News

Analytical Tools Capable of Rapid Quality Control Testing for New Drug Variations

Posted on May 28, 2020

May 28, 2020 | LVG Staff

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing just about every element of the way our world operates. Two months into the evolving situation and we have seen tectonic economic and social shifts, from health systems reallocating essential resources to worldwide stay-at-home orders. The technology industry is rising to the challenge and pivoting to explore solutions in testing, therapy, vaccination, and protective equipment. Joining countless other biotech companies in our community and around the world, BrightSpec is reimagining their work to support relief efforts.

BrightSpec, a UVA LVG licensee and Seed Fund portfolio company, is a life science instrumentation company based here in Charlottesville. The company’s analytical tools analyze samples to identify and quantify compounds – and can enable monitoring chemical processes that are abundant in drug discovery, pharmaceuticals, environmental and food safety testing, etc.  

BrightSpec’s instruments apply Molecular Rotational Spectroscopy, a technique whose leading expert is UVA Chemistry Professor Brooks Pate, our 2017 Innovator of the Year. Spectroscopy is used to study matter by recording the spectrum of light that it emits or absorbs when hit with electromagnetic radiation. In the early 2000s, Pate and his research team developed a new method of spectroscopy called chirped-pulse Fourier transform microwave spectroscopy (FT-MRR). The FT-MRR technique allows digital control over the process, increased the sampling speed by approximately 1,000 orders of magnitude, and reduced the amount of sample volume needed to run an analysis.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, BrightSpec was leading a statewide effort with collaborators from VCU and Virginia Tech, funded by the state and various organizations like VA Catalyst and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to explore how to produce anti-viral drugs, such as anti-malaria drugs, more affordably for the developing world.

As the COVID-19 pandemic puts a spotlight on drug supply sourcing and the need to reinvigorate drug manufacturing in the U.S., BrightSpec’s instruments have significant potential to support biopharma companies that are working to rapidly produce a high volume of anti-viral drugs. It also happens to be the only company offering these tools and their unique capabilities commercially for both industrial and research applications.

To learn more about BrightSpec and their product portfolio, please visit www.brightspec.com

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UNIVERSITY AWARDS RAPID RESPONSE RESEARCH GRANTS TO COMBAT COVID-19

Posted on May 12, 2020

From developing a new COVID-19 diagnostic test, to seeking ways to reduce pandemic-induced anxiety, to studying the effects of the disease on rural communities and beyond, University of Virginia researchers are seeking to ease the new health crisis using rapid response grants provided by UVA’s Global Infectious Diseases Institute and the Office of the Vice President for Research.

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Central Virginia Small Businesses Shifting Operations Online in Response to Pandemic

Posted on May 01, 2020

Local business organizations partnering to provide support

(Charlottesville, VA) April 29, 2020- To survive the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, local businesses are reimagining how they connect with customers. Increasingly, that means going digital– even for those businesses who haven’t consistently prioritized their web or social media efforts in the past.

“Innovation and resiliency define our impressive business community,” said Rebecca Haydock, the new director of the Central Virginia Small Business Development Center (CVSBDC). “Our businesses are taking advantage of the tools, training, and resources offered to make those transitions more effective.”

One local firm is sharing years of expertise to help other businesses; full-service advertising and marketing firm, The Fellows Group. Owner and Charlottesville resident, Dan Fellows, and his partner with Madison Avenue, NY roots, Elizabeth Vagnoni, answered the call when Haydock asked for their help to advise businesses for success online. Dan Fellows stated, “Covid-19 has changed the way business works.  Marketing strategy that includes face-to-face sales, event attendance, and sponsorships will have to change. We are finding many business owners are not prepared. Location, location, location is no longer just a street address, it now includes your internet address.”

Organized by CVSBDC and co-hosted with the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council (CBIC) and Community Investment Collaborative (CIC), Fellows and Vagnoni have been tapped as subject matter experts for two upcoming webinars. Both will feature a full range of tactics to help entrepreneurs build effective online strategies. These one-hour webinars are free and open to anyone interested in the topic, though targeted specifically for retail and service businesses, respectively:

  • Wed, May 6, 10-11:00am: Boost Your Biz Online: Retail – targeted at retail businesses
  • Wed, May 13,, 10-11:00am: Boost Your Biz Online: Service – targeted at service businesses

Both webinars will be moderated by CVSBDC’s new online communication strategy counselor, Gregory Dorazio.

Though there is no cost to participants, pre-registration is required at

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_6XOthbjSQSGl-GJpwrya3w cvsbdc.org/small-business-development-center/training-events/

About Central Virginia Small Business Development Center (CVSBDC)

The CVSBDC assists small businesses by providing free access to subject matter experts and a wide range of assets in market research, selling online, government contracting and more. Small owners who fill out a short form at cvsbdc.org can gain access to the world-class resources provided by the SBA-affiliated office, which serves the City of Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Louisa, Fluvanna, Orange, Greene, and Nelson.

About Charlottesville Business Innovation Council (CBIC):

As the region’s technology council, CBIC promotes innovation and entrepreneurship and supports growth and success among the Charlottesville region’s technology-focused organizations. CBIC provides a forum for ideas and a collective voice on behalf of the technology sector. Through collaborative partnerships, educational resources and strategic relationships, CBIC educates, advocates, and celebrates technology and innovation-based businesses and initiatives that strengthen economic and social vitality in our area. For more information, please visit CvilleInnovation.org, follow on Twitter and Instagram at @CBICouncil, and visit CBIC Connect at community.cvilleinnovation.org - a free online community resource and connection engine.

About Community Investment Collaborative (CIC):

The Community Investment Collaborative was founded in 2011. Its mission is to strengthen our community and contribute to economic development by fueling the success of under-resourced entrepreneurs through education, mentoring, financing and networking. For more information, please visit cicville.org, follow on Facebook @CICville and Instagram @cic.cville.

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Southeast Life Sciences ADVANSE Virtual Pitch Rounds: COVID-19

Posted on April 29, 2020

Calling All Southeast Life Science Innovators: If your early-stage or seed-stage company is innovating in the life sciences space impactful to COVID-19 solutions, we want to see your pitch!

While our annual ADVANSE Life Sciences Conference and SE PitchRounds competition has been postponed, we are not standing still in fulfilling our mission to support and promote life science innovation in the Southeast.

Whether your company is in biopharma, medical devices, diagnostics, or digital health, all are welcome to apply to demonstrate their company’s potential in providing life-saving or treatment-enhancing solutions for our healthcare system.

This pitch competition will be held virtually, and participants will benefit from exposure through the competition and beyond to a range of life science investors interested in the Southeast as well as other innovation professionals. Held in a format close to a live, in-person presentation, your pitch will be viewed with the same criteria as a regular pitch. Past presenters at our annual conferences have included more than 400 companies which collectively attracted 500 distinct investors, raised more than $5.2B in funding in more than 800 transactions, including 9 IPOs and 19 M&As.

About Southeast Life Sciences: In November Southeast BIO and the Southeast Medical Device Association merged, forming Southeast Life Sciences. The combination resulted in a unified voice for the region’s life science industry. The mission of Southeast Life Sciences is to efficiently, effectively connect our industry’s innovators and entrepreneurs with the right investment and partners be they institutions, corporations, venture capitalists or angels. We facilitate connections, conversations and capital investments through continuous networking, education and funding opportunities for life-science innovators of all shapes and sizes.

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UVA LVG Adopts AUTM COVID-19 Licensing Guidelines

Posted on April 17, 2020

The UVA Licensing & Ventures Group had adopted the following COVID-19 Licensing Guidelines put forth by leading technology transfer industry organization, AUTM.

The guidelines are as follows:

  1. Technology transfer accelerates innovations that impact society and promotes the broad distribution of public health solutions. We encourage intellectual property (IP) owners to adopt a COVID-19 licensing strategy that facilitates rapid pandemic response by licensees and to make the execution of associated transactions a top priority.
  2. For most technologies, where legally possible, this strategy is best accomplished by adopting time-limited, non-exclusive royalty-free licenses, in exchange for the licensees’ commitment to rapidly make and broadly distribute products and services to prevent, diagnose, treat and contain COVID-19 and protect healthcare workers during the pandemic (as defined by the World Health Organization).
  3. Licenses may subsequently convert to a more typical commercial license as appropriate. Licenses must also preserve the licensor’s freedom to publish and use the intellectual property for teaching and research

To see the full list of university signatories, visit: https://autm.net/about-tech-tr... 

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CvilleBioHub Report Highlights Impact from Jobs, Capital and Innovation

Posted on April 14, 2020

CvilleBioHub’s first Industry Report on the scope of the biotechnology industry in the CvilleBioHub Region (CBR) highlights the growing economic and societal impact from jobs, capital and innovation. The report details the more than 65 companies emerging and growing within the region and shows activity and investment by sector, from medical devices and therapeutics to biomanufacturing and health tech.

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Virginia Catalyst Announces Round 11 of Grant Funding

Posted on April 01, 2020

RICHMOND, VA – April 1, 2020 – The Virginia Catalyst, formerly known as the Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corporation (VBHRC), today announced that it is accepting letters of intent (LOI) for Grant Round 11 to fund the development and commercialization of life science projects that address major unmet needs for improving human health and advancing Virginia’s economy.
 
While all life science projects will be accepted for Grant Round 11, given the impact of COVID-19, emphasis will be placed on projects within the areas of infectious disease, immunology, vaccine and drug discovery, and innovative service delivery models including telehealth and telemedicine.

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How the Nanotrap technology could solve a piece of the coronavirus puzzle

Posted on March 19, 2020

In this SelectScience interview, Dr. Kylene Kehn-Hall, virologist and associate professor at George Mason University (GMU), discusses the advantages of using Nanotrap® particles to detect viruses early and prevent spread. Kehn-Hall explains how they bind with multiple virions, enabling researchers to stabilize and concentrate ultralow levels of a virus, and outlines how her team is using this technique to address the coronavirus outbreak.

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UVA LVG Office and Incubator Space Closed

Posted on March 16, 2020

In accordance with UVA's operations policy regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, UVA LVG's office and incubator space are closed as of Monday, March 16, 2020. Our team is working remotely and available to assist via phone, email, and zoom. Please don't hesitate to reach out as we are all eager to help. 

If you have general questions about operations and the incubator space, please email lvg@virginia.edu.

Stay safe & healthy! 

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Concept to Commercialization: the Artificial Pancreas Technology

Posted on March 05, 2020

Living with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) requires constant management – a delicate balance between eating, exercise, and daily activity with measuring blood-sugar levels and insulin intake. Though patients can effectively manage T1D with insulin therapy, young children living with T1D and their families must make complicated medical decisions every day to avoid the life-threatening nature of the disease.

Finger sticks gave way to continuous blood glucose monitors, and standard injections gave way to insulin pumps. But the dosing decisions remained an art, not systemized or controlled other than by the patient.

Creating the closed-loop system was considered impossible, an unsolvable control algorithm that would connect glucose monitoring systems with insulin pumps to automate the delicate balance of blood sugar levels with eating, exercise, and administering insulin. The impossible became a reality when a collaborative team of mathematicians, engineers, physiologists, clinicians, alumni, and a software startup from the University of Virginia (UVA) made it happen.

In August 2018, DexCom, Inc., the leader in continuous glucose monitoring for people with diabetes, acquired TypeZero Technologies, Inc., uniting the groundbreaking artificial pancreas technology with an industry giant capable of bringing TypeZero’s innovative solutions to the commercial market. The success of this deal illustrates how UVA’s collaborative research faculty, engaged alumni network, and the business expertise of the Licensing & Ventures Group (LVG) working in lockstep can advance knowledge toward life-changing impact.

While the concept can be traced back to more than 50 years, the quest for the artificial pancreas accelerated in 2006 when the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) initiated the Artificial Pancreas Project and funded a consortium of centers to carry out closed-loop control research. Among the funding recipients was a group of interdisciplinary researchers from the UVA Schools of Medicine and Engineering and the University of Padova in Italy, including Boris Kovatchev, Ph.D., Stephen Patek, Ph.D., Patrick Keith-Hynes, Ph.D., Marc Breton, Ph.D., and Stacey Anderson, M.D.

Researchers who had been working for years to understand the physiology of the disease and exploring mathematical theories were now well funded and connected with engineers capable of translating the ideas into a practical application. During the pursuit of an algorithm-based software platform that would connect Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) systems with insulin pumps, the team created a simulator that digitally replicated the human metabolic system. The UVA-Padova team submitted the use of this software to the FDA for preclinical trails. The FDA accepted it as a substitute for animal trials, which advanced the work of the UVA team and the entire JDRF Artificial Pancreas Project.

The team went on to secure funding from the NIH along with many other sources*, while LVG leveraged its relationship with the UVA translational research fund, LaunchPad, for further support. Additional funding allowed the team to continue technology development of the closed-loop system, execute subsequent clinical trials, and establish the UVA Center for Diabetes Technology.

