Maryland technology companies, university faculty team to develop 16 new products through MIPS

Redox Cube

Through MIPS, Redox Power Systems LLC is working with Eric Wachsman, director of the University of Maryland Energy Research Center, to improve the strength and robustness of the company’s solid oxide fuel cells. Among the applications those fuel cells could be used for is the Redox Cube, pictured above, which produces cost-effective power using natural gas or other hydrocarbon-based fuels such as biomass, gasoline, JP-8 or diesel to electrochemically produce electricity with high efficiency and negligible emissions.

Fifteen Maryland technology startups and one medium-sized company are partnering with faculty members from the state’s public universities for projects that bring new products closer to market, University of Maryland officials announce today.

Approved through UMD’s Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, the research and development projects, worth $3 million, span the state, its universities and technologies, including products that advance clean or efficient energy, biotechnology, software, construction, chemical sensors and aquaculture.

Participating companies contribute $1.6 million for the projects, while MIPS provides $1.4 million. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency also provided support.

All MIPS funding goes towards the faculty research for each project.

Approved through a competitive process, winning projects, segmented by institution, include:

Frostburg State University

  • Tutela Industries LLC, based in Baltimore, works with George Rinard, professor, computer science and information technologies, to expand the clinical and patient-facing mobile app functionality of the company’s HIPAA compliant patient engagement platform, which improves communication across the care continuum. ($140,900)

University of Maryland, Baltimore

  • Centrexion Therapeutics, based in Baltimore, teams with Man-Kyo Chung, associate professor, school of dentistry, to develop efficacy tests for the company’s new drugs aimed at improving the treatment of chronic pain conditions such as osteoarthritis. ($141,000)
  • JPLC Associates LLC, based in Baltimore, collaborates with Byongyong Yi, professor, department of radiation oncology, to extend the capabilities of the company’s Raven QA product, a unified and comprehensive quality assurance system for radiation therapy machines. ($152,840)

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

  • Bahari Energy LLC, based in Rockville, works with Weidong Zhu, professor, department of mechanical engineering, to test the performance of the company’s Wind Tower, a wind power generation product with a unique design that can be retrofitted onto (and inside of) urban, suburban, business, industrial and residential buildings. ($160,000)
  • RedShred LLC, based in Baltimore, teams with Zareen Syed, professor, and Tim Finin, professor, department of computer science and electrical engineering, to expand the company’s semantically enhanced open information extraction software system, which takes complex business documents, such as requests for quotes and proposals, quickly extracts important information, and offers users an efficient way to review opportunities with minimal manual intervention. ($185,000)

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

  • HY-TEK Bio LLC, based in Dayton, collaborates with Feng Chen, associate professor, Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, to developing a practical and economical system to grow microalgae with chicken manure nutrient in a large pilot system. ($303,213)
WeatherBug Home

Pictured: Earth Networks’ WeatherBug Home mobile application. WeatherBug Home combines Earth Networks’ big weather data with smart meter data and the power of two-way connected thermostats to automatically deliver energy efficiency given the weather, the #1 driver of home energy use. UMD faculty are working with the company to expand the functionality of WeatherBug Home.

University of Maryland, College Park

  • Crab Machinery LLC, based in Woolford, works with Yang Tao, professor, Fischell Department of Bioengineering, to develop a modern, imaging-guided mechanical crabmeat picker that incorporates machine intelligence, including machine vision, robotics, and electronic controls. ($192,750)
  • Earth Networks Corporation, based in Germantown, teams with Jungho Kim, professor, department of mechanical engineering, to expand the functionality of WeatherBug Home,the company’s user-friendly and powerful home energy tool, which combines data from utilities with local weather information to save energy and cut cooling and heating costs. ($426,952)
  • Johnny Oysterseed LLC, based in Saint Leonard, collaborates with Chandrasekhar Thamire, Keystone lecturer, department of mechanical engineering, to develop an oyster aquaculture system that offers higher productivity and cost savings for oyster farmers. ($242,674)
  • N5 Sensors Inc., based in Germantown, works with Thomas Murphy, professor and director, Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics, to demonstrate a smartphone or tablet-based sensor for detecting toxic gases in ambient air, for use by industrial workers, hazmat crews, fire-fighters, police, security crews or civilians. ($136,964)
  • nanoDERM Sciences Inc., based in Derwood, teams with Srinivasa Raghavan, professor, department of chemical and biomolecular engineering, to improve the colloidal stability of antibacterial, drug-loaded HydroDEX™ nanogels for the effective treatment of bacterial infections, including those caused by multidrug-resistant (MDR) pathogens. ($135,000)
  • PaverGuide Inc., based in Worton, collaborates with Allen Davis, professor, department of civil and environmental engineering, to provide research and development support for a sub-base material to be used with PaverGuide, a base material for permeable paving that also reduces sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus runoff into the Chesapeake Bay. ($136,783)
  • Pavement Corporation, based in Fort Washington, works with Charles Schwartz, professor and chair, department of civil and environmental engineering, to confirm the material parameters and performance of pavement patches constructed using the infrared repair process and to develop accompanying standard procedures, quality control measures, and model specifications. ($134,860)
  • Redox Power Systems LLC, based in College Park, teams with Eric Wachsman, director, University of Maryland Energy Research Center, to improve the strength and robustness of the company’s solid oxide fuel cells. ($139,097)
  • Remedium Technologies Inc., based in College Park, works with Srinivasa Raghavan, professor, department of chemical and biomolecular engineering, to develop a hemostatic foam that can stop bleeding during minimally invasive surgeries without applying compression or converting to an open procedure. ($135,000)
  • XChanger Companies Inc., based in Annapolis, collaborates with Reinhard Radermacher, professor, department of mechanical engineering, to evaluate the energy-saving potential and thermal comfort of the company’s air delivery unit, which initial studies have shown yield potential HVAC operating savings of between 18-31 percent. ($248,048)

Four participating companies are from Baltimore and four are from Montgomery County, while three are from the Maryland Eastern Shore, two are from southern Maryland, two are from College Park and one is from Annapolis.

