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Joint Tech Social and Showcase Success for STC and Sandia

Albuquerque, NM – October 2, 2015. Every fall aIMG_0078_End spring semester, STC hosts technology socials that promote new technologies recently disclosed by UNM researchers for funding and commercialization opportunities. Company representatives, investors and entrepreneurs with an interest in and experience with commercializing university inventions are invited to attend.

On September 24th, STC and Sandia National Labs co-hosted a technology social and showcase promoting jointly developed and commercialized technologies at the two research institutions. Eight technologies were presented to invited guests at the one-day event that also included Q&A with local entrepreneurs and investors (“sharks”) and a lunchtime panel discussion, moderated by STC CEO Lisa Kuuttila, with three companies commercializing jointly owned UNM and Sandia technologies.

Ms. Kuuttila and Dr. Peter Atherton, Sandia Senior Manager of Industry Partnerships, were co-moderators for the event, which also included remarks from STC Innovation Fellow and Sandia Fellow Dr. Jeff Brinker, UNM School of Engineering Dean Dr. Joe Cecchi, and Sandia Technology and Economic Development Manager Jackie Kerby Moore.

Local entrepreneurs and investors who were the events panel of “sharks” providing valuable feedback to presenters included John Chavez, President of the New Mexico Angels, Stuart Schoenmann, CEO of Advanced Technology Consulting Group, Lori Upham, CEO of Upham BioConsulting and Technology Research Collaborative, Kim Sanchez Rael, Founder and Managing Director of Arrah Ventures, and John Freisinger, President & CEO of Technology Ventures Corporation. Lunchtime panelists present to answer questions about their experiences in commercializing and funding the joint technologies included Victor Esch, CEO of DNA Electronics (formerly nanoMR, acquired by DNA Electronics), Scott Goldman, President & CEO of Armonica Technologies, LLC, and David Shin, Vice President of Protocell Operations at OncothIMG_0144_Eyreon Inc.

Ms. Kuuttila kicked off the event with welcoming remarks to the attendees, reminding them of the university’s long partnership with Sandia in research and development:

“UNM, STC, and Sandia have had a partnership in research leading to intellectual property and commercialization of these innovations since 1998, resulting in 175 joint inventions and 74 issued patents. Today, we are going to show you some of the results of this partnership with four newly disclosed joint life science technologies and four newly disclosed joint physical science/engineering technologies.”

Dr. Atherton added that the collaborations have offered important opportunities for both organizations:

“The protocell technology developed by start-up Alpine Biosciences and acquired by biotechnology company Oncothyreon would not have happened without the collaboration of joint appointee Dr. Jeff Brinker and the UNM Cancer Center, School of Medicine, and School of Engineering. Dr. Brinker will be able to continue the collaboration as a consultant to Oncothyreon.”

IMG_0109_EDr. Brinker who has had a distinguished career at Sandia since 1979 and at the University of New Mexico as a professor since 1991, also provided welcoming remarks. Today Dr. Brinker is a Sandia Fellow, UNM Distinguished Professor and a 2015 STC Innovation Fellow. He spoke about the technologies he has developed that have been joint collaborations and the progress and accomplishments that have resulted from the collaborations:

“Today it is an exciting environment at UNM and Sandia where researchers can invent and be entrepreneurs and where our technologies are being jointly promoted for commercial opportunities. My first paper and my first patents were with UNM researchers. The creation of the Advanced Materials Lab (AML) by UNM, Sandia, and LANL in 1991, the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), and the collaborations with the UNM Cancer Center are examples of the different resources available now for creating new technologies. The joint appointment program between UNM and Sandia has been a success as well and is a model used by other universities and labs. A key advancement for Sandians is now being able to consult with start-ups that would like to have inventors involved in the process of developing the technology.”

IMG_0204_EThe lunchtime panelists of experienced entrepreneurs and investors had useful advice for researchers, entrepreneurs, and technology transfer organizations. Key points made by the panelists included the following:

  • Researchers should spend enough time on analyzing the very high value segment of the market for their technology and focus on how their technology does a better job of addressing the market.
  • When presenting, researchers should have a well thought out path to achieving proof of concept and should concentrate on what the technology will solve or do.
  • For entrepreneurs seeking funding, the best environment is to have lots of seed stage funding available (especially from state government) and adequate other levels of funding available as new companies mature.   Also, entrepreneurs should carefully plan their capital milestones, leverage their relationships (another source of funding), and seek funding through grants.
  • For start-up success, having the inventor involved, hiring technical personnel and having other resources available early on is critical to developing the technology.
  • When marketing technologies to entrepreneurs and investors, tech transfer organizations (TTO’s), such as STC, should emphasize what problem the technology solves and include small business plans as part of the presentation. Also, TTO’s that are collaborative and flexible when working out problems are what entrepreneurs and investors look for when seeking commercialization opportunities. It was suggested that a playbook, or introductory course with timelines and challenges to consider in commercializing university technology would be helpful information to provide to new entrepreneurs and investors.

