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The newsletter of The University of Texas System Office of Technology Commercialization

Summer & Fall 2012

It’s About Time How revolutionary technology from a UT HSC–Houston spin-out is mitigating the negative effects of strokes.


Better, Stronger, Faster


A new venture fund for UT System startups

Commercialization highlights from around UT System institutions over the past year

15 UT System Institutions, 15 twitter feeds to follow

A message from the Vice Chancellor

Welcome to the first edition of Horizons – a publication of The University of Texas System (UT System) Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC). Big things are afoot at the UT System OTC. Beginning in the Fall of 2011, OTC was realigned to be a part of the Office of General Counsel. The new alignment increases efficiency by leveraging important working relationships across all staff levels and will create an even closer working relationship between myself as General Counsel and Bryan Allinson, Executive Director of Technology Commercialization and Advisory Services, to better serve the UT System’s commercialization goals. Combined with the launch of the UT System Horizon Fund and establishment of the Chancellor’s Technology Commercialization Advisory Cabinet, the UT System is committing more resources and sharpening focus on elevating UT System commercialization to the very top of the market.



BARRY BURGDORF Vice Chancellor and General Counsel

We hope you enjoy Horizons and will stay with us as we launch even more initiatives in this vital area, in the months to come. – Barry Burgdorf

B R YA N A L L I N S O N Executive Director

CONTENTS On The Horizon 1 In Brief 2 It’s About Time Technology Showcase Chancellor’s Technology Cabinet Technology Transfer and Research Committee

4 6

ABOUT HORIZONS Horizons is published by the Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) at the University of Texas System. Horizons is dedicated to showcasing the newest developments in technology


commercialization at the UT System, as well as detailing new ventures coming from


within the OTC. For additional information about Horizons or its contents, contact us via email at

The University

of Texas System

Horizon Fund An exclusive UT startup venture fund

“Soon, I envision a larger fund focused on serving all of the venture needs of the UT System, including thematic partnership, multi-institutional collaborations and staffed by principals with experience in different

UT HORIZON FUND AT A GLANCE The new venture development aspect focuses on providing UT System startups with experienced business leaders who will allow

strategic fields,” said Allinson. “The fund will

the ventures to be successful, as well as

also make use of entrepreneurs-in-residence

positioning the companies for success through

to help establish and grow new ventures.”

the proof of relevance stage of product

seeks to expand entrepreneurial opportunities

development. One of the most critical steps for

and enhance the University’s stake in

The Horizon Fund has already invested in

new companies is seasoned guidance during

its investments

several companies, and with plans for

the proof of concept stages of development.

expanding its scope, it’s fast becoming the

Funding to attract skilled entrepreneurs affords

The University of Texas System (UT System)

centerpiece of the UT System’s efforts to

has the abundance of talent and brilliant

commercialize its institutions’ technologies

minds necessary to bring new and ground-

and deliver the ideas of its faculty and

breaking innovations to the world. But

researchers to the world.

translating ideas into usable technologies isn’t always easy, and for faculty and students, with limitations on time necessary

Horizon Fund Competition supports student-led technology

to commercialize research, the challenges

leadership and experience for new companies that they would otherwise be without. Helping startups through these steps by decreasing the chance of failure equates to better returns for the UT System. The existing venture development aspect concentrates on maintaining the UT System’s equity in its investments. Diluting equity in

can be daunting. The UT System’s Horizon

While the UT Horizon Fund aims to improve

previous investments can cause the UT System

Fund aims bridge the gap between the

commercialization of UT technologies and

to miss out on returns that could otherwise

emerging technologies coming out of UT

returns on previous investments, the Fund’s

be put toward future research and ventures.

and their real world applications.

Student Investment Competition (SIC) strives

For example, Stanford’s co-investment in

to improve returns of our most valuable asset A mutually beneficial, two-way street, the

—our students.

Horizon Fund focuses on funding new and existing ventures while striving to provide

The SIC seeks promising technology-based

the UT System with the potential for a return

enterprise opportunities led by students

on investment.

from all 15 UT System institutions. Only students who are attending a UT System

“The UT Horizon Fund is the strategic fund

institution or who have recently graduated

of the UT System focusing on UT owned

from one are eligible to participate. The SIC

technologies, assets, faculty and students,”

integrates with and enhances existing

said Bryan Allinson, Executive Director of the

investment competitions, such as Texas

Office of Technology Commercialization. “A

Venture Labs at UT Austin.

startup that has not licensed a UT owned IP is not eligible for investment.”

The SIC is not a challenge for students with a new idea or plan for development or

The Horizon Fund is comprised of both new

implementation of an idea. Rather, it’s a

and existing venture development. This ensures

competition for proposals representing real

that the Fund will be able to reach ventures

opportunities for real UT System investment

at any stage in the development process.

returns, but lacking the funding necessary for proposal enactment.

