UVA Proof-of-Concept Programs

Key Program Facts: 

Each proof of concept program has an Oversight Review Committee consisting of internal senior research scientists, technology transfer directors along with senior university medical leadership and external members from industry and early-stage venture capitalists. Together they select, provide real time real word feedback, and mentor  the funded research project:

  • Milestone driven research with oral presentations and quarterly  project reports to the Oversight Review Committee
  • Dedicated hands on program director
  • Projects that are internally de-risked making them attractive to investors for further development
  • Overall proof of concept funded projects to date: 160

Overall internal project funding: 

  • Startup companies launched after proof of concept funding: 20 
  • Technology license deals to industry: 55+
  • Overall follow on funding to advance the project towards commercialization received from investors, industry, foundations, state and federal sources: $80MM+

Program Contacts:

Coulter: David Chen |  | 434.243.7357

Ivy Foundation, LaunchPad: Sharon Krueger | | 434.243.1407

Wallace H. Coulter Translational Research Partnership launched in 2006 ($1M+ per year)
The mission of the Coulter Translational Partnership program is to promote, develop, and support translational research collaborations between biomedical engineers and clinicians in order to accelerate the successful translation of appropriate innovations to improve patient care. The Coulter program cultivates, evaluates and funds promising translational projects with the goal of moving innovative technologies to clinical application through commercialization. Projects are supported and mentored by a team of professionals that provide the additional guidance and expertise necessary to reach a successful commercial endpoint. This program was endowed by the Coulter Foundation for $10MM and matched by UVA. It requires a BME faculty collaborator.
Biomedical Innovation Fund launched in 2008 ($250K per year and increased to $500K per year starting in 2013)
The Biomedical Innovation Fund was created by The Ivy Foundation to support biomedical innovation and translational research projects. The goal of this program is to support research projects that address unmet clinical needs and lead to improvements in health care. Examples of desirable outcomes include improved diagnosis and treatment of disease through inventions and patents, commercial products, commercial partnerships, licenses and start-up companies. Funding is from the Ivy Foundation and the School of Medicine.
LaunchPad for Diabetes launched in 2009 ($300K per year, increased to $500K per year in 2018)
The LaunchPad fund supports collaborative translational research projects that propose innovative and viable solutions to curing, treating or diagnosing Diabetes. The program was created to leverage the robust discovery capacity at UVA and strategically fund those early-stage research projects holding promise for achieving translational outcomes (such as clinical testing, creation of licensable IP, formation of a start-up company). The program is interested in all proposals with potential application in the Type 1 Diabetes setting. Proposed research impacting both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are considered for funding. Funding is from a local philanthropist.
University of Virginia – Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center Technology Partnership Initiative: A Public-Private Partnership 2012-2014 (up to $500K per year)
This initiative is designed to support public-private research partnerships between the UVA Cancer Center and Virginia technology and biotechnology industries. Our goal is to improve the health of Virginia’s citizens and of Virginia’s economy through investment, job creation, and improved cancer care. This Initiative is designed to function at the interface between the UVA Cancer Center and the private sector, bi-directionally facilitating the movement of new discoveries from the University to the private sector, and from the private sector back to the UVA Cancer Center. Funding was received by the Virginia General Assembly.
U.S. Department of Commerce i6 Challenge Grant- Virginia Innovation Partnership launched in 2012 ($1M+ per year) Two year program from 2012-2014.
The i6 Challenge grant program was launched in 2010 and is administered by the U.S. Commerce Department Economic Development Administration’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, this nationwide competition awards up to $1 million to the 6 winning proposals each year since the program inception throughout the U.S. The i6 Challenge “supports truly innovative initiatives to spur innovation commercialization, entrepreneurship and jobs creation at the local level.” Virginia Innovation Partnership (VIP) i6 Challenge grant is a statewide network designed to accelerate academic innovation and economic growth. VIP is bringing together universities, community colleges, corporations, investment capital and other resources in the Commonwealth to drive promising research discoveries forward. The goal is to build value for the Commonwealth by creating Virginia-based start-up companies, attracting established corporations to invest in Virginia, and enhancing the licensing potential for technologies. Projects are funded in the areas of: Lifesciences, IT, Energy, Environmental Technology and Sustainability, High Performance Manufacturing, Modeling and Simulations, Microelectronics, and Security and Safety.