UMass CVIP Newsletter

Turning World Class Research into Innovative Products

  March 2014 

Updates on UMass Spinouts

 Company Links
UMass Links
UMass logo 
This newsletter from the Office of Commerical Venture and Intellectual Property at the President's Office of the University of Massachusetts is to keep you informed of the latest technology activities and successes on all five campuses.
Active Second Quarter for Disclosures and Patents


The University had a strong quarter in terms of faculty disclosures, patenting activity and licensing (5 licenses). Licensing income was modest at $732K and overall licensing transactions for the year are low. Significant licensing income was $160K from Anellotech (UMass Amherst), a UMass startup formed several years ago, $29K from Anterios (UMass Lowell), another UMass startup, $111K from Carnegie Institute of Washington (UMass Worcester) for RNA technologies, $48K from Sunovion (UMass Worcester), $30K from Hologic (UMass Worcester) and $25K from Antigen Express (UMass Worcester), a UMass spin out. The remaining income was from multiple licenses at UMass Amherst, Lowell, and Worcester. For the quarter, Amherst executed 2 exclusive and 1 non-exclusive licenses and Worcester executed 2 exclusive licenses. No licenses were completed from the other 3 campuses but UMass Lowell completed 3 option agreements that hopefully convert to licenses in the future.
Licensing Activities  
UMass Amherst completed an exclusive license to Sonation, a startup
Prof. James Watkins
company described below which included technology developed by Charles Raphael, a former faculty member in the Math and Statistics Department. A royalty based license with Sekisui Chemical Company was completed for a hybrid electrolyte for lithium-based rechargeable batteries. The license was based on technology developed by Professor James Watkins in the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering. UMass Worcester completed a license to the startup TATT, also described below, and a license to Amarantus for technology developed by Professor Fumihiko Urano involving a neutrophilic factor ("MANF") potentially important in treating diabetes.
Startup Activity Totaling 4 Startups for FY14 to Date
Licenses were granted to three startups this quarter. UMass Amherst licensed a technology to a startup, Sonation, which developed an expert system for musical accompaniment whose product is called Cadenza. The product is sold currently. This app allows a musician to play with musical accompaniment. The company recently did an MTTC Platform.
Uri Galili, Ph.D.
Two startups were formed based on technology developed at UMass Worcester. Agalimmune was formed in London UK in 2013 based on a body  of technology developed by Professor Uri Galili, retired UMass Medical School faculty member. The company was funded by two investment groups based in London. The Dr. Galili's technology and the company focuses on cancer immunotherapy which uses a patient's immune system to fight the cancer. Dr. Galili is a scientific advisor to the company. He was a two time recipient of CVIP Technology Development Awards.
Tatt, LLC is a recently formed company based on technology that uses siRNA to preserve organs for transplantation. The inventors are Tim Kowalik and Mark Uknis at UMass Worcester. The company is being started by the inventors. The technology relates to the use of siRNA to improve organs being used for transplantation by minimizing 1) organ rejection, 2) transplantation-mediated transmission of viral infection, and 3) the triggering of apoptosis in transplanted tissue.
The four startups for the year exceeds the total startups created in any past year and we have two quarters left. 

UMass Investment Fund Activity
Interest in the University investments in our startups has continued. Based on the support of the University Technology Advisory Board assembled to advise on an investment Felsuma, Bill Rosenberg has requested and received approval for a $200K investment from Treasurer Christine Wilder and her A&F Advisory Committee per our investment policy. The $200K initial investment will be part of an initial $2M funding round. The investment will be syndicated and UMass will invest along with other angels on equal terms. Felsuma is based on "Geckskin" technology invented by Professors Crosby and Irschick of UMass Amherst. A company was formed last year with Rana Gupta as founding CEO.

