Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Companies Receive Funding

The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) awarded 12 Maryland researchers $485,000 through their University Technology Development Fund (UTDF) and TechStart programs. The aim of the UTDF program is to help researchers develop and assess the commercial viability of new technological inventions, test prototypes, and optimize principle research designs.

So far, since 2001, 95 projects have been completed and 43 have been licensed or optioned to private companies with 35 of these companies located in Maryland. Of these licensees, 29 were startup companies in the state, 13 received follow-on funding through TEDCO’s Maryland Technology Transfer and Commercialization Fund program, and 7 through TEDCO’s TechStart program.

Of the $485,000 awarded, researchers from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, Salisbury University, and Towson University received up to $50,000 each in UTDF funding. The University of Maryland Baltimore, University of Maryland College Park and JHU, each received up to $15,000 in funding from TEDCO’s TechStart program. Five startup companies were launched as a result of the funding and include BOSS Medical, CervoCheck, Clear Guide Medical, Lifelong Technologies, and Neximmune.

A.J Khanna M.D., JHU Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering was awarded $50,000 to develop a minimally-invasive bone tissue harvesting device to be able to collect of more bone tissue, provide safer autograft, and reduce pain. The resulting technology is the core for the startup company BOSS Medical LLC.

Robert H. Allen, PhD, JHU Associate Research Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics, received $50,000 to develop a technology to enable obstetricians to more accurately diagnose early preterm labor, prescribe interventions to prolong the pregnancy, and to improve fetal development. This device by bypassing the maternal abdomen to measure contractions in the cervix and vagina enables a more accurate diagnosis. The startup company CervoCheck, LLC resulted from the development of the device.

Emad Boctor, PhD, JHU Assistant Professor of Radiology received $50,000 to develop a needle tracking and intervention guidance device using ultrasound imaging. This enables needle-guided interventions to be done without the need for expensive, cumbersome, and external tracking devices currently used. This device will allow the physician or ultrasound expert to find small or deep tumors which cannot yet be easily spotted by ultrasound. This technology is the core for the startup company Clear Guide Medical, LLC.

Angelia Crawford entrepreneur and graduate of the ACTIVATE program, UMB Robert O’Toole, M.D, Assistant Professor of Orthopedics, and Nancy Cowger, M.D, Office of Technology Licensing at UMB were awarded $8,000 from Tech Start to develop the Step Activity Monitor (SAM) a walking aid. SAM provides data on the patients’ physical activity to physicians. LifeLong Technologies, LLC was formed around the technology.

Mathias Oelke, PhD, JHU Assistant Professor of Pathology, Kenneth Carter, PhD, entrepreneur, and Daniel Potvin PhD Senior Licensing Associate received $15,000 from TechStart to develop a technology to destroy tumor cells. The technology developed is an easy-to-assemble system where different immunological signals can be attached to a bead or smaller quantum dot and activate Natural Killer T-cells (NKT) that can stimulate cells outside the body in culture and also be injected into patients. The startup company Neximmune, Inc. was formed around the technology.

Other technologies under development include the development of a therapeutic technology known as a mimetic peptide to treat cancer. This technology showing promise in inhibiting metastatic breast cancer and other breast cancers that are not responding to current treatments, is being researched by Aleksander Popel, PhD at JHU.

An award was also made to a JHU researcher Brendan Canning PhD to further develop a treatment to limit coughing. The ongoing research has discovered cough receptors that play an essential role in regulating the cough reflex and a group of compounds have been discovered that are more effective in selectively targeting these receptors.

In addition, JHU Researcher Clifford Weiss M.D. is working on a device to make dialysis more effective. His team has designed a device to access naturally high blood flows in the leg, as opposed to the artificially created ones in the arm that cause stenosis. This subcutaneous device provides two ports for access to the femoral vein and a third port for controlling a valve which closes access to the vein when the patient is not in dialysis.

For more information, go to www.marylandtechco.org or www.MarylandTEDCO.org.