Delivering research breakthroughs from the University of Colorado to the marketplace, CU’s Office of Technology Transfer collaborated to advance 13 new startup companies during the last fiscal year.
With these recent additions, research commercialization at CU now has led to the creation of 155 companies and an estimated 500 jobs since 1994. The CU Tech Transfer Office facilitates patents and provides other commercialization support to researchers at the university’s four campuses. The office also serves as a liaison for industry partners interested in commercializing technologies first developed at CU.
“The discoveries coming out of CU’s world-class research program continue to attract top management talent and capital,” said Kate Tallman, associate vice president of the CU Technology Transfer Office. “We are fortunate to work with a growing group of business-savvy faculty who can partner effectively with entrepreneurs in our community to take their ideas to commercial reality.”
Among CU’s Tech Transfer success stories from the 2015 fiscal year are the launches of Click Nucleic Acids Inc. and Orbital Micro Systems, both of which took root at CU-Boulder.
At Click Nucleic Acids Inc., CU-Boulder’s Christopher Bowman, Ph.D., has developed a novel DNA analog identified as click nucleic acids (CNA). CNA can mimic the DNA property to specifically associate with complementary nucleic acid materials – including DNA, RNA and PNA – but with greater binding specificities and selectivity. The Boulder-based company is developing CNA for applications currently utilizing DNA, RNA and PNA, such as anti-sense gene therapeutics, bio-detection and genomic arrays, with a focus on gene-silencing therapy for treatment of Huntington’s Disease and other trinucleotide repeat disorders. The company recently presented its work at the 2015 Rocky Mountain Life Science Investor and Partnering Conference in Vail, Colorado.
Orbital Micro Systems, a Boulder-based weather data company, provides 15-minute revisit weather observations to drive near-real time decision making in the risk mitigation, transportation and agriculture industries. OMS is commercializing a CU-Boulder exclusively licensed cloud-penetrating microwave radiometer that enables worldwide weather data collection at twice the spatial resolution, 25 times the temporal resolution and six times the sensitivity at a fraction of the cost of existing government and commercial systems. Research and development was led by CU-Boulder’s Al Gasiewski, Ph.D. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/CU Center for Environmental Technology) and Brian Sanders (Colorado Space Grant Consortium).
Science and business leaders at these and other CU startups that took root over the past year now look to build toward the future. ARCA biopharma, a Westminster, Colorado-based developer of genetically targeted therapies for cardiovascular disease, got its start in similar fashion. With beginnings at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, the company was founded on the belief that a personalized medicine approach to drug development, tailoring medical treatment to a patient’s individual genetic characteristics, can enable more effective therapies, improve patient outcomes and reduce health care costs.
The pharmacogenetic approach to drug development and the intellectual property behind ARCA biopharma was developed by the CU School of Medicine’s Michael Bristow, M.D., Ph.D., the founder and CEO of ARCA. Today, the company’s lead product, Gencaro, is in clinical trials for atrial fibrillation prevention and recently attracted $37 million in funding. A paper on the product recently was presented at the 19th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America in Washington, D.C.