By 2011, the team had converted their once bulky computer system, which connected sensors and pumps, into a wireless smartphone device that patients could take home and integrate into their care routines as participants of clinical trials. The staggering success of the trials brought a wave of new hope to patients living with diabetes.

In the same year, UVA transformed its Patent Foundation into the UVA Licensing & Ventures Group, which adopted a new business model to align with a singular new objective: impact. For the artificial pancreas to impact the lives of diabetes patients the way that the researchers, philanthropic supporters, and clinical trial patients knew that it could, the technology would need to move from the lab to a commercial entity.

Recognizing this need, LVG established connections within the UVA community, building one of LVG’s most significant assets to date – its network. As the organization that sits at the physical intersection of Grounds and the city of Charlottesville, LVG stewards research ideas from concepts into marketable solutions for its industry partners. The artificial pancreas stood out from others in the portfolio due to its advanced stage of development and was primed to advance toward commercialization. Accordingly, LVG worked to find a licensing partner for the technology among the industry organizations sponsoring research conducted by the UVA-Padova team, including DexCom. However, the portfolio was substantial enough to warrant the creation of a new venture.

LVG tapped UVA alumnus Chad Rogers (McIntire ’97), a local entrepreneur who had returned to Charlottesville after 15 years in the startup technology and investment industries in San Francisco and Boston. LVG first engaged with Rogers when he took a management role as interim CEO of another UVA startup, HemoSonics. A local alumnus and entrepreneur with experience in technology development was the perfect match for the diabetes research portfolio.

In September 2013, Rogers and his co-founder, Jeff Keller, the current Chief Innovation Officer of the UVA Health System, partnered with LVG to license the artificial pancreas technology and launch TypeZero Technologies, Inc. As has become its practice, and to encourage its commercial success, LVG allowed significant flexibility in the license agreement and worked closely with the Company as it navigated relationships with academic inventors and raised capital to reach its development milestones.

Several members of the research team joined the Company, including Patrick Keith-Hynes, Benton Mize, and Antoine Robert, who created the first software systems to instantiate the artificial pancreas. As the company got off the ground, the researchers continued the ongoing clinical trials at UVA supporting TypeZero, pursued complementary diabetes technology research, and steadily gained credibility in the field, putting the UVA Center for Diabetes Technology firmly on the map.

Concurrently, in 2015, with support from University leadership and the UVA Health System, LVG launched the $10 million LVG Seed Fund and closed its first investment with TypeZero as part of the Company’s larger funding round. Establishing the fund and supporting early-stage UVA startups at the seed stage is yet another example of how LVG worked to strengthen UVA’s ability to advance ideas to impact. A technology as promising as the artificial pancreas needed funding, credibility, and a route to industry-level production. Now it had all three.

Among its several product offerings, TypeZero’s “inControl Diabetes Management Platform” uses a series of mathematical algorithms and prediction tools, embedded in a mobile application to allow the CGM systems and insulin pumps to operate as a single closed-loop system intelligently. The system reduces the need for individual action by automatically monitoring blood glucose levels and regulating them through customized, calculated insulin dosages based on future predictions. The most extraordinary component of the platform is that it operates agnostic to any particular CGM or insulin pump allowing patients to continue to choose the devices and tools that work best for them.

When DexCom came to the table with an offer, TypeZero held the single largest patent portfolio ever licensed from UVA through LVG, which leveraged more than 30 clinical trials with more than 500 patients at 12 sites, including one at UVA. The acquisition marked the first exit for the LVG Seed Fund, and the artificial pancreas reached a coveted commercialization status rarely achieved by university technologies.

“This story is representative of what is possible when we harness the full capacity of this institution to support innovation,” said Michael Straightiff, LVG Executive Director. “Our interdisciplinary team of researchers leveraged federal funds, the financial generosity of our alumni, and our sophisticated translational research infrastructure to engineer technologies to relieve the heavy decision-making burden from patients living with diabetes. Then, in partnership with our research team, LVG once again leveraged the time and talent of our alumni to build, invest in, and sell a company that productized these early technologies. The story, though not yet over, has culminated in local economic development, return on investment, and, most importantly, lives enriched and improved by the University of Virginia.”

TypeZero will remain headquartered in Charlottesville and will work toward the introduction of the inControl platform to the commercial market by DexCom. In early 2020, the Company will relocate from its space in the IX Art Park to the new Dairy Building on Preston Ave down the road from LVG.

*Philanthropic supporters of the artificial pancreas research at the University of Virginia and the University of Padova include the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Manning Family Foundation, the Helmsley Charitable Trust, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases, and the Wallace H. Coulter Translational Research Partnership. 

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New Coalition Launches to Celebrate and Protect the Bayh-Dole Act

Posted on February 24, 2020

A diverse group of research and scientific organizations, as well as those directly involved in commercializing new products, launched Bayh-Dole 40, a coalition that will celebrate and protect the University and Small Business Patent Procedures Act of 1980, better known as the “Bayh-Dole Act.”

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UVA’S 2020 INNOVATORS OF THE YEAR CREATE GROUNDBREAKING HIV TREATMENT APP

Posted on February 13, 2020

The creators of the app, Dr. Rebecca Dillingham and Karen Ingersoll, who holds a doctorate in psychiatry, are the recipients of this year’s Edlich-Henderson Innovator of the Year award. Bestowed by the UVA Licensing & Ventures Group, the endowed award recognizes University faculty members or a team of faculty researchers whose work is making a major impact on society.

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Announcing the 2020 Innovators of the Year

Posted on January 23, 2020

2020 Innovators of the Year Improve Care Retention and Outcomes Among HIV Patients with Innovative Mobile Health Technology

UVA Licensing & Ventures Group honors interdisciplinary UVA School of Medicine research team

Charlottesville, VA (January 23, 2020) - The University of Virginia Licensing & Ventures Group (UVA LVG) announces Rebecca Dillingham, M.D./M.P.H., Harrison Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor of Medicine, and Karen Ingersoll, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, as the 2020 Edlich-Henderson Innovators of the Year. This endowed award recognizes University faculty members or a team of faculty researchers whose work is making a major impact on society.

UVA LVG recognizes Drs. Dillingham and Ingersoll for their efforts directed toward ending the HIV epidemic through innovations in HIV care delivery. Their mobile health (mHealth) technology, PositiveLinks, is a sustainable and scalable solution to promote engagement with HIV care. It is a HIPPA-compliant mobile platform that helps people living with HIV to manage their health better, in partnership with their clinical providers. 

To date, nearly 600 people living with HIV in Virginia are enrolled in PositiveLinks. The app is commercially available through Warm Health Technology, a company founded to support the dissemination of the mobile platform across the U.S.

“HIV is a treatable disease. In many ways, it is easier to manage than other chronic diseases, like diabetes. Unfortunately, only about 50% of people living with HIV in the U.S. engage consistently with care,” said Dr. Dillingham. “Using mobile health solutions, we have seen improvements in engagement with care, even amongst our patients facing the most challenges. PositiveLinks members can engage with the platform to seek information, support, or care coordination when and where it is most convenient for them.”

In December 2019, PositiveLinks earned national best practice recognition from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and from the National Association of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD). 

“Drs. Dillingham and Ingersoll have continuously innovated their original text-messaged-based intervention for nearly a decade alongside the rise of the digital health industry,” said Michael Straightiff, executive director of the Licensing & Ventures Group. “PositiveLinks pushes the boundaries on new-age solutions for the HIV care community and stands to significantly lower transmission rates among users of the app. This interdisciplinary research team has and will continue to enrich and improve lives with PositiveLinks, and we are thrilled to honor their accomplishments with this award.”

The PositiveLinks app features self-monitoring tools for medication adherence, daily stress, and mental health check-ins, appointment reminders, and secure messaging with the healthcare team. Users gain access to an anonymous community message board where they can share experiences, seek and provide social support, and build connections, all of which improve the management of a chronic disease. 

PositiveLinks includes proven psychological tools that engage patients and provide support for specific health behaviors that promote better self-management of HIV,” said Dr. Ingersoll. The platform also includes tools for physicians and administrative staff to support improved self-management. 

UVA LVG will honor Drs. Dillingham and Ingersoll on Tuesday, February 18, from 3:30-5:00 p.m. in the Rotunda Dome Room. The 2020 recipients will deliver a keynote lecture highlighting their work with PositiveLinks at the event, which is open to the public.

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Tandem Diabetes Care Announces Commercial Launch of the t:slim X2 Insulin Pump with Control-IQ Technology in the United States

Posted on January 16, 2020

The recently USFDA approved artificial pancreas system is now commercially available in the United States! The life-changing technology developed at UVA and championed by UVA startup TypeZero Technologies (acquired by Dexcom in 2018) integrates with Dexcom's G6 Continuous Glucose Monitoring system creating 'a new standard of care' in diabetes management. 

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FDA approves UVA-developed artificial pancreas

Posted on January 06, 2020

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved an artificial pancreas system – based on technology from the University of Virginia Center for Diabetes Technology – that automatically monitors and regulates blood glucose levels for Type 1 diabetes patients.

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2019 Annual Report, Impact

Posted on December 18, 2019

We are thrilled to share with you our 2019 annual report, Impact.

As we close the chapter on the University's latest strategic plan, our report is a look back at LVG's progress during the last five years. We look forward to your continued support in the year to come and encourage you to share our report with your colleagues. Enjoy!

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Entrepreneur's Edge 3, Biotech in 2020: Thoughts from JP Morgan Life Sciences

Posted on October 25, 2019

The UVA Licensing & Ventures Group and CvilleBioHub are back with the third installment of Entrepreneur's Edge bringing experts to Charlottesville for an evening of discussion and networking. Join us for a conversation with two industry leaders from J.P. Morgan Life Sciences as we look ahead to the upcoming trends and challenges facing the biotech industry in 2020 and beyond.  

Panelists 

Peter Meath, Industry Head, J.P. Morgan Life Sciences 

Joe Lee, Executive Director, J.P. Morgan Life Sciences

Moderator

Bob Creeden, Managing Director, UVA LVG Seed Fund & New Ventures


Thursday, November 21

5:00-7:30 p.m.

722 Preston Ave, Suite 107

Charlottesville, VA 22903

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UVA Professors' Promising Cancer Drug Attracts $25 Million in Funding

Posted on October 07, 2019

Like many faculty members at the University, Kelly recognized the potential of what she was working on and created a spinoff company. Several resources at UVA, including the UVA Licensing & Ventures Group and UVA Compliance, which manages conflicts of interests, help professors take their research from the lab to the market. UVA is also one of only a few top research universities in the country with co-located schools of engineering and medicine.

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UVA LVG Launches EIR Program to Guide Future UVA New Ventures

Posted on October 02, 2019

UVA Licensing & Ventures Group Launches Entrepreneurs, Experts, and Executives in Residence Program to Guide Future UVA New Ventures

Expanded program supported by UVA Economic Development and CvilleBioHub

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (October 2, 2019) -- The UVA Licensing & Ventures Group (LVG) is launching a revitalized "EIR" program to accelerate startup formation with successful entrepreneurs, experts, and executives in residence. With support from the UVA Office of Economic Development, Albemarle County Economic Development, the City of Charlottesville Office of Economic Development (OED), and community partner CvilleBioHub, the EIRs will be available to offer guidance to novice entrepreneurs and to identify their next business opportunity from the UVA research portfolio.

"We can scale this program significantly to drive the commercialization of UVA technologies while contributing to the growth of the Charlottesville innovation ecosystem thanks to our strategic partners,” Michael Straightiff, Executive Director of LVG. “These individuals have specific experience in the industries emphasized in UVA’s research portfolio, and many have connections as alumni or former employees of UVA. They share in our mission to steward ideas forged on Grounds into successful new ventures.”

This powerful new resource will offer UVA faculty and researchers access to seasoned professionals with experience in early-stage implementation of new ventures. The first cohort of EIRs includes leaders who are UVA alumni, founders, and investors who possess business acumen, industry experience with early tech commercialization, strategic planning, and fundraising.

“New venture creation is one of the pillars of economic development that drives job creation and helps attract and retain industry in Charlottesville,” said Pace Lochte, Assistant VP for Economic Development at UVA. “We are thrilled to support LVG as they elevate this program with expert industry veterans to launch new ventures from the UVA research portfolio.”

The program officially launched on October 1, 2019, and several EIRs have already begun work at LVG. Weston Fox, a UVA and Jefferson Scholar alumnus with more than 15 years of experience in healthcare business development, joined LVG in February 2019 to lead portfolio companies Warm Health Technology (WHT) and Antimicrobial Resistance Services (AMR). Kevin Combs, CEO and Managing Director of Keswick Pharmaceuticals, is a founder, entrepreneur, and investor who has been working closely with the LVG Seed Fund as an advisor since the fall of 2018.

