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Research Leads to Record 16 Startups in FY15

Several hanging incandescent light bulbs with one halogen lightbulb that's on in the middle

Technology commercialization transforms the latest breakthroughs into everyday solutions that improve our health, environment and quality of life.

At the University of Minnesota, researchers are developing inventions that aim to tackle some of society’s greatest challenges. In fiscal 2015, the Venture Center at the U’s Office for Technology Commercialization formed a record 16 startup companies around these inventions, topping the previous record of 15 companies in 2014 and bringing the total number of startups launched to 84 since the Venture Center formed in 2006.

“It is exciting to see university research leave the lab and be applied on a larger scale to solve societal problems,” said Brian Herman, Ph.D., the U’s vice president for research. “By bringing these ideas to market, the U is helping to spur entrepreneurial activity and advance Minnesota’s economy, strengthening its competitiveness in key industries and creating the basis for new ones.”

The Venture Center taps an extensive network of proven entrepreneurs and investors to match the U’s intellectual property and inventors with experienced business executives who have the expertise needed to turn a breakthrough into a commercially available product. Startup companies provide another way, in addition to licensing technology or sponsoring research, for the U’s intellectual property to reach the public, where it can benefit the most people.

“The 16 startup companies we have launched over the past year will help turn our most disruptive, high-potential innovations into relevant and useful products,” said Russ Straate, associate director of the Venture Center. “From a cancer therapy developed from plant extract to learning assessments that monitor infants’ development, these technologies further the university’s mission to find research-backed solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing society.”

The New Startup Companies

Adama Materials: Improves the properties of resin and fiber composites, such as epoxy/carbon fiber and polyester/fiberglass, at very low cost.
Faculty: Chris Macosko and Andreas Stein

Andamio Games: An interactive game-like approach to teaching neuroscience and mental health concepts.
Faculty: Janet M Dubinsky

Andarta Medical: A non-invasive lung pacing device that reduces the time required to get a patient off a ventilator, resulting in significant cost savings.
Research fellows: James Krocak, Jesus Cabrera and John Ballard

ApoGen BioTech: Delivers a new class of pharmaceuticals that block a specific enzyme to slow the evolution of cancer cells and prevent them from becoming resistant to therapies.
Faculty: Reuben Harris and Dan Harki

Bioactive Regenerative Therapeutics:  A 3D cell culture matrix that mimics natural biochemical processes to support and enhance cell culture assays.
Faculty: Timothy O’Brien

Blossom Medical: A neonatal medical device that cradles and supports infants during early stage of life.
Medical Device Fellows 2012

Carp Solutions: Combines field sampling with cutting-edge analytics to develop sustainable management strategies for invasive fish such as the common carp.
Faculty: Przemyslaw Bajer

EMMA: Early Movement Monitoring Assessment (EMMA) is commercializing Individual Growth Development Indicators for infants to measure functional movement skills and show whether intervention is needed.
Faculty: Carol Leitschuh

FastBridge Learning: Automated K-12 assessment tools for student screening, progress monitoring and program evaluation.
Faculty: Ted Christ

Flora Therapeutics: Targeting gastrointestinal and metabolic diseases using bacteria as therapeutics.
Faculty: Dan Knights

Kuality Herbceutics: A cancer therapy developed from Kava plant compound extracts.
Faculty: Chengguo Xing

PSI: A satellite image analysis algorithm to detect changes in resources, such as forests, crops, water and urbanization.
Faculty: Shyam Boriah, Vipin Kumar and Karsten Steinhaeuser

Reflection Sciences: A method to test a child’s ability to concentrate on a task.
Faculty: Stephanie Carlson and Phil Zelazo

Target Genomics: A resource database, decision support system and services to guide health care providers in the use of genomics.
Faculty: Brian Van Ness

Tychon Biosciences: A platform therapeutic focused on cancer treatment using chemical synthesis, custom nanomaterials and complex protein structures.
Faculty: Carston (Rick) Wagner

Vidku: Delivers Flipgrid, a platform allowing individuals to engage in video-based dialogues organized by topic.
Faculty: Charlie Miller

See the press release or visit the startups page for more information on U of M startups.

Kevin Coss

Kevin Coss

Kevin is a writer with the Office of the Vice President for Research.

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