The $10 million dollar Fund is evergreen,

Google prior to its IPO resulted in $336 million going back to the university1. Ensuring that previous investments are being followed up on and protected will safeguard the UT System’s stake in these startups and garner greater returns for the System. 1 stanford_earns_336_million_off_google_stock/

SIC Finalists included UTSA, UTHSCSA, UTD and UT Austin This past June, UT student Jordan Kaufmann’s startup Cardiovate was named the Student Investment Competition winner for 2012. A recent biomedical engineering Ph.D. graduate of the UTSA College of Engineering, Jordan is helping Cardiovate develop a new stent-graft that has been shown to prevent aneurysm leakage following cardiovascular surgery. Other finalists included Prinda Wanakule

meaning that generated returns are put back

The SIC top prize winner receives $50k in

(UT Austin, biomedical engineering), Daniel

into the Fund for contribution toward other

seed investment funding with additional

Mendez (UTSA, mechanical engineering), and

investments and to grow the Fund itself.

co-investment opportunities available through

a team of students from UT Dallas and UT

the Horizon Fund’s New Ventures program.

Austin: Alejandro Chapa (UTD), Johnathan Plappert (UT Austin) and Landon Elfenbein (UTD). HORIZONS HORIZONS



All Systems Go

Next generation network gives UT System institutions the edge

In early 2012, the planned secure data and large

bring high-performance computer connectivity

volume repository of the UT System’s Research

across all 15 UT institutions. The upgraded network

Cyberinfrastructure (UTRC) initiative came online,

will allow for transmission and reception of data of

marking a major milestone in UTRC’s progress.

up to 10 gigabits per second. Additionally, the TACC now operates the Lonestar 4 super computing

The initiative is comprised of three components: a

system and has made it available to all researchers

high bandwidth inter-institution network, access to

within the UT System.

top-of-the-line computing and visualization resources at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at

“Lonestar is one of the most powerful supercomput-

UT Austin, and the recently completed secure data

ing systems in the world dedicated to open science

repository. The shared data storage housed at UT

research and thus provides researchers at System

Arlington and UT Austin will give researchers from

institutions with a scientific— and competitive—

different locations access to a single data source.

advantage,” said TACC Director Jay Boisseau. “Our staff is supporting researchers with new projects in

Chris Jordan, leader of the Data Management and

science, engineering, and biomedical research that

Collections group at TACC and chair of the storage

will enable important new discoveries to be made

committee for the UTRC initiative, explains, “At five

here in Texas.”

petabytes of initial raw capacity, the data repository component of the UTRC will provide a highly scalable

The three components are designed to work together

and reliable pool of storage to researchers at all

and enhance one another, giving all System institu-

System institutions, providing a high performance

tions access to a world-class computing system. The

solution to address the data management challenges

projects were funded by a $23 million allocation by

of 21st century research.”

the UT System Board of Regents.

Part of Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa’s Framework for Advancing Excellence Action Plan, the UTRC will

UT Austin professor formulates tamper-proof oxycontin UT Austin professor Dr. James W. McGinnity has developed a new oral formulation of oxycontin with time-delay binding agents to circumvent abuse by drug addicts. Marketed by Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the tamper-proof formulation is expected to generate more than $1 billion in revenue with UT Austin receiving significant royalties. In August 2011, UT Austin presented Dr. James W. McGinnity

preliminary results to the UT System Board of Regents, Technology Transfer and Research Committee.

UT System awarded cancer prevention, research grants



Three UT System health institutions

and Research Institute of Texas

will fund six research projects

were awarded over $13 million in

(CPRIT). UT Southwestern Medical

aimed at prevention efforts for

grants from the state to support

Center received $5.6 million, UT

several different types of cancer,

cancer prevention and research.

Health Science Center at Houston

including breast, cervix and colon

The awards amount to nearly half

received $4.7 million and UT Health

cancers. CPRIT has awarded grants

of the $29 million distributed

Science Center at San Antonio

to eleven UT System institutions

annually by the Cancer Prevention

received $2.7 million. The grants

since its inception in 2007.

TxMRC Brings the Best


Mehrdad Nourani, Ph.D., and principal investigator of the “Smart Bed” project

UTD and principal investigator for the “Smart

of Texas System’s academic institutions

The Texas Medical Research Collaborative

including engineering and computer technology

Bed” project affirms that collaboration allows

(TxMRC), a research partnership between

from UT Arlington and UT Dallas”, said Dale

clinicians to explain needs to be addressed.

several Texas-based health and engineering

Klein, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic

Engineers then offer solutions for implemen-

institutions, has distributed funding for new

Affairs at UT Austin.

tation back to the real world.

research projects across the state. The projects, presented by engineers and medical

“TxMRC helps create and establish bedside

The “Smart Bed” will be able to detect early

researchers from North Texas, will receive

to bench to bedside collaborations. Clinicians

onset of a pressure ulcer and use technology

assistance by faculty from The University of

help identify problems that can be solved by

to analyze, monitor and redistribute pressure.

Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

engineers and scientists at UT who can then

This proof-of-concept prototype will be a part

in turn work to deliver better products and

of a larger collaborative project to be submit-

Founded in 2009, TxMRC has given $1.2 million

services back to the clinical bedside,” said

ted to the National Science Foundation.

in grants. This year, they distributed $500,000.

Patricia Hurn, Associate Vice Chancellor for

Partners include UT Arlington, UT Dallas, The

Health Affairs at the UT System.

