Dixon testifies before state committees on pro-business bills

Comments (0) News

by Charles Litton, UNeMed

LINCOLN, Neb. (Feb. 3, 2016)—UNeMed president and CEO Michael Dixon testified before Nebraska’s Executive Board of the Legislative Council Tuesday in favor of two bills currently before Nebraska’s 104th Legislature.

WEB_michael_dixon_2014Both bills deal with promoting, supporting and growing start-up and small businesses in the state. For more details of the hearing, see the Lincoln Journal-Star’s coverage here.

The Executive Board opened its afternoon committee hearing with the introduction of LB987 from State Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln. The bill calls for the creation of a steering committee to study Nebraska’s bioscience economy, and proposes to create a strategy for continued growth, development and commercialization of Nebraska discoveries and innovations.

The bill adds to similar economic development measures, such as the Talent & Innovation Initiative, which includes the Business Innovation Act. Those measures have dramatically improved Nebraska’s biotech business climate in recent years, but more work can be done, Dixon said.

“It’s crucial that we not rest on our laurels and become complacent,” he told the committee.

The bill would require the committee to produce its report before the close of the first 105th legislative session next year.

Dixon, who testified on behalf of the University of Nebraska, concluded his remarks to the committee: “At UNMC we have a stand. We lead the world in transforming lives to create a healthy future through extraordinary care, discovery and learning.

“When we take that stand, it means we don’t rest until we transform lives and have a significant impact on health. It isn’t just about getting grants or publishing papers or training students.

“To accomplish that stand we are driven to develop our discoveries and to make sure they have a significant impact not only on the health of all Nebraskans, but the world.”

Dixon also later testified before the same committee in favor of LB1083, the Next Generation Business Growth Act.

The Next Generation Business Growth Act, introduced by Sen. Matt Williams of Gothenburg, would create a Venture Development and Innovation Task Force that will “develop a statewide strategic plan to cultivate a climate of entrepreneurship and innovation.” The task force would study and review current and previous state programs, outline best practices in other states and perform an economic impact analysis of the Business Innovation Act.

Dixon’s testimony was related to his role as Chair of the Board for Invest Nebraska Corporation, the state’s public-private venture capital entity.

He is expected to testify again today on behalf of Invest Nebraska before the Appropriations Committee in favor of LB1028, which would extend the term and funding of the Business Innovation Act.

Read article

Submit new inventions through the UNMC app

Comments (0) News

SubmitNINOMAHA, Neb. (January 20, 2016)—Submitting a new invention to UNeMed just got a little easier.

A new feature on UNMC’s mobile app now allows any user to quickly submit an idea to UNeMed. The UNMC app entirely free, and is available on both Apple and Android platforms. UNeMed welcomes all ideas, inventions and discoveries from any UNMC faculty, students and staff.

To submit an idea, open the application, and select the light-bulb icon which is marked as “Ideas.” Your native browser will open, then choose “Submit an Idea to UNEMED” from the drop-down menu at the top of the screen.

Fill out the form fields asking about the idea, your name and email address. It is extremely important to include your name and contact information, or we will not be able to help.

Finally, select the “submit” button.

Once UNeMed receives the idea, we will have an early record about when the idea was conceived and can begin our process of evaluating and protecting the invention. One of our licensing managers will contact you within days to gather additional details and walk you through the remaining process.

If you prefer to submit a higher level of detail about your idea or invention, we recommend using our standard form.

The purpose of the form is to generate a written, dated record of your invention and to provide information from which the patent potential and commercial potential of your invention can be evaluated. The University needs this documentation to comply with most industrial contract requirements and the U.S. federal laws and regulations concerning grants and contracts.

Read article

Virtual Incision LLC to locate at Nebraska Innovation Campus

Comments (0) News

UNL Communications

UNMC surgeon Dmitry Oleynikov (left) and UNL engineer Shane Farritor test a surgical robot prototype during a recent trial in Omaha. Their collaboration created a startup company, Virtual Incision, which hopes to make major surgery—like a bowel resection—a laparoscopic procedure.