Others who will be joining the cohort this fall include Darden alumnus Daniel Lynch who brings more than 25 years of experience in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. He has active board roles in several companies and most recently served as CEO and CFO of ImClone Systems Corp. There, he negotiated a major partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb and helped secure FDA approval of its novel cancer treatment, ERBITUX.

LVG also welcomes Andrew Krouse, CEO, and founder of Cavion Pharmaceuticals and Chad Rogers, UVA alumnus, CEO, and co-founder of TypeZero Technologies to the program. Cavion and TypeZero are UVA startups that were acquired by leaders in their respective industries within the last year. Krouse led the acquisition of Cavion by Jazz Pharmaceuticals in August 2019, and Rogers is continuing his role as CEO of TypeZero since its acquisition by DexCom, Inc. in September 2018.

LVG will continue to add EIRs on an ongoing basis throughout the year as needs arise. UVA faculty members, researchers, and affiliated entrepreneurs are all welcome to contact the EIRs via the LVG licensing and new ventures professionals. Find more information about the program at lvg.virginia.edu.

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ABOUT UVA LICENSING & VENTURES GROUP

The Licensing & Ventures Group (LVG) is the University of Virginia’s intellectual property management and innovation commercialization organization with a mission of maximizing the impact of UVA innovation assets. Founded in 1977 as a 501(c)(3) UVA associated organization, LVG received 238 invention disclosures, executed 78 commercial transactions, and launched 9 new companies in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2019. To learn more please visit lvg.virginia.edu.

ABOUT UVA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The University of Virginia is an engine for inclusive economic growth that improves lives and promotes flourishing communities across the Commonwealth. Focused, proactive efforts to amplify UVA’s economic impact include development of translatable research, innovation, and entrepreneurship; cultivation of targeted industry growth; and empowerment of a future-ready workforce.

ABOUT CVILLEBIOHUB

The CvilleBioHub is a non-profit organization focused on serving and growing the biotechnology industry cluster in the greater Charlottesville area. The region is home to over 60 companies working to improve human health through drug development, medical device innovation, clinical research, diagnostics, software, tools and instrumentation.  CvilleBioHub engages as a community-facing entity to provide education and resources for the community, assisting in new company formation, and supporting growth and retention of existing companies. Over the next 10 years, the organization seeks to intentionally grow a sustainable and vibrant cluster with expertise and success in the biotechnology industry.

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UVA LVG to Host Technology Commercialization Workshop for Graduate Students, Research Residents, and Post-Doctoral Fellows

Posted on September 17, 2019

This fall, the UVA Licensing & Ventures Group is offering a unique opportunity for UVA graduate students, research residents, and post-doctoral fellows to gain a better understanding of how technology transitions from research projects to commercial products. During a two-part workshop hosted at the LVG offices at 722 Preston Ave, students will gain insight into the technology transfer process which requires broad scientific expertise, business insight, and legal acumen to convert basic research into practical applications.

Workshop participants will be exposed to all elements of intellectual property management and learn the necessary steps involved in effectively protecting and commercializing the results of scientific research. Students will learn how to evaluate an invention disclosure, prepare non-confidential summaries, and identify prospective industry partners. The LVG licensing team will also explain the negotiation of business terms of various agreements that govern university technology transfer.


Who: This workshop is intended for current University of Virginia graduate students, research residents, and post-doctoral fellows. It will be of particular interest to researchers in physical sciences, life sciences, biomedical sciences and engineering.

*Please note: Participants must be affiliated with the University of Virginia and have an active computing ID

What: A two-session workshop hosted by the UVA Licensing & Ventures Group for UVA graduate students, research residents, and postdocs, designed to give students a basic understanding of technology commercialization, and learn to identify the value of scientific and technological innovations to the world of industry, business, and entrepreneurship.

When: 

Tuesday, October 29 | 4:00-6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, November 5 | 4:00-6:30 p.m.

 *Please note: you must be able to commit to attending both sessions

Where: UVA LVG Office | 722 Preston Ave, Suite 107, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Benefits:

  • You’ll develop a great appreciation for real-world impact of scientific innovation
  • You’ll gain exposure to promising career options outside of academia
  • You’ll become eligible for a licensing internship with UVA LVG

How to apply:

We understand that your time is limited and valuable, so we ask that you fill out a brief survey, including your CV and a brief statement on the nature of your interest before 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 18. LVG will use this information to tailor the workshop content to your specific interests and ensure that you have a meaningful experience. 

Link: https://forms.gle/216QXYZdpMnm...

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HemoSonics Registers CE Mark for its New QStat® Cartridge, Expanding the Use of its Innovative Quantra® Hemostasis System to Trauma Surgery and Liver Transplant Settings

Posted on September 11, 2019

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep 10, 2019--

HemoSonics is excited to announce that its new QStat Cartridge, an extension of its groundbreaking Quantra Hemostasis System, has registered for CE Mark and is now commercially available in Europe and Hong Kong. The utility of the Quantra System, which was previously available with the QPlus Cartridge for cardiovascular and major orthopedic surgeries, is now expanded with the addition of the QStat Cartridge and can now be used across the hospital in trauma surgery and liver transplant settings. The Quantra System provides rapid, actionable coagulation results at the point of care, giving clinicians the opportunity to make informed bleeding management decisions when time is critical.

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Adial in home stretch of anti-alcohol abuse drug trials

Posted on September 03, 2019

A year after it became the first technology company spun out of University of Virginia research to offer an initial public stock offering, Adial Pharmaceuticals is set to test its anti-alcohol abuse drug on 290 Europeans.

Last summer, the Albemarle County-based company went public with a $7.32 million stock issue, the proceeds from which will be used to fund research.

The company’s product, labeled AD04, is designed to reduce alcohol cravings as a way to effectively curb alcohol intake in people who have a genetic predisposition to alcohol use disorder. The newest trials will take place in Europe because, although the problem affects people everywhere, studies show that genetic predisposition is greater in northern and eastern Europeans.

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August 2019 U.S. Issued Patents

Posted on September 03, 2019

Innovations in bone surface imaging using ultrasound, computer engineering, the treatment of dry-eye disease, and more 

UVA faculty Timothy MacdonaldDoris HaverstickJohn HossackJack DavidsonHaydn Wadley, and Gordon Laurie are among the inventors issued U.S. patents in August 2019. 

August Patents

T Type Calcium Channel Inhibitors

U.S. Patent 10,369,120 (Aug. 6, 2019)

Lloyd Gray, Timothy Macdonald, Doris Haverstick

Abstract: The present invention provides novel T type calcium channel inhibitors of formula (I), the use thereof in the treatment of a disease or condition in a mammal associated with influx of extracellular calcium via T type calcium channels, wherein R1 is C1-C4 alkyl, hydroxy, or C1-C4 alkoxy; Z is NH, NCH3, O, S, or CH2; Y is NH, O, or CH2 with the proviso that Y and Z are not the same; R2 is H, halo, NH2, C1-C4 alkyl, hydroxy, or C1-C4 alkoxy; m and n are independently selected from integers ranging from 1-5 with the proviso that m+n=an integer ranging from 2-9; and R3 is H, halo, NH2, C1-C4 alkyl, hydroxy, or C1-C4 alkoxy.

Bone Surface Image Reconstruction Using Ultrasound

U.S. Patent 10,368,834 (Aug. 6, 2019)

William F. Mauldin Jr., John Hossack, Kevin Owen

Abstract: An ultrasonic transducer element can configured to generate ultrasonic energy directed into tissue of a subject and configured to receive a portion of the ultrasonic energy reflected by a target located within the tissue. The ultrasonic transducer can include a surface configured to provide or receive the ultrasonic energy, the surface including an area of greater than or equal to about 4λ2, or the ultrasonic transducer element can be included in an array having a spacing between at least two adjacent ultrasound elements of less than or equal to about 1/2 λ, and the array comprising an aperture that is at least approximately symmetrical in two axes. A three-dimensional representation of one or more of a location, shape, or orientation of at least a portion of the target can be presented via the display.

Methods, Systems and Computer Readable Media for Detecting Command Injection Attacks 

U.S. Patent 10,382,448 (Aug. 13, 2019)

Anh Nguyen-Tuong, Jack Davidson, Michele Co, Jason Hiser, John Knight (deceased)

Abstract: Methods and systems are described for detecting command injection attacks. A positive, taint inference method includes receiving signature fragments on one hand, converting command injection instructions into command fragments on another hand, thus identifying potential attacks upon the condition that a command injection instruction includes critical untrusted parts by using signature fragments. A system detects command injection attacks using this kind of method, and remediates and rejects potential attacks.

Impulse Mitigation Systems for Media Impacts and Related Methods Thereof

U.S. Patent 10,378,861 (Aug. 13, 2019)

Haydn Wadley, Vikram Deshpande (U of Cambridge) 

Abstract: An impulse mitigation system configured to mitigate blast impulse directed to a surface (or structure or target). The system includes a substrate in communication with the surface (or structure or target), wherein the substrate is configured to receive an impulse directed to the surface (or structureor target) and then relocate from the surface (or structure or target) in response to received impulse.

Compositions and Methods for Treating Eye Infections and Disease 

U.S. Patent 10,393,755 (Aug. 27, 2019)

Gordon Laurie

Abstract: The present invention provides compositions and methods for identifying subjects suffering from dry eye that can be treated by topical administration of a composition comprising lacritin or a bioactive fragment thereof. The application discloses in part that a ~90 KDa deglycanated form of syndecan-1 is abundant in tears of normal individuals but not individuals suffering from dry eye, whereas a ~25 kDa syndecan-1 fragment is detectable in dry, but not normal tears.

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AgroSpheres Raises $4 Million In A Series A Financing Round Led By Ospraie Ag Science

Posted on September 03, 2019

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – August 28, 2019 – AgroSpheres, Inc., an agricultural technology company developing a novel delivery system for crop protection products, announced today that it has raised $4 million in a Series A financing round.  Venture capital firm Ospraie Ag Science led the investment round that also included Cavallo Ventures, the venture capital arm of Wilbur-Ellis, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed and nutritional products.  Carl M. Casale, a Senior Partner of Ospraie Ag Science responsible for identifying investment opportunities, led the investment round.  Mr. Casale is also a member of Syngenta's board of directors and was previously the Chief Financial Officer at Monsanto.

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Key Elements of a Compelling Pitch Deck

Posted on August 06, 2019

Pitching an idea or company is an intimidating experience for any entrepreneur. The challenge is convincing skeptical investors or others why they should put their money in your business idea rather than the 100 other great ideas piled on their desks. In the end, it's important to remember that the goal of the first presentation is to get a second meeting.

As licensing professionals and investors, we have seen our fair share of pitch presentations. We have compiled what we believe are key elements of a compelling pitch deck for you to consider as you gear up for your next big meeting and move forward to the second visit.

Introduction | 1 slide

The first slide of your pitch should be a concise introduction of the Company.  Who are you? What do you do? Why is that important? What, if any, key milestones have you achieved (beta sites, grants awarded, funding raised, product launch, sales, etc.) What funding do you seek?   It is critical that the audience understands your company and the stage of your development.  This will set up the balance of the presentation as investors will evaluate your story based on your current position, what needs to happen, can you do it and is it realistic?  

Problem | 1 slide

Define the problem you are solving.  Create the context in scope and scale of the problem and do not be afraid to use an example for clarity.  Using an example helps the audience “get it” connecting them to an experience.  

Market | 1 slide

What is your target market?  Speak to the size and growth and also clearly define your customer.  Why are they motivated to purchase your product?  

Technology | 1-2 slides

This portion of the presentation should get into the details about your technology/solution – your point of difference; your secret sauce.  

Key points: 

  • Current status of product development and any future plans and timeline;
  • Intellectual property status, whether or not it is owned or licensed and the key benefits; 
  • Description of technical features are important to some, but don’t get lost in technology; 
  • Focus on the benefits of your product as everyone will ask what is the customer ROI 

Competition | 1 slide

Now that you have presented your solution, take some time to explain who your competitors are in the market space. Are other companies trying to solve the same problem? What makes your solution unique compared to what is already on the market, or in development elsewhere?  Why will the customer choose you over any of the competition?  Know all you can about your competitors – it will help you and shows an investor that you do understand the market and your position in that market. 

Team | 1 slide

Explain the background of the company’s management team.  This is your opportunity to build credibility with your audience by highlighting relevant experience of the team including any previous commercialization activity.  Make sure you mention the details of the experiences, jobs and any successes of the team – do not just say “10 years of experience in sales and marketing”.  If your board and advisors augment the skills and experience of the team you can add them into the presentation, but remember that the investor is investing in the team and not the board or advisors.  You may put them in an Appendix so they are noticed but not take the time during the presentation.  Feel free to brush up on why every entrepreneur should have an advisory board.