Without the collaboration facilitated by TxMRC, brainstorming and identifying solutions

University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas Instruments and

Researchers that have received TxMRC

involved in the development of the “Smart

Texas Health Research & Education Institute.

funding have high praise for the benefits

Bed” would be more difficult and less stream-

Past TxMRC Grant Recipients

“This effort brings top minds from the University

Human-Robot Interaction System for Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Childhood Autism Spectrum Disorders (RoDiCA)

collaborations provide. Mehrdad Nourani,

lined. Research and new funding sources for

Ph.D., professor of electrical engineering at

further development are currently underway.

A Wireless Micro Gastro-Stimulator for Treatment of Severe Gastric Dysmotility

Cerebrospinal Fluid Flow Measurement and Monitoring for Ventricular Shunts

Jung-Chih Chiao, UTA

Mehrdad Nourani, UTD

Dereje Agonafer, UTA Hoi Lee, UTD

Dan Popa, UTA

Jin Liu, UTD

Nicoleta Burgnariu, UNTHSC

Rajeev Jain, THPHD

New search engine gives public easy access to patent information

Non-Invasive Salivary Diagnostics of Diabetics Using Sensitive Nanoelectric Biosensor Strip

Embedding Passive Wireless Shear/Pressure Sensors in Shoes for Diabetic Foot Diagnostics and Ulcer Prevention

Zeynep Celik-Butler, UTA

Walter Hu, UTD

Haiying Huang, UTA

Donald Butler, UTA

Paul Bowman, UNTHSC

Bhaskar Banerjee, UTD

Sabatino Bianco, THAMH

Nusrath Habiba, UNTHSC

Matthew Pompeo, THPHD

Kimberly Fulda, UNTHSC

Travis Motley, UNTHSC

tors to search data compiled from

and heightened efforts to improve

overseeing developing technologies

research, news, facilities and laborato-

and extend the reach of our technology

at their respective institutions.

ries across the entire UT System.

transfer across the UT System. The search engine makes it easy for

The new system streamlines the

“The launch of this technology and

potential investors to find out every-

process of searching through the vast

research database with public search

thing they need to know about any

amount of UT System-produced

capabilities is the culmination of a vi-

patent or technology coming from the

research. And by making this informa-

sion the UT System has had for quite

UT System.”

tion easily available to the public, it

Searching for research and patent

some time,” said Barry Burgdorf, UT

assets at any UT System institution

System Vice Chancellor and General

Patent searches will also yield contact

of research into commercially

is about to get much easier. A new

Counsel. “It serves two important goals

information for technology commer-

feasible opportunities and help the

search engine will soon allow visi-

of the Board of Regents – transparency

cialization officers responsible for

System to realize investment returns.

will help facilitate the transformation



It’s About Time Cerevast’s new ultrasound stroke treatment device may be the key to making up for delayed treatment and the reason many patients will be able to fully recover.



Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of serious, long-term adult disability. Reducing delays in treatment can save lives and limit disabilities.

About 87 percent of all strokes are ischemic. These strokes occur when the arteries that carry blood to the brain become blocked and cannot deliver sufficient oxygen and nutrients to the brain cells. A lack of oxygen can cause these cells to die, resulting in permanent brain damage and eventually death. Ischemic strokes are commonly caused by blood clots that interrupt blood flow in an area of the brain. People suffering from this type of stroke stand a better chance of avoiding long-term disability when given clot-busing intravenous thrombolysis within three hours of the first symptom. Unfortunately, due to patient and emergency staff delays, only a small fraction of ischemic stroke patients receive thrombolytic therapy when it matters most, leaving doctors in critical need of a faster, more precise and more reliable method of treatment. With its revolutionary Clotbust ER™ stroke treatment device, Cerevast Therapeutics—a University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston spin-out and one of the first companies to receive funding from the UT Horizon Fund—hopes to give patients suffering from ischemic stroke a fighting chance at a full recovery. With the introduction of the revolutionary Clotbust ER™, Cerevast is reducing barriers to critical stroke treatment. Designed for rapid deployment in the emergency room setting, the Clotbust ER™ uses non-invasive techniques to deliver therapeutic levels of ultrasound energy to “lyse” or disrupt blood clots and dissipate occluded vessels affected by ischemic stroke, when used in combination with intravenous thrombolytic therapy. Integrated software ensures delivery of consistent therapeutic levels of the ultrasound energy required to achieve acoustic streaming, i.e., transformation of ultrasound beam energy into energy of fluid motion, making Clotbust ER™ operator independent.

personnel, paramedics and other health care professionals will be empowered to help people in critical need of stroke treatment.

Above: Cerevast’s new Clotbust ER system

“The Clotbust ER™ significantly reduces the technical challenges associated with the administration of transcranial ultrasound for the treatment of ischemic stroke,” said Bradford A. Zakes, CEO of Cerevast. “Unlike conventional Doppler instruments that are designed and approved for diagnostic purposes only, the Clotbust ER™ delivers therapeutic ultrasound energy to the region of the occlusion without the need to aim the transducer or hold it in place by hand for extended periods of time.” Recognized by the American Heart Association as one of the top three single most important contributions to the advancement of stroke treatment, the Clotbust ER™ clinical trial results support the use of ultrasound in reducing the harmful effects of stroke already in progress and in repairing some if not all of the damage done by the stroke. Cerevast has already received approval to commercialize Clotbust ER™ in Europe, and with the pending success of current trials, hopes to bring it to the United States and other areas of the world soon. “The operator-independent design of the Clotbust ER™ enables safe, fast and reliable amplification of systemic thrombolytic treatment in the emergency room setting,” said Andrei Alexandrov, MD, Professor of Neurology and Director, UAB Comprehensive Stroke Research Center. “I look forward to the benefit this product will bring to those patients that

suffer the debilitating effects of an ischemic stroke.”

