UNeMed to give away free 3D printer

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OMAHA, Neb. (Sept. 30, 2016)—UNeMed Corporation, the technology transfer office at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, will give away a free M3D Micro 3D Printer Retail Edition during Innovation Week.

The M3D Micro, a small “starter” 3D printer, was rated the best 3D printer in its class by 3D Forged and Tom’s Guide.

microblackOpen to all UNMC students, faculty and staff, the drawing will be held during the Innovation
Awards Ceremony and Reception, which is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 6, at 4 p.m. in the Durham Research Center auditorium. The entrant must be present to win.

Innovation Week is a series of events hosted and sponsored by UNeMed as an annual showcase that honors and celebrates the innovative and ground-breaking research performed at UNMC. The week culminates with the Innovations Awards, which specifically recognizes those who submitted a new invention, licensed a technology or received a U.S. patent during the previous fiscal year.

UNeMed will also present two special awards to the Most Promising New Invention of 2016 and the Innovator of the Year.

UNMC faculty, students and staff can enter the drawing by attending any Innovation Week event. Every Innovation Week event represents an opportunity for an additional entry in the drawing.

Innovation Week kicks off Monday at 9 a.m. with an open house to meet UNeMed staff and grab freeT-shirts and other goodies. Jo-On-The-Go will also provide free coffee and smoothies.

Innovation Week continues Tuesday with a panel discussion seminar that will examine 3D printing applications in healthcare, both today and in the future. It will be held in the DRC auditorium at noon-1 p.m., and the first 80 guests will receive free pizza.

Demo Day will be held Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 4p.m. in the Sorrell Center amphitheater. It will feature six leading technologies that emanated from the research laboratories at UNMC and UNO. The technologies will be presented by researchers, company CEOs or startup founders in easy-to-understand 10-minute sessions intended for scientists and non-scientists alike. Demonstrations will be followed by a short reception with complimentary food and beverages.

Innovation Week concludes Thursday with the Awards Ceremony.

Learn more about all Innovation Week events at http://www.unemed.com/innovation-week.

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Panelists named for 3D printing discussion

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OMAHA, Neb. (Sept. 30, 2016)—Four local professional experts will participate in a public panel discussion about the current state of 3D printing and its potential for current and future healthcare applications, officials announced today.

seminar2016The panel discussion is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 4, in the Durham Research Center I auditorium. The one-hour conversation begins at noon, and lunch will be provided for the first 80 guests. University of Nebraska Medical Center personnel and students can also register to win a free 3D printer.

The scheduled panelists are Karen Linder, Jorge Zuniga, Ph.D., Bin Duan, Ph.D., and R. Gabe Linke.

Linder is the president and CEO of Tethon 3D, an Omaha startup that specializes in a proprietary method for 3D printing ceramics.

Dr. Zuniga is a researcher at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s world-class Biomechanics research facility. His primary focus is creating affordable and more widely accessible prosthetic limbs for children, largely through 3D printing. He is also the founder of Cyborg Beast, an open-source organization that provides free access to 3D printing files of prosthetic arms for children.

Dr. Duan leads UNMC’s new biomedical 3D printing team in the regenerative medicine program. He and his team are working on ways to 3D print bone and cartilage as a way to repair certain birth defects.

Linke is the 3D printing coordinator at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha. He often works with surgeons and physicians to 3D print a model of a specific child’s heart so a surgeon can practice a complicated surgical procedure long before the first incision.

The panel discussion is part of Innovation Week, a series of events hosted by UNeMed Corporation as a celebration of the innovation and discovery that happens every year at UNMC. UNeMed is the technology transfer and commercialization office at UNMC.

Innovation Week begins Monday at 9 a.m. during the Kick-Off, an open house where guests can grab a free T-shirt, coffee and other goodies.

demodayposter16finOn Wednesday, Oct. 5, UNeMed will host its fourth UNMC Technology Demonstration Day, beginning at 4 p.m. There, some of UNMC’s most promising early-stage companies and technologies will be highlighted in a series of short, easy-to-follow presentations.

There will also be an opportunity to tour UNO’s biomechanics facility on Wednesday, from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. And UNMC will show off some of the world’s most advanced medical training tools when the iEXCEL Expo gets underway at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6.

Innovation Week concludes with the Innovation Awards Ceremony and Reception Thursday evening at 4 p.m. The awards are to honor all the UNMC faculty, students and staff who disclosed a new invention, received a U.S. patent or were inventors on a licensed technology during the previous fiscal year. UNeMed will announce the 2016 Innovator of the Year, and name the Most Promising New Invention of 2016.

microblackUNeMed will also draw the winner of a free 3D printer. Any UNMC student or staff member is eligible to enter the printer drawing by attending any Innovation Week event. Attending multiple Innovation Week events is the only way to enter the drawing multiple times, but they must be present at the drawing to win.

Learn more about all Innovation Week events at http://www.unemed.com/innovation-week.

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UNMC innovation to be on display at Demo Day, Oct. 5

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UNMC Demo Day 2016 is Oct. 5

OMAHA, Neb. (Sept. 29, 2016)—Six biomedical startups and technologies will be on display at the UNMC Technology Demo Day in the Michael F. Sorrell Center amphitheater (MSC 3001) on Wednesday, Oct. 5, beginning at 4 p.m.

A part of UNeMed’s 2016 Innovation Week, Demo Day will feature six short presentations, and will examine some UNMC technologies and partnerships that are moving toward the marketplace.

The featured companies and technologies will be Orion BioScience, sympathetic vasomotion, Avert, Prommune Inc., Cyborg Beast and Chrysalis Medical.