UNMC surgeon Dmitry Oleynikov (left) and UNL engineering professor Shane Farritor test a surgical robot prototype during a recent trial in Omaha. Their collaboration created a startup company, Virtual Incision, which hopes to make major surgery, like a bowel resection, a laparoscopic procedure.

LINCOLN, Neb. (Jan. 15, 2016)—Nebraska Innovation Campus has announced a new partner. Dan Duncan, executive director of NIC, said today that Virtual Incision Corp. will move into space on campus in early 2016.

Virtual Incision is a startup company founded by faculty members at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The firm is developing a first-of-its-kind, miniaturized robot for abdominal surgical procedures.

“Virtual Incision is NIC’s first medical device company and will hopefully pave the way for more to follow,” Duncan said.

Virtual Incision’s robots for procedures such as colon resection are much smaller and less expensive than current robots. The robots are fully inserted into the abdomen via an umbilical incision, which reduces the invasiveness of the procedure. A surgeon at a bedside console controls the robot.

In 2006, propelled by the knowledge that colorectal and lower gastrointestinal procedures are some of the fastest-growing procedures in the United States, Dmitry Oleynikov, professor of surgery at UNMC, and Shane Farritor, professor of mechanical engineering at UNL, founded Virtual Incision. CEO John Murphy, who is located in Pleasanton, California, joined the team in 2012.

“Virtual Incision is very excited to become part of the culture on Nebraska Innovation Campus,” Farritor said. “We are glad we are associated with the University of Nebraska and have a place where our company can grow.”

The company expects to connect with students, faculty and the university — including through internships for students, student job opportunities and opportunities connected to Nebraska Innovation Studio.

NIC is a research campus designed to facilitate new and in-depth partnerships between the university and private-sector businesses. At full build-out, NIC will be a 2.2-million square-foot campus with uniquely designed buildings and amenities that inspire creative activity and engagement, transforming ideas into global innovation. For more information, visit http://www.innovate.unl.edu.

Tetrad Property Group is the private-sector development partner for NIC. Tetrad provides a full range of development services for the campus, including master planning, construction management, leasing and property management. For more information, visit http://www.tetradpropertygroup.com.

Read article

The year in review: Highlights from 2015

Comments (0) Blog, Innovation Week, News

by Charles Litton, UNeMed | Jan. 11, 2016

Before moving forward it’s often useful to pause for a moment and reflect on the year that was. Here’s a review of some of the most important stories, developments, most popular posts and other highlights from UNeMed in 2015:

1. Kielian drives Innovation Week to the top

UNMC Professor of Pathology Tammy Kielian, Ph.D., (left)—seen here with doctoral student Megan Bosch—is UNeMed's 2015 Innovator of the Year for work against Juvenile Batten Disease and biofilm infections.

UNMC Professor of Pathology Tammy Kielian, Ph.D., (left)—seen here with doctoral student Megan Bosch—is UNeMed’s 2015 Innovator of the Year for work against Juvenile Batten Disease and biofilm infections.

Our annual celebration of UNMC’s innovative research is always a popular corner of the UNeMed website, but this year Innovation Week seemed to burn a little brighter than before. It can’t be a coincidence that we also crowned Tammy Kielian, Ph.D., as the 2015 Innovator of the Year. One of our most popular blog posts, “The trouble with fighting rare diseases,” announced a licensing agreement with Abeona Therapeutics to further develop Dr. Kielian’s work on Juvenile Batten Disease. Dr. Kielian, who was also named the 2012 Emerging Inventor, is pursuing two lines of approach for the disease: One uses an existing class of drugs as a new treatment option, and the other is a gene therapy strategy that has potential as a cure.