Another University Technology Advisory Board was formed and met recently 
Babs Soller, Ph.D.
with Babs Soller, a former UMass Worcester professor, now CEO of Reflectance Medical, which is also seeking an initial investment. The committee included David Lucchino, a UMass alum and formerly venture capitalist and company executive; Carl Berke who works for the Partners Investment Fund and was a founder of Mass Medical Angels; and Paul Fenton who started and sold several device companies and was founding CEO of the UMass spinout Dartmouth Medical Research. The company's product is a non-invasive monitoring technology for critical care developed by Dr. Soller at the UMass Worcester campus. The company has received more than $10M in grants from the US Army and its device has been given grant clearance by the FDA. Based on the Board's advice, an investment request has been submitted to the Treasurer recommending a University Investment in the company.

Early discussions have been held between Bill Rosenberg, Abi Barrow and
Sue Leschine, Ph.D.
  Steve Rogers, CEO for Qteros, for consideration of an investment. Qteros is a "re-start" of a UMass Amherst spinout based on bacterial conversion of biomass to ethanol developed by Professor Sue Leschine. Additional discussion is required to determine whether this is a strong investment candidate.

Any campus which has an investment opportunity in a start-up, even at an early stage, should contact Bill Rosenberg.
CVIP Technology Development Fund 2014 Winners Selected
In response to our announcement in November of this year's CVIP Technology Development Fund, we received 31 proposals from the campuses for the $25K awards. Funding is from CVIP licensing income and from President Caret. Previous "proof of concept" grants have been contributed to new licenses, 5 start-up companies and additional R&D funding. Twelve finalists were identified and presented to a panel on March 5th consisting of 5 CVIP Directors, Abi Barrow, Bill Rosenberg, and invited UMass alumni Warren Isabelle, an alum of UMass Lowell and Amherst and on the UMass Foundation Investment Advisory Board, and Jerry O'Connor, an alum of UMass Amherst, a partner at Saul Ewing and a frequent volunteer at the MTTC Platform. Abi offered as in the past to coach each of the presenters and Michele Bernier has been the organizer for the activities.
The following projects were selected as recipients of the Fund:

Xingwei Wang, Ph.D.

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UMass Lowell 

"A Miniature Fiber Optic High Frequency High Resolution Ultrasound Imaging Transducer"


Rudolf Faust

Department of Chemistry, UMass Lowell

"Self-healing Gas Impermeable Elastomeric Sealant"


Amy Biddle, Ph.D.
Jeffrey Blanchard, Ph.D.
UMass Amherst
Biology Department, UMass Amherst
"Probiotics for equine digestive health"


Dhandapani Venkataraman
Department of Chemistry, UMass Amherst
"Organic Photovoltaic Devices Based on Water-based Nanoparticle Dispersions"

Qiangfei Xia

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UMass Amherst 

"All-silicon-based Resistance Switch Arrays with In-Situ Diodes as Selectors"


Igor Kaltashov

Department of Chemistry, UMass Amherst 

"Protein conjugates based on bacteriostatic proteins as antimicrobial drugs for treating infections in the central nervous system"


Jack L. Leonard, Ph.D., Professor

Department of Microbiology and Physiological Systems, UMass Worcester

"Pharmacokinetic-Pharmacodynamic Modeling of the MTD-DKK3b Tumor Suppressor"


Anna Yaroslavsky, Ph.D.

Department of Physics, UMass Lowell

"Method for Optical Detection of Breast Cancer in Single Cells"

UMass Amherst Appoints New CVIP Director
UMass Amherst has announced that Robert MacWright, Ph.D., Esq., joined CVIP as Director on March 3 replacing Fred Reinhart. Fred will remain as a  senior advisor to UMass Amherst and serve as President-Elect
Dr. Robert MacWright
of AUTM- the Association of University Technology Managers, the leading national orgnaization for technology transfer professionals in the nation. Dr. MacWright has been involved in academic technology transfer since 1985 and previously was a director at Rutgers University, the University of Virginia and the Salk Institute. He is also a Registered Patent Attorney and has practiced law with three prominant firms. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Rutgers and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ, and received his law degree from Rutgers Law Newark.
Dr. MacWright will lead a team of six CVIP professionals and oversee all aspects of invenion protection, promotion, entrepreneurship and licensing at the campus.
UMass Entrepreneurship Activity

