Entrepreneurial learning sessions planned

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From the Sources Mouth:  BBCetc’s annual “From the Sources” Mouth” fall event is bigger and better than ever! Program managers will provide a 30-minute overview of the agency’s mission and tips for creating a successful proposal.  Attendees will have time for Q&A and the opportunity to sign-up for one-on-ones with agency officers.

  • Sept. 14 – 9:00 am – 5:00 pm EST –  Federal Granting Agencies: SBA, NIH, NSF, DOC-NOAA, DOE, USDA, NIAD
  • Sept. 15 – 9:00 am – 5:00 pm EST –  Federal Contracting Agencies: SBA, EPA, BARDA, NASA, DOT, DOEd, CDMRP
  • Sept. 16 – 9:00 am – 5:00 pm EST – DOD & Components:  DOD, DHA, DARPA, SPARTN, NavSea, Air Force/AFWERX, DHS

Register here [ec2-34-221-130-80.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com]

 

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Back-o-the-Napkin Contest opens for UNMC

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OMAHA, Nebraska (September 9, 2021)—A new contest is open to all faculty, students and staff who have ideas for innovative medical devices.

Sponsored by UNMC’s technology transfer and commercialization office, UNeMed, the “Back-o-the-Napkin Contest” will accept entries throughout the fall until the New Year.

Find entry forms at the James and Karen Linder Maker Studio within the Leon S. McGoogan Health Sciences Library, who is co-sponsoring the contest. Entry forms, designed to resemble actual napkins, ask that inventors draw and describe their ideas. All novel innovations will be rendered into a three-dimensional model.

The top three innovations will win additional support with a professionally engineered and designed prototype. The prototype stage is a common hazard for inventors because prototypes can be costly to create. Yet they are essential for attracting additional support and financing for further development.

The 3D modeling and prototyping will be provided by co-sponsors UNeTech and the Center for Innovation Entrepreneurship and Franchising at the College of Business at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

In addition to the McGoogan Library, entry forms will be available at UNeMed, UNeTech and within various departments around campus.

Submit completed entry forms to UNeMed via campus mail. For digital entries, scan and email completed forms to unemed@unmc.edu.

Direct any questions or request additional entry forms at tyler.scherr@unmc.edu.

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Probiotics: Digestive miracle or persistent myth?

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by Lisa Jorgenson, UNeMed | September 7, 2021

Alternative medicine has people turning to essential oils, herbal medicines, and probiotics, among others, to treat all sorts of ailments. People using these products claim countless benefits, which include curing coronavirus, beating cancer, and improving mental health.

But do these things work?

Here, we will explore probiotics and evaluate the science to see if they are a digestive miracle or persistent myth.

Probiotics are microorganisms, like bacteria and yeast, with beneficial qualities. You can find products all over grocery stores within yogurt, cheeses, kombucha, kimchi, and other fermented products and drinks. There are also dietary supplements that people can take orally, each containing millions of live bacteria and yeast.

You probably think of germs when you think of bacteria, but there is a full spectrum of bacteria. Of course, some do make you sick, the bad guys. But others, the good guys, are essential for proper gut health.

So, how do we kill the bad guys while, at the same time, promoting growth of the good guys?

A quick Google search will tell you that probiotics are the answer. Probiotic sellers and people taking probiotics claim probiotics offer a myriad of health benefits. These include balancing your digestive system, treating diarrhea, improving mental health, reducing symptoms of digestive disorders, boosting your immune system, and even helping you lose belly fat.

Sounds impressive, right?

But if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Nonetheless, savvy marketers have convinced a growing number of consumers that probiotics are the answer. Grand View Research reports that the probiotic market value in 2020 was $54.2 billion and will expand to $77 billion by 2025.

Commonly sold as dietary supplements, probiotics do not require FDA approval. Probiotic manufacturers can claim how the product may affect your body, but those claims cannot include using probiotics to cure or treat diseases.

As reported by the American Gastroenterological Association, there is not one FDA-approved health claim for any probiotic on the market.

However, high-quality scientific studies do exist that studied the effects of probiotics on humans. Unfortunately, the results of those studies are contradictory.

For every study suggesting that probiotics improve health, another shows probiotics do nothing or might even be harmful.

There is no conclusive evidence that probiotics improve digestive health.