2. Virtual Incision raises $11.2 million

VIC-Media-1-1024x683It was a big year for one of our startups, Virtual Incision, a surgical robotics company built out of a collaboration between UNMC surgeon Dmitry Oleynikov, M.D., and UNL robotics engineering professor Shane Farritor, Ph.D. Virtual Incision is focusing its work on making colon resection surgery—where a piece of damaged or diseased colon is removed—a minimally invasive procedure. In 2015 the company raised more than $11.2 million in the opening round of investing and landed a prestigious robotics award. Then, in case all that wasn’t enough, Drs. Oleynikov and Farritor also scored a $2.8 million grant from the U.S. Army to continue research on robotic telesurgery.

3. License deal opens doors

Everyone around here was excited about the new licensing deal signed with local software and analytics firm H4 Technology—and not just for the UNMC invention they were helping develop. The bigger picture of the H4 agreement points toward future collaborations that could develop other UNMC inventions, presuming all goes according to plan with the current deal. The current agreement is about further development of a data-management program for preventing and treating pressure ulcers, also known as bed sores.

4. UNeMed completes first Tech Transfer Boot Camp

Grad students Richard Nelson and Simarjeet Negi look on during a session of UNeMed's first Technology Transfer Boot Camp, a week of imersive training sessions that dove into the commercialization of biomedical science.

Grad students Richard Nelson and Simarjeet Negi look on during a session of UNeMed’s first Technology Transfer Boot Camp, a week of imersive training sessions that dove into the commercialization of biomedical science.

UNeMed takes seriously the educational component of its mission, and helping young scientists expand their skills into the realm of technology transfer is right in our wheel house. It’s well-known that the number of opportunities for scientists in academia continue to shrink, and a growing number are looking beyond the bench for alternate career opportunities. In June 2015 UNeMed helped some of those scientists when it offered for the first time a week-long crash-course on technology transfer and commercialization. UNeMed is already planning the 2016 Boot Camp, and expects it to continue for years to come.

5. Make yourself uncomfortable, on purpose

WEB_amanda_hawley_2015Our most popular new blog post of the year came from UNeMed’s newest team member, Amanda Hawley, Ph.D. An intern at the time, Dr. Hawley had recently completed her doctorate in cancer biology, and offered advice to fellow scientists looking for alternate career options. Her key recommendation: Challenge yourself with new experiences outside your comfort zone. You might be surprised with what you learn about yourself. Since then Dr. Hawley has been promoted to a full-time postdoctoral position with UNeMed.

6. Radux begins prototype testing

Radux, a new company built on a UNMC invention, is the most recent in a long line of startups that has benefited from the University of Nebraska’s Proof of Concept grant funding program. Radux used the cash to build its first working prototypes of devices made to protect physicians from harmful radiation and other injuries that can occur while performing fluoroscopic procedures. Radux was founded by UNMC interventional radiologist Greg Gordon, M.D.

7. Leuenberger says goodbye

Don Leuenberger

Don Leuenberger raises a special gift he received in recognition of 24-years of dedicated service since UNeMed was founded in 1991.

Although UNMC bade farewell to Vice Chancellor Don Leuenberger in 2015, the “Godfather of UNeMed” is expected to continue his role as chairman of the Board of Directors. Leuenberger helped create UNeMed 24 years ago, and was recognized for his contributions at the 2015 Shareholder Meeting in August. The Shareholder Meeting also highlighted key successes for UNeMed during the 2015 fiscal year, including $1.11 million raised in sponsored research.

8. Markin, Boedeker land national awards

boedeker_compositeTwo more UNMC inventors earned national recognition with awards, most recently on Dec. 16 when Rodney Markin, M.D., was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. “Rod is a rare breed,” said Michael Dixon, Ph.D., president and CEO of UNeMed. “It’s uncommon to have a skilled clinician who also has such a keen understanding of business and what it takes to develop a product. Not only is he a prolific inventor with 35 patents, but he’s also helped turn those ideas into products – products that have built startup companies or have sold widely in multinational companies.”
In September, Ben Boedeker’s suction catheter won a 2015 EMS World Innovation Award.