Continuing Bill Rosenberg and Abi Barrow's efforts begun some 15 months ago to create an initiative to raise the level of entrepreneurship at UMass, Bill and Abi held a meeting with representatives of all campuses involved in this area to seek their input into this activity. Called the UMass Entrepreneurship Commons, it is an approach to create better awareness across all campuses of the many separate campus activities that contribute to entrepreneurship. This effort initially produced a new website last spring ( listing campus and external resources to support entrepreneurship . The new Commons approach proposes activities and a structure. At a meeting on March 11, a planning group was formed to plan a University wide retreat later this Spring on entrepreneurism. In addition a working group was formed to further develop and implement the Commons approach. The group was enthusiastic about moving this forward with speed to meet what we believe is a strong need by researchers and students.


 On a separate but related matter, a meeting is being set up with Secretary for Economic Development Bialecki with selected members of this group to present the University's efforts on raising entrepreneurship, a topic the Commonwealth has shown interest in and a possible area for state funding. 

Bill and Abi are also working with the Office of Technology Management and the CCTS on a seminar series on IP and commercialization basics that will be held in April and May.

Mass Technology Transfer Center (MTTC) Programming, Grant Awards and Policy Activities 
The MTTC, under Abi Barrow's leadership as Founding Director, has continued its work in organizing technology transfer events and programs across the  Commonwealth that showcase the work of UMass faculty and that of other inventors across the state. The MTTC also supports faculty entrepreneurs through its "Platform" program and assists faculty to demonstrate the feasibility of their technology through "proof of concept" grants.
MTTC "Catalyst Awards"  
Working with the MassCEC, the MTTC announced five new awards of $40,000 to be used by researchers and very early stage companies to prove their technology. 39 proposals were received and 11 finalists were invited to present to a board of outside experts. The five awards went to four early stage companies and researchers at MIT. MassCEC and MTTC also launched a new solicitation for the Catalyst Awards program on February 26th. Up to five new awards of $40,000 again will be awarded to researchers and very early stage companies to prove their clean energy technology. Proposals are due by 5PM on March 31st. Click here for more information. UMass faculty from Amherst, Dartmouth and Lowell have successfully competed for these awards in the past.
Mentoring Support 
The MTTC worked with UMass Amherst Mentors and Ventures Program (MVP) on an event that showcased four early stage start-ups to a group of alumni mentors. The program, held at the UMass Club, attracted a strong group of mentors who met with each company and provided them strategic advice. 
"Proof of Concept" Legislation 
The MTTC and the President's Office continue to lobby for the passage of a bill to provide funding to MTTC to award "proof of concept" grants and provide various forms of technical assistance to faculty to help them move their discoveries closer to commercialization. Read here. The bill requests multi-year funding of $8M with a minimum of half reserved for UMass. it is hoped that the legislation be included in an "economic development" bill that is expected to be filed in the Spring. 
Conferences and Events
The MTTC held a joint robotics program with the MassTLC on December 13 that showcased robotics research at all the universities in the region. UMass Lowell participated in the program and talked about the capabilities of the NERVE center. Over 200 people signed up for the event.
The MTTC is currently in the planning stages of its two major Life Sciences Conferences - the 10th Annual Early Stage Life Sciences Conference will be held at Merck's research facility on April 10th. And the 6th Mass Life Sciences Innovation Day will be held at the Harvard Club on June 3. It is anticipated that both of these conferences will include UMass spin-off companies and technologies.
MTTC Welcomes Intern from University of Sao Paulo
Naira Ferreira Bonifacio
Finally, the MTTC welcomes Naira Ferreira Bonifacio from the University of Sao Paulo. Naira secured a fellowship from the University of Sao Paulo to be at the MTTC to learn about technology commercialization programs. She will be with us at the MTTC for six months.
Thank you to the UMass CVIP staff on each campus as well as Abi Barrow (Director, MTTC), and Michele Bernier (Grant Manager) from the President's Office. If you have any suggestions for a newsletter topic or questions regarding the articles mentioned above, please contact Michele Bernier at or me at

William Rosenberg

Commercial Ventures & Intellectual Property