Go to Market | 1-2 slides

Explain how you will reach the customer?  What strategies/tactics will you use to sell the product (direct, partners, distribution channels)?  What is the pricing strategy?  How do you make money? Who pays you? What are the gross margins?  What is the communications strategy? 

Financial Projections and Key Metrics | 1 slide

Simple financials in a table for the next 3-5 years - revenue, cost of goods sold, gross margins, sales & marketing, R&D and G&A expenses with net income. Some key metrics include number of customers, average selling price, cash at end of year and headcount.  Remember the assumptions behind the numbers are what is really important. Take time to outline and own them. You will be asked to justify the numbers.   

Use of Funds Strategy | 1 slide

Identify the amount of funding needed to achieve your goals and financials and then outline the use of those funds – how you will spend the money. 

Exit - 1 slide

Identify an exit strategy for your investors.  Who might buy the company and why?

Summary | 1 slide

This is the highlight reel of the presentation.  Remind me why I want to invest in your company.

Closing thoughts:

  • You are telling a story so make sure it flows from point A to point B by combining ideas, emotion and facts in a logical flow.
  • This story must tell the audience how and why life changes with your technology?  What is the benefit/return for an investor and/or customer?  
  • Remember it is about the BUSINESS, not the technology and most importantly,

Your GOAL IS TO GET THE NEXT MEETING!!!

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UVA LVG Announces Latest Seed Fund Investment

Posted on July 31, 2019

The University of Virginia Licensing & Ventures Group Adds Pharmaceutical Company to Growing Seed Fund Portfolio

Local Charlottesville angel groups are among co-investors to join funding round

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (July 31, 2019) -- The University of Virginia Licensing & Ventures Group (UVA LVG) announced today an investment from the UVA LVG Seed Fund in Merand Pharmaceuticals. The company is developing a novel microRNA therapeutic (MicroRNA93 or miR-93), which was discovered at UVA, to treat patients suffering from Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). UVA LVG facilitated the patent protection of the miR-93 technology and exclusively licensed it to Merand.

Local groups including the Charlottesville Angel Network and CAV Angels are among other investors to join in this financing round led by the UVA LVG Seed Fund. The investment will further advance the technology through Investigational New Drug (IND) enabling studies and will position the company to enter Phase I clinical trials.

“The standard of care for patients with PAD has been stagnant since the 1990s, and Merand is well equipped with patented technology and an experienced leadership team to advance the treatment of this disease,” said Bob Creeden, Managing Director of the UVA LVG Seed Fund & New Ventures. “This investment aligns with our goal to further UVA discoveries toward commercial success.” 

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a common, progressive circulatory issue that affects over 200 million people globally. Patients who suffer from PAD experience reduced blood flow to the legs, caused by blockages in the arteries which causes pain and non-healing ulcers that often lead to amputation. The miR-93 technology has shown to promote angiogenesis, or the development of new blood vessels, which leads to restored blood flow.

The miR-93 therapeutic was discovered by a research team in the lab of UVA Cardiologist and Chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine Dr. Brian Annex. During his tenure at UVA, he was awarded more than $3M from the NIH to study its role in growing and stabilizing functional blood vessels to increase perfusion recovery and reduce inflammation in PAD. Dr. Annex co-founded Merand Pharmaceuticals with industry veteran Tony Giordano, Ph.D., to pursue the commercial potential for the therapeutic.

Merand Pharmaceuticals is the eighth company to join the UVA LVG Seed Fund portfolio following the investment in Direct Spinal Therapeutics, Inc. in June 2019.

About University of Virginia Licensing & Ventures Group

The Licensing & Ventures Group is the University of Virginia’s intellectual property management and innovation commercialization organization with a mission of maximizing the impact of UVA innovation assets. Founded in 1977 as a 501(c)(3) UVA associated organization, UVA LVG received 238 invention disclosures, executed 78 commercial transactions, and launched 9 new companies in the fiscal year 2019.

UVA LVG created the UVA LVG Seed Fund with funding from the UVA Health System and unrestricted private funds to launch and support new ventures emerging from the University portfolio. UVA students, faculty, staff, and those who have completed the i.Lab program are eligible to receive funding and applications are accepted on a rolling basis. To apply and learn more, please visit lvg.virginia.edu.

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June and July 2019 U.S. Issued Patents

Posted on July 26, 2019

Congratulations to the UVA inventors who have had U.S. issued patents in June and July 2019. 

June Patents

Inhibitors of PTP4A3 for the Treatment of Cancer

U.S. Patent 10,308,663 (June 4, 2019)

John LazoElizabeth Sharlow, Kelley McQueeney

Abstract: The invention provides protein tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor compounds, Their pharmaceutical compositions, uses, and methods of use, such as in the treatment of various cancers, and process for making the compounds. Also disclosed is an improved synthesis of protein tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor and precursor compound thienopyridone (5).

Systems and Methods for Free-Breathing Cine Dense MRI Using Self-Navigation

U.S. Patent 10,310,047 (June 4, 2019)

Fred EpsteinXiaoying Cai

Abstract: Some aspects of the present disclosure relate to systems and methods for free-breathing cine DENSE MRI using self-navigation. In one embodiment, a method includes acquiring magnetic resonance data for an area of interest of a subject, wherein the acquiring comprises performing sampling with phase-cycled, cine displacement encoding with stimulated echoes (DENSE) during free-breathing of the subject; identifying, from the acquired magnetic resonance data, a plurality of phase-cycling data pairs corresponding to matched respiratory phases of the free-breathing of the subject; reconstructing, from the plurality of phase-cycling data pairs, a plurality of intermediate self-navigation images; performing motion correction by estimating, from the plurality of intermediate self-navigation images, the respiratory position associated with the plurality of phase-cycling data pairs; and reconstructing a plurality of motion-corrected cine DENSE images of the area of interest of the subject.

Compositions and Methods for Regulating Blood Pressure

U.S. Patent 10,314,883 (June 11, 2019)

Brant Isakson

Abstract: Both purinergic signaling through nucleotides such as ATP and noradrenergic signaling through molecules such as norepinephrine regulate vascular tone and blood pressure. Pannexin1 (Panx1), which forms large-pore, ATP-releasing channels, is present in vascular smooth muscle cells in peripheral blood vessels and participates in noradrenergic responses. Using pharmacological approaches and mice conditionally lacking Panx1 in smooth muscle cells, we found that Panx1 contributed to vasoconstriction mediated by the α1 adrenoreceptor (α1AR), whereas vasoconstriction in response to serotonin or endothelin-1 was independent of Panx1. Analysis of the Panx1-deficient mice showed that Panx1 contributed to blood pressure regulation especially during the night cycle when sympathetic nervous activity is highest. Using mimetic peptides and site-directed mutagenesis, we identified a specific amino acid sequence in the Panx1 intracellular loop that is essential for activation by α1AR signaling. Collectively, these data describe a specific link between noradrenergic and purinergic signaling in blood pressure homeostasis.\

Image-Based Identification of Muscle Abnormalities 

U.S. Patent 10,314,511 (June 11, 2019)

Craig Meyer, Silvia Blemker, Mark Abel

Abstract: A method is provided for identifying a muscle abnormality. The method may include acquiring image data associated with a plurality of muscles in an area of interest of a living subject and generating a data model for the plurality of muscles based on the image data. The method further includes calculating the volume and/or length of one of the plurality of muscles based on the data model, and determining if the volume and/or length for the muscle, as calculated, deviates from volume and/or length associated with a healthy muscle. If it is determined that the volume and/or length for the muscle deviates from the volume and/or length associated with a healthy muscle, a muscle abnormality can be identified based on the deviation.

Method and System for Model-Based Tracking of Changes in Average Glycemia in Diabetes

U.S. Patent 10,332,615 (June 25, 2019)

Boris Kovatchev, Marc Breton

Abstract: A method, system and computer readable medium for tracking changes in average glycemia in diabetes is based on a conceptually new approach to the retrieval of SMBG data. Using the understanding of HbA1c fluctuation as the measurable effect of the action of an underlying dynamical system, SMBG provides occasional glimpses at the state of this system and, using these measurements, the hidden underlying system trajectory can be reconstructed for individual diabetes patients. Using compartmental modeling a new two-step algorithm is provided that includes: (i) real-time estimate of HbA1c from fasting glucose readings, updated with any new incoming fasting SMBG data point(s), and (ii) initialization and calibration of the estimated HbA1c trace with daily SMBG profiles obtained periodically. The estimation of these profiles includes a factorial model capturing daily BG variability within two latent factors.

July Patents

Ultra Low Power Sensing Platform with Multimodal Radios

U.S. Patent 10,340,972 (July 2, 2019)

Benton Calhoun

Abstract: An apparatus comprises a system on a chip (SoC). In some embodiments, the SoC includes a power supply circuit, a power management circuit operatively coupled to the power supply circuit, a first wireless communications circuit and a second wireless communications circuit. The first wireless communications circuit is configured to receive an RF signal and is operatively coupled to the power supply circuit and the power management circuit. The first wireless communications circuit has a net radio frequency (RF) power gain no more than unity before at least one of downconversion of the RF signal or detection of the RF signal. The second wireless communications circuit is operatively coupled to the power supply circuit and the power management circuit.

Viscoelastic Silicone Rubber Compositions 

U.S. Patent 10,358,528 (July 23, 2019)

Louis Bloomfield

Abstract: The invention provides for new viscoelastic silicone rubbers and compositions and methods for making and using them. The invention provides for viscoelastic silicone rubbers that are stiffer on short timescales than they are on long timescales. When subjected to brief stresses, they are relatively stiff and elastic, and they resist changing shapes. When subjected to sustain stresses, however, they are relatively soft and accommodating, and they gradually change shapes. When those stresses are removed, they gradually return to their original shapes. These viscoelastic silicone rubbers resist compression set and they are extremely resilient in response to sudden impacts. They can be dense rubbers, foam rubbers, and particles.

Compositions and Methods for Preventing and Treating Rhinovirus Infections

U.S. Patent 10,363,299 (July 30, 2019)

Judith Woodfolk, Lyndsey Muehling

Abstract: An analysis of human CD4+ T-cell epitopes of RV capsid proteins with cross-reactive potential was performed, peptide epitopes of RV-A16 capsid proteins VP1 and VP2 were identified, RV-specific CD4+ T cells were phenotyped for surface markers and cytokine profiles using flow cytometry, and it was found that, among non-infected subjects, circulating RV-A16-specific CD4+ T cells detected at the highest frequencies targeted 10 unique epitopes with diverse HLA-DR binding capacity. T-cell epitopes localized to conserved regions of significance to the virus and were enriched for HLA class I and II binding motifs and were activated in vivo after experimental infection with RV-A16. RV-A16 epitopes constituted species-specific and pan-species varieties, together providing ˜90% coverage of the US population. Cross-reactivity was evidenced for RV-A16 and RV-A39. High-frequency circulating RV-specific memory Th1 cells in healthy individuals preferentially target a limited set of conserved epitopes and these epitopes, separately or combined, can serve as vaccines. 

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UVA Joins Charlottesville, Albemarle to Aid Area Entrepreneurs

Posted on July 08, 2019

Organizations collaborating with Catalyst include: the Community Investment Collaborative, CvilleBioHub, Charlottesville’s Business and Innovation Council, Small Business Development Center, the UVA Office of Economic Development, UVA Licensing & Ventures Group, Charlottesville Angel Network and others.

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Daily Progress 10 Under 40: Something Ventured

Posted on June 24, 2019

On behalf of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Staff, congratulations to the recipients of the 10 Under 40 Awards! Your significant contributions to our business community drive our economy, build our workforce, and enhance our quality of life.

Successful business communities integrate a compelling blend of fresh new ideas balanced by seasoned know-how and experience. Great communities provide a platform for emerging leaders to increasingly influence the future, while also recognizing the foundational leadership that has created the opportunity for others.

Here in the Charlottesville region, the Chamber embraces the future and the inspirational leaders of yesterday, today and tomorrow. We are honored to join the Daily Progress in recognizing excellence among our business leaders. With a shared vision for a bright future, we are pleased to celebrate your success and honor your contributions to the region.

Congratulations! 


For a long time, Michael Straightiff wasn’t sure where he fit in college or the academic world.

Straightiff graduated from Case Western Reserve University’s bioengineering program surrounded by classmates who planned to go on to graduate, medical and law school. Now, he leads the University of Virginia’s Licensing & Ventures Group – the type of career he didn’t know existed in college but has allowed him to help doctors license inventions and professors start companies.

“The part I really liked was solving really big, meaty problems and there isn’t a bigger problem trying to commercialize early-stage academic research,” he said of what he enjoyed about engineering. “I am a naturally optimistic person, and you have to be naturally optimistic to do this job, because so many of the things fail. That also motivates me to find problems and push and solve and tweak and nudge.”