All presentations will be tailored to the non-expert and will run approximately 10 minutes each. A short question and answer session will follow each presentation. After, there will be a short reception with complimentary food and drinks. There, guests will also have the opportunity to meet with the inventors, company executives, and members of Nebraska’s startup, venture capital and angel investor communities.

All Innovation Week events are free and open to all, but people may RSVP their intention to attend Demo Day here.

Josh Sestak, of Orion BioScience, is seen here during a presentation earlier this month in Washington D.C.

Josh Sestak. Ph.D.

The evening will begin with Josh Sestak, Ph.D., the Chief Scientific Officer for Orion BioScience. A Nebraska startup based on an innovation originally developed at the University of Kansas, Orion is an Omaha company working on a platform technology to treat autoimmune diseases.

Peter Pellegrino, a UNMC researcher, follows with his presentation of a promising early-stage sympathetic vasomotion technology that’s already attracting interest from industrial groups. The technology non-invasively measures the neural signals that regulate blood flow has applications related to high blood pressure, blood loss and neurodegenerative disease.

Also featured will be Avert’s ground-breaking concussion detection platform. The device works much like a bathroom scale, measuring the nearly imperceptible shifts a person makes while standing still. Those shifts create a pattern, and the pattern changes when a person suffers brain injury.

Calidum Chairman Sam Al-Murrani, Ph.D., addresses a standing room only crowd during the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer's national demo day in Washington D.C. on Sept. 20, 2016. Calidum is developing a radiopharmaceutical invented at the University of Nebraska Medical Centert that could dramatically change how some cancers are diagnosed, monitored and treated.

Sam Al-Murrani, Ph.D.

CEO Sam Al-Murani will outline Prommune’s approach to boosting innate immune systems to fight disease and infection. Prommune’s platform technology delivers drugs to their intended target more efficiently and more effectively.

Cyborg Beast founder Jorge Zuniga, Ph.D., achieved some recent notoriety with the colorful prosthetic limbs he develops for children. One of his designs led to actor Robert Downey Jr. presenting a version of Zuniga’s cybernetic “Iron Man” hand to a Florida boy. His goal is to provide low-cost or even free prosthetics to children around the world, and he is expected to outline some his latest developments.

Finally, Chrysalis Medical, a California company using technology invented at UNMC, will discuss what it believes is a disruptive device for hemodialysis patients. Often, dialysis patients have catheters that become blocked with a fibrous build-up that forces clinicians to replace the catheter, at no small risk to the patient. This new device could eliminate that need to replace the catheter.

Innovation Week will continue Thursday at the iEXCEL Expo where some of the most advanced medical training tools in the world will be on display for hands-on interaction. The Expo begins at 11:30 a.m. in room 1012 of the Sorrell Center.

Innovation Week concludes Thursday evening at 4 p.m. in the Durham Research Center auditorium with the Innovation Awards. There, UNeMed will name the 2016 Innovator of the Year and the 2016 Most Promising New Invention. Officials will also draw for a free 3D printer, which can be won by any UNMC personnel or student who enter the drawing at any Innovation Week event. They must be present at the drawing in order to win, however.

Other Innovation Week events include an open house and a 3D printing panel discussion. The open house is 9-11 a.m. Monday in the DRC atrium, where there will be free T-shirts, snacks and other goodies. The panel discussion is slated for Tuesday, Oct. 4, in the DRC auditorium, beginning at noon. The panel will discuss the potential impact and uses of 3D printing in healthcare.

For more information about all 2016 Innovation Week events, go to http://www.unemed.com/innovation-week.

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Innovation Week at UNMC is Oct. 3-7

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innovationweek2016_webheadOMAHA, Neb. (Sept. 19, 2016)—The tenth annual Innovation Week kicks off Monday, Oct. 3, to celebrate and recognize world-class research and discovery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Hosted by UNMC’s technology transfer office, UNeMed Corporation, Innovation Week begins with an open house 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 3, in the Durham Research Center atrium, and culminates with the UNMC Research Innovation Awards Ceremony and Reception Thursday, Oct. 6, which will include a drawing for a free Micro 3D Printer.

All events are free and open to the public, but the Micro 3D Printer drawing is for UNMC faculty, students and staff only. They may register for the drawing by attending any UNeMed-sponsored event. Further details can be found on the Innovation Week page.

Following Monday’s Kick-off event, Innovation Week continues the following day with an expert panel discussion about the biomedical applications and implications of 3D printing. Panelists are expected to discuss what has been successfully printed in the medical field and the potential that 3D printing holds for healthcare in the future. Presented by the UNMC 3D Makers Club and co-sponsored by the McGoogan Library of Medicine and UNeMed, “Transforming healthcare through 3D printing” will be held in the Durham Research Center auditorium, beginning at noon. Lunch will be provided for the first 80 people.

Innovation Week continues Wednesday, Oct. 5, when BioNebraska hosts tours of the Biomechanics Research Facility at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Also on Wednesday, UNMC Technology Demonstration Day will enter its fourth year, featuring new technologies invented at UNMC and startups that are either based on UNMC innovations, or are working to help further UNMC research. The event will feature six short presentation geared toward a general audience, followed by a short reception. That event will be held in the amphitheater at the Michael F. Sorrell Center at 4-6 p.m.

Building on last year’s success, the iEXCEL Expo will once again feature an open house with some of the most sophisticated medical training tools. The advanced technologies will be part of UNMC’s new Interprofessional Experiential Center for Enduring Learning, or iEXCEL, a new initiative that is expected to create more than 300 new jobs when its moves into a $102 million facility in 2018.

The iEXCEL Expo is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6 at the Sorrell Center.