Dr. Alexandrov, formerly with UTHSC-H at the time of the invention, is one of the inventors on the patents now licensed to Cerevast. To learn more about Cerevast and Clotbust ER,™ visit

With proprietary software managing the treatment process, Clotbust ER™ removes the need for—and potential delays associated with—securing the assistance of a trained sonographer or vascular technician in an already stressful emergency room setting. Because Clotbust ER™ requires the absolute minimum level of expertise for operation, emergency room All information and pictures courtesy of 2011 Cerevast Executive Summary

Above: Graph showing results of the CLOTBUST clinical trial. Marked improvements in both short-term as well as long-term treatments when the Clotbust ER was used in conjunction with traditional H O R I Zmethods. ONS HORIZONS



New primer will lead to stronger roads and a cleaner environment The University of Texas at Austin has patented technology behind Terra-Prime, a new environmentally friendly primer for the construction and maintanence of roads and pavements.



The technology is licensed to TERRA PAVE International

Terra-Prime is a carbonaceous material stabilizer

and has been proven to perform at the same level as

primer for the construction and maintaining of roads

MC-30 cutback asphalt in permeability and penetra­tion,

and pavements developed by Dr. Yetkin Yildirim,

but above all, is more environmentally friendly than

Director of Texas Pavement Preservation Center in the

MC-30 and similar alternatives. While MC-30 coats

UT Austin Cockrell School of Engineering.

have a curing time of 6-7 days, Terra-Prime can be cured in half of that time. Road coats prepared using

Pursuit of an environmentally safe replacement to

Terra Prime have an 8-9 times increase in strength

MC-30 gave rise to a new technology for road

using penetrometer.

pavement primers known as Terra-Prime. Based on superior performance tests, environmental benefits

Moreover, a current testing program, sponsored by

and economic profile, Terra-Prime has the potential to

UT Austin, revealed that modified formulations of

replace MC-30, a primer used globally to stabilize

Terra-Prime, namely Top Seal Black and Terra Fog,

roads and as an asphalt wearing surface.

have the potential for other uses as well.


There are 18.4 million miles of road construction worldwide, 4 million in the US and 0.7 million in Texas. The composition of soil found at these worksites varies greatly and often requires stabilization since changes in composition affect road performance greatly. The most widely used primer in the world today is MC-30, a flammable and toxic substance banned in many areas and one which requires extra infrastructure to safe-gaurd, distribute and apply. Considering the risks of existing products, a research project was performed at UT-Austin which resulted in the invention of Terra-Prime. Tests show it has the highest strength among all tested prime coat materials, both under dry and wet conditions, and surpassing, many times over, the threshold of MC-30. As the world moves towards green technologies, the invention of Terra-Prime may bring about a revolution in the use of prime coat layer. It’s an environmentally-friendly product with no VOC emissions, cures faster than MC-30 and works with existing application equpiment, avoiding any extra financial burden to the industry. Given these advantages, Terra Prime is well-positioned to replace MC-30 as the leading prime coat sealant in the world.



UTEP startup recreates ancient Mayan pigments

from umbilical cord blood on a

StemBioSys is advancing ongoing

global scale.

research and bringing the world closer to realizing the stem cell

Stem cells are the cornerstone

Chevron, UT Austin, addressing the demand for oil

therapy promise.

After some 15 years of rigorous

of regenerative medicine, which

research at UT El Paso (UTEP)

seeks to restore tissues

laboratories and in Central

deteriorated by age, disease or

America, Mayan Pigments, Inc.,

injury. Dr. Chen’s work focuses

has unlocked the secret to

on the isolation, expansion and

Founded in 2005 based on

(a subsidiary of Chevron

creating organic, brilliant

use of native, pluripotent

intellectual property developed

Corporation) signed a

Terapio tech combats radiation exposure

The University of Texas at Austin and the Chevron Energy Technology Company

and enduring pigments like

mesenchymal stem cells

at UT Arlington by Dr. Sanjay

licensing agreement bringing

those still brightly visible in

(MSCs) isolated from umbilical

Awasth, Terapio Corporation is

together two world-class

Mayan ruins.

cord blood. Thanks to their

developing a pipeline of

organizations to address the

pluripotency— the ability to

therapeutic applications based

growing demand for oil.