The UVa group helps patent and license university ideas and inventions, and then often tries to commercialize them into marketable products and successful businesses. In nearly a decade at UVa, Straightiff, who will turn 38 in July, has grown the group from one that focused mainly on patents to one that now operates an investment portfolio.

When he came on board in 2011 after six years at Case Western’s patent office and a brief stint at Virginia Tech, Straightiff wanted to expand the tools UVa used to commercialize its research, he said, and bring a “business-first” mentality to the program.

“Case was a good training ground for him,” said Patrick Klepcyk, who worked with Straightiff in Cleveland and then was recruited to join him at UVa. He is now director of licensing for the group. “He has a very proactive approach and doesn’t just wait for inventions to come in – he goes out and makes connections and helps people know what we do.”

Straightiff had seen Case Western’s program move early toward using transactional tools for commercialization and wanted to implement an investment fund at UVa. But it took time to get to know his new team, build trust among professors and staff, and demonstrate payoff. Still, he said, academics and doctors naturally want their work to be shared and used, so once he familiarized UVa with the group’s new processes, it wasn’t a hard sell.

“You only do the things you do because you hope they will make the world a better place, improve consumer behavior, help someone out,” he said. “That is our objective as well. I just use a slightly different set of tools and instruments than they use.”

In 2010, the year before Straightiff arrived in Charlottesville, the group – then known as UVa’s Patent Foundation – reported 139 invention disclosures, filed 121 patents and had 21 patents issued, registered four copyrights and completed 42 deals with companies. In 2018, the most recent report on file, the group reported 213 invention disclosures, 221 patents filed and 162 patents issued, completed 77 licensing deals and spun off three new ventures.

“He’s done a really good job getting support at the institutional level,” Klepcyk said. “And we are moving more and more to focusing on the quality of transactions, rather than just the quantity – though that’s up too.”

Straightiff knew the team had turned a corner when startup Psikick, which creates low-power wireless sensors, successfully negotiated a large investment.

Finally, in 2015 UVa created the Seed Fund, managed by Straightiff’s group and responsible for investing in companies that are founded to commercialize UVa intellectual property or founded by UVa employees or students.

Academic research often can’t post the money required to make a product commercially viable; funding provided by the UVa Health System and UVa’s endowment allows startups to bring products and services more quickly to market. In September, the group celebrated its first exit when TypeZero, a diabetes management platform, was acquired by DexCom Inc.

“Increasingly I believe universities are responsible to do all that we can to push our assets a little bit further into that divide so our industrial partners are slightly more inclined to pick them up,” Straightiff said.   

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UVA Venture Group Keeps Rolling With a Local Biotech Investment

Posted on June 23, 2019

A startup co-founded by University of Virginia alumni has earned the ninth investment coming out of the school’s Licensing and Ventures Group.

The UVA LVG announced an investment for undisclosed terms in Direct Spinal Therapeutics Inc., a Charlottesville-based medical device company.

DSTI is developing a spinal cord stimulation product to enhance treatment for chronic back pain and other spinal cord injuries. Its technology is based on collaborative research and joint intellectual property from the University of Virginia and the University of Iowa.

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PsiKick Rebrands to Everactive; Announces Next-Generation Products; Raises $30M to Grow Batteryless Solutions for Industrial Internet of Things

Posted on June 20, 2019

PsiKick, the company pioneering wireless, batteryless Internet of Things (IoT) systems, today announced it has changed its name to Everactive and closed a $30 million funding round, led by Future Fund and joined by new investors Blue Bear Capital and ABB Technology Ventures, alongside existing investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Osage University Partners. The company has raised $63 million to date.

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UVA LVG Announces Latest Seed Fund Investment

Posted on June 18, 2019

University of Virginia Licensing & Ventures Group Adds Medical Device Company to Growing Seed Fund Portfolio

Charlottesville based company co-founded by UVA alumni earns UVA LVG Seed Fund’s ninth investment

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (June 18, 2019) -- The University of Virginia Licensing & Ventures Group (UVA LVG) is pleased to announce an investment in Direct Spinal Therapeutics Inc. (DSTI). Headquartered in Charlottesville, DSTI is a medical device company developing a Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) product-platform to enhance treatment for chronic back pain and other spinal cord injuries. The company’s IP2 technology is based on collaborative research and joint intellectual property from the University of Virginia and the University of Iowa. DSTI is the seventh company to join the UVA LVG Seed Fund portfolio, receiving the fund’s ninth investment since its inception.

Investment from the UVA LVG Seed Fund will advance DSTI’s IP2 product development and support regulatory and intellectual property work in advance of a pre-submission meeting with the FDA.

“The expertise and leadership on the DSTI management team offer an unparalleled advantage for the novel IP2 technology,” said Bob Creeden, Managing Director of the UVA LVG Seed Fund & New Ventures. “This investment epitomizes our goal to advance UVA-developed research discoveries and supports a company headquartered in our community, with co-founders who have deep ties to UVA.”

Direct Spinal Therapeutics Inc. was co-founded in 2013 by a team of two leading scientists in engineering and neurosurgery who are champions of translational research and innovation, and an industry expert with decades of experience working with early-stage medical device companies, all of whom are graduates of the University of Virginia.

  • George Gillies, Ph.D. is a UVA research professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering and a prolific inventor who holds more than 30 issued U.S. patents. He earned his Masters and Ph.D. in engineering physics from UVA, received the UVA Edlich-Henderson Inventor of Year Award in 2006, and was most recently named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors in 2018.
  • Dr. Matthew Howard III is the chairman of the University of Iowa’s Department of Neurosurgery and an NIH funded expert in human neurophysiology. He is an experienced med-tech entrepreneur, an inventor holding 25 U.S. issued patents, and a graduate of the UVA School of Medicine.
  • Daniel O’Connell, co-founder and current CEO of DSTI, has 20 years of early-stage venture experience with a particular emphasis on university startups and working with their entrepreneurial founders. He has worked in the early-stage med-tech and Central Nervous System (CNS) technology space as an investor, founder, CEO, advisor, strategic development director, among other roles, and earned his MBA from the UVA Darden School of Business. 

The UVA LVG Seed Fund investment in DSTI follows two deals earlier this year including participation in BrightSpec, Inc.’s Series B financing round, and a follow-on investment in existing portfolio company TearSolutions, Inc. supporting Phase II clinical trials for their novel technology and solution to address the root cause of dry eye disease, Lacripep™.

About University of Virginia Licensing & Ventures Group

The Licensing & Ventures Group is the University of Virginia’s intellectual property management and innovation commercialization organization with a mission of maximizing the impact of UVA innovation assets. Founded in 1977 as a 501(c)(3) UVA associated organization, UVA LVG receives ~200 invention disclosures, executes ~80 commercial transactions, and launches 5-7 new companies each year.

UVA LVG created the UVA LVG Seed Fund with funding from the UVA Health System and unrestricted private funds to launch and support new ventures emerging from the University portfolio. UVA students, faculty, staff, and those who have completed the i.Lab program are eligible to receive funding and applications are accepted on a rolling basis. To apply and learn more, please visit lvg.virginia.edu.

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Ceres Nanosciences, University of Virginia, and George Mason University receive $600K award from the Virginia Catalyst to develop a Nanotrap® liquid biopsy collection device

Posted on June 05, 2019

MANASSAS, Va. — June 4, 2019 — Ceres Nanosciences, Inc. (Ceres), University of Virginia (UVA), and George Mason University (Mason) today announced the receipt of a $600,000 award from the Virginia Catalyst for the development of a Nanotrap® liquid biopsy collection device. This award will be matched by $1.2 million in product development funding by Ceres Nanosciences.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death world-wide and the global cancer burden is expected to grow to 23.6 million new cancer cases by 2030. Tissue biopsies are the current gold standard for detecting and obtaining information about cancer. By collecting cells from tumors, doctors can determine if cancer is present and can provide information on the type of cancer, the patient prognosis, and treatment options. But tissue biopsies require surgery, making them risky, costly, and painful. This means that repeat tissue biopsies on patients is a difficult and impractical method for monitoring tumors as they develop and change over time.

Recent advances, however, have led to the development of a “liquid biopsy” which enables analysis of tumor material—like circulating tumor DNA or proteins — directly from bodily fluids like blood or urine. Unfortunately, the amount of circulating tumor DNA or other tumor material in fluids like blood is frequently below the limits of detection of current molecular assays.

“The liquid biopsy tests currently in clinical use are revolutionizing cancer diagnostics,” said Eli Williams, Assistant Professor of Pathology and Associate Director of Genomics at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. “But the tumor DNA circulating around in the blood is a tiny, often undetectable fraction of the DNA in a patient’s sample.  We need new technologies that can improve the collection of tumor DNA in blood.” 

“Ceres has demonstrated the clinical utility of the Nanotrap® technology in multiple infectious diseases,” said Ross Dunlap, CEO of Ceres Nanosciences. “Which is why we are very excited to partner with UVA and Mason to develop a Nanotrap® liquid biopsy collection device that will isolate, concentrate, and preserve tumor DNA from biological samples for improved cancer diagnosis.”

“The Virginia Catalyst program is a fantastic and unique resource available to Virginia biosciences companies and researchers,” said Emanuel “Chip” Petricoin, University Professor and Co-Director of the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine at George Mason University, and a co-inventor of the background Nanotrap® technology. “We are extremely honored to be chosen as awardees for this high-impact product development effort.”

About Ceres Nanosciences, Inc.

Ceres Nanosciences is a privately held company, located in Prince William County, Virginia, focused on the commercialization of the Nanotrap® particle technology. The Nanotrap® particle technology can improve diagnostic testing by capturing, concentrating, and preserving low abundance analytes from biological samples. The Nanotrap® particle technology was invented at George Mason University and developed under funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). With support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), and the Commonwealth of Virginia, Ceres is focused on incorporating this technology into a range of innovative diagnostic products. Learn more, including how Ceres is partnering with leading life science, bio-pharmaceutical, and diagnostic companies at www.ceresnano.com.

Press Contact:

Ross M. Dunlap

Ceres Nanosciences, Inc

1.800.615.0418 ext. 202

rdunlap@ceresnano.com

About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 37,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the last half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility. Mason’s Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine  (CAPMM) creates new technologies and makes basic science discoveries in the field of disease pathogenesis, then applies these discoveries and technologies to create and implement strategies for disease prevention, early diagnosis and individualized therapy. Learn more at www.gmu.edu or www.capmm@gmu.edu.

Press Contact:

Tracy Mason

George Mason University, College of Science

703-993-8723

tmason11@gmu.edu

About University of Virginia Health System

UVA Health System is an academic health system that includes a 612-bed hospital, the UVA School of Medicine, a level I trauma center, nationally recognized cancer and heart centers and primary and specialty clinics throughout Central Virginia. UVA is recognized for excellence by U.S. News & World Report, Best Doctors in America and America's Top Doctors.

Press Contact:

Joshua Barney

University of Virginia Health System

434-906-8864

JDB9A@hscmail.mcc.virginia.edu

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News and Insights | May 2019

Posted on May 31, 2019

As we close the book on another academic year and schedules begin to open up as students leave Grounds, there is no better time for UVA researchers to engage with our office. Our licensing team is eager to discuss your research projects and inventions to find ways that we can work together to maximize the impact of your work.

In this issue of What's New at 722, we're excited to share new resources on our website that we have created to help faculty navigate funding and programs available within the UVA and Charlottesville innovation ecosystems. We also encourage your participation in several upcoming events that LVG is co-hosting with various community partners. We're bringing experts from our network to Charlottesville to share insights on intellectual property protection and best practices in university gap funding. 

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Why Every Entrepreneur Should have an Advisory Board

Posted on May 22, 2019

We often see early entrepreneurs relying on an informal network of advisors instead of setting up a formal advisory board, but an advisory board is an invaluable tool that every entrepreneur should have from the inception of the business. There are about as many reasons that you should have an advisory board as there are excuses for not setting one up, but here are the reasons we think are most relevant to the high-growth, investor oriented, early-stage start-ups we see here at the UVA LVG Seed Fund.

You need people who will CHALLENGE YOU AND THE MODEL

In the early stages of a start-up, an entrepreneurs trusted advisors are likely to be people they already know – maybe even your friends, family, teachers.  This pre-established personal relationship can jeopardize the frankness of these advisors.  Entrepreneurs are known to get so excited about their ideas that they charge forward with a single-minded focus which can be both good and bad. The bad is that this may stop the entrepreneur from asking for advice, and if your advisors are close to you, it can also stop them from giving the advice for fear they will damage the relationship with the entrepreneur.

But, at this stage – maybe more so than at any other – an entrepreneur needs someone who will tell the truth without sugar coating it.  You need advisors that feel comfortable giving you tough advice when it is warranted.  You need honest feedback about the strategies and tactics you are implementing.