Projects are subject to final contract negotiations.

This is the 56th round of MIPS grants. The program has supported research projects with more than 500 different Maryland companies since 1987.

Commercial products benefiting from MIPS have generated more than $30.3 billion in revenue and directly added more than 6,600 current jobs to the state’s economy. MIPS-sponsored R&D has made key contributions to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, and Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit, WellDoc’s mobile diabetes management platform, and CSA Medical’s diseased-tissue ablation platform.

For information about the historical economic impact of the MIPS program, an independent study titled “An Analysis of the Impacts of MIPS Program Spending and the Commercialization of MIPS Funded Projects on the State of Maryland,” by Richard Clinch, from the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore, is available online.

MIPS is a program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland.

Pavement Corporation, Prince George’s County to Fix Potholes Year-Round with New, High-Tech, Environmentally Friendly Process

infrared asphalt repair

University of Maryland creates quality assurance specifications for infrared asphalt repair

While spring is the usual time for fixing potholes, it will now be done year-round in Prince George’s County thanks to a two-year pilot program with Fort Washington-based Pavement Corporation. The program introduces a new, high-technology asphalt repair process that is less expensive, more effective, more environmentally friendly and can be done even in winter.

“Potholes are a quality of life issue, especially for people in Prince George’s County right now,” said Derrick Davis, vice chair of the County Council. “We are excited and proud of this program between Prince George’s County and Pavement Corporation, as it employs the latest technologies to save our taxpayers millions of dollars in car repairs through faster, longer-lasting pothole patches performed year-round.”

The new process, called infrared asphalt repair, was validated for quality assurance through a year-long study at the University of Maryland by Charles Schwartz, professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Both the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program and Pavement Corporation provided funding for the study.

Infrared repair involves heating existing asphalt with an infrared machine until it reaches a soft, workable state. A rejuvenating compound is added to keep the asphalt pliant, after which a small amount of new or recycled asphalt is leveled on top. Because of its heated state, the patch fuses seamlessly with the adjacent asphalt, making for a smoother, longer-lasting patch.

pavement corporation truck

Infrared technology lowers repair costs by nearly 50 percent, according to Pavement Corporation Founder and President Jay Perry.

“Prince George’s County is now on the cutting edge of technology for fixing its roads thanks to this pilot program,” said Perry. “In addition, as a Prince George’s County-based company, we expect to add five to 10 jobs in the short-term and 20 to 30 more if our projections for expansion come to fruition.”

Pavement Corporation, founded in 1995, performs a broad range of paving, maintenance and repair services for customers such as Walmart, Target, CVS, Lowe’s, Sears, Bob Evans, and BJ’s Wholesale Club in Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Virginia and West Virginia.

Infrared road repair has been utilized by a handful of U.S. states, including Florida, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee and Arizona, according to Perry.

Since the process is relatively new, few guidelines were in place to ensure the quality of patches. That’s where the University of Maryland stepped in.

Pavement Corporation worked with Schwartz and graduate student Chris Leininger to produce construction specifications and a quality assurance process to provide the company with guidelines to make sure that each patch is conducted optimally.

“The depth of penetration of the heating process is very important,” said Leininger, who is basing his M.S. thesis on infrared road repair. “You don’t want to char the asphalt but, you have to heat it to a specific depth.”

Schwartz has become a proponent of infrared road repair.

“The results of this study should promote the acceptance of infrared asphalt repair as a cost-effective, long-term technique for maintaining roads in the U.S.,” he explained.

The University of Maryland study was made possible by the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, which provides grants for university-based research projects that help Maryland companies develop technology-based products. Both MIPS and the participating companies contribute funds, which then go towards the university research. MIPS partners have included Under Armour, Black & Decker, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin.

“Potholes are a consistently vexing challenge for residents of and visitors to Prince George’s County,” said Darrell B. Mobley, director of the Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation. “We are excited by the opportunity this new technology brings to help us more efficiently and economically address them.”

About the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) Program

MIPS, a program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, supports university-based research projects to help Maryland companies develop technology-based products. Commercial products benefiting from MIPS projects have generated more than $30.2 billion in revenue, added thousands of jobs to the region, and contributed to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, and Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit.

MIPS Approves 15 Technology Product Development Projects Teaming Maryland Companies With System Faculty

Pictured: algae collected from the pond in the background by Manta Biofuel LLC. The concentrated algae is converted into renewable crude oil. Manta Biofuel manufactures renewable, carbon neutral crude oil from algae that is cost competitive with fossil crude oil. Through the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) Program, Manta Biofuel works with Russell Hill, professor and director of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, to determine the quality of oil that will be produced from varying types of algae blooms.

Pictured: algae collected from the pond in the background by Manta Biofuel LLC. The concentrated algae is converted into renewable crude oil. Manta Biofuel manufactures renewable, carbon neutral crude oil from algae that is cost competitive with fossil crude oil. Through the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) Program, Manta Biofuel works with Russell Hill, professor and director of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, to determine the quality of oil that will be produced from varying types of algae blooms.

Four aquaculture projects highlight round

The Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, an initiative of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, has approved 15 collaborative technology product development projects teaming Maryland companies with university researchers, program officials announce today.