In the studies that showed probiotics helped people, the benefits were subjective to the people taking it, the type of probiotic bacteria used, the design and analysis of the studies themselves, and the intended use of the probiotic.

There is still a laundry list of studies needed before we can use probiotics to treat digestive disorders like irritable bowel disease, which would require FDA approval.

The current standard of care for irritable bowel disease, or IBD, focuses on decreasing inflammation with immune system suppressors and anti-inflammatory drugs. Although these therapies can induce and maintain remission, they cause significant side effects. In the long term, most people with IBD require at least one surgery.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center are taking on the challenge of designing better therapeutics to treat IBD. Researchers are looking at chloroquine, a common malaria treatment, for its anti-inflammatory properties to treat IBD. But chloroquine is readily absorbed and disseminated throughout the body and can cause harmful side effects.

David Oupicky, Ph.D., and Fei Yu, Ph.D., have developed a better way to deliver chloroquine directly to the gut, thereby limiting its harmful side effects. This new technology is an improved version of chloroquine that passes through the digestive system without getting absorbed into the bloodstream. Instead, these chloroquine-based polymers stay in the digestive tract and directly reduce harmful inflammation.

Until medications like UNMC’s new chloroquine formulation gains FDA approval, there are not many options. If you experience digestive upset, the best idea is to talk with your physician to diagnose the root cause so they can advise on the appropriate treatment.

As medicine advances, the idea of personalized probiotics is promising, but more research is needed. In their current state, probiotics are a digestive myth.

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Drug development conference moves to an online event in 2021

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MidWest Drug Development Conference

OMAHA, Nebraska (Aug. 17, 2021)—Due to rising concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 MidWest Drug Development Conference will move to a 100-percent virtual event.

The two-day conference will still be on Monday, Oct. 4 and Tuesday, Oct. 5, but all events will be online. Register here: https://www.mwdrugdevelopment.com/tickets/.

Cost to attend the event is $500, but a discount code is available for representatives at pharmaceutical companies and investment groups. To request a discount code, contact event organizers at https://www.mwdrugdevelopment.com/#contact.

Up to 19 major Midwestern institutions are planning to attend the virtual event, which will feature about 50 short presentations of their latest and most promising therapeutic innovations. Each participating institution will present some of their most promising therapeutic candidates in 10-minute presentations, followed by a brief Q&A session.

The 19 presenting institutions are Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Colorado State University, Indiana University, Kansas State University, Mayo Clinic, Medical College of Wisconsin, Ohio State University, Purdue University, University of Colorado-Boulder, University of Iowa, University of Kansas, University of Kentucky, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska Medical Center, University of Oklahoma, University of South Dakota and Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

Additional guests will predominantly include key decision makers at pharmaceutical companies that are looking to expand their portfolio with new therapeutics. Also expected to attend are investment groups who are interested in building or investing in startups companies.

The ability for academic technology transfer professionals, university researchers, and industry representatives to meet and talk in-depth about these innovations is a key component of the conference. Because of that importance, the virtual conference will include one-on-one partnering opportunities.

More information, including the full schedule of planned presentations, will be announced in the coming weeks.

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UNeMed postpones in-person events

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Important events originally planned as in-person activities for this fall are now postponed due to surging COVID-19 numbers and rising concerns related to the Delta variant.

Out of an abundance of caution UNeMed is postponing the fall 2021 Technology Transfer Boot Camp and all 2021 Innovation Week events, including the Innovation Awards banquet.

One of the most meaningful aspects of Boot Camp are the in-person interactions between students that promotes deeper learning and understanding. Because those interactions cannot be replicated virtually, UNeMed is postponing until such time that in-person events are much safer.

Innovation Week and the Innovation Awards ceremony are also valuable events for UNeMed that feature robust networking opportunities among the University’s innovative faculty, staff and students. While it’s possible to host another virtual Awards program in 2021, UNeMed would rather wait, and hold a safe, in-person event that properly delivers the recognition University innovators so richly deserve.

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Drug Development Conference sponsorships, presentation slots nearly full

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MidWest Drug Development Conference, hosted by UNeMed, the technology transfer and commercialization office for the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
www.mwdrugdevelopment.com

OMAHA, Nebraska (July 30, 2021)—The final slate of participants and sponsorships for the 2021 MidWest Drug Development Conference are nearly filled as several major institutions have lined up to participate in the event.