Mayan Pigments, Inc., a UTEP

differentiate into multiple types

on the unique properties of

startup, has been working

of body cells and tissues —

RLIP76, a transport protein that

With more countries

closely with a West Coast

these MSCs have the potential

moves large molecules across

industrializing and relying on

producer of all natural, non-toxic

for broad clinical applications.

cell membranes.

oil to run their economies,

and environmentally friendly

While dubbed “embryonic-like”

arts and crafts products. Red,

MSCs, they are not from embryos.

blue and yellow pigments are being supplied by Mayan

“It has been widely assumed that

mature oil fields are nearing The first application of Terapio’s

the end of their primary cycles

technology is as a radiation

and previously discarded

countermeasure, which studies

methods for enhanced oil

very small numbers of MSCs

have shown to significantly

recovery methods are being

exist in umbilical cord blood, but

increase the overall survival rate

re-evaluated. To address this

StemBioSys’ novel extracellular

after exposure to lethal doses of

emerging issue, Dr. Gary A.

by Mayan frescoes,

matrix (ECM) can isolate and

radiation. A second application is

Pope, a researcher and the

the U.S.-manufac-

expand these in far greater

for a promising drug delivery platform.

director of the Center for

tured pigments

numbers,” Dr. Davis said.

and are key colorants in the company’s paints and crayons. Inspired

are free of heavy

Petroleum and Geosystems Noting the potential of these

Engineering at UT Austin has

metals and created

One challenge with expanding

and other applications, Santé

developed a new type of

using an eco-friendly

the stem cells is that they lose

Ventures has provided Terapio

surfactants to enable oil to

their capacity to become differ-

$5 million in equity financing.

be obtained from areas with

ent types of cells. StemBioSys

Terapio previously received $3.2

too high of a water content to

solves this problem too.

million from the Texas Emerging

be recovered using traditional

Technology Fund, the National

methods. Enhanced oil

Institutes of Health and angel

recovery provides an opportu-


nity to produce more oil from

process that produces only water as the by-product.

Tapping the potential of embryo-free stem cells

“Our lab has developed a system to rapidly expand [MSCs] and slow down the loss of their stem

StemBioSys, a biomedical

cell properties,” said Dr. Chen.

existing and sometimes nearly “We have been following this company’s scientific progress

company led by Steven A. Davis,

depleted oil fields throughout the world.

M.D., chief executive officer,

The StemBioSys’ system is

since inception,” said Santé

and Xiao-Dong Chen, M.D.,

based on four pending patents,

Ventures Managing Director,

Find more information at

Ph.D., chief scientific officer and

all of which are licensed. The

Kevin Lalande. “While keenly

an associate professor in the

first is for the ECM, the second

aware of the challenging

Dental School at the UT Health

is for a method of isolating

fundraising environment for

Science Center at San Antonio,

stem cells from umbilical cord

early-stage biopharmaceutical companies, we nevertheless

has entered into a licensing

blood and the remaining two

agreement with South Texas

are focused on the use of the

found in Terapio a compelling

Technology Management to

cells themselves.

combination of platform technology with applications in

commercialize a new system to isolate and expand stem cells

With its novel technologies,

multiple large target markets.” HORIZONS HORIZONS



UT Southwestern Medical Center startup AIMs for success

UT Austin battery tech positive for economy and environment UT Austin is partnering with Hydro-Quebec, Canada’s largest electricity generator and the world’s largest hydroelectricity

Chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

generator, to commercialize new

(COPD), Alzheimer’s, cancer — the more intractable the disease

lithium-ion rechargeable batteries

the greater the need for breakthrough medicines. Translating

developed by Dr. John B.

innovative science into such medicine is what UT Southwestern

Goodenough, Professor and

startup Reata Pharmaceuticals is on a mission to do.

Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering.

Founded in 2002, Reata is developing a portfolio of oral drugs that mimic the body’s natural mechanisms for regulating

Recipient of the 2009 Enrico

inflammation. These new drugs, called antioxidant inflammation

Fermi Award and 2001 Japan Prize,

modulators (AIMs), target the Nrf2 protein that protects against

Goodenough’s research led to

inflammation and oxidative stress.

lighter, longer-lasting batteries. In addition to being inexpensive and

By activating Nrf2, AIMs help promote the production of a wide

capable of thousands of charge

range of antioxidant, detoxification and anti-inflammatory genes,

cycles without capacity loss,

helping the body to more aggressively defend itself from a host

Goodenough’s technology provides

of difficult to treat chronic inflammatory diseases.

a safe and environmentally friendly solution for transportation

Reata’s most advanced AIM has proven extremely effective in

and storage applications, and is

combating chronic kidney disease, a condition that affects over

expected to have an enormous

26 million Americans. Now in a pivotal Phase III trial, the hope is

impact on the U.S. economy.

that the drug can be developed into a therapeutic agent that can

The partnership includes down-

reverse the effects of diabetic

stream royalties and represents

kidney disease.

the UT Austin’s largest ever up front payment.

Since incorporation, Reata has raised $215 million in private financing, the majority of which has come from investors in Texas.

UTMB grants worldwide license for cannula technology

In 2010, it secured business development funding worth over

The UT Medical Branch-Galveston

$1 billion, comprised in part of

granted a worldwide exclusive

funds from a co-development deal

license to Avalon Laboratories for a

with Abbott Laboratories, which

novel double lumen extracorporeal

ranks as the largest agreement of Above: Reata’s bardoxolone methyl AIM is in final stages of testing while various

medical tube) developed by

Abbott was announced in 2011.