Formalizing the relationship will help establish in the advisor’s mind that this is something they should be actively working on, not just thinking about when you come to them with a problem. Put together an agreement that outlines their role, your expectations and how you are going to compensate them.  Hold them accountable just as they will hold you accountable.  This will make it clear that this is a business relationship, not a personal one and will make sure each of you keep your eyes on the goals and objectives of the company.

In addition, you need regular meetings so that you can sit down and digest things with your board. Consistency is key, and knowing that you will have a regular meeting will remind you about what you're supposed to be working on, allow you to evaluate their advice with the benefit of hindsight, and prompt you to bring them new ideas and challenges. By sitting down with your advisors on a consistent schedule and as a group, they will be able to engage with one another and challenge not just your ideas, but the group’s ideas, something that does not happen when you just call up one person at a time.  Think of the value of leveraging multiple smart, experienced minds in the room at one time versus just one on one!

It is easier (and cheaper) than you think

Establishing an advisory board doesn't have to cost much but you should pay for the experience and network.  Giving equity – as options that will vest - is the most common form of payment and this makes the advisor a partner. They gain only when the company succeeds. Goals are aligned.

How much depends on a number of factors - your desire to have the person involved, his/her experience and most importantly their role going forward.  What will they do for the company? How critical are they to achieving that next milestone? What level do they feel motivated?  In my experience, option/equity awards are all over the place but have commonly been in the range of one quarter of one percent to one half of one percent. 

I would advise against paying cash for an advisor.  Certainly reimburse expenses – pre-approved by you – but I have found paying cash makes the advisor a vendor versus a partner which may not be as productive.

The goal is simply to get people you trust, respect and have the skills you need to grow your business. Make sure they are actively and consistently involved in your decision making process – use them, their experience and network to help move the company forward. Setting up a board might sound like a headache, but a recurring meeting with a few trusted advisors every few weeks may be enough to help keep you on track.

Credibility, Experience, Connections

seasoned board will lend their credibility to your enterprise. After all, if these sophisticated people are willing to spend their time and energy advising you, it shows that they have confidence in you and your company.  And, if you have your heart set on getting investors, having a board will not only show that you've found influential people who back you, it will also give you credibility as a serious business person who understands the value of good advice - this can be especially valuable to entrepreneurs who don't have prior business experience.

Your board members will have the benefit of past experiences -they've been through this before and will be able to tell you why what they did worked or didn't work and what they would have done differently.  Identify what you need in order to achieve that next milestone that brings about a value inflection point.  Then select board members who bring those skills and experiences that address these challenges and needs so that their experiences/knowledge can help you to overcome those issues and move the company ahead avoiding costly mistakes.  Use their experience, and learn from their missteps instead of learning them on your own.  

A well-chosen board can also help you get funding.  It is difficult to raise funding in today’s environment and connections are more important than ever to get you in front of investors.  Asking someone to be on your board is a great way to get them to later introduce you to investors they may know - though you should be sure not to make them feel like you expect this.  Moreover, if they've raised money before or are investors themselves, they will know what investors are looking for and will be able to help guide you through this process - they might even invest!  On this note, an area where experienced entrepreneurs can really help unseasoned entrepreneurs is with pitching to potential investors, they can help you design your pitch for your audience and then you can present it to them for critique.

Accountability and Encouragement

Regular meetings will force you to be prepared and make sure that you're working toward your goals because your board will hold you accountable if you don't.  One reason that early entrepreneurs avoid forming a board is because they don't want the accountability- after all, they decided to create their own company so that they wouldn't have to answer to anyone but themselves. Problem is that often they find themselves running in circles because they are unsure of what next steps to take.  A  board will help keep you on track- they aren't going to waste their time sitting down with you every few weeks if you come to every meeting explaining how you haven't hit your goals because you spent your time researching and re-researching the same problem you spoke with them about last time.  Accountability is good for your business!

One of the most difficult things about being an entrepreneur is that all of a sudden every decision comes down to your own judgment.  Knowing that if your decision ends up being wrong, it is 100% your fault can be somewhat paralyzing.  Many promising companies fail to take off because the entrepreneur gets caught up in the minutia of every decision and never end up making one.  Sometimes you just need someone to say, “Enough! You have enough information, now it's time to make a decision."

A board can also be a valuable source of encouragement and support. When you've finally made that decision you were dreading and you are in the middle of implementing it, it can be incredibly helpful just to have someone tell you, “Yeah, I've been there, you'll survive." This encouragement could even be the difference between giving up on your business and having the strength to try again.

You might think that you don’t need a board because you are not “there” yet, because you are “too busy” or even because you are still trying to nail down your business plan.  It is never too early to get a board together, though, and your board may enjoy being involved in the early stages of your company because this allows them to grow with the company and become more invested over time.

Spending the time to get an Advisory Board is sure to be one of the best business decisions you will ever make.

Remember we at LVG can help in forming an Advisory Board so feel free to call, email or drop by anytime to discuss your thoughts in this critical area for your technology development or company.

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iTHRIV Seeks Partners to Improve Public Health, Address Disparities Across Virginia

Posted on May 13, 2019

The Integrated Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia (iTHRIV), which aims to improve the health of people across the state and beyond, is seeking nonprofit or government organizations to partner with researchers to address community health needs and improve public health.

Virginia 501(c)(3) nonprofits or government agencies are eligible for up to $20,000 to fund health-related research. Proposals must include at least one iTHRIV researcher, from UVA, Inova Health System, Carilion Clinic or Virginia Tech.

Projects can address a wide range of health-related topics, including health outcomes or social determinants of health, such as economic development and education. Projects with the potential to improve health outcomes directly will be given priority.

A total of $75,000 will be awarded. Potential applicants are encouraged to participate in a teleconference at 1 p.m. Monday, May 13, 2019, to learn more. To join, visit https://zoom.us/j/199814341 or dial (646) 558-8656, meeting ID 199 814 341.

Proposals are due June 21. To learn more, or to obtain a copy of the application, visit www.ithriv.org.

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Inventor Profile: Tricia Cady, RN

Posted on May 07, 2019

Keeping ‘Little Houdinis’ Safe 

Nurse inventor creates a vest to reduce accidents, need for sedation, among neonates

By: CHRISTINE PHELAN KUETER


After long shifts working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at UVA, Tricia Cady (RN to BSN `18) used to lie in bed in the dark and ruminate about ways to keep her patients’ tiny hands from yanking at the tubing that often snaked from their mouths and noses.

“They’re like little Houdinis,” says Cady, a nurse for 22 years, “and we always struggled to keep their hands contained.”

Unplanned extubations—when a neonate accidentally pulls out a tracheal or gastric tube from its proper position in its nose or mouth—are the 4th leading adverse event in American NICUs. Even the tiniest babies, says Cady, possess surprisingly strong ability to grasp, and when tubes get unexpectedly removed, they can cause tracheal trauma, intraventricular hemorrhage, and up the risk for longer-term issues, like ventilator-assisted pneumonia and subglottic stenosis. Babies that accidentally extubate are also at greater risk for needing surgical tracheostomies, for developing cognitive and physical delays, and even for developing cerebral palsy.

Over the last 30 years, the numbers of unplanned extubations in the U.S. has stubbornly refused to budge. But thanks to Cady’s midnight ponderings, and guidance from UVA’s Licensing & Ventures Group (LVG), an answer may be on the horizon.

The “Cady Hug,” a soft, stretchy, womb-like vest that contains neonates’ hands in a secure pouch while allowing them room to move, also helps clinicians by keeping  umbilical ports and IVs accessible. Last fall, after encouragement from her nursing professor and months of planning and design, Cady brought her design to LVG staff, who helped her secure a provisional patent.

But the invention might never have been had Cady’s Trends and Issues in Nursing class, taught by professor Tomeka Dowling, not challenged students to come up with a solution to a vexing problem they saw in their work environments. It was just the spark Cady, 57, needed.

In her early research for class, Cady found few products that fit the bill. Some kept babies’ arms entirely immobile, like tiny straitjackets, which wasn’t developmentally appropriate, while others using a full swaddle inhibited clinicians’ access to central lines, oximeters, and IVs. Cady knew umbilical and diaper areas needed to remain open, given that many neonates receive feeding directly from the belly button portal. She also knew that even the best swaddles wouldn’t guarantee that babies’ arms wouldn’t wriggle free.

So she sketched, sewed, ironed, and velcroed—considered, revised, and did it all again. By October, 2017, she’d come up with a handmade prototype to present to LVG, and, encouraged by case manager Heather Bansbach, who shepherded Cady through the beginning of the commercialization process, filed a provisional patent for the “Cady Hug.” At Bansbach’s urging, Cady applied for and earned a $14,000 Ivy Biomedical Innovation Fund grant in January, 2018, which allowed her to partner with UVA design student Shannon Dorn, who helped develop a mint-green prototype.

“It’s not cotton, as I’d expected,” explains Cady, who lives in Charlottesville, “but stretchier, like a uterine wall, and much thinner than cotton. It has a beautiful stretch to it.”

With the patent and prototype in hand, and with counsel and encouragement from her NICU colleagues Rachel Nauman, medical director Jonathan Swanson, and respiratory therapy manager Timothy Hicks, Cady currently hopes to conduct a clinical trial on the pouch at UVA on neonates requiring ventilators. She believes her design will reduce accidental extubations and the NICU’s use of sedatives, while also allowing babies to move and stretch in developmentally appropriate ways. Pending IRB approval, she plans to test the vest by assessing whether sedative use and N-PASS scores (Neonatal Pain, Agitation, and Sedation Scale is a universal assessment for neonates that examines crying and irritability, behavioral state, facial expressions, extremity tone and vital signs) in UVA’s NICU decline with its use.

She also sees a use for the Cady Hug in populations beyond ventilated babies, including those who have naso-gastric tubes and those requiring bubble CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), which are little plastic prongs that lay shallow in the nostrils and deliver air flow to the lungs.

According to the March of Dimes, more than 517,000 U.S. births are premature, but because of a growing array of sophisticated medical interventions, only about one percent of them—roughly 5,800—die.

“It’s been such a learning process, and though overwhelming, support from my LVG and NICU colleagues has encouraged me to think of myself as a researcher and inventor,” says Cady, who earns her BSN this spring. “This is one of those class projects that motivated me to bring this vest—which I’d been contemplating for years—to life.”

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Life Sciences Industry On Uptick In Virginia

Posted on May 01, 2019

Because of Virginia’s lack of life sciences-focused Vcs, several universities have created their own VC and seed funds. In 2017, VT and Carilion Clinic launched a $15 million fund that invests in early-stage life sciences and technology companies. The first recipient was Charlottesville- based TearSolutions, which plans to use the funds to sponsor a Phase 1/2 clinical trial of its first-in-class topical treatment for dry eye disease.

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Celebrating UVA Faculty Innovators on World Intellectual Property Day 2019

Posted on April 26, 2019

On World Intellectual Property Day, UVA LVG recognizes UVA faculty inventors who have earned U.S. issued patents in 2019 to date.

UVA School of Medicine faculty Brant Isakson, Boris Kovatchev, Michael Salerno, Spencer Payne, Stephen Patek, Marc Breton, Linda Columbus and William Petri, Jr., among others.

UVA School of Engineering and Applied Science faculty Haydn Wadley, Maite Brandt-Pearce, Cameron Whitehouse, Eric Loth, Mool Gupta, Xiaodong (Chris) Li, Jack W. Davidson, Jason Hiser, Benton Calhoun, George Gillies, and graduate students Zafer Vatansever, Yunya Zhang, Zan Gao, and MD Anindya Prodhan, among others.

UVA College of Arts & Sciences faculty Brooks Pate.

The innovations recognized in order of most recent are as follows:

April Patents


Method and Apparatus for Application of Metallic Alloy Coatings

U.S. Patent 10,260,143 (April 16, 2019)

Haydn Wadley

Abstract: A directed vapor deposition (DVD) method and system for applying at least one bond coating on at least one substrate for thermal barrier coating systems. To overcome the limitations incurred by conventional methods, the DVD system uses an electron beam directed vapor deposition (DVD) technique to evaporate and deposit compositionally and morphologically controlled bond coats at high rate. The present DVD system uses the combination of an electron beam and a combined inert gas/reactive gas carrier jet of controlled composition to create engineering films. In this system, the vaporized material can be entrained in the carrier gas jet and deposited onto the substrate at a high rate and with high materials utilization efficiency. The velocity and flux of the gas atoms entering the chamber, the nozzle parameters, and the operating chamber pressure can all be significantly varied, facilitating wide processing condition variation and allowing for improved control over the properties of the deposited layer.