The tech social concluded with closing remarks by Jackie Kerby Moore, Sandia Manager for Technology and Economic Development, and Dr. Joseph Cecchi, Dean of the UNM School of Engineering. Dr. Cecchi thanked the presenters and attendees for a successful event:

“There was lots of networking going on here today among inventors, entrepreneurs and investors. I would like to acknowledge the impact STC has had on UNM over the last 11 years in terms of transforming our research culture by helping us understand what it means to invent—going beyond the research paper to bring discoveries to the public. STC has done a marvelous job of working with the community to make those connections for us. Our relationship with Sandia has also been essential to our efforts. Location really does matter. UNM and Sandia have been partners for over 30 years and the result is that we are aligning our research for greater innovations and more commercialization opportunities that are building an innovation economy in New Mexico. We are going in the right direction.”

Ms. Kerby Moore added:

“The level of partnering between Sandia and UNM is unprecedented. We are working together to expand our commercialization efforts. Joint hires, joint inventions and joint patents equal joint results: jobs, new companies, and economic growth.”

Below is a list of new joint technologies presented at the event:

  1. Pumping Mechanisms for In-Vivo Extraction of Fluid Using Microneedles
    • Inventors: Justin Baca, MD, PhD (UNM), Ronen Polsky, PhD (Sandia), Philip Miller, PhD (Sandia)
    • Presenter: Ronen Polsky, PhD (Sandia)
  2. Acoustic Wave Biosensor for Infectious Diseases
    • Inventors: Richard Larson, MD, PhD (UNM), Brian Hjelle MD, PhD (UNM), Pamela Hall, PhD (UNM), David Brown, MS (UNM), Marco Bisoffi, PhD (UNM),Susan Brozik, PhD, Darren Branch, PhD (Sandia), Thayne Edwards, PhD (Sandia), David Wheeler, PhD (Sandia)
    • Presenter: Justin Baca, MD, PhD (UNM)
  3. Living Cell-Based Biosensor Device That Outputs Signals of Differing Types When Detecting an Analyte
    • Inventors: Jeffrey Brinker, PhD (UNM/Sandia), Jason Harper, PhD (Sandia), Thayne Edwards, PhD (Sandia), Susan Brozik, PhD
    • Presenter: Jason Harper, PhD (Sandia)
  4. DNA/RNA Sequencing Using a Semiconducting Nanopore
    • Inventors: Dimiter Petsev, PhD (UNM), Frank Van Swol, PhD (Sandia), Mark Fleharty (UNM)
    • Presenter: Dimiter Petsev, PhD (UNM)
  5. Encapsulated Polymer Nanocomposite for Efficient Crack Injection of Cement, Rock and Other Brittle Materials
    • Inventors: Mahmoud Taha, PhD (UNM), John Stormont, PhD (UNM), Edward Matteo, PhD (Sandia)
    • Presenter: John Stormont, PhD (UNM)
  6. The First Cost-Effective Solution for CO2 Capture
    • Inventors: Joseph Cecchi, PhD (UNM), Susan Rempe, PhD (Sandia), Yaqin Fu, PhD (UNM), Ying-Bing Jiang, PhD (UNM), C. Jeffrey Brinker, PhD (UNM/Sandia)
    • Presenter: Ying-Bing Jiang, PhD (UNM)
  7. Cell-Based Composite Materials with Programmed Structures and Functions
    • Inventors: Jeffrey Brinker, PhD (UNM/Sandia), Jason Townson, PhD (formerly UNM, Oncothyreon), Bryan Kaehr, PhD (Sandia), Kristin Meyer(Sandia)
    • Presenter: Bryan Kaehr, PhD (Sandia)
  8. Metal Phosphide Nanomaterials
    • Inventors: Timothy Lambert (Sandia), Bernadette Hernandez-Sanchez, PhD (Sandia), Richard Kemp, PhD (UNM/Sandia), Diane Dickie, PhD (UNM)
    • Presenter: Bernadette Hernandez-Sanchez, PhD (Sandia)

If you are interested in learning more about this and future technology socials, please contact Lisa Kuuttila, CEO & Chief Economic Development Officer for STC.UNM at kuuttila@stc.unm.edu or 505-272-7905.