Innovation Week culminates on Thursday, Oct. 6, with the UNMC Research Innovation Awards Ceremony and Reception. The ceremony will recognize all those who were issued a new patent, licensed a technology, or developed a new invention over the previous year. UNeMed will also present special awards for the “Most Promising New Invention” of 2016 and the “Innovator of the Year.”

More details about individual events will be available soon, and announced through UNeMed’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

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Designs approved for UNMC’s simulation training facility

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$102 million facility expected to produce up to 325 jobs, $137 million annually in economic impact

by Tom O’Connor, UNMC

Plans for the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s new medical simulation training facility have taken another step forward.

gcail-idr-southwestOn Friday, the University of Nebraska Board of Regents received the intermediate design review report and then approved the design for the Global Center for Advanced Interprofessional Learning, which will house the activities of UNMC’s iEXCEL℠ (Interprofessional Experiential Center for Enduring Learning).

The $102 million facility is the centerpiece of an initiative that will create up to 325 well-paying jobs and is estimated to generate as much as $137.7 million annually in economic impact for the city and state economies.

“This new facility will transform the way all health professionals learn new skills and acquire new knowledge,” said UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D. “UNMC is a leader in the transformation of health sciences education. Our programs in ‘real-life virtual reality scenarios’ and 3-D content creation truly define our global leadership. We will see the benefits of this state-of-the-art center as it continues to improve the performance of health care professionals, both in Omaha, throughout Nebraska and far beyond. This will translate into more effective and more efficient health care.”

While based at UNMC’s Omaha campus, the center will benefit the entire state, including UNMC campuses in Lincoln, Kearney, Scottsbluff and Norfolk, as well as UNMC’s primary clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine, and its regional health partners. It also will serve as a resource to Nebraska’s state colleges and the military, while bolstering continuing education and statewide education and training for all of Nebraska’s health care practitioners.

Groundbreaking is expected early next year with completion in summer 2018. The 183,742-gross-square foot facility will be built on the southeast corner of 42nd and Emile Street. It will be connected to adjacent facilities – the Michael F. Sorrell Center for Health Science Education to the north and the Lauritzen Outpatient Center to the east – via skywalks.

Dr. Pam Boyers

Dr. Boyers

“This center will position UNMC, our local communities and the state of Nebraska as the site for cutting-edge health care education,” said Pam Boyers, Ph.D., UNMC associate vice chancellor for interprofessional education and experiential learning.

In September, the Omaha City Council approved a request for $5.2 million in redevelopment bond proceeds and $5.5 million in capital improvement program funds.

In 2015, the Nebraska Legislature and Gov. Pete Ricketts approved $25 million toward design and construction of the iEXCEL Global Center project. They subsequently approved additional funds annually for operations and maintenance of the new facility. Additional capital funding support for iEXCEL will come from other private and public sources.

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Dixon among featured speakers at BRD symposium

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Michael Dixon

Michael Dixon

OMAHA, Neb. (Sept. 13, 2016)—UNeMed president and CEO Michael Dixon will be among the featured speakers this week when the University of Nebraska Medical Center hosts its third annual Biopharmaceutical Research & Development Symposium.

The symposium will be held at UNMC’s Lozier Center for Pharmacy and Education, located at 4040 Emile Street. The event kicks off with a full day of presentations on Wednesday, Sept. 14, beginning at 8:45 a.m. The event concludes the following day at about 12:45 p.m.

Dr. Dixon is expected to address attendees just before lunch on the first day, taking on the “Role of Intellectual Property in Drug Discovery and Development” at 11:15 a.m.

An effort to promote and improve collaborations between academic researchers and industrial organizations, the Biopharmaceutical Research & Development Symposium will feature more than a dozen drug development researchers and industry insiders. Among the featured speakers are guests from Pfizer, Harvard University and the Food and Drug Administration, to name a few.

According to its website, the stated goal of the symposium is to “highlight state-of-the-art practices in the pharmaceutical industry’s discovery and development of new drugs” and help produce a “guide to successful industry-academia collaboration with the opportunity to explore scale-up challenges and collaborate on how academia can more closely model industry level pharmaceutical processes.”

Topics to be covered are:

  • Chemistry of Therapeutic Oligonucleotides
  • Small Molecules as Tools to modulate miRNAs and other Noncoding RNAs
  • Nucleic Acid-Based Drug Modalities: Developing New Classes of Drugs
  • NIH Funding on Nanomedicines and Gene Therapy Research
  • Gene Therapy for Tissue Regeneration
  • Challenges and Opportunities in the Clinical Translation of Nucleic Acid Therapeutics
  • Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics of macromolecules (eg ADC)
  • miRNAs as Therapeutic targets in Breast Cancer
  • Development of MRG-106, an Oligonucleotide Inhibitor of miR-155, for Hematological Malignancies
  • Role of Biopharmaceutics in Drug Development and Regulation
  • Role of Intellectual Property in Drug Discovery and Development
  • Targeting PLP-Enzymes for Mechanism-Based Inhibition-from Fundamental Studies to Lead Compounds for Therapeutics

Learn more about the symposium at: http://www.unmc.edu/pharmacy/programs/symposium/program.html

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Calidum among two Nebraska startups selected for national Demo Day

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 29, 2016)—Two Nebraska startup companies based on university research were selected from a field of 200 applicants to join a national Demo Day next month and present their technologies before 400 potential investors and members of Congress.

“This is fantastic news,” said Michael Dixon, Ph.D., president and CEO of UNeMed. “The competition is pretty fierce in the world of startup companies. This speaks volumes for the quality of these two companies and the cutting-edge therapies that they are delivering.”

