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The U’s Economic Impact includes 17 Start-up Companies in 2007

August 21, 2007-The University of Utah is an economic engine for the State of Utah and 2007 fiscal year-end results prove it. Seventeen companies were launched from technologies developed at The University of Utah within the last year. The companies not only help move research forward through the licensing royalty revenue they bring in, but they provide jobs for the people of Utah and help to strengthen the economy in the state. The 17 companies are based on research in fields such as medicinal sciences, engineering, and fine arts.

According to Brian Cummings, the Director of the Technology Commercialization Office, “to generate another 17 companies from University of Utah research is a testament to the entrepreneurial faculty on campus and the self-sustaining economic engine that is being created in Utah. This is an amazing accomplishment considering the national average in 2006 was about four companies per major research institution per year.”

Several promising medical technology companies were formed within the past year. One such company, ThermImage, has a unique imaging system used to diagnose Vesicoureteral Reflux (VUR), a condition that 1 out of every 150 children are diagnosed with each year. VUR is commonly associated with Urinary Tract Infections and can lead to reoccurring kidney infections and kidney damage. Currently, to diagnose VUR, a catheter must be passed through the urethra into the bladder. This test is traumatic for young patients, costly, time consuming, and potentially harmful. With the technology developed by Dr. Brent Snow and the company co-founded by CEO Doug Turnquist, ThermImage’s new diagnostic technology is less costly, noninvasive (uses no radiation), and painless.

State-of-RT, LLC (SoRT) is a computer graphics start-up, and has deep legacy roots in the computer graphics industry. SoRT offers interactive, photo realistic, computer graphic imaging. Developed by Steven Parker, Ph.D. of the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute and Peter Shirley, Ph.D. from the School of Computing, SoRT’s first commercial product, Manta Ray ™, will be released to commercial markets in 2007.

If Angry Duck Productions doesn’t sound like a typical University start-up company, that’s because it’s not. Angry Duck Productions is an animation, graphics and video production company. Managed by David Zemmels, Angry Duck has a unique mission of giving students a middle-ground to gain professional working experience with producing digital media content. This unique start-up is a resource for faculty and students to create original work for both the university community and outside companies.

“The momentum is growing,” says Jack Brittain, Senior Vice President for Technology Venture Development at The University of Utah, “the University’s innovative faculty is turning good ideas into good businesses. New jobs and tax revenues created from the companies continue to add to Utah’s economic strength.”

The University of Utah’s Start-Up Companies for 2007

  • Boulder Technology Development Labs is focusing on an invention developed primarily for exercise physiology and training using a “Single Leg Ergometer.”

  • Rescue Medical Systems Inc. has developed a novel CPR training device for the mass market and was recently featured on NASA’s online journal.

  • ThermImage has a unique imaging system to detect pediatric kidney infections. The technology eliminates the need for painful catheters currently in use by pediatricians.

  • Osteoseek Inc. is developing bone-targeting polymeric drug delivery systems and the manufacturing methods to produce the polymers and related copolymers used to deliver such drugs.

  • Larada Inc. is developing a non-chemical application to kill head lice using a combination of heat and air flow. The device is highly efficient in killing both lice and nits (lice eggs). The technology has sparked global interest and will eventually be marketed worldwide.

  • ImageTechnologies Inc. is developing a new and improved method to detect carotenoid levels in the eye that may relate to the development of a host of ophthalmic diseases including macular degeneration.

  • Central Logic Inc. is a software development company that is building a unique database with a secure web interface to track medical records and scheduling at hospitals.

  • LV Partners is developing a personalized medical fund around the identification of unique biomarkers for some of the world’s most problematic diseases.

  • PowerMems is the result of a joint invention developed through collaboration between the U.S. Navy, UCLA, and The University of Utah. The company is focused on overcoming the size and energy density deficiencies of thin film batteries by creating cubic-millimeter sized power supplies based on three-dimensional (3-D) geometries.

  • ContraDyn, Inc. was formed to commercialize a minimally invasive technology for image-guided cancer treatment using contrast enhanced MRI with photodynamic therapy. This is an effective cancer treatment with minimal damage to normal tissues.

  • Angry Duck Productions is an animation, graphics and video production company. The company has a unique mission in training and educating students in the School of Arts and Technology and serves to facilitate the use of the unique assets that are developed within the College of Fine Arts.

  • Cerebus Carbon Solutions LLC is a conduit for the development of the unique carbon capture technologies developed at the Energy and Geoscience Institute.

  • UGEN is marketing a unique breast cancer diagnostic method that uses gene expression analysis to personalize care for breast cancer patients by matching molecular tumor subtypes with appropriate drug treatments.

  • Navigen is focusing on the use of molecular genetic techniques to identify genes that predispose patients to retinal diseases. The company is developing diagnostics and drug therapies to prevent these diseases.

  • BioFuels Development Corporation is currently developing clean burning fuels.

  • State-of-RT is based on Interactive Ray-Tracing and Photo Realistic Visualization dedicated to the development of tools for interactively visualizing large-scale datasets on the fly with advanced lighting and material models that help users understand the subtle detail in high-fidelity datasets.

  • N-Focus is developing a silicon-based micro-camera for use in cell phones and digital cameras. The size of the new auto focus system is 1.3 millimeters; the lens is slightly larger than mechanical pencil lead.