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NJCST, ThermoGenesis, UC-Davis, RIKEN, University of Tennessee, UTEK, Haemacure, Clarient, Tissue Regeneration Therapeutics, Profectus, U of Maryland

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NJCST Awards $5.3M to Promote Tech Commercialization; More than $10M in Stem Cell Research Grants
 
The New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology last week announced more than $5.3 million in awards through the Edison Innovation Fund to promote innovation and technology commercialization in the state.
 
NJCST said that it awarded more than $2.2 million and leveraged another $1.5 million through its Edison Innovation R&D program which, in partnership with New Jersey research universities, provides funding to New Jersey companies for activities necessary for technology commercialization.
 
The grants support research and commercialization at five grant recipients, and include research for a new treatment for disc-related back pain, improved sterilization systems, and discovering treatments for malaria and other infectious diseases.
 
The commission also awarded nearly $1 million for 14 New Jersey Technology Fellowships, including 10 first-year fellowships and four second-year fellowships. The New Jersey Technology Fellowship program helps move cutting-edge research from the lab to the marketplace by providing funding for up to two years to emerging high-tech companies that hire postdoctoral graduates from New Jersey research universities. The recipient companies will be employing fellows from Princeton University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rutgers University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
 
In addition, the commission awarded more than $1.5 million in funding through the University Intellectual Property Program to promote creation of new technology businesses in New Jersey through increased technology transfer and commercialization at New Jersey universities. Lastly, the commission announced $240,000 in Incubator Seed Fund Grants to five companies located in one of 13 technology incubators around the state; and $200,000 awarded to four companies receiving Small Business Innovation Research Bridge Grants to help bridge the funding gap that occurs during the federally funded SBIR program.
 
In a separate announcement last week, NJCST awarded more than $10 million in stem cell research grants, including $5.5 million for two core facilities and nearly $5 million in individual grants for research that offers a means for translation to patient treatment and economic development. This funding, included in the FY 2007 budget, doubles the amount awarded for this program in FY 2006, NJCST said.
 
According to NJCST, the core facilities grants create increased capacity for human embryonic stem cell research beyond current federal funding restrictions, and enhance collaboration between New Jersey’s research universities while supporting the creation of stem cell research facilities.
 
The allocation follows the authorization of $9.2 million earlier in the month for predevelopment funding of the New Brunswick Stem Cell Institute by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
 
In addition, the commission approved nearly $5 million in individual research grants to 16 researchers from university and nonprofit institutions in New Jersey. Grant recipients include four projects working with human embryonic stem cell research, projects working with cord blood stem cells, and projects aimed at finding treatments for cancer and other diseases and disabilities.
 
NJCST said that it received 73 complete applications for the individual research grant program and three core facilities proposals, and that all proposals underwent scientific and ethics reviews before facing discussion and a vote during a public meeting of the commission.
 

 
ThermoGenesis and UC-Davis to Co-Develop Stem Cell Therapeutics
 
ThermoGenesis and the Stem Cell Program at the University of California, Davis, last week announced a collaborative research agreement to develop stem cell therapies based on ThermoGenesis’ AutoXpress, BioArchive, and CryoSeal Fibrin Sealant blood processing systems.
 
Under the terms of the agreement, ThermoGenesis will supply the UC-Davis SCP with one of each of its blood-processing platforms for use in translational cell therapy research, which will focus on sourcing the stem cells from the patient’s own bone marrow or umbilical cord blood.
 
ThermoGenesis, based in Rancho Cordova, Calif., will have the first option to negotiate a license to the resulting intellectual property.
 

 
Stem Cell Sciences Licenses hESC Production Tech from Japan’s RIKEN
 
Stem Cell Sciences last week said that it has in-licensed technology for large-scale, automated production of human embryonic stem cells for industrial research and clinical applications from Japan’s RIKEN.
 
The technology was discovered by Yoshiki Sasai and colleagues at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan. It uses a class of compounds known as Rho-associated kinase inhibitors to block the onset of stem cell death when the clusters of growing cells are dissociated for transfer and scale-up.
 
SCS has secured exclusive rights to the discovery in all global territories except Japan, where the company holds non-exclusive rights. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
 

 
University of Tennessee Unveils $2.5M High-Tech Incubator
 
The University of Tennessee last week opened a $2.5 million, 15,000-square-foot business incubator to support high-tech companies throughout the Knoxville-Oak Ridge area.
 
The incubator is a partnership between the UT Research Foundation, Knox County, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Knoxville Utilities Board, the State of Tennessee, and the US Economic Development Administration.
 
According to a statement from the East Tennessee Economic Development Agency, the incubator is part of “an aggressive movement throughout the 16-county innovation valley to commercialize intellectual property” generated at UT, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and related spin-off companies.
 

 
UTEK to ID, Acquire Technologies for Haemacure, Clarient
 
UTEK and Haemacure last week said that they have signed an alliance in which UTEK will identify potential technology acquisition opportunities for Haemacure.
 
Haemacure, based in Montreal, is a specialty biotherapeutics company developing human proteins for therapeutic use.
 
“Haemacure is pleased to execute this technology acquisition alliance with UTEK as we believe it will provide Haemacure with global access to intellectual properties that can leverage our product candidates,” Joseph Galli, CEO of Haemacure, said in a statement.
 
In a separate announcement, UTEK and Clarient also said that they had formed a technology acquisition alliance.
 
Clarient, based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., is a technology and services resource for pathologists, oncologists, and the pharmaceutical industry.
 
“After evaluating a number of ways to assess the available landscape for technology transfer, we believe that this alliance will allow us to cost-effectively review and identify appropriate technology assets to compliment Clarient’s strategy for commercializing novel markers that clarify and simplify decisions for health care providers and the biopharmaceutical industry,” Ronald Andrews, Clarient’s CEO, said in a statement.
 
UTEK, based in Tampa, Fla., is a specialty finance company focused on assisting companies in the acquisition of intellectual property from universities and laboratory research centers.
 

 
Canada’s TRT Licenses U of Toronto Umbilical Stem Cell Tech to US Firm
 
Canadian life sciences firm Tissue Regeneration Therapeutics said last week that it will exclusively license its human umbilical cord perivascular cell technology to Stem Cell Authority for family stem cell banking in the US.
 
The technology originated at the University of Toronto, and has been offered to the Canadian public since March through a licensing agreement between TRT and Toronto-based Create Cord Blood Bank.
 
TRT said that licensing fees and annual minimum royalties associated with the US agreement will exceed CAN $20 million ($18.7 million) over the next four years.
 
"Toronto is the first place in the world to bank perivascular mesenchymal stem cells from the human umbilical cord and we are extremely pleased to now be able to provide this opportunity to parents across the US," John Davies, a professor at U of T's Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering and senior inventor of the technology, said in a statement.
 
"This is a great example of how a university can facilitate the translation of professorial research from the university laboratory to commercial reality for the benefit of the public,” Davies added.
 

 
Profectus Wins $300K SBIR Grant for Vaccine Development with U of Maryland
 
Profectus Biosciences last week said that it has been awarded an approximately $300,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research Grant from the Division of AIDS at the National Institutes of Health.
 
The focus of the grant is to develop enhanced adjuvants based on Profectus’ proprietary technology in collaboration with the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland.
 
The Profectus technology uses the enzymatically active A1 subunit of cholera toxin, a potent protein adjuvant, which is expressed from a DNA, RNA, or viral vector.

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