A technology acceleration program, MIPS grants money, combined with company funds, to faculty engaged in each project.

This round of MIPS grants, worth $3.3 million, combines $1.3 million from MIPS and $2 million in cash and in-kind contributions from participating companies. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency provided additional funding.

Four projects focus on aquaculture in Maryland. Two involve automated oyster production, while a third enhances oyster aquaculture by co-harvesting algae as an additional product. The fourth creates a high-value fish feed from Maryland crops.

The additional 11 projects include: genomic treatment for brain trauma, on-site narcotic detection, unmanned surface vessel control system, electricity generator driven by natural gas, cord blood collection device, chronic disease mobile platform, pathogen detection system, advanced travel website and mobile application, assessment tool for violent youth, speaking enhancement software, and a system that produces crude oil from algal blooms.

PathSensors Inc. develops pathogen detection systems (pictured) for bio-security and agriculture/food processing applications. The company’s products deliver extremely rapid detection of more than 25 pathogens at previously unattainable levels of speed and sensitivity. Through the MIPS program, PathSensors collaborates with Dan Schulze, associate professor, department of microbiology and immunology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, to develop a universal biosensor system that enables the company to rapidly add new pathogens to its detection platform.PathSensors Inc. develops pathogen detection systems (pictured) for bio-security and agriculture/food processing applications. The company’s products deliver extremely rapid detection of more than 25 pathogens at previously unattainable levels of speed and sensitivity. Through the MIPS program, PathSensors collaborates with Dan Schulze, associate professor, department of microbiology and immunology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, to develop a universal biosensor system that enables the company to rapidly add new pathogens to its detection platform.

PathSensors Inc. develops pathogen detection systems (pictured) for bio-security and agriculture/food processing applications. The company’s products deliver rapid detection of more than 25 pathogens at previously unattainable levels of speed and sensitivity. Through the MIPS program, PathSensors collaborates with Dan Schulze, associate professor, department of microbiology and immunology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, to develop a universal biosensor system that enables the company to rapidly add new pathogens to its detection platform.

This round of funding connects faculty with 13 startups and two small companies. Six companies are based in the Baltimore area, three are from Maryland’s Eastern Shore, two are in College Park and one each is in southern Maryland (Hollywood), western Maryland (McHenry), Rockville and Columbia.

The approved projects, along with the combined total funding for each, include:

Autonomy Engine LLC, based in Marriottsville, develops software that predicts how listeners will perceive an individual’s speaking style. The company collaborates with Ellyn Sheffield, a research professor in the department of psychology at Towson University, to enhance the software. ($361,199)

CARE-2 LLC, based in Salisbury, develops an assessment tool to evaluate and recommend treatment for youth at risk for behaving violently. The company, through Eastern Shore Psychological Services LLC, works with Marvin Tossey, professor, social work department, Salisbury University, to analyze and improve the predictive validity of the CARE-2 assessment tool. ($250,271)

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem in the United States, with 2.5 million TBI’s occurring in 2010 alone. Cellphire Inc. plans to deliver microRNA in blood platelets, which move quickly to the site of a brain injury, delivering therapeutic (healing) agents.

Cellphire Inc., based in Rockville, is developing cell stabilization technologies that also have application in the delivery of therapeutics and labeled reagents in the diagnosis of traumatic brain injuries. The company collaborates with Bogdan Stoica, assistant professor, department of anesthesiology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, to refine and test the efficacy of the company’s technology for treating brain trauma. ($135,165)

Diagnostic anSERS Inc., based in College Park, develops low-cost sensors that detect trace chemicals using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). The company works with Ian White, associate professor, Fischell Department of Bioengineering, University of Maryland, to create a field-optimized narcotics sensor for use in law enforcement. ($135,000)

Hollywood Oyster Company LLC, based in Hollywood, is one of the largest oyster farms in Maryland. The company works with Patrick Kangas, associate professor, department of environmental science and technology, University of Maryland, to develop methods for scaling up macroalgae (seaweed) aquaculture to be grown in conjunction with oysters, both as a commercial product and to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. ($157,880)

Pictured: Oysters ready to be processed for sale or re-planted in the Chesapeake Bay by the Hollywood Oyster Company.

Pictured: Oysters ready to be processed for sale or re-planted in the Chesapeake Bay by the Hollywood Oyster Company.

Hollywood’s oysters are grown in traps in the Bay (pictured). If macroalgae (seaweed) is grown on a commercial scale near oyster farms, it could serve as a biofilter to remove excess nutrients in the Bay, and can be harvested for marketable food products.

Hollywood’s oysters are grown in traps in the Bay (pictured). If macroalgae (seaweed) is grown on a commercial scale near oyster farms, it could serve as a biofilter to remove excess nutrients in the Bay, and can be harvested for marketable food products.

Hoopers Island Oyster Aquaculture Company LLC, based in Fishing Creek, produces high-quality half-shell oysters and the equipment needed to support aquaculture in Maryland. The company works with Yang Tao, professor, Fischell Department of Bioengineering, University of Maryland, to develop a laser 3D machine vision system that sorts Chesapeake Bay-cultured oysters into quality grades. ($511,000)

Hyperion Technologies LLC, based in College Park, provides game-changing engineering services to civilian and defense clients, specializing in robotic control. The company works with S.K. Gupta, professor, department of mechanical engineering, University of Maryland, to develop an autonomous unmanned surface vehicle (USV) control system for applications such as military surveillance, environmental monitoring, off-shore oil platform inspection and search and rescue. ($218,800)

Manta Biofuel LLC, based in Reisterstown, manufactures renewable, carbon neutral crude oil from algae at a cost that is competitive with fossil crude oil. The company collaborates with Russell Hill, professor and director of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, to determine the quality of oil that will be produced from varying types of algae blooms. ($332,274)