Joseph Zwischenberger, M.D. and Dongfang Wang, M.D. The

other AIM’s are still in pre-clinical trials. Image courtesy of Reata.

life support (ECLS) cannula (i.e.,

its kind in the history of the industry. A second agreement with

Reata is a prime example how a University of Texas System

new ECLS cannula can be placed

institution can transform discovery into major biotech advance-

into a vessel without surgical

ment, and ultimately help people suffering from debilitating

incision. It also provides total


respiratory support for ICU

More information can be found at and

external pump and oxygenator.

patients when coupled with an HORIZONS HORIZONS


- Daniel Oh President, GenOsteo

GenOsteo—UTSA’s first faculty startup, first company to receive an IP license and first New Venture incubator company —joined with Austin-based SpineSmith Partners to bring new synthetic scaffold technology to market. The UTSA-developed scaffold uses adult stem cells (ASCs) to produce highly effective bone graft material for use in spinal fusion operations and to restore bone loss due to trauma or disease.

“Our scaffold offers surgeons a new and better way to deliver ASCs to promote bone formation,” said Daniel Oh, President and CSO of GenOsteo and a member of the development team. “Delivering the right type of cells on the right scaffold will improve clinical results in orthopedic bone grafting procedures.” What was formerly a teaching university is slowly becoming a source of cutting edge biomedical technologies.

New group brings commercialization expertise to the UT System

“This is the first example of UTSA bringing together the right environment of faculty research, university policy, IP management and collaboration with the business community to launch faculty-initiated technology ventures from the university,” said Cory Hallam, Director of the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship. “[It’s] truly an example of UTSA’s continued climb toward being a Tier One research university.”


“When the technology reaches the market, we expect it to become the product of choice for orthopedic and neurosurgeons who recognize the need for better bone graft materials.”



The newly formed Chancellor’s Technology Commercialization Advisory Cabinet is dedicated to transforming research and discoveries into technologies that will fulfill

David G. Booth

Thomas J. Meredith

Charles W. Tate

Chairman, Co-CEO Dimensional Fund Advisors

Co-founder, General Partner Meritage Capital, LP

Chairman, Founding Partner Capital Royalty

Clint W. Bybee

James J. Mulva

Ralph B. Thomas

Co-founder, Managing Director ARCH Venture Partners

Chairman, CEO ConocoPhillips

Senior VP, Portfolio Manager Fayez Sarofim & Co.

Ernest H. Cockrell

Ron Nixon

John D. Thornton

President, Director The Cockrell Foundation

Co-founding Principal The Catalyst Group, Inc.

General Partner Austin Ventures

Jonathan J. Fleming

Robert B. Rowling

Rex W. Tillerson

Managing General Partner Oxford Bioscience Partners

Owner, Chairman TRT Holdings, Inc.

Chairman, CEO ExxonMobil

the University of Texas System mission while benefitting society. “The [Cabinet] is extremely important because it allows UT System leadership to receive constructive input from the private sector and learn first hand from both successes and failures in the commercialization arena,” said UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa. “The Cabinet will be pivotal in enhancing [our] effectiveness in translating discoveries and inventions from our faculty to the benefit of humanity.”

Dr. Joseph C. Salamone Co-founder Polymer Technology Corporation HORIZONS HORIZONS



Decades of research at UTHSCT yields potential treatment for lung disease The Center for Biomedical Research at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler is developing SalvapaseTM —a treatment for plueral disease in the lungs commonly caused by pneumonia, cancer and tuberculosis—to replace expensive and invasive existing treatments.


SalvapaseTM scuPA, also known as SalvapaseTM, is a new therapeutic

scuPA technology also represents the first ever

approach to treating loculation and scar formation in

funded project by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood

the lung pleural space.

Institute through the SMARTT program (Science Moving towArds Research Translation and Therapy),

A new, non-surgical technology, scuPA’s advantages

supporting the transition of potential new therapies

include resistance to inhibition/inactivation, a high

for heart, lung, and blood diseases from the lab to the

degree of dosing latitude and bioavailability in 24 hrs

testing needed to establish their safety and effectiveness

(normally an impediment for a successful druggable

in people.

compound). Clinical trials, expected in the next 2-3 years, will study To date, the project is funded by the Fisch Foundation,

whether or not scuPA may decrease morbidity and

the Riter Foundation, the Genecov Foundation and

shorten time spent in the hospital.

previously the UT System Texas Ignition Fund (TIF).


Pleural disease and infection affects 80,000 people in the US and UK annually. The disease encompasses many different conditions including the scarring of tissue, the accumulation of fluid in membranes and the escape of air from the lungs into the chest cavity. Although pleural disease does not actually, at first, infect the lungs themselves, it does damage the lining of the lungs, called pleura, and impair lung function. Patients suffering from ventricular failure, cirrhosis, bacterial pneumonia, cancer and tuberculosis— just some of the leading causes of pleural infection—are expected to benefit greatly by the advances made by UTHSCT and scuPA technology by attempting to deliver a therapeutic (druggable) intervention to replace a costly and harmful surgical treatment.



UTSA grad student develops

A new stent-graft named TESAR has been shown to prevent aneurysm leakage following cardiovascular surgery and has the potential to prevent tens of thousands of aortic aneurysm ruptures, ultimately reducing health care costs and complications for patients.