Sponsored in part by PhRMA, a massive international trade association that advocates and supports pharmaceutical companies, the conference will feature 18 major Midwest institutions.

Among the participating research institutions are biomedical heavyweights such as Mayo Clinic, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Ohio State University, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and University of Minnesota.

The impressive list of participating research institutions continues, including Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Colorado-Boulder, Colorado State, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Missouri, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Oklahoma, Purdue and South Dakota.

Joining PhRMA as primary sponsors of the event are SHARPHub, Olon Ricera Bioscience, Marshall Gerstein, UNeMed and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Each participating institution will highlight new therapeutics under development. The conference will span two days, beginning on Oct. 4, and will feature about 40 novel technologies in 10-minute presentations. Specific details about those presentations can be viewed here: https://www.mwdrugdevelopment.com/technologies/.

The 18 institutions account for a massive amount of research and innovation in the region, according to the latest data from the Association of University Technology Managers, or AUTM. In 2019, the participating universities spent a combined $9.63 billion in research, which led to 3,699 new inventions. They secured 1,049 U.S. patents, produced 211 new products and formed 123 startup companies. They also signed 832 licensing agreements, 39 of which were worth more than $1 million each.

A key feature of the conference is the ability for participants to set up one-on-one partnering meetings between researchers, tech transfer professionals, industry representatives, investors and other interested parties. Previous attendees have included representatives from such companies as AbbVie Ventures, Atlas Ventures, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck and Pfizer, to name a few.

The conference begins on Monday, Oct. 4, and concludes the following day, Tuesday, Oct. 5. It will be at the Capital District Marriott in downtown Omaha.

Cost is $500 per ticket, but organizers will waive a limited number of registration fees for those who represent pharmaceutical and biotech companies and investment groups. Contact conference organizers to learn how to receive a waiver code.

Register here: https://www.mwdrugdevelopment.com/tickets/.

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University partners with venture capital group to bring technologies to market

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by Tyler Scherr, UNeMed | July 26, 2021

Tyler Scherr

Tyler Scherr, Ph.D.

Proven Ventures just placed a big bet on the ingenuity of the University of Nebraska.

The University of Nebraska is full of experts: Researchers, clinicians, technicians and students who have made it their life’s work to understand everything they can about a single, crucial factor in human health.

For many, securing a patent or publishing their research in journals like Nature or Science is the penultimate outcome of all those sleepless nights.

But that’s not the main goal. The main goal is to positively impact human lives. And, to achieve that goal, an invention must ultimately be commercialized.

UNeMed, the technology transfer office for UNO and UNMC, and UNeTech Institute, the startup incubator for UNO and UNMC, have worked diligently to identify, protect and commercialize University inventions. An important part of this process is recruiting experienced, qualified entrepreneurs willing to partner with University inventors to form small business startups around University technology. But where do you find experienced, qualified entrepreneurs?

Enter Proven Ventures.

Proven Ventures, a Burlington Capital Fund located in downtown Omaha, has partnered with UNeMed and UNeTech to bring experienced entrepreneurs to the table to run University startups. The entrepreneurs will come alongside University experts to bring state-of-the-art technologies to market where they can solve real-world problems to benefit real people. Better yet, startups will be homegrown and nurtured in Nebraska, providing desirable jobs and training for our local, talented workforce.

The Omaha region is full of experts: Executives, MBAs, CEOs and venture capitalists who have cut their teeth forming and running businesses of all shapes and sizes.

For many, earning a Business Excellence Award or landing in the 40-under-40 group is the penultimate outcome of all those sleepless nights.

But that’s not the main goal. The main goal is to positively impact human lives. And to achieve that goal, a business must do something truly innovative.

Sound familiar?

It should.

What too many fail to realize (and why too many promising startups unexpectedly fail) is that entrepreneurs and academic innovators need each other. They’re made of the same stuff. They want the same things. What they really need is a way to help each other succeed.

And that’s what Proven Ventures and UNeMed are now better positioned to do.

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University cracks top 100 in US patent tally

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OMAHA & LINCOLN, Nebraska (June 22, 2021)—For the fourth consecutive year, the University of Nebraska system is ranked among the world’s top 100 institutions for securing U.S. patents.

