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Johns Hopkins Faculty Members, Researchers Win Awards for Technology Development at Annual Alliance Meeting - 04/22/2015
Johns Hopkins Faculty Members, Researchers Win Awards for Technology Development at Annual Alliance Meeting
Release Date: April 22, 2015
Four Johns Hopkins University researchers received monetary awards for translational development of their inventions at the April 20 annual joint meeting of the Johns Hopkins Alliance for Science and Technology Development and the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s Commercial Advisory Board.
The awards were announced at the end of a day of presentations by faculty members, researchers and startups affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, to investors, including venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and chief executive officers of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies who are positioned to help presenters commercialize their technologies.
“The alliance meeting is an annual tradition resulting in the formation of startup companies and large licensing deals for the Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures office,” says Christy Wyskiel, senior advisor to the president of The Johns Hopkins University.
“We are grateful to the Abell Foundation for the Abell Foundation Awards and to the state of Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development for the BioMaryland LIFE awards, both of which support faculty inventors as they attempt to move their ideas to the marketplace,” Wyskiel says.
Since 2003, the alliance has brought faculty members and investors together for an annual daylong meeting to foster important biotechnical and pharmaceutical developments. In 2008, the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s Commercial Advisory Board joined the event.
This year, 14 faculty members or teams of faculty members from The Johns Hopkins University and seven from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, presented work, as did eight startups affiliated with each university.
Kannan Rangaramanujam, professor of ophthalmology and co-director of the Center for Nanomedicine at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins, won a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Dean’s Award of $25,000 for his work on developing targeted nanotechnologies to treat cerebral palsy. Frank Bosmans, assistant professor of physiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, won an Abell Foundation Award of $50,000 for his research in treating epilepsy. The team of Devin O’Brien Coon and David Narrow, co-founders of the startup Sonavex, won a BioMaryland LIFE award of $25,000 for their development of EchoSure, a product that uses ultrasound to detect postsurgical blood clots before the clots happen.
From the University of Maryland, Baltimore, the team of Didier Depireax, associate research scientist at the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Radi Masri, assistant professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Maryland’s schools of dentistry and medicine, won a University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean’s Award of $25,000 for their work on using nanotechnology to deliver therapeutic magnetic particles to dental pulp. Richard F. Macko, professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Anindo Roy, assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Maryland, College Park, won an Abell Foundation Award of $50,000 for their research in using bio-based software for adaptive control of modular robots for clinical neurorehabilitation. Chris Meenan won a BioMaryland LIFE award of $25,000 for his work with Analytical Informatics Inc., a health information technology company that he co-founded with Mark Daly, Christopher Toland and Mark Warnock.
The winners of both BioMaryland LIFE awards also have received Maryland Innovation Initiative awards. This year was the first in which an award with a monetary prize was offered to a startup.
Although only a limited number of awards are available, every presenter receives valuable feedback and advice from investors, and the event is a unique opportunity for faculty to network and form relationships that can lead to startup partnerships and commercialization of breakthrough medical technologies.
“It’s a fantastic way to showcase what the two universities have in their pipeline at various stages of development, and it gives faculty members an opportunity to meet funders and industry partners with whom they can work to help commercialize their research,” says alliance member and joint meeting investor Kyparissia Sirinakis, co-founder and managing partner of Epidarex Capital, a venture capital firm investing in early-stage, high-growth life science and health technology companies in the U.S. and U.K.
For Sirinakis, the joint meeting functions in part as “a platform to see new things” in development. Last year, Epidarex Capital chose to fund one of the researchers who presented at the meeting. “Funding is the fuel these companies need in the early stages of developing an idea to take it from the university to the commercial world,” she says.
Alliance member and joint meeting investor Albert Di Rienzo, president of concept-to-commercialization company Red Sky, looks forward to attending the meeting every year to learn more about cutting-edge developments in biotechnology and pharmaceutical and health science, but also to participate in the collaborative environment the meeting fosters.
“It’s a great joy to work with the inventors, providing feedback to help them commercialize their innovations, which not only help the economy, but also help people live longer, healthier, more productive lives,” Di Rienzo says.