TESAR (Cardiovate) Tissue Engineering Scaffold for Aneurysm Repair

Also, the natural tissue is a better match for biological

(TESAR) creates a tissue barrier between the blood

healing than the materials found in traditional stent-grafts.

and the aneurysm after it is implanted. The scaffold promotes healthy tissue formation to repave the

Developed jointly between UTHSCSA and UTSA,

aneurysm wall. Once the scaffold is in place, the

graduate student Jordan Kaufmann, working with

aneurysm stops expanding and the risk of rupture

Dr. Mauli Agrawal (Dean of Engineering at UTSA) and

decreases. After new tissue is in place, the scaffold

Steven Bailey (division chief for cardiology at UTHSCSA),

degrades and is safely reabsorbed by the body.

designed the unique stent-graft as part of her doctoral


one-of-a-kind stent

research in biomedical engineering. The stent represents The technology has been shown in the laboratory to

the only one of its kind in the $507 million cardiovas-

reduce post-operative complications during aneurysm

cular stent-graft market.

repair surgery such as the need for additional corrective surgeries following the initial procedure.


About 1.2 million people in the U.S. suffer from an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Aneurysm rupture is the nation’s 13th leading cause of death with surgeons performing about 65,000 abdominal aortic aneurysm repairs annually. However, one out of every six patients experiences stent-graft leakage from traditional stent-grafts in the month following surgery and additionally, 20 to 30 percent of patients require corrective surgery as much as six to eight years later. An abdominal aortic aneurysm is when the large blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs becomes abnormally large or balloons outward. The exact cause is unknown, but risk factors for developing an aortic aneurysm include: Smoking, High blood pressure, High cholesterol, Male gender, Emphysema, Genetic factors, Obesity. An abdominal aortic aneurysm can develop in anyone, but is most often seen in males over 60 who have one or more risk factors. The larger the aneurysm, the more likely it is to rupture and break open.



One Committee,



From evergreen funding to enhanced intelligence, the newly formed Technology Transfer and Research Committee is set on putting the UT System at the top of the nation for research commercialization and ROI.

FYI In 2011, the Association of University Technology Managers ranked US universities in several different categories. At right is how the UT System fared.

2nd 3rd 4th 5th







an exemplary and transformative education experience, the University of Texas System is preparing the next generation of innovators, problem solvers, educators and leaders. It’s what the University of Texas (UT) System is known for and why we’re one of the top university systems in the country. Less obvious but imperative to our high-level of success are the behind-the-scenes resources afforded by UT System business activities. In a struggling economy where state funding is less and less reliable, ensuring the greatest return on our most valuable assets—the innovations of our staff and students–is more important than ever. BY PROVIDING

Enter the Technology Transfer and Research (TTR) Committee. Established in 2011, the TTR Committee is dedicated to the effective management of UT System resources and commercialization of its world-class research and technologies. In addition to ensuring the UT System with greater financial returns, the Committee is helping the UT System to improve Texas communities, industries and economies as well as those of the entire world. James Dannenbaum, Chairman of the committee, said “the TTR committee has its sights set on improving commercialization at the UT System and its member institutions.” FROM OB STACLES TO OPPORTUNITIES

Before engaging in new efforts, the UT System needed to identify roadblocks standing in the way. The Changing Landscape of Technology Commercialization Symposium, dedicated to the sharing of ideas, insights and best practices that drive success in the commercialization of intellectual property, provided the perfect opportunity. Upon closer examination, two key issues rose to the top:


Focus on sustainable commercialization By focusing on sustainability, the UT System can more effectively commercialize technologies without relying on short-term, one-time successes.


Lack of early stage capital, limited awareness By connecting better with investors and entrepreneurs, the UT System had a greater chance of getting startups off the ground.

While the UT System was brimming with talent and innovation, it wasn’t fully protecting its assets nor pursuing opportunities. By refining and reinvesting into the commercialization processes, the UT System can position itself for improved returns on patents, licensing and startups.

Meet “The TTR committee has its sights set on improving commercialization at the UT System and its member institutions.”


• Horizon Fund • Research and Technology search engine • Increased technology commercialization intelligence and education

To fulfill its mission, the TTR Committee approved several different initiatives laid out by the Office of - James Dannenbaum Chairman, TTR Committee Technology Commercialization (OTC) including the Horizon Fund, a new Research and Technology search engine, and increased intelligence and education around UT System’s technology commercialization. The Horizon Fund* — a strategic evergreen fund used to invest in ideas and scientific breakthroughs developed at UT institutions — is up and running and has already started investing in UT startups. “The University of Texas secures very valuable investment rights from the success of its enormous capacity for innovation and invention,” said Regent Alex Cranberg. “Until now, our otherwise highly capable System has had little ability to take advantage of these potentially lucrative opportunities.” The hope is that the Fund’s Existing Ventures Program will bring the UT System’s license income up to par with the nation’s other leading universities. Likewise, the Research and Technology search engine, which debuted in March 2012, allows the public and potential investors to get a better look at what the UT System has to offer in terms of assets and investment opportunities. “I’m excited about the potential of the Research and Technology search engine to connect scientists and funders working on related problems in cross disciplinary ways,” said Cranberg. “Better information infrastructure such as this will help taxpayers and students who fund much UT research to better understand the value of their important investment.” Additionally, the UT System has taken steps to fulfill its objectives of gaining intelligence and education. Hard at work since the 2011 Symposium, TTR Committee initiatives are starting to yield results, signaling a new era of discovery and promise of future success. *For more information on the UT Horizon Fund, visit