9. Now accepting apps

unemedappserviceIn May, UNeMed announced that its services now also cover smartphone and tablet applications. UNeMed can help provide or find resources for further development while securing any intellectual property associated with the software. As a registered publisher at iTunes and Google Play, UNeMed can also publish an app to the most common marketplaces.

10. Prommune starts vaccine trials in pigs

One of UNeMed’s most long-standing startups companies, Prommune, took an important step forward in 2015. After bringing in a new CEO, Prommune quickly lined up a trial for its vaccine against the H1N1 virus, commonly referred to as the Swine Flu. Early results are not yet complete, but Prommune’s inventor-founder Sam Sanderson, Ph.D., hopes to develop the vaccine for use in pigs before expanding the technology into other uses.

Honorable Mention:

WEB_agnes_lenagh_2015WEB_jeff_andersen_2015WEB_qian_zhang_2014One of our most popular posts from 2015 announced the new status of Qian Zhang, Ph.D., UNeMed’s International Technology Development Specialist. Already holding a doctorate in cancer biology and an MBA, Dr. Zhang passed the U.S. Patent Bar, qualifying her as a registered patent agent who can draft, file and prosecute patent applications. UNeMed also announced in 2015 the addition of Jeff Andersen as contracts specialist and the promotion of Agnes Lenagh, Ph.D., to a permanent position as a licensing specialist. Andersen filled an unexpected vacancy after the October 2014 passing of Jack Mayfield. Dr. Lenagh first joined UNeMed in 2011 as an intern then shifted to a postdoctoral position before accepting her current position.

Classics

Several posts from previous years remain popular and relevant, particularly those that focus on day-to-day operations and legal issues associated with intellectual property.
1. Importance of Technology Transfer
2. How to Determine Who is an Inventor on a Patent: Unraveling Inventorship vs. Authorship
3. Technology Transfer 101: Defining Research Commercialization
4. Safeguarded in the Vault: How Trade Secrets Work

Read article

Markin named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

Comments (1) News, Success Stories

by Tom O’Connor, UNMC

Rodney Markin - Pathology

OMAHA, Neb. (Dec. 16, 2015)—Rod Markin, M.D., Ph.D., chief technology officer and associate vice chancellor for business development at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.

The 168 named this year bring the total number of NAI Fellows to 582.  The honorees join a prestigious list of past Fellows that include 27 Nobel Laureates, 80 presidents and senior leaders of research universities and non-profit research institutes, and 27 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Dr. Markin has been associated with UNMC for more than 35 years. He earned his medical degree from UNMC in 1983 and his doctoral degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1980. He joined the UNMC faculty in 1986.

He was named to his current position in 2011. Among his duties, Dr. Markin works closely with departments to plan major equipment purchases and make sure that utilization justifies cost. He looks for opportunities for departments to better coordinate their use of equipment and seeks potential new uses for information systems and telemedicine.

In 2010-11, Dr. Markin served as interim dean of the UNMC College of Medicine. Prior to this, he was the David T. Purtilo Distinguished Professor of Pathology and senior associate dean for clinical affairs in the College of Medicine. He also served as president of UNMC Physicians, the physician practice group for UNMC, from 1997 to 2010.

Dr. Markin is one of the most prolific inventors at UNMC. In 2009, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from UNeMed Corporation, UNMC’s technology transfer company, for his innovative work in transforming the clinical laboratory through technology.

“Rod is a rare breed,” said Michael Dixon, Ph.D., president and CEO of UNeMed. “It’s uncommon to have a skilled clinician who also has such a keen understanding of business and what it takes to develop a product. Not only is he a prolific inventor with 35 patents, but he’s also helped turn those ideas into products – products that have built startup companies or have sold widely in multinational companies.”

The NAI Fellows will be inducted on April 15, as part of the Fifth Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors in Alexandria, Va. Fellows will be presented with a special trophy, medal, and rosette pin.

Read article