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UMass President awards $240,000 in grants to accelerate research commercialization


 

Broad range of early-stage technologies from across the University receive support

 

BOSTON - Pointing to a desire to "build on this program's track record of success," UMass President Jack M. Wilson today announced the awarding of $240,000 in grants to University researchers whose work evidences strong potential for commercial development.

 

The 2008 awards consist of eight grants of $30,000 each to UMass researchers. Their technologies represent a broad range of disciplines and were selected as the leading technologies from among dozens of submissions for support from the fund.

 

 

"Researchers on all of our campuses continue to make critical contributions to the advancement of science. To ensure that these ideas reach their maximum potential and that the public can realize their benefits, we support the commercialization of UMass-developed technology with these grants," said President Wilson. "In addition to our core educational mission, the University of Massachusetts serves as an innovation engine for the Commonwealth, fostering the development of new technologies-such as medicines and tools for surgery and patient assessment - that will foster medical breakthroughs as well as economic development in the Commonwealth."

 

"These grants will help to bring UMass inventions and discoveries into the marketplace and into people's lives," President Wilson added.

 

This year's funding recipients have made scientific breakthroughs with the potential to advance technology used in medical devices, health assessments, HIV drug effectiveness, biomass fuel production, and even the microscopes that contribute to better research.

 

The grants are awarded through and managed by the University of Massachusetts Office of Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property (CVIP), headed by Executive Director William Rosenberg. The awards are funded with technology licensing revenue supplemented by funds from the UMass Office of the President.

 

This is the fifth cycle of CVIP awards. Since 2004, President Wilson, through the Office of CVIP, has made 26 awards for technology development, resulting in benefits at all UMass campuses, including four new licenses, $2.5 million in new research funding and one start-up company.

 

The 2008 CVIP Technology Development Fund awards were given to the following project team leaders:

 

"Resorbable Shape Memory Biopolymer for Spine Fusion Applications"

The grant will fund testing of a nanocomposite shape memory polymer (SMP) used as bone substitute. This polymer possesses properties of bone and exhibits thermally triggered shape memory behavior. This technology can improve bone grafts by minimizing tissue damage.

"Testing Novel HIV-1 Protease Inhibitors for Viability Against Resistant Viruses from the Clinic"

 

Funds will pay for testing for a series of novel HIV-1 protease inhibitors specifically designed to reduce incidence of drug resistance. Although many anti-HIV drugs are currently on the market, more are needed, due to the high occurrence of drug resistance and the high prevalence of a diverse variety of HIV subtypes world wide.

"Green Gasoline from Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis of Lignocellulosic Biomass"

Funding will be used to develop a prototype reactor to demonstrate green gasoline production on a larger scale. This would have a significant commercial impact in producing gasoline from domestic biomass resources.

"Novel Biodegradable Bone Plates and Adhesive Bonding"

A novel heat-activated adhesive system will eliminate the need for drilling or the use of screws for fixation in craniomaxillofacial surgery. The application is for the reconstruction of pediatric congenital skull abnormalities. The funds will go toward building a superior device for the application of the adhesive.

"Novel Hydrogel-based System for Maintenance of Mammalian Cells in Culture"

This technology improves greatly at a minimum cost the ease of maintaining cells used in research. Funding will extend demonstration of the technology to additional cell lines of commercial interest.

"Zero-Power Telemetry for Implantable Medical Devices"

Implantable medical devices increasingly use wireless communication for monitoring patients in hospitals and homes. Using zero-power telemetry in implantation devices can extend the lifetime of batteries, enabling patients to have a better quality of life. Funding will be used to construct a prototype demonstrating the technology.

"Noninvasive Sensor for Optimizing Athletic Performance: Proof of Concept for Novel, Portable Technology"

Funding will enable a redesign of a sensor which assesses a person's metabolic rate and exercise capacity, which is valuable information for the commercial sports market. The new sensor will be smaller, lighter, and have the capacity for wireless communication features.

"Fourier Phase Contrast Microscope"

The project focuses on developing a lab model microscope that is based on a novel Fourier phase contrast microscopy (FPCM) technique. This represents a major improvement over existing microscopes that are widely used for research.

Through both licensing income and additional research funding, University's investment in new technologies through the CVIP has been returned many times over. UMass technology licensing revenue was more than $40 million in Fiscal Year 2007. Results from awards in previous years have been very positive, as illustrated by the following outcomes:

 

  • The University is working with several entrepreneurs to form a new company using previously funded technology in the food science field developed at UMasss Amherst. It will focus on delivery of ingredients which can have beneficial effects on human health through beverages and other foods.

  • The University licensed a technology to automate cell characterization. The technology was developed by a researcher at the Worcester campus, and the prototype was funded by the CVIP fund. It is about be enter the market, sold commercially by Cytyc.
  • A CVIP grant funded the clinical test of a flu vaccine which showed positive results. The vaccine is now licensed CytoDyn, which will continue its development.
  • After funding was received for the development of a novel polymer for controlled release applications, the subsequent advancements were used in a proposal that won a five-year, $900,000 grant, the National Science Foundation's Collaborative Research in Chemistry award, for Todd Emrick at UMass Amherst.

     

 

ABOUT CVIP

 

Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property (CVIP) is responsible for the commercialization of discoveries made on the five campuses of the University of Massachusetts. The Executive Director, William Rosenberg, is based in the Office of the President and there are CVIP offices on each UMass campus. Licensing of UMass intellectual property generated $41.1 million in Fiscal Year 2007 for the University.

 

Contacts:

 

Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073

 

President's Office

 

 

Libby DeVecchi, 617-287-7023

 

President's Office

 

 

William Rosenberg, 617-287-7186

 

Office of Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property

 

 

3/26/08

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Communications Staff Directory

Robert P. Connolly
Vice President for Strategic Communications and University Spokesperson
617.287.7073 (office)
rconnolly@umassp.edu

Ann Scales
Director of Communications
617.287.4084 (office)
ascales@umassp.edu

JoAnn Conley
Communications Coordinator/Writer
617.287.5538
jconley@umassp.edu

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