A newly released report from the National Academy of Inventors and Intellectual Property Owners Association lists the NU system at No. 77. The ranking reflects the 38 patents that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted in 2020 to the University’s technology transfer offices: UNeMed and her sister office NUtech Ventures in Lincoln. UNeMed is the technology transfer office for UNMC and UNO

“It’s incredibly gratifying to see Nebraska stand alongside world leaders of innovation and discovery,” said UNeMed president and CEO, Michael Dixon, Ph.D. “But I’m even more excited about the fact that 75% of the US patents in our portfolio that issued last year have been licensed to companies for continued development and commercialization. That’s huge, and that’s the ultimate goal: Giving every innovation an opportunity to become a product that helps people.”

Patents allow UNeMed and NUtech Ventures to work with faculty, staff and students to bring research and innovations in areas like biotechnology, agriculture, healthcare, engineering and others to the marketplace. The results are new startup companies, jobs and university-licensed products that grow the economy and improve quality of life.

“The University of Nebraska Medical Center continues to grow basic science, translational and front line clinical research and discovery,” said Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., chancellor at UNMC and UNO. “These dedicated faculty, staff and students continually develop new prevention strategies, diagnostics and treatments that improve the human condition and at the same time contribute to significant economic development. These activities are core to our mission of strengthening the economy and true excellence of our academic medical center.”

Patents from the University of Nebraska Medical Center include a surgical device that could dramatically improve the success rate for patients suffering from kidney disease and failure. For such patients, mere survival requires regular dialysis treatments, the success of which often rests on the outcome of a surgical procedure to create an AV or arteriovenous fistula.

A surgeon creates an AV fistula by connecting a vein, usually in the arm, with a nearby artery. The increased blood flow from the artery forces the vein to enlarge into a suitable portal for dialysis machine. However, AV fistulas are notoriously fickle, and fail to mature about half the time. UNMC’s patented device, invented by surgeon Marius Florescu, MD, is an implant that promotes more reliable and effective fistula maturation.

Last year, the University of Nebraska was ranked No. 65 for the number of patents secured in 2019. Nebraska ranked No. 79 in 2018 and No. 70 in 2017.

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Three UNMC startups selected for Invest Midwest

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Dong Wang, PhD

OMAHA, Nebraska (April 27, 2021)—Three Nebraska startup companies formed on the back of innovations developed at the University of Nebraska Medical Center were among a select group of presentations at the most recent Invest Midwest Venture Capital Forum.

The virtual conference spanned two days in late April, and featured more than 40 startup companies based on university technologies.

The goal of the forum was to help early-stage companies attract additional investment and support for further research and development of their products, particularly for university-based innovations.

The Nebraska startups selected to participate in the event were Ensign Pharmaceuticals, Global Laparoscopic Solutions and Intuitool.

Ensign Pharmaceuticals is a startup created by inventor and UNMC chemist Dong Wang, Ph.D., who developed a drug delivery platform called ProGel.

A liquid at lower temperatures, ProGel transforms into a gel-like substance as it reaches body temperature. As a result, the gel is then more likely to linger in the affected area, concentrating the pharmaceutical payload exactly where it needs to be.

Ensign Pharmaceutical’s initial product is a novel therapeutic prodrug for the most common cause of disability in the adult population: osteoarthritis pain.

The prodrug incorporates a potent steroid, dexamethasone, into the formulation. While effective for pain relief, the benefit of dexamethasone is unfortunately short-lived, usually lasting only a few days. However, when formulated with ProGel, dexamethasone has the potential to remain active much longer, potentially providing relief for months.

In addition to providing a more sustained and stable local release of medication, the hydrogel also has the benefit of limiting potential harmful side effects, including weight gain, increased blood sugar, insomnia and osteoporosis.

This device under development at Global Laparoscopic Solutions could make minimally invasive procedures more accessible and affordable throughout the world.

This device under development at Global Laparoscopic Solutions could make minimally invasive procedures more accessible and affordable throughout the world.

Any number of pharmaceuticals can combine with ProGel for localized and sustained delivery of a variety of therapeutic agents. For example, ProGel could help treat other musculoskeletal disorders such as chronic back pain, tendonitis, bursitis, fracture repair, spinal fusion, and periodontal bone regeneration. It may also serve as a depot for sustained drug delivery in a broad spectrum of disorders, including hormone therapy for high-risk pregnancy, and localized chemotherapy.