Metompkin Seafood Inc., based in Crisfield, distributes a variety of seafood products in the Chesapeake Bay region. The company works with Donald Meritt, principal agent, Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, to develop a high-volume, spat-on-shell oyster production system based on remote setting technology. ($238,676)

PathSensors Inc., based in Baltimore, is a biotechnology and environmental testing company developing pathogen detection systems for bio-security and agriculture/food processing applications. PathSensors collaborates with Dan Schulze, associate professor, department of microbiology and immunology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, to develop a universal biosensor system that enables the company to rapidly add new pathogens to its detection platform. ($136,469)

Plant Sensory Systems LLC, based in Baltimore, develops technologies that improve agricultural performance and reduce negative environmental impact. The company works with Allen Place, professor, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, to produce a plant-based aquafeed with low-leaching taurine, a compound required for the development and growth of farmed fish and shellfish. ($135,950)

Silicon Travel LLC, based in McHenry, provides property management companies and their homeowners with quality Internet access and tech support. The company collaborates with George Rinard, professor and chair, department of computer science & information technologies, Frostburg State University, to enhance the company’s travel website with an itinerary tool and accompanying mobile application. ($162,970)

Soony Systems Inc., based in Baltimore, is an R&D start-up developing Gas-Tricity, a 1-2 kW combined heat-to-power home generator unit driven by natural gas. The company collaborates with Christopher Cadou, associate professor, department of aerospace engineering, University of Maryland, to develop an experimentally validated model of the Gas-Tricity engine cycle and design a working prototype. ($200,000)

TheraCord LLC, based in Baltimore, develops a novel cord blood collection device that could exponentially increase yield at a lower cost than existing solutions. The company works with Tami Kingsbury, assistant professor, department of physiology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, to optimize its perfusion process, de-risk key regulatory concerns and propel the technology towards becoming the new gold standard for cord blood collection. ($140,160)

Vheda Health Corporation, based in Columbia, simplifies disease management operations by automating care plan adherence with a mobile intervention platform that reduces acute events for high-cost, chronic disease populations. The company collaborates with Gordon Gao, associate professor, department of decision, operations & information technologies and Center for Health Information and Decision Systems (CHIDS), University of Maryland, College Park, to enhance the effectiveness of Vheda Health’s product and establish the value of Vheda Health in the management of chronic conditions such as diabetes. ($255,172)

Projects are subject to final contract negotiations.

This is the 55th round of MIPS grants. The program has supported research projects with more than 500 different Maryland companies since 1987.

MIPS-aided commercial products have generated more than $30.2 billion in revenue, added over 6,600 jobs to the state and contributed to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit, WellDoc’s mobile diabetes management platform, and CSA Medical’s diseased-tissue ablation platform.

For information about the historical economic impact of the MIPS program, an independent study titled “An Analysis of the Impacts of MIPS Program Spending and the Commercialization of MIPS Funded Projects on the State of Maryland,” by Richard Clinch, from the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore, is available online.

VisiSonics’ RealSpace 3D Audio Software Licensed by Oculus for Virtual Reality

Image Courtesy: Sergey Galyonkin (www.flickr.com/photos/sergesegal/10187117474/in/photostream/)

Image Courtesy: Sergey Galyonkin (www.flickr.com/photos/sergesegal/10187117474/in/photostream/)

Oculus announced the deal at Oculus Connect, the company’s first developer conference, in Los Angeles, Calif.

RealSpace™ 3D Audio enables the virtual placement of sound anywhere in a 3D space with pinpoint accuracy, creating the perception of real source direction, distance, depth, and movement relative to a listener when heard through standard stereo headphones. It re-creates the auditory ambience of an environment, creating a completely immersive audio experience.

“Audio is an essential ingredient for immersive virtual reality,” said Brendan Iribe, CEO at Oculus. “The technology that the VisiSonics team has developed is a great start towards developing a fully-featured VR audio solution, and we’re incredibly excited to be licensing their work to drive VR forward.”

Based on ten years of research at the University of Maryland, RealSpace™ 3D Audio models the transformations sound undergoes as it travels from a source to a listener’s ears in an environment, using a combination of head-related transfer functions, room models and head-tracking, as well as their interplay.

“We are excited to see our RealSpace engine technology as part of the future of Oculus’ virtual reality systems,” said VisiSonics Founder and President Ramani Duraiswami. “We believe we are at a threshold for physics-based personal audio rendering in virtual reality. Oculus’ innovative technology is poised to catalyze the industry, and we are incredibly happy to play a role in this.”

RealSpace™ 3D Audio technology demos are available today at realspace3daudio.com.

VisiSonics is an Mtech Technology Advancement Program incubator company, Maryland Industrial Partnerships grant winner, and a previous finalist for the University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition.

Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program Approves 18 Technology Development Projects, Worth $4.7 Million, Teaming Maryland Faculty and Companies

Five poultry manure-to-energy projects highlight round

Pictured: Dayton, Md.-based HY-TEK Bio's algae-based system for removing greenhouse gas from emissions created when burning fossil fuels. The pictured tanks are fully operational at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant in Baltimore, Md. The company's MIPS grant teams it with the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology to evaluate two poultry manure-to-energy processes, as well as each system's efficacy when combined with HY-TEK Bio's greenhouse gas-scrubbing system.

Pictured: Dayton, Md.-based HY-TEK Bio’s algae-based system for removing greenhouse gas from emissions created when burning fossil fuels. The pictured tanks are fully operational at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant in Baltimore, Md. The company’s MIPS grant teams it with the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology to evaluate two poultry manure-to-energy processes, as well as each system’s efficacy when combined with HY-TEK Bio’s greenhouse gas-scrubbing system.

The Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, an initiative of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, has approved research projects worth $4.7 million to 18 teams combining Maryland companies with state university researchers to bring technology products closer to market, program officials announce today.

A technology acceleration program, MIPS grants money—matched with company funds—to faculty engaged in each project.

For this round of funding, companies are contributing $2.4 million and MIPS $2.3 million to the jointly funded projects. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency provided additional funding.

Five projects, worth $1.9 million, are investigating various processes for converting poultry manure to energy, including anaerobic digestion, gasification, combustion and washing, while keeping the nitrogen and phosphorous in poultry litter from polluting the Chesapeake Bay. Each would potentially produce electricity and heat, while some create additional salable byproducts, such as fertilizer, soil amendments or algae feedstock.

Pictured: custom microfluidic device fabrication by Baltimore-based Potomac Photonics. The company has developed an innovative manufacturing process for rapidly prototyping novel microfluidic devices for the biotechnology and medical device industries. The demand for these devices was so strong that it prompted the company to apply for a MIPS grant to help it increase its manufacturing capacity.

Pictured: custom microfluidic device fabrication by Baltimore-based Potomac Photonics. The company has developed an innovative manufacturing process for rapidly prototyping novel microfluidic devices for the biotechnology and medical device industries. The demand for these devices was so strong that it prompted the company to apply for a MIPS grant to help it increase its manufacturing capacity.

The additional 13 projects cover a broad swath of technologies, including: medical devices for brain scanning and pressure sensing; therapeutics for cancer, pain management and lung scarring; software for healthcare management, quality assurance for radiation therapy machines, and complex business documents; mobile-ready chemical sensors; high-quality prototype manufacturing; solid oxide fuel cells; and a natural, high-protein sports recovery milk.

This round of funding connects faculty with 16 startups and two small companies. Five projects involve companies based in the Baltimore area, while four are from Montgomery County and three are from Howard County; two are from Annapolis, two are from Maryland’s Eastern Shore and one each are from College Park and Keedysville.

Winning projects, segmented by institution, include:
University of Maryland, Baltimore

  • ($134,999) Sergei Atamas, associate professor, department of medicine, works with Baltimore-based SAJE Pharma LLC to conduct pre-clinical trial testing of the company’s therapeutic for lung scarring, also called pulmonary fibrosis.
  • ($149,550) Man-Kyo Chung, assistant professor, school of dentistry, works with Baltimore-based Centrexion Corporation to improve the company’s capsaicin pain therapeutic, based on an ingredient found in hot peppers, which studies have shown block pain associated with osteoarthritis for weeks to months after a single injection.
  • ($244,499) Steven Fletcher, assistant professor, school of pharmacy, works with Gaithersburg-based ConverGene LLC to design and synthesize drug candidates for a protein the company has identified as a strong potential cancer therapeutic.
  • ($174,020) Mark Smith, associate professor, department of diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine, works with Rockville-based Brain Biosciences Inc. to develop and validate a motion-compensation system for the company’s portable brain positron emission tomography (PET) scanner. This technology will improve the quality of brain PET images in patients who are unable to remain still for the duration of a scan.
  • ($182,580) Byongyong Yi, professor, department of radiation oncology, works with Baltimore-based JPLC Associates LLC to extend the capabilities of the company’s Raven QA product, a unified and comprehensive quality assurance system for radiation therapy machines.

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

  • ($629,500) Lee Blaney, assistant professor, department of chemical, biochemical and environmental engineering, works with Frederick based Triea Systems LLC to accelerate the development and commercialization of the company’s Quick Wash (QW) process, which physically removes and recovers phosphorus from animal manure (including poultry manure), reducing phosphorus loading into the Chesapeake Bay and creating three high-value by-products.
  • ($228,568) Tony Farquhar, associate professor, department of mechanical engineering, works with Catonsville-based Potomac Photonics Inc. to help the company increase its manufacturing capacity for hot-embossing 3D patterns into thermoplastic parts, which the company calls high-quality prototyping, for use in microfluidic devices that quantify or manipulate cell-level biochemical phenomena.
  • ($200,000) Tim Finin, professor, department of computer science and electrical engineering, works with Baltimore-based RedShred LLC to develop a semantically enhanced open information extraction software system that takes complex business documents, like grants and requests for proposals, quickly extracts important information, and offers users an efficient way to review opportunities with minimal manual intervention.

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

  • ($334,999) Feng Chen, associate professor, Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, works with Dayton-based HY-TEK Bio LLC to evaluate two poultry manure-to-energy processes, as well as each system’s efficacy when combined with the company’s algae-based system for removing greenhouse gas from emissions created when burning fossil fuels.

