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STC.UNM Launches New Networking Event for its Technologies and Start-ups

Albuquerque, NM – October 15, 2014 Last week was a busy one in New Mexico not only for Albuquerque’s international balloon fiesta, which draws thousands to view the launch of hundreds of hot air balloons, but also for STC, which launched a new networking event. On October 8 and 9, the University’s tech-transfer organization held two tech socials that brought together UNM inventors with brand new technologies, UNM start-ups already commercializing UNM technology, local and out-of-state investors and entrepreneurs. The day-long events featured technology presentations from the inventors in main campus and health sciences center departments and covered new inventions from a range of fields in optics, photonics, software IT, apps, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals. Guest speakers for the events were Dr. Joseph Cecchi, Dean of UNM’s School of Engineering, and Dr. Larry Sklar, STC 2011 Innovation Fellow and UNM Director of the Center for Molecular Discovery. Both speakers gave the attending investors and entrepreneurs an overall view of what researchers at the university are developing that have potential commercial value for the marketplace.

To read more about the events, see Kevin Robinson-Avila’s October 9th article, “Forum Connects NM Inventors, Investors,” from the Albuquerque Journal, reprinted below, and Dan Mayfield’s October 8th article, “UNM’s School of Engineering Gaining Clout in Intellectual Property,” from Albuquerque Business First, at http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/news/2014/10/08/unms-school-of-engineering-gaining-clout-in.html.

UNM students were also a part of the networking events. The Innovation Academy, UNM’s academic program being developed as part of the Innovate ABQ project, held a reception on the evening of October 8 for attendees. Students from across campus pitched their ideas and research to the attendees from the day’s event for feedback on further development. See Kevin Robinson-Avila’s October 11th article, “UNM Gets a Jump on ‘Innovation Academy,'” from the Albuquerque Journal, reprinted below.

STC will be holding two more tech socials on February 17 and 18 covering new technologies and related UNM start-ups in the areas of nano-manufacturing and energy on February 17, and medical devices, healthcare IT, and imaging on February 18. If you are interested in attending one or both of these tech socials, go to:

Engineering & Physical Sciences: https://techsocial-physical-sciences-2015.eventbrite.com

Life Sciences: https://techsocial-life-sciences-2015.eventbrite.com

Forum connects NM inventors, investors

By Kevin Robinson-Avila / Journal Staff Writer

Copyright © 2014 Albuquerque Journal

Some two dozen University of New Mexico technologies were on display this week at a newly launched “Technology Social” forum that UNM hopes will help inventors, investors and entrepreneurs connect with one another.
The two-day event included presentations by startup companies working to commercialize UNM technologies, plus presentations by researchers who have yet to pursue market strategies for their inventions. The Science and Technology Corp., UNM’s tech-transfer office, organized the forum for participants to learn about what others are doing, to share ideas and advice and to become inspired to help each other move technologies from lab to market.
“It’s a great networking event,” said STC President and CEO Lisa Kuuttila. “We have so many startups now commercializing university technologies, and many raw technologies with marketable potential. We want the people working on those things to connect and integrate into the larger community ecosystem.”

The forum was divided into two groups of technologies, with engineering inventions in the fields of optics, photonics, software and more on display Wednesday. Life science inventions in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals were presented on Thursday. “We’ve divided our portfolio of technologies into four categories, with different forums planned for each one,” Kuuttila said. “The next two will take place in February, with one for nanomanufacturing and materials, and another for medical devices and instrumentation.”

This week’s presentations included a range of technologies and companies at different stages of development. Resipra Therapeutics, for example, has been working since 2010 to commercialize a new inhaler that allows patients to absorb more medicine into their lungs than they can with today’s inhalers. That company has raised nearly $5 million in venture capital.

AgilVax, another company marketing UNM technology to rapidly identify and develop new vaccines, raised $2 million this summer. And Zocere, which has developed a peptide to protect brain cells against damage from stroke, has raised $500,000 from the New Mexico Angels investor group.

Participants said the forum helps to build collaborative networks among companies working in similar industries.
“For New Mexico to create a successful ecosystem around innovation, we need to build these types of industry clusters,” said Cottonwood Technology Fund managing partner David Blivin. “STC is becoming a catalyst for that.”

Students get jump on Innovate Academy

By Kevin Robinson-Avila / Journal Staff Writer

Copyright © 2014 Albuquerque Journal

Harry Pappas pitched his idea of creating wearable fabrics that can kill bacteria.

Zeke Chavez and Bryce Lockett talked about their idea for a new type of photo-sharing app.

Those University of New Mexico students were among those getting a jump-start this week on what will be a goal of Innovate ABQ: to give young people a chance to get direct experience in the business world and to start solving problems.

“It’s an amazing experience to be able to pitch to businesspeople here,” Chavez said. “This kind of program can really help new entrepreneurs like me. I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Although Innovate ABQ won’t launch until at least next year at the seven-acre Central and Broadway site Downtown, UNM is already rolling out its new “Innovation Academy” for students.

The Science and Technology Corp., UNM’s tech-transfer office, hosted three-minute presentations, or business pitches, by 11 individual students and student teams on Wednesday. The idea was to pique the interest of investors and entrepreneurs about technologies students hope to commercialize, and to get the students directly mingling with the business community.

Innovation Academy will be a central part of Innovate ABQ, which UNM and the city envision as a high-tech research and development zone that could help turn the city’s core into a center for technology-based economic growth. The project will allow businesspeople and scientists to come together to pursue tech transfer and startup endeavors.

Students will be directly involved through projects, internships and business pursuits connected to the academy. They will live in dorms on the site for real-world immersion and experience.

But since master plans for the site won’t be done until January, UNM is getting a jump on the academy by providing programs for students now, STC President and CEO Lisa Kuuttila said at Wednesday’s event.

“We’re getting started with the academy programming independent of location,” Kuuttila said. “Today marks the program’s soft launch.”

Other startup ideas pitched by students included a new peptide to fight breast cancer and an optical scanner that detects stem cells beneath the skin to improve treatment of burn victims.

“This helps to put perspective on how the research I’m involved with can be applied to real-world problems,” Pappas said.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to get advice and feedback and maybe take the first steps to actually get started,” Lockett said.

UNM is still developing course work that will be offered to academy students, with the goal of basing it all on hands-on learning so students can acquire critical workplace skills, said Carol Parker, senior vice provost for academic affairs.

“Employers assume college graduates have the skills they need to succeed, such as critical thinking and problem-solving, but there’s growing evidence of a skills gap,” Parker said. “The best way to acquire those skills is by providing opportunities for them to directly work on solving real-world problems, rather than just read textbooks.”

Source: STC.UNM

 For more information, contact:

Denise Bissell
(505) 272-7310