Global Laparoscopic Solutions is a startup company based on innovations from UNMC surgeon Chandra Are, MD.

The technology at GLS is an elegant solution to the lack of laparoscopic surgical options throughout the world. Essentially, the device transforms any standard operating room into a minimally invasive surgical suite. While providing access to the furthest corners of the globe, the innovation also simplifies minimally invasive procedures, and at more affordable prices.

Intuitool is also built on a laparoscopic surgical solution. It features an ergonomic design that enables better performance from the surgeons who wield it.

Pictured is an early prototype of the Intuitool.

An early prototype of the Intuitool.

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Webinar will help researchers secure military support

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OMAHA, Nebraska (June 9, 2021)—A free virtual seminar will explore the U.S. Army’s work with universities and businesses on biomedical innovations and discoveries that have potential for military applications, including therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics, devices and information technology.

Sponsored by UNMC’s Vice Chancellor for Research and UNeMed, the seminar will be held via Microsoft Teams on Thursday, June 24 at noon. Anyone can join the one-hour event through this link or by dialing in at 402-797-7499. The phone conference ID is 591-474-296.

Barry Datlof, Chief of Business Development and Commercialization at the Office of Medical Technology Transfer in the U.S. Army Medical Research & Development Command, will deliver the presentation, “Advance your technology with the DOD.”

Michael Dixon

Dr. Dixon

Datlof’s remarks will also include tips on how to navigate and identify potential funding opportunities and write effective Cooperative Research and Development Agreements.

UNeMed CEO and President Michael Dixon, PhD, will emcee the event.

Direct any questions to research@unmc.edu.

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Applications open for small business, research funding opportunities

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LINCOLN, Nebraska (June 9, 2021)—Applications for Nebraska’s Business Innovation Act programs are now open.

Administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the Business Innovation Act offers several programs aimed toward helping small businesses, startup companies and entrepreneurs. The funding programs include prototype grants, research and development grants, SBIR/STTR grants, and seed investment opportunities.

There is no specific deadline for any program application, however applications will be accepted until all funding is exhausted. Program administrators will review applications about every two weeks. Several “how-to” guides on the Nebraska.gov website address most questions about the programs and the application process. The how-to guides can be found at: https://opportunity.nebraska.gov/amplifund/#bia-award.

Prototype Grant

Nebraska’s prototype grant program is a matching grant meant to offset some costs related to product development. Applications must include a business plan, evidence of matching funds, and any other relevant information. The award cap is $150,000, but most funded applications are in the $50,000 range.

Academic R&D Grant

Nebraska’s Academic R&D grant program helps businesses that financially support research and development at a Nebraska university or college, or businesses that have licensed intellectual property created at a Nebraska college or university. The funding is intended to support the additional research and development necessary to successfully commercialize innovations and new technologies. Application must include a budget, scope of work, description of the business, and a draft agreement with the participating college or university. The award cap is $100,000 for Phase I projects and $400,000 for Phase II projects.

Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer Grants

Nebraska’s SBIR/STTR program is a matching grant that provides financial assistance to Nebraska businesses that are applying for (Phase 0) or have received a Federal SBIR or STTR grant (Phase I or Phase II). The Phase 0 program helps with costs to respond to a federal solicitation and does not require a match. The Phase I and Phase II programs can match a federal SBIR/STTR grant at 65 percent of the federal award, up to $100,000.

Seed Investment

Nebraska’s seed investment program allows the state to invest up to $500,000 in a Nebraska business to help commercialize a product or process. Any state investment must be matched 100 percent with non-state money. Invest Nebraska oversees this program, conducting all due diligence, setting terms, and ultimately holding any investment made.

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Tech Transfer Boot Camp will return, applications now open for 2021

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OMAHA, Neb. (June 1, 2021)—The 2021 Technology Transfer Boot Camp is scheduled to return as an in-person event on Aug. 16-20, UNeMed announced today.

Tech Transfer Boot Camp aims at scientists and students interested in what it takes to commercialize a new invention or discovery. The week-long event can also jump-start an alternate career in science as a technology transfer professional.

The program helps scientists gain a wide range of skills and experience that match their scientific knowledge and training.