University of Maryland, College Park

  •  ($308,995) Stephanie Lansing, assistant professor, department of environmental science and technology, works with Columbia-based The Crimson Group LLC to develop a system that gasifies poultry litter waste into energy.
  • ($284,913) Stephanie Lansing, assistant professor, department of environmental science and technology, partners with Berlin-based Planet Found Energy Development LLC to develop a poultry manure-to-energy system that combines anaerobic digestion and a nutrient capture system to produce renewable energy and recover nitrogen from the poultry litter in the form of salable fertilizer.
  • ($207,304) Mei-Ling Ting Lee, professor, department of epidemiology and biostatistics, partners with Annapolis-based Synaptic Advisory Partners to enhance the company’s population health management software platform with an improved predictive model for identifying high-risk patients within a predetermined population.
  • ($132,000) Thomas Murphy, professor, department of electrical and computer engineering and director, Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics, works with Germantown-based N5 Sensors Inc. to develop a mobile-ready, chip-scale chemical sensor technology that can detect toxic gases such as benzene, carbon monoxide and ammonia in ambient air.
  • ($478,700) Catherine Plaisant, senior research scientist, Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL), University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, works with Annapolis-based Pulse8 Inc. to apply HCIL’s interactive visualization technology (EventFlow) to Pulse8’s healthcare data software to identify patient patterns in data and direct key components of the delivery system to contain cost and improve care.
  • ($321,611) Jae Kun Shim, associate professor, department of kinesiology, teams with Keedysville-based Fluid Motion LLC to investigate the effects of 5th Quarter Fresh, a high-protein, fat-free chocolate milk, on post-exercise recovery and cumulative minor brain trauma.
  • ($136,934) Eric Wachsman, director, University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC), works with Fulton-based Redox Power Systems LLC to characterize the strength, performance and reliability of enhancements Redox is making to its solid oxide fuel cells.
  • ($135,000) Miao Yu, associate professor, department of mechanical engineering and Institute for Systems Research, partners with College Park-based MedSense LLC to develop innovative, ultra-miniature fiber-optic pressure sensors for a wide range of applications in the medical industry.

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

  • ($424,692) Jennifer Timmons, associate professor, department of agriculture, food, and resource sciences, teams with Salisbury-based AHPharma Energy Systems Inc. to develop a manure-to-energy, closed-loop geothermal heating system for poultry houses.

Projects are subject to final contract negotiations.

This is the 54th round of MIPS grants. The program has supported research projects with more than 500 different Maryland companies since 1987.

Commercial products benefiting from MIPS have generated more than $28.1 billion in revenue, added more than 5,000 jobs to the state, and contributed to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, and Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit, WellDoc’s mobile diabetes management platform, and CSA Medical’s diseased-tissue ablation platform.

For information about the historical economic impact of the MIPS program, an independent study titled “An Analysis of the Impacts of MIPS Program Spending and the Commercialization of MIPS Funded Projects on the State of Maryland,” by Richard Clinch, from the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore, is available online.

About the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) Program
MIPS, a program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, supports university-based research projects to help Maryland companies develop technology-based products. Commercial products benefiting from MIPS projects have generated more than $28.1 billion in revenue, added thousands of jobs to the region, and contributed to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, and Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit.

MIPS Program Approves 15 Technology Product Development Projects Teaming Maryland Faculty and Companies Worth $4.1 Million

Green technologies, oyster farming, Chesapeake Bay-saving and medical inventions dominate round

Pictured, left to right, from A&G Pharmaceutical: Jun Hayashi, co-founder and VP of research & development; Ginette Serrero, co-founder and CEO, and Michael Keefe, chief operating officer. A&G is conducting a prospective clinical study to examine the potential of the company's GP88 biomarker as a blood test for early breast cancer screening through its MIPS grant.

Pictured, left to right, from A&G Pharmaceutical: Jun Hayashi, co-founder and VP of research & development; Ginette Serrero, co-founder and CEO, and Michael Keefe, chief operating officer. A&G is conducting a prospective clinical study to examine the potential of the company’s GP88 biomarker as a blood test for early breast cancer screening through its MIPS grant.

The Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, an initiative of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, has approved 15 research projects worth $4.1 million to teams combining Maryland companies with state university researchers to bring technology products closer to market, program officials announce today.

A technology acceleration program, MIPS grants money—matched with company funds—to faculty engaged in each project.

For this round of funding, companies are contributing $2.8 million and MIPS $1.3 million to the jointly funded projects. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency provided additional funding.

This round of funding partners faculty with 11 startups, one medium-sized and three small companies. Four projects, the most ever for a single MIPS round, include companies from the Maryland Eastern Shore. Three involve oyster-farming technologies, eight are green technologies, and four could result in a cleaner Chesapeake Bay.

“MIPS is a great value for the State of Maryland and serves as a national model of how to leverage the intellectual power of our universities to drive innovation and the economy,” said MIPS Director Joseph Naft. “The program attracts Maryland’s entrepreneurs, enabling them to multiply their R&D efforts by engaging world-class faculty and graduate students to do real-world research. Take a step back and look at the $28.1 billion in revenue generated by MIPS-supported products, add in tax revenue, and you have a return on investment of 30 to 1. More than 5,000 current jobs have resulted from MIPS projects, many of them from big-impact companies such as MedImmune, Hughes Network Systems, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. MIPS is an example of how companies, academe and government can all work together to propel our state forward.”

Winning projects, segmented by institution, include:

Frostburg State University

  • ($625,000) George Rinard, professor, department of computer science and information technologies, teams with Hagerstown-based vCalc LLC to develop the company’s free on-line mathematics system, which provides a large and growing library of equations and data items that are used daily in academia, industry and society.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland

  • ($114,094) Robert Paul, professor, department of biology, partners with Tall Timbers-based Shore Thing Shellfish to develop “in situ” or “on site” methods for seeding oysters without using land-based tanks.

Salisbury University

  • ($153,575) Samuel Geleta, associate professor, department of biological sciences, works with Rock Hall-based GreatGrow Maryland LLC to test the company’s soil amendment, which could dramatically increase crop yields and reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and chemical pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

University of Maryland, Baltimore

  • ($203,161) Katherine Tkaczuk, professor of medicine, works with Columbia-based A&G Pharmaceutical Inc. to conduct a prospective clinical study to examine the potential of the company’s GP88 biomarker as a blood test for early breast cancer screening.
  • ($158,000) Jill Whitall, professor, department of physical therapy and rehabilitation science, teams with Baltimore-based Rehabtics LLC to develop a software system for physical rehabilitation using customized, motion-controlled rehabilitation video games.