Compositions and methods for regulating arterial tone

U.S. Patent 10,253,069 (April 9, 2019)

Brant Isakson and Linda Columbus 

Abstract: The present invention provides compositions and methods for regulating arterial tone based on the discovery herein of novel expression and regulation of hemoglobin alpha and cytochrome B5 reductase 3 and the effects on NO and NOS.

Position localization using visible light communication

U.S. Patent 10,256,906 (April 9, 2019)

Maite Brandt-Pearce and Zafer Vatansever 

Abstract: Visible-light communication (VLC) is an optical wireless communication technique that uses light emitting diodes (LEDs) or other optical sources to transmit information to a user equipment (UE) device. An optically-based location determination approach, such as using VLC infrastructure, can meet a desire for location-based services where use of VLC can provide a solution to an indoor localization or navigation problem. A fingerprinting approach can include use of an optical received signal strength (RSS) or other information (e.g., an image of a scene) to generate a spatial fingerprint map of an area. A later-received RSS on the UE device and the prior-generated fingerprint map representative of RSS can be received, and a fingerprint map and RSS observations can be provided as inputs to a Bayesian filter, such as an Extended Kalman Filter (EKF) or a Particle Filter, to provide an estimated position for the UE device.

March Patents


Smart water heater system, method and computer readable media

U.S. Patent 10,240,816 (March 26, 2019)

Kamin Whitehouse and MD Anindya Prodhan 

Abstract: A smart water heater system (SWHS) for a domestic water system having a plurality of fixtures has a water tank having a cold water inlet and a heat source configured to heat the cold water. The SWHS may also have a mixing valve to blend cold water with the hot water to produce blended water, wherein the blended water is directed to the domestic water system. The SWHS may have a controller in communication with the mixing valve configured to identify which fixture is being used when the domestic water system is drawing water from the water tank, determine an average water temperature utilized by each fixture, and adjust the mixing valve based on which fixture is identified such that a temperature of the blended water is generally equal to the average water temperature for the identified fixture.

Particle Separator

U.S. Patent 10,227,924 (March 12, 2019)

Eric Loth

Abstract: An air-inlet duct includes an outer wall, an inner wall, and a splitter. The splitter cooperates with the outer wall to establish a particle separator which separates particles entrained in an inlet flow moving through the air-inlet duct to provide a clean flow of air to a compressor section of a gas turbine engine.

Segmented chirped-pulse fourier transform spectroscopy

U.S. Patent 10,222,262 (March 5, 2019)

Brooks Pate

Abstract: An emission can be obtained from a sample in response to excitation using a specified range of excitation frequencies. Such excitation can include generating a specified chirped waveform and a specified downconversion local oscillator (LO) frequency using a digital-to-analog converter (DAC), upconverting the chirped waveform via mixing the chirped waveform with a specified upconversion LO frequency, frequency multiplying the upconverted chirped waveform to provide a chirped excitation signal for exciting the sample, receiving an emission from sample, the emission elicited at least in part by the chirped excitation signal, and downconverting the received emission via mixing the received emission with a signal based on the specified downconversion LO signal to provide a downconverted emission signal within the bandwidth of an analog-to-digital converter (ADC). The specified chirped waveform can include a first chirped waveform during a first duration, and a second chirped waveform during a second duration.

February Patents


Method of forming a spectral selective coating

U.S. Patent 10,201,947 (February 12, 2019)

Mool Gupta 

Abstract: A method of forming a spectral selective coating is disclosed. The method may include providing particles on a substrate, wherein the particles include submicron particles. The method may farther include sintering the particles under atmospheric pressure to form a sintered layer an the substrate and texturing the sintered layer to provide a submicron surface roughness height on the sintered layer.

Accuracy of continuous glucose sensors

U.S. Patent 10,194,850 (February 5, 2019)

Boris Kovatchev

A method, apparatus, and a kit are capable of improving accuracy of CGS devices using dynamic outputs of continuous glucose sensors.

Compositions and methods for treating Clostridium difficile infection

U.S. patent 10,196,453 (February 5, 2019)

William Petri, Jr.

Abstract: Clostridium difficile is the most common hospital acquired pathogen in the United States, and infection is in many cases fatal. Toxins A and B are its major virulence factors, but increasingly a third toxin may be present, known as C. difficile transferase (CDT). An ADP-ribosyltransferase that causes actin cytoskeletal disruption, CDT is typically produced by the major, hypervirulent strains and has been associated with more severe disease. It is disclosed herein that CDT enhances the virulence of two PCR-ribotype 027 strains in mice. The toxin induces pathogenic host inflammation via a novel Toll-like Receptor 2 (TLR2) dependent pathway, resulting in the suppression of a protective host eosinophilic response. Finally, it is disclosed that restoration of TLR2 deficient eosinophils is sufficient for protection from a strain producing CDT. These findings offer an explanation for the enhanced virulence of CDT-expressing C. difficile and demonstrate a mechanism by which this binary toxin subverts the host immune response.

Process of forming electrodes and products thereof from biomass

U.S. Patent 10,199,178 (February 5, 2019)

Xiaodong (Chris) Li, Yunya Zhang, and Zan Gao 

Abstract: A flexible electrode comprises an activated cotton textile composite comprising activated carbon fibers, nickel sulfide nanoparticles and graphene and a process for making the flexible electrode. The process may comprise preparing a cotton textile containing Ni(NO3)2. Then, the cotton textile containing Ni(NO3)may be heated at a first temperature to produce an activated cotton textile composite comprising activated carbon fibers, nickel nanoparticles and graphene. The activated cotton textile composite may be then treated with sulfur to produce an activated cotton textile composite comprising activated carbon fibers, nickel sulfide nanoparticles and graphene. The nickel sulfide particles may be NiSnanoparticles in a form of nanobowls, and distributed on a surface and inside the activated carbon fibers. The activated carbon fibers and the nickel sulfide nanoparticles may be coated with graphene. Banana peels may be activated and treated with the similar processes to form electrodes for both supercapacitor and battery applications.

Free-breathing parameter mapping with high-contrast image registration

U.S. Patent 10,198,810 (February 5, 2019)

Michael Salerno 

Abstract: In one aspect, the disclosed technology relates to a method which, in one example embodiment, includes acquiring magnetic resonance imaging data for a plurality of images of the heart of a subject during free breathing of the subject. The method also includes generating an additional plurality of images with high tissue-blood contrast over the region of interest, and selecting a subset of images from the plurality of images, based upon a pre-determined quality metric of image similarity, to be used for non-rigid image registration. The method also includes aligning the subset of images by non-rigid image registration using a combination of the plurality of images and the additional plurality of images, and creating a parametric map from the aligned images.

January Patents 


Lightweight ballistic resistant anti-intrusion systems and related methods thereof

U.S. Patent 10,184,759 (January 22, 2019)

Haydn Wadley

Abstract: A method for manufacturing a ballistic resistance package which includes providing a molecularly oriented tape material having a front face and back face with a minimum of two sets of parallel side faces; wrapping molecularly oriented fabric material around the front and back faces and a set of the parallel side faces of the molecularly oriented tape material, yielding a wrapped core structure; and finalizing the wrapped core structure to yield the ballistic resistance package. A multifunction ballistic resistance system for resisting projectiles and/or mitigating blast effects of explosions. The multifunction ballistic resistance system may include: at least one cellular frame defining cells therein, and a plurality of molecularly oriented tape material core structures wrapped in molecularly oriented fabric material and finalized, and attached to at least one cellular frame.

Method of instruction location randomization (ILR) and related system

U.S. Patent 10,193,927 (January 29, 2019)

Jack W. Davidson, Jason D. Hiser, Anh Nguyen-Tuong, Michele Co 

Abstract: Systems and methods for relocating executable instructions to arbitrary locations are described, in which the relocation of the instructions may be arbitrary or random, and may operate on groups of instructions or individual instructions. Such relocation may be achieved through hardware or software, and may use a virtual machine, software dynamic translators, interpreters, or emulators. Instruction relocation may use or produce a specification governing how to relocate the desired instructions. Randomizing the location of instructions provides defenses against a variety of security attacks. Such systems and methods may provide many advantages over other instruction relocation techniques, such as low runtime overhead, no required user interaction, applicability post-deployment, and the ability to operate on arbitrary executable programs.

Devices and methods for protecting an internal channel of a subject

U.S. Patent 10,172,639 (January 8, 2019)

Spencer Payne

Abstract: Devices and methods for protecting an internal channel of a subject are disclosed. In one example embodiment, a device for protecting an internal channel of a subject includes a first end portion having a first diameter and defining a first opening, and a second end portion opposite the first end portion having a second diameter and defining a second opening that is in communication with the first opening. A body portion is defined between the first end portion and second end portion. The body portion defines an interior passage between the first opening and second opening, and is expandable along a longitudinal axis from a collapsed state to an expanded state.

LQG artificial pancreas control system and related method

U.S. Patent 10,173,006 (January 8, 2019)

Stephen Patek, Marc Breton

Abstract: The invention relates to a methods and systems for determining an insulin dosing recommendation. The invention employs Linear Quadratic methodology to determine the insulin dosing recommendation based on a patient's present physiological state, which is estimated by an adaptive filter methodology employing a dynamic model, which utilizes real-time measurements of blood glucose concentration.

System, method and computer program product for protecting software via continuous anti-tampering and obfuscation transforms

U.S. Patent 10,176,324 (January 8, 2019)

Jack Davidson, Jason Hiser 

Abstract: Method, system and computer program product for applying existing anti-tampering and obfuscation techniques to virtual machine technology and offers several distinct advantages. The anti-tampering and obfuscation transforms can be applied continuously to prevent adversaries from gaining information about the program through emulation or dynamic analysis. In addition, the encryption can be used to prevent hackers from gaining information using static attacks. The use of a virtual machine also allows for low overhead execution of the obfuscated binaries as well as finer adjustment of the amount of overhead that can be tolerated. In addition, more protection can be applied to specific portions of the application that can tolerate slowdown. The in-corporation of a virtual machine also makes it easy to extend the technology to integrate new developments and resistance mechanisms, leading to less development time, increased savings, and quicker deployment.

Methods and apparatus for a single inductor multiple output (SIMO) DC-DC converter circuit

U.S. Patent 10,170,990 (January 1, 2019)

Benton Calhoun 

Abstract: In some embodiments, an apparatus includes a single-inductor multiple-output (SIMO) direct current (DC-DC) converter circuit, with the SIMO DC-DC converter circuit having a set of output nodes. The apparatus also includes a panoptic dynamic voltage scaling (PDVS) circuit operatively coupled to the SIMO DC-DC converter circuit, where the PDVS circuit has a set of operational blocks with each operational block from the set of operational blocks drawing power from one supply voltage rail from a set of supply voltage rails. Additionally, each output node from the set of output nodes is uniquely associated with a supply voltage rail from the set of supply voltage rails.

Simulation of endogenous and exogenous glucose/insulin/glucagon interplay in type 1 diabetic patients

U.S. patent 10,169,544 (January 1, 2019)

Marc D. Breton and Boris P. Kovatchev

Abstract: A simulator for in-silico testing of Type 1 diabetes patients uses a model that puts in relation plasma concentrations, i.e., glucose G and insulin /, with glucose fluxes, i.e. endogenous glucose production (EGP), glucose rate of appearance (Ra), glucose utilization by the tissues (U), renal extraction (E), and insulin fluxes, i.e., rate of insulin appearance from the subcutaneous tissues (SC) and insulin degradation (D). A module is also included to describe counter-regulation, i.e. glucagon kinetics, secretion and action. A glucagon subcutaneous absorption model enables simulation of dual hormone control.

Epicardial ablation catheter and method of use

U.S. patent 10,166,066 (January 1, 2019)

George Gillies

Abstract: An aspect of various embodiments of the present invention system and method provide, but not limited thereto, a novel means for epicardial ablation using a double-curve steerable sheath and a double-curve deflectable open irrigated-tip/suction catheter that can be guided around the apex of the heart and adjusted so as to position the distal tip optimally. The catheter can also both deliver fluid to and withdraw fluid from the pericardial space. Access to the epicardial surface of the heart is via a subxiphoid entry. The method and means presented include, but are not limited to, steering, energy delivery, bipolar mapping, placement and use of electrodes, irrigation, suction of irrigation fluid, and other details of the subject invention.

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Revealed: The Secret Superpower that Makes C. Difficile So Deadly

Posted on April 24, 2019

A new discovery about dangerous Clostridium difficile diarrhea has identified a new way that the bacteria – and possibly others like it – cause severe disease. “C. diff” is the most common hospital-acquired infection; the Centers for Disease Control estimate it results in 453,000 cases per year, with 29,300 associated deaths.

