TCS Attends 2021 BIODigital Conference

I was excited to represent UConn at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) International Convention, BIODigital, this past June.  BIO is the world’s largest advocacy association representing member companies, state biotechnology groups, academic and research institutions, and related organizations across the United States and in 30+ countries. Due to the pandemic, the conference was virtual for the second year in a row. A virtual platform allowed me to meet with companies from all over the world.  I was excited to represent UConn as our research has developed around 100 innovative technologies. I was able to a good sense of the current of the biotechnology market, and the conference gave me the opportunity to promote UConn great research.

Throughout the conference it became clear that larger biotech companies seem to be paying more attention to early stage technologies. Rare disease technologies were a hot topic last year and remained so this year as well.  The overall impression was that companies are “hungry” for new tech and new ideas. BIODigital is a great learning and networking experience for those in the biotech industry and beyond!

Author: Ana Lena Fidantsef, Technology Licensing Associate

TCS Welcomes New Licensing Director Chris Conners

TCS welcomes Chris Conners as a new Licensing Director for Life Sciences.  Chris holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from University of Florida with a Minor in Biomechanics. While there, he was an undergraduate researcher on a project on predictive modeling for pharmaceutical air mills. Chris also has his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from University of South Florida (USF), where his dissertation focused on nanoparticle based drug delivery in the treatment of severe osteoporotic diseases.

While at USF, Chris interned in their Tech Transfer office, which led to his love for the Tech Transfer field. After his dissertation defense, he joined the Tech Transfer team at USF where he eventually ended up overseeing the life science portfolio for the university.

Now at UConn, Chris is excited to be a part of UConn’s research world: “UConn’s research base is growing every year, and there are exciting technologies coming out of the university. I am excited to help with that growth and the corresponding growth of this office. I am especially excited to participate with some of the new changes in the office, like the transition to doing more patent filings in house. Furthermore, I am excited to share my knowledge, experience and perspective with the rest of the team.”

TCS Internship Program Fosters Student Growth in Tech Transfer

A little over a year ago, TCS embarked on a journey to create a robust and impactful internship program, designed to not only support internal activities, but also to foster student growth, learning, and workforce retention within the State of Connecticut.

Starting with a single intern in the Fall of 2020, we have worked to steadily grown the program, and will have a four student cohort beginning in Fall 2021.  The impact of our interns has been tangible.  In the past year they have made a substantial contribution to our marketing and outreach activities through their efforts in creating marketing sheets, performing market surveys, identifying potential partners and licensees, and conducting active email outreach to initiate contact and relationships.  Similarly, we have seen substantial growth in the capabilities, professionalism, and critical thinking of our student interns.  It has been a pleasure to mentor and get to know these wonderful young adults.

Moving forward TCS plans to continue building on these initial successes through expansion of the Internship Program, along with the additional goal of developing a Fellows program focused on promoting diversity and inclusion within Intellectual Property-centric careers and arenas.

Author: Lindsay Sanford, Director of Licensing

 

Erin Daly, Patent Attorney, Joins the TCS Team

Erin Daly is TCS’s new Senior Manager of Intellectual Property, Life Sciences.  She is responsible for managing and growing the life sciences patent portfolio within the university.  Erin holds a juris doctorate from Suffolk University Law School and is also a registered patent practitioner with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Prior to joining UConn, Erin worked for eight years as a patent technology specialist. Her focus had been on drafting and prosecuting domestic and foreign patent applications related to pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals, chemical processes, drug delivery, chemical formulations, and crystallography. Exemplary technologies include novel chemical entities, including antibody-drug conjugates, polymers, lipid nanoparticles, isotopically-labelled compounds, oligomers, and small molecules; solid forms of compounds, such as crystalline polymorphs; methods of organic synthesis, and methods of treating various types of cancer, microbial infections, pain, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Erin also has extensive experience in organic and medicinal chemistry research. She completed her postdoctoral studies in the Guy laboratory, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where her project was directed towards developing novel therapeutic agents for targeting the assembly of the transcriptional activation complex by the androgen nuclear hormone receptor.

Prior to her postdoctoral work, Erin earned a Ph.D. in the laboratory of Professor Richard E. Taylor at the University of Notre Dame where her dissertation studies provided biophysical evidence for the bioactive conformation of the epoxide/olefinic region of the epothilone class of natural products.

I really love intellectual property law because of the juxtaposition of the law and science. Some of the best parts about this job are collaborating with top tier researchers in their field and (in a tangential way) being a part of their science by helping them obtain a patent.  I think UConn is a fantastic institution with some of the best minds in the U.S. and maybe the world. I am really looking forward to working with them!”