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

  • ($256,274) Donald Meritt, principal agent, Horn Point Laboratory, partners with Crisfield-based Metompkin Seafood Inc. to develop an automated spat-on-shell oyster production system.

University of Maryland, College Park

  • ($166,428) Allen Davis, professor, department of civil and environmental engineering, teams with Church Hill-based High Impact Environmental Inc. to provide research and development support for the company’s Agricultural Stormwater Cascade System to manage and reduce runoff from agricultural field systems.
  • ($151,001) Jonathan Dinman, professor, department of cell biology and molecular genetics, partners with Towson-based Birich Technologies LLC to develop gene-silencing technology as both a research tool and potential cancer therapeutic.
  • ($1,109,320) Jungho Kim, professor, department of mechanical engineering, works with Germantown-based Earth Networks to extend the company’s WeatherBug® Home residential energy efficiency product, which integrates key weather variables into home energy management and demand response programs.
  • ($162,736) Stephanie Lansing, assistant professor, department of environmental science and technology, partners with Halethorpe-based Fiberight LLC to develop a technology platform for the conversion of non-recycled, organic municipal solid waste (MSW) streams into advanced biofuels, including digester biogas.
  • ($157,330) Isaak Mayergoyz, professor, department of electrical and computer engineering, works with College Park-based CoolCAD Electronics LLC to build a novel, compact and highly efficient Silicon Carbide (SiC)-based on-board charger for the next generation of plug-in electric vehicles.
  • ($241,980) Reinhard Radermacher, professor, department of mechanical engineering, works with Annapolis-based XChanger Companies Inc. to evaluate the energy-saving potential and thermal comfort of the company’s air delivery unit, which initial studies have shown yield potential HVAC operating savings of between 18-31 percent.
  • ($133,651) Srinivasa Raghavan, professor, department of chemical and biomolecular engineering, partners with College Park-based Remedium Technologies Inc. to develop a hemostatic putty for treating battlefield wounds.
  • ($134,864) Charles Schwartz, professor, department of civil and environmental engineering works with Waldorf-based Pothole Pros LLC to integrate quality assurance into the company’s infrared pavement repair technology.
  • ($334,500) Yang Tao, professor, Fischell Department of Bioengineering, teams with Fishing Creek-based Hoopers Island Oyster Aquaculture Co. to develop oyster sorting and grading technologies to support and expand the oyster industry in Maryland.

Projects are subject to final contract negotiations.

Pictured, the Shore Thing Shellfish team, from front to back: Mandy Burch, Brian Russell and Sheldon Russell planting oyster shells in the Chesapeake Bay. Photo courtesy of Shore Thing Shellfish.

Pictured, the Shore Thing Shellfish team, from front to back: Mandy Burch, Brian Russell and Sheldon Russell planting oyster shells in the Chesapeake Bay. Photo courtesy of Shore Thing Shellfish. Three projects, the most for any MIPS round in 26 years, involved the development of better oyster-farming technologies.

This is the 53rd round of MIPS grants. The program has supported research projects with more than 500 different Maryland companies since 1987.

Commercial products benefiting from MIPS have generated more than $28.1 billion in revenue, added more than 5,000 jobs to the region, and contributed to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, and Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit, WellDoc’s mobile diabetes management platform, and CSA Medical’s diseased-tissue ablation platform.

For information about the historical economic impact of the MIPS program, an independent study titled “An Analysis of the Impacts of MIPS Program Spending and the Commercialization of MIPS Funded Projects on the State of Maryland,” by Richard Clinch, from the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore, is available online.

Pictured: Two-month-old oyster spat on shell. Spat are oysters less than 25 mm (0.98 in) long. Photo courtesy of Shore Thing Shellfish.

Pictured: Two-month-old oyster spat on shell. Spat are oysters less than 25 mm (0.98 in) long. Photo courtesy of Shore Thing Shellfish.

About the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) Program
MIPS, a program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, supports university-based research projects to help Maryland companies develop technology-based products. Commercial products benefiting from MIPS projects have generated more than $28.1 billion in revenue, added thousands of jobs to the region, and contributed to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, and Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit.

CoolCAD Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Security Keychain that Locks Your Computer When You Are Away

GateKeeper Chain

CoolCAD Electronics LLC, a University of Maryland-based electronics design company, just launched a 30-day Kickstarter campaign for its new GateKeeper Chain security product, a small, colorful key fob that automatically locks your computer when you leave and unlocks it when you return, university officials announce today.

The GateKeeper Chain works over Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth SMART) wireless technology, combining a personal sensor with an encrypted connection that allows only its unique key to unlock your computer. The password is encrypted and stored on your PC, not the GK-Chain—so no one can steal it. The result is effortless security for your computer when you walk away, and easy access when you return.

“Our goal is provide people who use computers with optimal security and convenience,” said Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate Dr. Siddharth Potbhare (M.S. 2005, Ph.D. 2008), who co-founded CoolCAD. “It’s easy to forget to lock your computer when you leave your desk, and it’s a chore to log back in when you get back. GateKeeper takes care of both.”

As an extra layer of security, CoolCAD offers a companion smartphone application that lets you manage and track your keys, but more importantly—warns you when you leave your keys behind.

Initial prototypes work with PCs and Android phones, although the company is creating Macintosh and iOS versions as well.

Rewards for backers of the GateKeeper Chain Kickstarter campaign include access to pre-production-run prototypes, custom gold or silver key fobs, laboratory tours with CoolCAD’s engineers and designers, and up to 50 hours of one-on-one consulting to create customized products, which could include logos, additional branding and optional form factors.