Only 35 startup companies made the final cut for the first-ever University Startups Demo Day on Sept. 20, held by the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer, an association of university startup officers. Among the 35 were two Nebraska biotech startups, Calidum Inc. and Orion BioScience Inc.

Sam Al-Murrani

Dr. Al-Murrani

Calidum is built around a technology created by University of Nebraska Medical Center researcher Janina Baranowska-Kortlyewicz, Ph.D. She developed a compound that can be used for more effective cancer treatments and diagnostics. Calidum is finalizing plans for its first Phase I clinical trial on prostate cancer patients.

“I think the technology has strong potential,” Calidum chairman Sam Al-Murrani, Ph.D., said. “This will be an excellent opportunity to talk to the right people.”

Orion is based on a University of Kansas innovation, but the company established its base of operations in Omaha so it could be closer to its clinical partner, UNMC. Orion specializes in therapies that relieve short- and long-term eye diseases associated with autoimmune disorders.

UNeMed, the technology transfer and commercialization office at UNMC, helped establish the Calidum startup. UNeMed also helped build the collaboration between Orion and UNMC.

The primary goals of the University Startups Demo Day were to give early-stage companies added exposure to potential investors, while demonstrating to Congress the value of university research to the national economy.

“The University Startups Demo Day is the university community’s opportunity to show the nation how far it’s come in its bold, new vision for the future of the university, and how that vision is central to national competitiveness and economic growth, peace and prosperity,” the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer said in a recent press release. “University Startups presenting at the Demo Day have individual stories to tell about the good work they are doing to create jobs, serve humanity and leave the world a better place for the next generation.”

CompanyUniversityStartup officerState
Garwood Medical DevicesUniversity at BuffaloBrian McIlroyNEW YORK
ZOETIC PharmaceuticalsUniversity at BuffaloBrian McIlroyNEW YORK
CelviveRutgers UniversityChristopher PflaumNEW JERSEY
XPEED Turbine TechnologyRutgers UniversityChristopher PflaumNEW JERSEY
EpiCypherUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillDonald RoseNORTH CAROLINA
RenovionUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillDonald RoseNORTH CAROLINA
RhizoformUniversity of Alaska AnchorageHelena WisniewskiALASKA
NanochonThe George Washington UniversitySteve KubisenDISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
LytPhageTemple UniversitySteve NappiPENNSYLVANIA
PraeventixTemple UniversitySteve NappiPENNSYLVANIA
PolyCore TherapeuticsDrexel UniversityBob McGrathPENNSYLVANIA
CalidumUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterMichael DixonNEBRASKA
Orion BioScienceUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterMichael DixonNEBRASKA
Claridge-CulpTexas A&M UniversityBalakrishna HaridasTEXAS
Curtana PharmaceuticalsUniversity of California, San DiegoBriana WeisingerCALIFORNIA
3Bar BiologicsThe Ohio State UniversityCheryl TurnbullOHIO
NeurxstemThe Ohio State UniversityCheryl TurnbullOHIO
Avisa Pharma IncUniversity of New MexicoElizabeth KuuttilaNEW MEXICO
Building Energy Efficiency SolutionsRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteEsther VargasNEW YORK
HiberSenseUniversity of PittsburghGreg CoticchiaPENNSYLVANIA
LumiShield TechnologiesCarnegie Mellon UniversityReed McManiglePENNSYLVANIA
UniqartaNorth Dakota State UniversityDavid WellsNORTH DAKOTA
NventiUniversity of California, BerkeleySuzanne LeviCALIFORNIA
Viewpoint Molecular TargetingUniversity of IowaPaul DymerskiIOWA
GreenScale TechnologiesUniversity of VermontCorine FarewellVERMONT
SimUCareUniversity of DelawareJoy GoswamiDELAWARE
TethisNorth Carolina State UniversityWade FulghumNORTH CAROLINA
FORGE Life SciencePrinceton UniversityTony WilliamsNEW JERSEY
AnvylUniversity of California, IrvineKathleen EilerCALIFORNIA
Sanyal BiotechnologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityIvelina MetchevaVIRGINIA
Acera SurgicalWashington University in St. LouisNichole MercierMISSOURI
AdipomicsChildren's National Medical CenterGreg BakerDISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Minnepoura TechnologiesUniversity of MinnesotaRuss StraateMINNESOTA
InnotronicsUniversity of MinnesotaRuss StraateMINNESOTA
Red5Case Western Reserve UniversityStephanie WeidenbecherOHIO

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UNMC, Purdue Pharma enter partnership to advance new drug development

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OMAHA, Neb. and STAMFORD, Conn. (Aug. 31, 2016)—The University of Nebraska Medical Center and Purdue Pharma L.P., have entered into a partnership to advance graduate education and scientific research that could lead to new drug therapies for patients.

The partnership will kick off on August 31 with UNMC and Purdue Pharma leaders attending a scientific symposium at UNMC from 8 a.m. to noon in the Michael F. Sorrell Center for Health Science Education on campus. UNMC researchers studying neurosciences will talk about their research. As part of this long-term partnership, these symposia will be repeated several times annually, each one with a different scientific theme, and each time creating opportunities for scientific exchanges and personal interactions between the organizations.

The alliance will promote, develop and expand research and educational exchange in the neurosciences related to pain, the central nervous system, and other chronic diseases. One of the goals is to close the gap between academic research and drug development by shortening the lengthy path of drug development from idea to potential commercialization through workforce development and education, as well as research.

“Collaborations between industry and academia are important to drive innovation for patients suffering from pain and other chronic diseases,” said Alan W. Dunton, M.D., Senior Vice President and head of Research & Development, Purdue Pharma. “Our R&D team is continually working to understand the pathophysiology of these diseases so that we can identify new ways to develop and investigate potential therapies. Working with an institution with the research experience and capabilities of UNMC will enhance our ability to accomplish this important goal.”