Boot Camp focuses on several key areas relevant to a successful career in technology transfer, including:

  • Invention evaluation
  • Intellectual property law
  • Marketing and commercialization
  • Contract negotiation

UNeMed’s Tech Transfer Boot Camp dives deeper than simple lectures. Topics wills be explored with hands-on activities meant to teach, correct and reinforce new skills and abilities.

Anyone within the University of Nebraska system is encouraged to apply and participate free of charge, but space is limited. People who aren’t affiliated with the University of Nebraska are also welcome, but will be charged $200 upon acceptance.

Applications are open through Friday, July 30, and will be reviewed in the order they are received until all spaces are filled.

Use the embedded form below or apply here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf5j7HSF6qfRnqS6VUlp1L5QvrcXIM1asPq36fxlnGp1mkrAQ/viewform?usp=sf_link.

More information about the application process and requirements can be found at https://www.unemed.com/about-us/join-our-team#bootcamp.

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Free webinar offered for prepping SBIR/STTR proposals

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SHARPhub logoCHELSEA, Michigan (April 29, 2021)—SHARPhub is hosting a free webinar next week about SBIR/STTR proposal prep for National Institutes of Health grant funding.

Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs are federal research and development grant funds administered by a dozen government agencies, including the National Science Foundation, NASA and the Department of Defense, to name a few. Each year, the top two programs award more than $3 billion to small businesses.

Open to the public, the webinar will cover the differences between SBIR and STTR, how to navigate the NIH’s SBIR website to research awarded projects, registrations, etc.  The webinar will also cover how to prepare an SBIR proposal, and how to avoid common pitfalls.

The webinar is scheduled for Thursday, May 6 at 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., central standard time. Event organizers ask that those interested in this free event to please register at: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/7816195323372/WN_3kADZV-UR-aMZa4DI4MCIw

SHARPhub provides this opportunity at no charge as a part of its mission to coach and provide opportunities and resources that would help commercialize life-science innovations in the Midwest. SHARPhub is the technology transfer hub for the Sustainable Heartland Accelerator Regional Partnership, which is a collaboration between BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting and the five-state Midwestern region.

The planned agenda for the webinar:

  • Quick SBIR/STTR Overview; NIH Essentials (including navigating sbir.nih.gov; NIH RePORTER; registrations; review criteria)
  • Proposal Prep 1: Specific Aims, Research Strategy; using SA to contact NIH
  • Proposal Prep 2: Budgets, Biosketches, Facilities, and Resources
  • Questions; next steps for SHARPhub program

 

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Grants available for new technology development

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Learn about the Nebraska Business Development Act, how to gain access to ‘valley of death’ funding

A panel of experts will break down the several benefits and uses of key provisions of Nebraska’s Business Innovation Act for academic researchers and faculty.

Michael Dixon

Michael Dixon, Ph.D.

“We’re advising all University inventors to sit in on this one,” said Michael Dixon, Ph.D., President and CEO at UNeMed, the technology transfer and commercialization office for UNMC and UNO. “I think they’ll find that the state is quite interested in helping to support start-up companies developing University technology, as well as established Nebraska companies that are doing research and development with the University.  This webinar will help researchers understand how to gain access to this critical “valley of death” funding.”

The “valley of death” refers to the funding gap into which most academic innovations fall. The vast majority of academic discoveries and innovations are initially supported through generous federal grant programs. However, most of those discoveries falter or stagnate because few programs provide the necessary and significant amounts of additional resources needed for further development. Among the few “gap” or “valley of death” programs is Nebraska’s Business Innovation Act of 2011.

The Business Innovation Act established a raft of financial and technical supports intended to promote both startup growth and University-Industry research collaborations within the state. Nebraska’s Department of Economic Development—which manages most of those funding programs—will host the upcoming free webinar. Their funding programs help pay for research and development; support collaborations with Nebraska businesses; match federal funding from the SBIR/STTR programs; fund prototype development; and help commercialize new innovations.

The webinar is planned for Thursday, April 29 at 1:30 p.m. The event is free, but registration with a university email address is required. Register online at: https://research.unl.edu/events/industryRelations_nuramp.php?EMSEventUUID=1462c807-4d8f-4015-b454-95b1b243d384.

Dr. Dixon will be among four panelists during the event. Business innovation consultants from the DED, Ben Kuspa and Nisha Avey, will also be on the panel. They will be joined by Ryan Anderson, the Director of Industry Relations at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The emcee and Q&A facilitator will be Sara Bennett, Associate Director of the Nebraska Business Development Center.

