gives students, faculty and staff an excellent opportunity to:


  • Learn about how to develop business ideas into viable plans;
  • Develop meaningful connections with Boulder business leaders and mentors;
  • Meet other business-minded CU students across campus (including students from Leeds, Computer Science, Engineering, Law, and Music); and
  • Win prize money and other in-kind benefits

Whether you have a business idea that you want to put into practice, want to contribute your skills to help develop someone else's idea, or just want an opportunity for business mentorship and networking, the NVC is a great way to get involved in the CU and greater Boulder business community. Join us for our Kickoff on Monday, October 29:

Innovation in the News

Biz Leaders Form Denver Digital Health Corridor 

South metro Denver business leaders are creating a "Denver Digital Health Corridor" in hopes of attracting more companies that specialize in medical technology and innovative health care and branding the area as a hub for medical entrepreneurship.


"Wasteful" Science that Wasn't: New Prize Honors U.S.-funded Basic Research 

A bipartisan group of Congressmen have gotten together with a number of science and research organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, to award the Golden Goose awards. The brainchild of Tennessee's Jim Cooper, the awards highlight basic research that ended up providing a huge boost to the economy or health research.


C&EN: What Researchers Who Want To Be Entrepreneurs Need To Know 

Scientists who are driven to start their own business and take the risks a start-up entails must think carefully about their technology, personal goals.


UCCS: Driving the Region's Economic Growth

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, once a small commuter college, now packs a $310M economic punch to the local economy and is growing. Its professors are getting aggressive about technology transfer, where it partners with businesses and licenses its intellectual property; its business professors are working with entrepreneurs to spin off companies and technologies. And its physics and engineering professors are working closely with high-tech companies on research and development, all with the goal of getting patent approvals for commercialization of their research. 

Parting Quote
"Science is not formal logic - it needs the free play of the mind in as great a degree as any other creative art. It is true that this is a gift which can hardly be taught, but its growth can be encouraged in those who already posses it."

Max Born, German Nobel Prize-winning physicist

University of Colorado's Office of Technology Transfer Mission Statement

The CU Tech Transfer Office provides patent and other commercialization support to researchers at CU's four campuses, and serves as a liaison for industry partners interested in commercializing CU technologies.

(303) 735-3711