UNMC and Purdue Pharma will have opportunities to work together on research that may lead to new product development.

“We are pleased to partner with Purdue Pharma. The alliance will aid in advancement of UNMC’s mission to conduct basic and clinical research toward the goal of improving the lives of patients,” said Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., UNMC chancellor. “Pharmaceutical companies are looking more toward academic medical centers like ours for the talented graduate students and researchers who will develop the next generation of potential therapies and products.”

Jennifer Larsen, M.D., UNMC vice chancellor for research, said the partnership signifies a commitment to identify strategies for understanding pain and developing new approaches or therapies for pain that avoid substance abuse as well as other types of neuroscience research.

“More of our investigators are interested in taking their discoveries all the way to commercialization,” said Dr. Larsen, Louise and Morton Degen Professor of Internal Medicine. “Having a partnership with investigators in the industry is another way of increasing UNMC’s capacity and to accelerate intellectual property to commercialization.”

“UNMC has deep expertise and broad areas of research, internationally recognized faculty, and significant overlap with our strategic interests in the treatment of pain, central nervous system diseases, drug delivery and formulations,” said Don Kyle, Ph.D., Vice President of discovery research, Purdue Pharma. “We are building a new model for industry-academic relationships with this partnership that will enable open and frequent dialog across disciplines and between the two organizations. This model will not only drive innovations in R&D, but will also facilitate learning and create professional growth opportunities.”

The partnership also includes a new Purdue Pharma Scholar program with funding for graduate students conducting research in neuroscience, particularly pain research. Three first- or second-year graduate students per year will receive a one-year graduate tuition scholarship. During the year Purdue research leaders will visit with students and students will have the opportunity to visit Purdue where they will have access to research facilities. Students will present their research at an annual Purdue Pharma Neuroscience Research Conference at UNMC.

Dele Davies, M.D., UNMC vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean for graduate studies said UNMC is encouraged by the opportunities the partnership offers for graduate students and faculty.

“Purdue Pharma’s support of UNMC graduate students through scholarships in particular will spur new research interests in pharmaceutical and neurosciences related to pain management and control,” Dr. Davies said. “The partnership blends UNMC’s extensive and growing expertise and training programs in many health disciplines with Purdue Pharma’s strong track record of drug discovery, formulation and development.”

About Purdue Pharma L.P.
Purdue Pharma is a privately-held pharmaceutical company and is part of a global network of independent associated companies that is known for pioneering research in chronic pain and opioids with abuse deterrent properties. The company’s leadership and employees are committed to serving healthcare professionals, patients and caregivers quality products and educational resources to support their proper use. Purdue Pharma is engaged in the research, development, production and distribution of both prescription and over-the-counter medicines and hospital products. With Purdue Pharma’s expertise in drug development, commercialization, and life-cycle management, the company is diversifying in high-need areas to expand through strategic acquisitions and creative partnerships. For more information please visit www.purduepharma.com or follow the company on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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UNeMed highlights success in 2016 Shareholder Meeting

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Jeffrey Gold

UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey Gold, M.D., shares a laugh with the crowd during a lighter moment at UNeMed’s Shareholder Meeting on Aug. 18. After announcing to the gathering that UNMC students would finally be allowed to purchase discounted tickets this year for Nebraska Cornhuskers football games, Dr. Gold quipped: “I want you to note, that’s the first applause of the evening.”
Photos: Charles Litton/UNeMed

by Charles Litton, UNeMed

OMAHA, Neb. (Aug. 18, 2016)—UNeMed Corporation, the technology transfer and commercialization office for the University of Nebraska Medical Center, concluded another successful fiscal year with its annual shareholder meeting at TD Ameritrade Park’s Skybox Lounge.

The meeting brought together key UNMC leadership and researchers who mixed and mingled while learning about UNeMed’s efforts over the previous year and future initiatives.

During a brief set of remarks, Chancellor Jeffrey Gold, M.D., touched on UNMC’s record-breaking strides in research funding. UNMC’s annual research goal had long-been $100 million—A number eclipsed last year, by more than $15 million.

“That was really a dramatic achievement,” he said, “but what is even more dramatic is…the percentage growth that we had was sixth-highest among academic medical centers in the United States.”

UNMC’s high-water mark for research funding could translate into a greater array of discoveries and innovations, UNeMed President and CEO Michael Dixon, Ph.D., said.

Michael Dixon

UNeMed President and CEO Michael Dixon during his remarks at UNeMed’s annual Shareholder Meeting on Aug. 18.

A similar spike in research funding occurred in 2012. That same year, UNMC researchers reported a record 106 new inventions. The surge has largely been attributed to the 2009 federal stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Over the course of five years, the stimulus pumped more than $15 billion nationally into scientific facilities, research and instrumentation.

The more recent surge in research funding last year creates plenty of room for optimism, Dr. Dixon said.

“The reason that’s exciting is because more inventions equal more opportunities for products, more opportunities for licenses, more partnerships,” Dr. Dixon said.

UNeMed, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, reported a record 153 opportunities created in 2016, a 59 percent increase over the previous year. Those opportunities led to 20 licensing agreements that could further develop UNMC technologies.

“We’re asking companies to spend hundreds of millions, if not a billion dollars, on a single technology,” Dr. Dixon said, “so it takes time to develop those into products.”

There are 36 products based on UNMC innovations currently on the market today. Another 46 are in various stages of development.

Developing UNMC innovations was among four stated initiatives in the coming year, a task helped by recent growth in Nebraska’s biotechnology and startup sectors. Now, more than ever, Nebraska has more funding opportunities, more venture capital groups and more small business programs, Dr. Dixon said.