Comm i t t e e

James D. Dannenbaum A UT Austin alumnus with a degree in civil engineering, Regent Dannenbaum was named “Engineer of the Year for 2004” by the Greater Houston Chapter of Texas Society of Professional Engineers, and “2004 TSPE Outstanding Engineer of the Year for the State of Texas” by the Texas Society of Professional Engineers. Regent Dannenbaum is active in various UT organizations including the Chancellor’s Council, the President’s Associates, the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Development Board, and the Medical School Advisory Committee. Mr. Dannenbaum has also served as a member of the board of the Society for the Performing Arts, the Sam Houston Council Boy Scouts of America, and the March of Dimes.

R. Steven Hicks A veteran of the radio industry, Regent Hicks founded and served as chief executive officer of Capstar Broadcasting Corporation. In 1996, he was honored as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and was recognized as Broadcaster of the Year by the Texas Association of Broadcasters. Mr. Hicks serves on numerous charitable and professional boards including Harden Healthcare, DMX, Andrew Harper, CPO Commerce, Healthtronics, Inc., and Austin Recovery.

Alex M. Cranberg Mr. Cranberg is Chairman of Aspect Holdings, LLC., which has drilled over 500 exploration wells and made many oil and gas discoveries in Texas and Louisiana, Belize, Hungary, and Kurdistan. Aspect has also founded numerous venture technology-driven oil field service companies. Mr. Cranberg has been active in education philanthropy; he founded the Alliance for Choice in Education, which has provided tens of millions of dollars in scholarship support for children from low-income families to attend private schools.

Brenda Pejovich Ms. Pejovich is CEO of BFG Management Company LLC and Brenda Pejovich Group LLC, a North Texas based operations consulting and executive search firm. Her public service record includes gubernatorial appointments to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Texas Building & Procurement Commission, and Texas Mutual Insurance Company. Ms. Pejovich is cofounder of the Professor Svetozar Pejovich Future Leaders Award and a prime sponsor of the World War II Memorial located on the capitol grounds in Austin, Texas.

Printice L. Gary Mr. Gary founded Carleton Residential Properties in 1991 and serves as its Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner. He has served on the Boards of the Dallas Citizens Council, the North Texas Tollway Authority, Pro-line Corporation and the Texas Tax Reform Commission. He currently serves on the board of the Southwestern Medical Foundation and the National Equity Fund in Chicago, Illinois. He earned his HORIZONS Master’s of Business degree from Harvard University. HORIZONS


The UT System on

Engaging our community Keeping the UT System community





UTA advances to the “Environmental Eight” in

UTEP’s School of Nursing has double the national

national environmental tournament. The tournament

average of male nursing students with 22% of its

evaluates schools’ environmental studies programs

nursing students being male, 370 in total



and followers around the world current on the exciting developments and research coming out of the

O N T WI T T E R :




UT System is easy, thanks to Twitter.

Thomas Smith, visual effects producer for Star Wars,

UTPA sees 4th and 5th graders from schools in

In 140 characters or less, all 15

Star Trek,and Indiana Jones movies has donated his

both Texas and Mexico meet on campus for the

UT System institutions are using

archives to the Harry Ransom Center

Festival of International Books and Arts



the Twittersphere to communicate everything from clinical trial progression and new venture funding to academic recognition and events.

O N T WI T T E R :


It will be up to UT Brownsville students to choose a new mascot after UTB ends its two decade long partnership with Texas Southmost College





UTPB hosts the 2012 West Texas Guitar Festival which featured world class talent as well as a guitar competition for high school students



A recent $3 million gift from Texas Instruments

UTSA becomes only the second university in the

brings UT Dallas to over $110 million of its $200

nation to train PhD level psychologists who will

million goal for being a Tier 1 university

specialize in military health care



O N T WI T T E R :




After Hurricane Ike, UTMB Galveston completes

Ranks in the top 10 in Texas for graduating its

its $36 million mondernization project to update

students in 4 years (at a rate of 24.8%) while offering

John Sealy Hospital

the lowest tuition of the 10



O N T WI T T E R :




Doctors at UT Health discover that listening to

Researchers find that seratonin, the chemical

Mozart while performing colonoscopies raised the

that produces pleasure, is absorbed too efficiently

detection rate of adenomas from 30% to 67%

to be transmitted by children with autism



O N T WI T T E R :




A $1 million donation from AT&T helps MDA’s tele-

UTSW was named the #1 medical school in

surgery venture that aims to provide specialized

Texas by U.S. News. It ranks 21st and 20th in the

care to underserved communities in Texas

nation for primary care and research respectively



A cardiologist at UTHSCT claims that losing an hour due to daylight savings can lead to an increased risk for health-related issues

Office of Technology Commercialization

Horizons magazine  
Horizons magazine  

Horizons is a new magazine of the UT System Office of Technology Commercialization. Combined with the launch of the UT System Horizon Fund,...