By Michael Haederle

Speeding Tech Transfer

UNM Wins Grant to Commercialize Biomedical Inventions

The University of New Mexico's Clinical & Translational Science Center (CTSC) will spearhead a regional effort to help biomedicine researchers develop their entrepreneurial skills to speed commercialization of their inventions, thanks to a new federal grant.

The three-year, $3.5 million Small Business Technology Transfer grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences identified UNM and the University of Montana as co-academic leads for the project, which will focus on 11 schools in seven Western states.

"The goal is to educate faculty within the various institutions on how to commercialize their research, including startup funding and finding business partners," said the CTSC's Eric Prossnitz, PhD, who will serve as UNM's principal investigator for the ASCEND grant (for Accelerating Solutions for Commercialization and Entrepreneurial Development).

"We'll be developing the educational program here in Albuquerque in partnership with Virtici, a Seattle-based product development company," he said, adding that technology transfer offices will also be established at each of the participating institutions.

The competitive grant awards to four regional business accelerators were created as part of an ongoing effort to boost biomedical research in states that historically have not received as much federal funding, said Richard S. Larson, MD, PhD, executive vice chancellor at the UNM Health Sciences Center.

UNM's application was bolstered by the fact that it previously led the formation of the regional Mountain West consortium of public universities, Larson said. "The UNM Health Sciences Center is recognized as a leader in technology transfer and economic development in this region."

"We'll be helping to accelerate the transfer of scientific discoveries to the marketplace through education," Larson said. "The grant targets faculty, but it will also be open to trainees in each institution."

In addition to UNM and University of Montana, participating universities include New Mexico State University, University of Wyoming, University of Nevada, Reno, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Montana State University, University of Idaho, University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Hawaii.

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