Recently, UNeMed has helped secure more than $2 million in additional funding for UNMC innovations through the University’s proof-of-concept grant program. Funded by the Nebraska Research Initiative, those grants have helped build three startup companies; attracted additional grant funding through other federal programs; and led to several industrial partnerships, Dr. Dixon said.

Tyler Martin

Dr. Martin

Nebraska’s ascendance in those areas led UNMC alumnus and UNeMed board member Tyler Martin, M.D., to return to his home state after a successful biomedical career in California.

“There’s a tremendous opportunity for us to do something that’s good for us, good for the state of Nebraska, good for life sciences globally,” Dr. Martin said during brief remarks to the gathering.

UNeMed’s remaining initiatives include continued focus on educational measures, such as the popular Tech Transfer Boot Camp and the entrepreneurship certificate program; a more robust internal communications program geared toward helping departmental leaders see the technology transfer process in real time; and continued focus in supporting and nurturing the startup and entrepreneurial communities through involvement with programs like StraightShot.

“I can’t tell you how I’m reminded every single day of how great an organization this is,” Dr. Gold said, “and how much future potential that we have. We are already phenomenal, but the best yet still lies ahead.”

From left: Dmitry oleynikov, Jennfier Larsen, unidentified.

UNMC surgeon Dmitry Oleynikov (left) chats with Vice Chancellor for Research Jennfier Larsen, and unidentified guest during UNeMed’s Aug. 18 Shareholder Meeting.
Photos: Charles Litton/UNeMed

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UNeMed signs deal on device for air leaks in chest tubes

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OMAHA, Neb. (Aug. 22, 2016)— UNeMed Corporation entered into a formal licensing agreement with Getinge Group for the use of a University of Nebraska Medical Center technology that will help health care providers detect pleural air leaks in patients with chest tubes, officials announced today.

“We at Getinge Group are excited to partner with UNeMed to further develop their innovative air leak technology. The technology is perfect fit with our market leading chest drainage products and our mission to improve patient outcomes,” said Jens Viebke, President of the Acute Care Therapies division of Getinge Group.

The device, invented by chief resident of UNMC’s surgery department, Dimitrios Miserlis, M.D., is a collection of sensors that fits into existing chest tube drainage systems. The Acute Care Therapies division of Getinge Group specializes in instruments and implants for cardiovascular surgery, anesthesia equipment and ventilators, as well as advanced products for the minimally invasive treatment of cardiovascular diseases, and will look to further develop the UNMC invention for use in its existing line of Atrium chest drainage products.

When a patient suffers serious injury to the chest, a tube is used to remove fluid that often builds up in the pleural space—the area between the lungs and the surrounding protective membrane or pleura.

Air will often leak from the lungs into the pleural space, a common and expected complication with chest trauma and drainage tubes. Leaks usually lead to increases in recovery times, hospital stays and costs because detecting them is an uncertain and subjective process.

Frustrated with the process, Dr. Miserlis worked with his friend, Kim Cluff, who was at the time an engineering graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Cluff is now an assistant professor at Wichita State University.

They came up with Pleuraleak, a unique system that effectively determines if a patient has an air leak, quantifies the magnitude and changes of the leak, and monitors lung healing.


About Getinge Group:

Getinge Group is a leading global provider of innovative solutions for operating rooms, intensive-care units, hospital wards, sterilization departments, elderly care and for life science companies and institutions. With a genuine passion for life we build quality and safety into every system. Our unique value proposition mirrors the continuum of care, enhancing efficiency throughout the clinical pathway. Based on our first-hand experience and close partnerships, we are able to exceed expectations from customers – improving the every-day life for people, today and tomorrow.

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UNMC brings in record $115.1 million in research funding

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by Tom O’Connor, UNMC

Researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center brought in a record total of $115.1 million during the 2015-16 academic year.

The $115.1 million total marked the first time UNMC has surpassed $100 million in research grants and contracts without including funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), a federal stimulus package enacted to respond to the Great Recession.


Dr. Larsen

In fact, the 2015-16 total even surpassed the highest total funding received during the ARRA funding period, which was $115 million, said Jennifer Larsen, M.D., vice chancellor for research.

Dr. Larsen said many factors contributed to the increase:

  • Recruitment of new faculty, which resulted in new awards by early career scientists;
  • An increased effort to diversify UNMC’s funding through greater recruitment to clinical trials;
  • Building new collaborative research partnerships;
  • Strong contributions from our community to build outstanding facilities that provide places for research to be conducted and attract nationally recognized researchers; and
  • Working closely with the National Strategic Research Institute to attract more Department of Defense research funding.

UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., joined Dr. Larsen in praising the outstanding work of the researchers whose dedication, excellence and effort made the funding milestone possible.

“That is what distinguishes academic medicine, in the United States and around the world, that we not only provide great quality care and educate the next generation, but we’re figuring out what causes diseases, how to prevent them, how to detect disease in the early stages, and how to turn our research into effective clinical practice,” Dr. Gold said. “We are so grateful for all of the hard work and dedication that makes this possible.”

The 2015-16 total represents an increase of 23 percent from the previous fiscal year, which was again the highest one-year change outside of ARRA funding years. ARRA funding expired in 2015.

Dr. Larsen said all categories of awards increased:

  • Federal awards by 20 percent;
  • Commercial sources by 24 percent;
  • State sources by 36 percent; and
  • Other sources — which includes foundations, gifts and subcontracts from federal awards received by other institutions — by 31 percent.

As in previous years, the majority of the funding – 64 percent – came from federal funding sources, predominantly the National Institutes of Health.