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Sweet Sensation: Realizing the dream of noninvasive glucose monitoring

Posted on April 23, 2019

Long something of a pipe dream for diabetic sufferers, improved versions of three wearable, continuous glucose monitors have been green-lighted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the past year. These devices, developed by Dexcom, Medtronic and Abbott, involve a needle, but are getting so convenient, comfortable and reliable that they are becoming the kind of product that people actually want to use. Last August, Medtronic reported that its diabetes unit had its best sales growth in ten years, driven in part by sales of its glucose monitoring systems. In February Dexcom reported that its revenue increased 44% in 2018, compared with the previous year. Meanwhile a raft of startups think they have solutions that will grab a share of the market.

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Company Profile: Silivhere Technologies, Inc.

Posted on April 18, 2019

Access to clean drinking water is a basic human right, yet three billion people around the world today live without reliable water service and millions die each year from waterborne illnesses. UVA Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Jim Smith, Ph.D., has dedicated his research career to finding a solution to this public health epidemic.

Smith has been studying, creating, and refining the effectiveness of a potentially disruptive, household water treatment technology at UVA over the past six years. His technology, the MadiDrop, is a porous ceramic tablet that slowly releases silver ions into stored, household water over time, killing waterborne pathogens. The Jenga-block sized tablet contains just enough silver to disinfect harmful pathogens while ensuring safe consumption of water. This point-of-use water treatment solution is simple to use and requires minimal effort compared to other options on the market today.

LVG has been involved with Smith’s research on innovative point-of-use water treatment technologies since he began this line of work in 2004. In addition to protecting the intellectual property and methods behind the creation of the MadiDrop, LVG helped Smith launch a Public Benefit Corporation which partnered with over 160 nonprofit organizations around the world to test the MadiDrop in the field. Through this company, 30,000 MadiDrops are now being used in over 40 countries providing safe drinking water to 150,000 people.

In 2018, a breakthrough came when Smith discovered how to dramatically increase the amount of water treated each year by a single tablet and introduced the MadiDrop+.

“We quadrupled the effectiveness of our water purification tablet, and collaborating with UVA LVG’s incredible resources is helping to ensure that it gets in the hands of those who need it most,” says Smith. “We are closer than ever to reaching our commercial potential with the MadiDrop+.”

This discovery prompted LVG to re-calibrate the business strategy to suit the new effectiveness of the filtration tablets and worked to relaunch the company as Silivhere Technologies, Inc. The new company is named after the derivative of the Tshivenda South African word for silver; South Africa being where Smith has worked for years on the MadiDrop.

Beyond the obvious need for access to clean water in the developing world, LVG is exploring other opportunities for MadiDrop+ in disaster relief, international travel, and humanitarian aid. Smith’s consistent engagement with LVG has allowed the team to lead this new venture through the launch process while Smith continues to refine the technology. LVG continuously meets with company investors and members of the larger UVA friends, family, and alumni networks to identify appropriate advisors, investors and leadership who can help to shepherd the company and the MadiDrop+ to as many end markets as possible.

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Virginia Catalyst Announces Round Ten of Grant Funding

Posted on April 17, 2019

RICHMOND, VA – April 15, 2019 – The Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corporation (VBHRC), now known as Virginia Catalyst, today announced that it is accepting applications/letters of intent (LOIs) for round ten of grants to fund the development and commercialization of life science projects that address major unmet needs for improving human health and advance Virginia’s economy. Virginia Catalyst awards these funds to help accelerate translational research and the commercialization of Virginia’s innovations. The awards, which range from $200,000 to $800,000, help fund collaborative efforts between industry and Virginia research universities with the goal of:

  • Funding innovative, collaborative, translational research projects that elevate the level of sponsored research at Virginia’s universities and have the potential to create high value jobs in the Commonwealth
  • Accelerating commercialization of Virginia research university inventions and discoveries and to achieve competitive critical mass through robust collaborations of Virginia

Letters of intent (LOI) must be received by July 10, 2019 at 5:00 PM EDT. Projects that meet criteria will be invited to submit a full application by August 28, 2019. Applications will be reviewed and scored by an independent review team of scientists, venture capitalists and CEOs of Virginia-based life science companies. The top eight applicants will be invited to present the projects in person on Thursday, September 26th. Awards will be announced in October 2019. The LOI submission form and application template, as well as grant criteria, are available on the Virginia Catalyst website (www.virginiacatalyst.org).

“We are proud of being a stimulus for industry to work more closely with our research universities to drive economic growth,” said Mike Grisham, CEO, Virginia Catalyst. “Virginia Catalyst continues to support teams of investigators from research institutions and industry to move their discoveries in the life sciences from laboratories to commercialization. The creation of sustainable companies and highpaying jobs help boost Virginia’s overall economy, support life sciences sector, and tangibly improve citizens’ lives. Cumulatively through the first nine funding rounds, Virginia Catalyst funded a total of $15.9 million to 31 collaborative projects. Together, these projects have created over 150 new jobs and have attracted an additional $140 million of investment capital from venture capital, private equity, corporations and government agencies including DARPA, NIH and NSF. We are proud to continue supporting research investigators and entrepreneurs in achieving milestones that will result in follow-on funding and build sustainable businesses.”

About Virginia Catalyst
Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corporation (VBHRC), known as Virginia Catalyst, has a vision of advancing life sciences throughout Virginia as a means of addressing large unmet medical needs to improve human health and to create high-paying jobs throughout the Commonwealth. Funded by the Virginia General Assembly’s General fund, the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Tech, Eastern Virginia Medical School, George Mason University, Old Dominion University, and William and Mary, Virginia Catalyst has funding opportunities to support collaborative life science projects in the Commonwealth. For more information, visit www.virginiacatalyst.org.

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Local biopharm company raises $6.4MM for dry eye testing

Posted on April 08, 2019

A Charlottesville-based biopharmaceutical company has raised an additional $6.4 million to help push a Food and Drug Administration clinical trial to completion.

The funds will be used to complete a Phase II clinical trial for LacripepTM, a peptide researchers hope will be approved to treat dry eye.

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2019 Innovator of the Year Celebration

Posted on March 26, 2019

Thank you to all who joined our celebration last month at the Rotunda to honor the 2019 Edlich Henderson Innovator of the Year, Dr. Lee Ritterband.

Each year, this event allows us to pause and celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of a UVA faculty member whose research is making a significant impact on society.

Dr. Ritterband's career at UVA and successes in commercializing digital therapeutics has changed the lives of countless patients living with a variety of issues, including insomnia, cancer, diabetes, and substance abuse, among others. 

We also took this moment to recognize milestones from the last year that illustrate the University's commitment to innovation. These extraordinary accomplishments drive institutional notoriety, leveraged capital, economic development, sponsored research, and the dissemination of knowledge from Grounds to the world:

In the last fiscal year, UVA earned a record 59 US issued patents. 

2006 Innovator of the Year and UVA Engineering Professor, George Gillies, Ph.D., was elected to the National Academy of Inventors.

TypeZero Technologies, Inc., a company founded by 2011 Innovator of the Year, Boris Kovatchev, Ph.D., was acquired by DexCom, Inc., a publicly traded company and industry leader in continuous glucose monitoring.

PsiKick, Inc., a company founded by 2015 Innovator of the Year, Ben Calhoun, Ph.D., raised an additional $13 MM and today employs 41 people (including 10 UVA grads and 16 employees in Charlottesville, VA).

Jony Kipnis, Chair of the Department of Neuroscience at the UVA School of Medicine, licensed his groundbreaking work in meningeal lymphatics to PureTech Health. The announcement of the deal coincided with Kipnis' third publication in the prestigious medical journal, Nature Neuroscience.

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BrightSpec, Inc. to Acquire Substantial Assets of BioTools, Inc.

Posted on March 15, 2019

BrightSpec, Inc., a privately held life science instrumentation company, announced today that it entered into a letter of intent to purchase substantial assets from BioTools, Inc. (Jupiter, Florida) including the portions of its business related to the Vibrational Circular Dichroism spectrometer, the Raman Optical Activity spectrometer, and the FT-IR protein analyzer. 

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FDA grants de novo for the HemoSonics' Quantra QPlus System; This Revolutionary Diagnostic Provides Unique Information for Assessing Coagulation at the Point of Care; Now Commercially Available in US

Posted on March 13, 2019

HemoSonics today announced that its innovative Quantra Hemostasis Analyzer platform, and its initial QPlus cartridge have been granted de novo marketing authorization by the FDA and are now available for sale in the United States.

The fast and easy-to-use Quantra QPlus System provides novel and actionable information on coagulation status to clinicians at the point of care. With hands-on time of less than a minute, the Quantra QPlus System leverages innovative ultrasound technology to provide rapid viscoelastic results in 15 minutes or less, using a simple workflow and intuitive interface. When time is most critical, Quantra’s rapid, precise and easy to read results may allow clinicians to quickly make more informed decisions.

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BrightSpec, Inc. Announces Series B Financing

Posted on March 01, 2019

BrightSpec, a life sciences instrumentation company offering fast, precise analysis of trace level chemical components, announced a $2.3 million Series B financing. The financing was led by MedVest Capital, and included participation from the University of Virginia Licensing & Ventures Group Seed Fund. Proceeds will be used to support corporate development and a new product launch.

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Company Profile: 510Kardiac Devices, Inc.

Posted on February 27, 2019

With the global population exceeding 7 billion and thousands reaching an advanced age every day, cardiovascular disease continues to rise and remains the leading cause of death in the US. Catheter-based procedures used to treat a multitude of heart problems ranging from valve disease to rhythm issues are simultaneously increasing as an appealing alternative to invasive surgery. However, catheter technologies and surgical techniques for these non-invasive procedures have gone unchanged for decades.

Scott Lim, M.D., an interventional cardiologist and the Director of the Advanced Cardiac Valve Center at the UVA Health System conceptualized a medical device that would improve outcomes for heart surgery patients, and make it easier and safer for surgeons to execute operations on the left side of the heart.

“Accessing the left side of the heart is becoming so common with catheter procedures that there needs to be a safer, more efficient, and more accurate way to do it,” said Lim.

The current method to access the left side of the heart is a catheter-based procedure known as a transseptal puncture. This technique allows a direct route to the left atrium and minimizes the risk of arterial bleeding. Navigating a catheter through veins in the right side of the heart and puncturing the septum to access the left side is extremely challenging, especially with tools that are hard to control.

Dr. Lim partnered with Jaime Sarabia whose 18 years of experience in medical device ventures include being one of the lead mechanical engineers with the Evalve Corporation which developed the MitraClip heart implant and was acquired by Abbott for $410 million in 2009. Sarabia shepherded Lim’s idea for a device into what is now known as the Lim Transseptal System (LTS).

The LTS is a surgical instrument designed to improve efficiency and precision when crossing the interatrial septum and targeting specific locations within the structure of the heart. The goal of the device is to reshape catheters to better maneuver through the veins and cross from one side of the heart to the other with maximum visibility. 

“Rather than accepting what anatomy gives to you, the LTS will drive the catheter to precise locations giving surgeons a much better starting point and thus better outcomes for patients,” said Sarabia.

In 2015, Dr. Lim and Sarabia worked with UVA LVG to license the intellectual property for the LTS and to launch a new venture, 510 Kardiac Devices, Inc. Since its inception; the company has contracted with a manufacturer, designed six generations of functioning prototypes of the LTS and conducted a successful pre-clinical study. In preparation for regulatory approval and initial commercialization, the company implemented a quality control system with completed molds, packaging, and labeling design for the device.

The UVA LVG Seed Fund invested in the company in 2018 to support the FDA approval process of the device which is on track for 2019. Investment during the early stage of commercialization of a device like the LTS epitomizes why LVG created the seed fund. The impressive professional experience and collaboration between Lim and Sarabia instilled the necessary confidence for UVA LVG to not only invest in the company but to also attract several other investors including Minnesota-based Nexturn, Inc.

“Any new technology, even if it’s fascinating and great, takes money to bring it to market,” said Lim. “But the UVA Licensing & Ventures Group has also been quite generous with their time and their advice. It’s a tremendous partnership for us.”

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UVA honors creator of internet-based therapies

Posted on February 23, 2019

A dream come true for insomnia patients has helped earn a University of Virginia professor the highest honor bestowed upon UVa innovators.

Lee Ritterband, the director of UVa’s Center for Behavioral Health & Technology, received the Edlich-Henderson Innovator of the Year from the school’s Licensing and Ventures Group.

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A Better Brandy: Chemistry Students Work with Distillery

Posted on February 15, 2019

Brandy distiller Robin Felder had a problem.

University of Virginia chemistry professor Brooks Pate had a potential solution.

Pate just didn’t know what the exact solution might be, having never worked on the type of analysis Felder was seeking – using a new technology to define the exact and proper time to complete the distillation process of a particular type of pear brandy in order to produce the optimal flavor and aroma.

Pate had some ideas though, and he figured his students could help. So he set up his spring 2018 undergraduate physical chemistry laboratory course to tackle the problem.

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