Welcome to TIP Digital

Welcome to TIP Digital, UConn’s newest Technology Incubation Program (TIP) initiative. TIP Digital provides disruptive data science startups the resources they need to scale their innovations. It compliments UConn’s additional existing TIP programs. “TIP Digital became a perfect complement to our Storrs and Farmington locations which mostly focus on life science and biotech startups,” states Paul Parker, Director of TIP. “We are very excited with the great amount of interest and the number of applications to join TIP Digital.

AON, a global risk and financial services company and corporate sponsor of TIP, echoes that excitement about the program’s expansion and what it means for the local ecosystem. Eric Peters from AON states, “It is a pleasure to work with the bright and innovative individuals that are a part of the TIP Program. The introduction of TIP Digital will provide even further excitement in this space!

TIP Digital currently has 7 startups across various industries and is actively seeking additional, unique startups to join. TIP startups receive access to data science, engineering, marketing and other professional resources at the university as well as the UConn Innovation Fund and Summer Fellowship program.

Sourav Sengupta, CEO & Founder of TIP Digital startup Illumu, gained access to faculty and staff to help validate his value proposition, resources otherwise difficult to obtain early on. “Being in the UConn ecosystem has led to a collaborative partnership with the Psychology department to initiate Illumu’s efficacy study.

In addition to incubating top startups, TIP Digital plays an active role in the emerging data science community in Stamford. It is funded in part by StamfordNext and CTNext who create collaborations between the public and private side to catalyze technology and entrepreneurship across Connecticut.

We see Stamford as the next major center of Artificial Intelligence and the startups at TIP Digital are the grassroots foundation of an industry which is exploding in Connecticut,” says Wes Bemus, Executive Director of StamfordNext.

If you are either a startup in growth mode and would like to join TIP Digital, or a corporation seeking to participate in TIP Digital, please contact Margaret Feeney at margaret.feeney@uconn.edu.

Author: Margaret Feeney, Director of TIP Digital

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Welcome to TCS-Margaret Feeney

Margaret Feeney is the new Director of TIP Stamford, TIP’s third location focused on Data Sciences. Prior to coming to UConn she was the Head of Innovation in the US at NatWest Markets.

“What I’m most grateful for in my career thus far is working with great people who want to make a difference, and who are motivated to create initiatives where all stakeholders (including the community) win. I’m exciting to do the same here at UConn.”

Margaret’s number one objective is to find the best and the brightest startups and bring them into the UConn ecosystem. She also wants to engage with the corporate community and see where TIP can create synergies between their goals and the work being done at TIP. Finally, Stamford has a robust community of data science professionals, Margaret hopes to find ways to collaborate with them and share the story of TIP’s ecosystem with others.

In addition to working with great people and creating partnerships Margaret is most looking forward to being able to work with so many passionate founders in her new role with TIP.

“I love working with entrepreneurs who care deeply about the problems they are solving for. Positively impacting their journey in some way is incredibly rewarding.”

Learn more about TIP Stamford

UConn Leaders Named NAI Senior Members

Technology Commercialization Services’ (TCS) Mostafa Analoui and Greg Gallo along with faculty researchers, Yupeng Chen and Changchun Liu, have been elected National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Senior Members. NAI Senior Members are chosen from active faculty, scientists, and administrators with success in patents, licensing and commercialization who have produced technologies that have the potential for a real impact on the welfare of society. Senior Members also foster a spirit of innovation within their communities through enhancing an inventive atmosphere at their institutions, while educating and mentoring the next generation of inventors.

This class of NAI Senior Members comprises 61 accomplished academic inventors representing 36 research universities, governmental entities, and non-profit institutes worldwide. They are named inventors on over 617 issued U.S. patents.

“This national distinction speaks to the dedication and reputation for innovation and entrepreneurship exhibited by UConn’s faculty, staff, and students. I’d like to congratulate Drs. Analoui, Chen, Gallo, and Liu on this well-deserved honor,” says Abhijit Banerjee, Associate Vice President for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

TCS works closely with UConn inventors and the UConn Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors to support UConn researchers through each stage of commercialization, supporting their business ventures, and promoting innovation. Being recognized for these efforts by NAI solidifies the importance of these services to researchers and the value TCS experts can provide for faculty inventors.

The UConn Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI-UConn) was established in 2017 to promote scientific innovation and inventorship across all disciplines in the UConn community. The chapter develops educational and mentorship programs around invention and inventorship and also increases awareness regarding innovation and encourage the disclosure of intellectual property. NAI-UConn drives engagement by bringing academia and industry together and creates a platform to share the lessons learned by UConn inventors and other research communities in Connecticut.

“As CEO of the Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering and President of the UConn Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), I am thrilled that four UConn innovators have been selected as NAI Senior Members. Their commitment to innovation and inventorship is inspiring and speaks to the true essence of superior inventors we have here at UConn,”Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, who is also Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery.

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