Both Dr. Gold and Dr. Larsen see the new record as a jumping-off point for UNMC’s next research goal – $200 million.

We are Nebraska Medicine and UNMC. Our mission is to lead the world in transforming lives to create a healthy future for all individuals and communities through premier educational programs, innovative research and extraordinary patient care.

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Not just students benefit from Tech Transfer Boot Camp

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UNeMed 2016 Boot Camp completion certificates

by Charlie Litton, UNeMed | Aug. 1, 2016

It turns out the Tech Transfer Boot Camp did more than we thought it would. Don’t be alarmed if this sounds like shameless self-promotion.

It is.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that success is so rare we feel obliged to spike the ball and boogie around for a quick touchdown dance. (We’re looking into an office gong for that sort of thing, but that’s an entirely different story.) This humble-brag is more about sharing. It’s exciting to find a new tool, and build a program that makes research more fruitful.

Yes, fruitful.

Our tech transfer camp is an extensive—if not intense—dive into the entire commercialization process. Often, what gets lost in the public perception of that process is the core goal: moving scientific discoveries forward. The fanciful misconception involves a blockbuster licensing deal with a major pharmaceutical firm that will reap the university a windfall greater than the GDP of the Marshall Islands.

The more pedestrian truth of commercialization almost always involves some form of sponsored research. Usually an industrial partner or investor picks up the tab for additional research that proves (or disproves) a new biomedical widget can actually work.

We might call these arrangements a dozen different things, and they might take different shapes—including startup companies and licensing agreements—but they all amount to the same thing: developing scientific discoveries into products that improve healthcare.

Without that industrial and commercial support, it’s exceedingly difficult for a new discovery or development to go much further. If the goal of biomedical research is to improve lives, then it needs to move forward to survive. And survival is entirely dependent on continual financial support—no small feat in a world of diminishing federal research spending and shrinking budgets.

To bear fruit, a technology needs help, and those interested in ushering technologies through the commercialization process need some help too. Helping people navigate that process was our goal, and we took it seriously.

For the final session of the Tech Transfer Boot Camp, the campers—all of them holding doctorates or well on their way to one—were quizzed on all they should have learned from the experience. To be fair, the quizmasters were more like interrogators. There were six of them, all members of our licensing staff or upper management with more than 50 years of combined experience. All hold doctorates themselves, apart from the two patent attorneys with doctorate-level law degrees.

The grilling went on for over an hour, and at the end of it, they received their hard-won tech transfer certificates.

One Boot Camp alumnus told us their new-found command of the field just blew away an out-of-state tech transfer office during a job interview. A job was offered on the spot.

That’s great news for our egos, and it helps us feel good about ourselves. But not everyone who joins us at Boot Camp plans a career in tech transfer.

So that’s the bigger part of what we want the future incarnation of Boot Camp to do: Guide scientists and researchers toward a place where they can be better stewards of their own inventions and discoveries.

Help them understand the process on a level that informs their research and ideas in ways that lead to even greater discoveries and better inventions.

Help develop workable solutions to real problems, and maybe make life a little better for everyone.

So, yeah. Fruitful.

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GAO hits (and misses) with IP recommendations

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USpatents2_300x300In a pair of reports prepared for the House Judiciary committee, the Government Accountability Office looked for solutions to a few problems with U.S. intellectual property law. The end result was a mixed bag of proposals that varied between the elegant and the bizarre.

Both reports address growing concerns among inventors, investors and businesses about resolving disputes over patent infringement of validity. More patents are issued every year and, in the opinion of the GAO, those patents are of poorer quality. The GAO presents a trend that it says will lead to more patent disputes.

In the GAO’s 16-479 report—”Intellectual Property: Patent Office should strengthen search capabilities and better monitor examiner’s work”—those concerns are addressed practically. By recommending more engaged management of examiner’s searches and improved access to electronic databases, the GAO’s recommendations will improve how patents are examined.

For example, when examiners search for prior art they largely rely on databases of existing patents and published patent applications. The GAO recommends expanding examiner access to non-patent literature such as academic articles, trade publications and other technical papers. Expanding the pool of prior art will put new burdens on inventors, but it will also make patent examination more rigorous, which will address the stated concerns.

On the other hand, the GAO stands on shaky ground with its other report, 16-490—”Intellectual Property: Patent Office should define quality, reassess incentives, and improve quality”—where it recommends that the USPTO come up with a consistent definition of patent quality, and build processes to ensure that any issued patent meets that level of quality. The problem with that is patent quality differs enormously between sectors.

Biotechnology investors want broad and robust patents to protect huge investments in new drugs and treatments. Computer science companies want narrow patents to avoid risk of lawsuits from non-practicing entities. The GAO is critical of the USPTO’s definition of patent quality, which largely re-states U.S. Patent Law. GAO criticizes it as inconsistent and difficult to articulate.

To address inconsistency and lack of clarity, the GAO recommends that applicants submit a required glossary of definitions and a chart explaining exactly what the inventor claims. A definition and claim chart, however, can still be written ambiguously. Patent claims are supposed to put a finger on the exact nature of the invention in “this, not that” language. If a claim fails to do that, a glossary and claim chart will only provide a new venue to confuse the issue.

Together, the GAO’s intellectual property reports show how to make useful calls for reform. The GAO identifies tools examiners need to do their jobs better. There are concrete recommendations informed by interviews with patent examiners that will make real progress towards addressing the issue of uncertainty around patent infringement and validity. Better patent searches will produce better examinations and better patents.

The recommendation to define quality, however, is predicated on a standard that it never articulates. The GAO identifies shortcomings in the USPTO’s assessment of patent quality, but never creates a better standard.  Instead, the GAO suggests the way to make patents clearer is to make them longer.