Planned areas of discussion include:

  • Business Innovation Act grant and investment programs
  • Nebraska Academic Research Program
  • SBIR/STTR matching program
  • Upcoming program changes for 2022
  • How to utilize the program
  • NU Connections can help your business

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UNeMed seeking intern candidates

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OMAHA, Nebraska (March 31, 2021)—UNeMed Corporation, the technology transfer and commercialization office for the University of Nebraska Medical Center and University of Nebraska Omaha, is now seeking qualified candidates for its paid internship program.

UNeMed’s interns gain hands-on training, mentorship and all the tools needed to launch a successful career in the technology transfer or biotechnology industry.

All interns work closely with experienced UNeMed staff to help biomedical inventions developed at UNMC and UNO move beyond the laboratory and into the marketplace. UNeMed interns will gain valuable, first-hand experience in a wide range of interdisciplinary, technology transfer-related activities, including:

  • Invention evaluations
  • Patent and copyright law
  • Contract negotiation
  • Startup business formation
  • Technology marketing

The ideal candidate will:

  • Be actively working towards or hold an advanced degree in a scientific field
  • Have the ability to comprehend complicated scientific and technical information
  • Have excellent research, analytical and writing skills
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Be an independent thinker who is self-motivated and can take initiative while still contributing to a dynamic, fast-paced team environment
  • Be able to work with the diverse range of personalities often found among elite academic researchers and biomedical industry executives
  • Have the ability work on several projects at one time

UNeMed interns will be expected to:

  • Help evaluate new invention submissions
  • Develop technical marketing summaries
  • Conduct market analysis research
  • Promote UNeMed and UNMC innovations to local, regional and national companies
  • Manage marketing campaigns
  • Identify potential licensees
  • Develop communication strategies to promote UNMC and UNO technologies

To apply, submit a résumé or CV with a letter expressing interest to UNeMed@unmc.edu, with “UNeMed Internship” in the subject line. UNeMed will accept applications until the position is filled.

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UNMC joins WIPO Re:Search consortium for tropical diseases

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March 29, 2021 (OMAHA, Nebraska)—The University of Nebraska Medical Center and its technology transfer and commercialization arm, UNeMed, are now one of 153 listed world-wide organizations that are sharing research and resources to fight tropical diseases in developing nations.

“We are excited to be part of this group,” said Jennifer Larsen, MD, Vice Chancellor for Research at UNMC,” as it provides new strategies and options for funding for our faculty’s work on therapeutics for diseases that have a significant global impact but are often off the radar for many pharmaceutical companies.”

The World Intellectual Property Organization and BIO Ventures for Global Health partnered in 2011 to create the WIPO Re:Search consortium. Their stated mission is “Accelerate the discovery and development of technologies for neglected tropical diseases, malaria and tuberculosis by sharing intellectual property with the global health research community, catalyzing and fostering global health collaborations, and contributing to capacity-building in developing countries.”

Among the noteworthy member institutions are Emory University, the Pasteur Institute, MIT, NIH, Stanford, the US Patent and Trademark Office and dozens of other major American universities.

Jonathon Vennerstrom, PhD

Jonathon Vennerstrom, PhD

“University researchers like Jonathan Vennerstrom and his team create new knowledge and deeper understanding of complex diseases like this all the time,” UNeMed president and CEO Michael Dixon, PhD, said. “This consortium is just another example of how committed the University is to putting that knowledge to work, and getting these life-saving treatments into the hands of the people who need it most.”

Jonathan Vennerstrom, PhD, a medicinal chemist in UNMC’s College of Pharmacy, has already made significant contributions to the global fight against malaria. Through his work with Medicines for Malaria Venture, he and his team created a new malaria drug that was approved for use in India in 2012 and has shown potential as a one-dose cure for malaria. That work was recognized with the prestigious 2019 American Chemical Society Award for Creative Invention. In addition, a panel of world health experts selected it in 2015 as one of 30 high-impact innovations that can save lives and transform global health within 15 years.

The WIPO Re:Search consortium will give UNMC researchers access to resources that go beyond combined knowledge and discovery. It also includes access to potential industrial partners like GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Novartis and Pfizer, to name a few.

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