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Posted: November 13, 2008
New nanobiomaterial that stops bleeding wins Professor venture fair
(Nanowerk News) A University of
Maryland professor and doctoral student team who invented a new material
that halts wound bleeding won the attention of a group of venture
capitalists and the title of "Best Inventor Pitch for Bioscience Day 2008,"
held on Nov. 12.
Sponsored by the university's Office of Technology Commercialization,
the College of Chemical and Life Sciences, and the Maryland Technology
Enterprise Institute, or Mtech, the second annual "Professor Venture Fair"
gave faculty and inventors the opportunity to pitch their new technologies
to a team of five venture capitalists and entrepreneurs from the region.
Presenters were judged based upon clarity of pitch and commercial
Fischell Department of Bioengineering doctoral student Matthew Dowling
and chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Srinivasa Raghavan won
for nano-velcro, a new, patent-pending bio-material they're developing into
two products: a sponge that is applied directly to a wound to stop
hemorrhaging, and a spray that halts blood loss and seals tissue in a
variety of situations, from minor surgical bleeding to life-threatening
arterial punctures. Both products can be gently removed after wounds heal.
"Dowling [in his pitch] addressed all of the questions that needed to
be answered for the judges to determine that there is a real market
opportunity here," says Jim Chung, director of Mtech's VentureAccelerator
Dowling and Raghavan create nano-velcro by attaching fatty grafts to
the biopolymer chitosan, which is derived from the shells of crustaceans
such as crabs and shrimp. The fatty grafts gently hook onto blood or soft
tissue, similar to Velcro(R), enabling the chitosan to act directly and
more effectively in blood coagulation and wound healing.
Dowling launched Remedium Technologies Inc. in 2007 to bring the
invention to market. The company took second place in the 2007 University
of Maryland $50K Business Plan Competition graduate student category,
winning $8,000. Remedium has since won the University of Nebraska Business
Plan Competition and participated in both the Rice Business Plan
Competition and the Moot Corp Competition held by the University of Texas
Remedium received a $103,950 Maryland Industrial Partnerships project
award in August, 2008 to further develop its technology.
Pre-clinical testing is underway for both the sponge and spray.
Remedium's team also includes Fischell Department of Bioengineering
graduate student Peter Thomas and chemical and biomolecular engineering
research associate Oluwatosin Ogunsola.
Judges for the Best Inventor Pitch included: bio-entrepreneur Lou
Cantolupo; Christine Copple, president and CEO of Starise Ventures Inc.;
Mark Grovic, general partner of New Markets Venture Partners; Bruce
Robertson, managing director of H.I.G. Ventures; and Matt Zuga, managing
director of Red Abbey Venture Partners.
"More than anything, this award validates excitement about our
technology from investors," said Dowling. "We are very confident in our
technology, but selling it is a separate and distinct challenge. Today was
a good indication that venture capitalists are starting to buy into what we
"This event, along with the information technology Professor Venture
Fair at the Institute for Systems Research Symposium in the spring, offer
the best window into the most promising science and technology innovations
and potential startups coming out of the University of Maryland," says Dean
Chang, director of Mtech's venture creation and entrepreneurship education
programs. "Since we started these Professor Venture Fairs just over a year
ago, all three winners of the Best Inventor Pitch have gone on to form
exciting companies, which says as much about the growing entrepreneurial
culture here on campus as it does about the quality of these inventions."
The Best Inventor Pitch is part of the University of Maryland's annual
Bioscience Research & Technology Review Day, a special event featuring
research talks, presentations, mini-symposia and demonstrations by
university scientists. The program provides a unique opportunity for
executives and professionals in industry and government to discover the
most recent advances in bioscience and biotechnology at the University of
Maryland; to promote the potential for academic-industry-government
collaboration; to meet University scientists and interact with graduate
student researchers; to network with colleagues who share an interest in
the promotion of bioscience and the bioscience industry; and to recruit
employees and investigate job opportunities.