The problems identified by the GAO are very real, but the best solutions will help the USPTO do better in an already difficult job; and not create a new set of standards to further complicate how this nation protects intellectual property.

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UNMC researcher secures $2.25 million grant to fight antibiotic resistance

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OMAHA, Neb. (July 11, 2016)—A researcher at the University of Nebraska Medical Center recently secured a coveted R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health to find a workable solution to the problem of antibiotic resistance.

Sam Sanderson, Ph.D., a Research Associate Professor in UNMC’s Pharmaceutical Sciences department, will use the awarded $2.25 million over five years to further study, and possibly improve, a technology he’s already patented. The singular goal is to develop it into a commercially useful and effective weapon against bacteria such as methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus—better known as MRSA.

UNMC researcher Sam Sanderson, Ph.D., checks the results of a recent quality control test.

UNMC researcher Sam Sanderson, Ph.D., checks the results of a recent quality control test.

MRSA is a hardy and potentially deadly strain of bacteria that is notoriously difficult to treat. About 11,285 people die every year as result of MRSA or MRSA-related infections, according to a 2011 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Sanderson’s research will be based on his previous work with EP67, a small protein, or peptide, he and his collaborators created. The synthetic peptide works by stimulating and enhancing a more robust natural immune response to normal and resistant infections, and potentially other ailments such as cancer.

For the NIH study, Dr. Sanderson and his team will focus specifically on tweaking the molecular structure of EP67 into an even more potent tool against MRSA. Once he has identified potentially effective alternate versions of EP67, they will be tested in animals before compiling larger studies to begin the FDA approval process.

“The whole objective of this grant is to lead to an [Investigation New Drug] filing with the FDA and product development,” Dr. Sanderson said. “This grant is a great example of genuine translational research that embodies the fusion of academic research and product development with the objective of generating a commercially-available new therapy.”

Dr. Sanderson’s startup company, Prommune, has already tested EP67’s potential against H1N1, and is also looking at its effectiveness against certain parasitic infections.

Joe Vetro, Ph.D.

Joe Vetro, Ph.D.

In its basic form, EP67 is a so-called “platform technology” because it can also be used for more effective or targeted treatments to a wide range of ailments, including the H1N1 and avian flu viruses.

Earlier this year, Dr. Sanderson teamed with fellow UNMC researcher Joe Vetro, Ph.D., for another R01 grant on a separate project. Funded for $1.75 million, that project will look at EP67-based vaccines against cytomegalovirus or CMV—a relatively harmless infection in healthy adults, but dangerous to those with a weakened immune system, particularly newborns, infants and the elderly.

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UNeMed inks collaborative deal with Streck, focus on diagnostics

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OMAHA, Neb. (July 7, 2016)—A new agreement between UNeMed and Streck creates a research and development collaboration between the two largest biotechnology firms in the state, officials announced today.

UNeMed, the technology transfer and commercialization arm of UNMC, entered into a master collaboration agreement with Streck, an Omaha-based company that develops and manufactures diagnostic products for clinical and research laboratories. The master agreement provides the framework for a myriad of new and continued collaborations that could lead to new healthcare products.

“I really love it that we could set something like this up with Streck,” said UNeMed President and CEO Michael Dixon. “Streck is a Nebraska company that employs Nebraskans, and they are completely invested in boosting the local economy as much as we are. What better partner is there to help develop more biotechnology products? I can’t wait to see all the things that might grow out of this.”


Catherine Gebhart, Ph.D.

For their first collaborative project, Streck will finance the work of UNMC researcher Catherine Gebhart, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the pathology and microbiology department. Dr. Gebhart also oversees the virology testing procedures for Nebraska Medicine’s organ transplant program.

“Streck has been following the work of Dr. Gebhart for years and she has always been a valued industry resource to us,” said Connie Ryan, Streck President and CEO. “We are honored to support her important work. Advances in testing–and ultimately, new developments in diagnostics and improvements in patient care–are in her most capable hands.”

In a two-year project, Dr. Gebhart will focus on developing a more powerful testing method for the human Herpes simplex virus.

Getting results from current Herpes testing methods can take more than three hours. Streck and Dr. Gebhart are looking to knock that down to less than 20 minutes using Streck’s patented technology. The Streck Zulu RT™ Thermal Cycler is a machine that dramatically improves efficiency by reducing the time-consuming process of amplifying small amounts of DNA into millions of copies.

Called a polymerase chain reaction, the process is a key step in the diagnostic process and can take hours using traditional means. Streck’s system can do it in less than 20 minutes.

The collaborative effort hopes to create a procedure that can make the Zulu RT system part of an efficient workflow for Herpes virus research applications; future use as a diagnostic tool in clinical settings, with FDA clearance, would likely follow.

UNMC and Streck are evaluating additional research projects for other collaborative opportunities.

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Dixon speaks at SBIR Road Tour

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UNeMed PResident and CEO Michael Dixon during the SBIR Road Show, held at the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Mammel Hall on June 29, 2016.

UNeMed PResident and CEO Michael Dixon during the SBIR Road Show, held at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Mammel Hall on June 29, 2016.

OMAHA, Neb. (June 29, 2016)—UNeMed President and CEO Michael Dixon was on hand Wednesday for the SBIR Road Tour at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

The Road Tour highlighted the $2.5 billion in federal grant money available through the SBIR/STTR program, and helped researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs learn how they might make use of the funding opportunities.

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are managed through several federal agencies, and about a dozen were on hand at UNO’s College of Business Administration at Mammel Hall.

The event was free and open to all, and guests also had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with program managers, where they could share their ideas and gain insights into the award process.

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