CoolCAD plans to use its Kickstarter funding to take the patent-pending GateKeeper Chain from a fully functional prototype to a 200-unit pilot production run, which the company will use to obtain FCC certification and conduct comprehensive reliability testing and failure analysis tests.

Full production runs for the GateKeeper Chain are slated for June, with an expected delivery of the first 4,000 devices in July.

GateKeeper Chain

CoolCAD’s ten-member team includes Co-Founders UMD Electrical and Computer Engineering and Institute for Systems Research Professor Neil Goldsman, and Vice President and UMD alumnus Dr. Akin Akturk, who earned his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2006.

CoolCAD is a member of the Technology Advancement Program incubator, an initiative of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering, whose graduates include Martek Biosciences and Digene Corporation, both of whom were acquired for more than $1 billion. The company’s headquarters are in Mtech’s Technology Ventures Building, located off-campus near the College Park Metrorail station.

CoolCAD has acquired research and development projects and subcontracts totaling over $4 million over the past five years, including Phase I and Phase II SBIRs/STTRs and four Mtech Maryland Industrial Partnerships program grants with two different UMD professors.

Joseph Naft Named Director of UMD Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program

Joseph Naft, director of the Maryland Industrial Partnerships program.

Joseph Naft, director of the Maryland Industrial Partnerships program.

Joseph Naft, entrepreneur, aerospace engineer, physicist, computer scientist, CAD/IT expert, undergraduate research program director and consultant, long a behind-the-scenes pillar at the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), has been named director of the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, institute officials announce today.

The MIPS program accelerates innovation in Maryland by funding collaborative R&D projects between companies and University System of Maryland faculty to bring technology products closer to market. MIPS grants money, matched with company funds, to faculty engaged in each project.

Since 1987, MIPS funds have advanced more than 500 companies in Maryland and spurred successful commercial products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit, WellDoc’s mobile diabetes management platform, and CSA Medical’s diseased-tissue ablation platform. MIPS-supported products have generated more than $25 billion in revenue.

Naft takes the reins after serving as associate director of MIPS since 2006. He replaces Martha Connolly, who was recently named director of bioentrepreneurship for UM Ventures at the University of Maryland, leveraging Mtech’s expertise across campuses.

“Joseph Naft has guided long-standing initiatives supporting faculty, students, entrepreneurs and companies both at the university and in the region,” said Mtech Director Peter Sandborn. “He is a proponent of MIPS, understands the inner workings of the program, and is a tireless advocate for companies and faculty researchers. His appointment is well-deserved.

Naft understands research and entrepreneurs. He’s started two high-tech companies and was vice president of a third.

The first, Ramsearch, Naft co-founded with UMD Professor Michael Pecht, director of the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE). Ramsearch created and delivered to the U.S. Air Force a systems engineering software tool incorporating reliability and maintainability analyses. The company won $2 million in contracts. Naft sold the company to a partner.

The second company, Naftware, developed natural language information extraction systems for the NASA Ames Research Center and the National Science Foundation under three SBIR contracts.

“An important part of my preparation for MIPS is my entrepreneurial experience,” said Naft. “You have 12 people on your staff and you have to make payroll every two weeks. I know the pressure you are under. I know what it is like to do a pro forma and go to a bank and get a line of credit for operating funds, and put your home up as collateral.”

Naft also served as vice president for manufacturing software development for Fairmont, W.Va.-based Tygart Technologies, a role he took on part-time from 1994-1998. There, he conceived and created the architecture for GRIP, a Java/web-based intelligent purchasing and electronic commerce system for minimizing supply-chain subcontracting costs and enterprise-level manufacturing process planning.

He has also consulted for Fairmont-based ManTech International Corporation and Baltimore, Md.-based Environmental Elements Corporation.

Naft knows universities. He has no fewer than four academic degrees, including a B.S. in aerospace engineering and B.A. in psychology from Case Western Reserve University, an M.S. in physics from Vanderbilt University, and a B.S. in computer science from the University of Maryland.

Naft joined the University of Maryland Engineering Research Center (now Mtech) in 1984 after stints as a mechanical engineering group leader for the Boeing Company and as an assistant professor of physics at Nashville State Technical Institute. At first, he led a new computer-aided design laboratory to support UMD researchers, but soon became the center’s director of information technology.

In 1998, Naft was selected to lead a program to fund undergraduate research called ASPIRE, short for A Scholars Program for Industry-Oriented Research in Engineering. Since then, the initiative has supported nearly 500 undergraduate engineering students through direct involvement in real-world engineering projects.

When MIPS started in 1987, Naft helped coordinate reviews of high-tech proposals, sometimes managing as many as ten at a time. He later designed and guided the development of the successful MIPS web-based proposal and review system, MIPStrack. In 2006, he was named associate director of MIPS.

“I want to grow the program,” said Naft. “The MIPS model works wonderfully, putting the vast expertise and facilities of Maryland’s public universities to work for Maryland businesses. I want to maintain that outstanding record of success and grow it into a larger program. Maryland’s vibrant entrepreneurial sector presents us with great opportunities that warrant doubling the funding MIPS provides for technology-based product development. We are leaving too many promising projects on the table, projects with terrific commercial potential for our state with companies that are ready to contribute to the cost of those projects to develop new and innovative products.”

About the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) Program
MIPS, a program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, supports university-based research projects to help Maryland companies develop technology-based products. Commercial products benefiting from MIPS projects have generated more than $25.2 billion in revenue, added thousands of jobs to the region, and contributed to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, and Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit.

WellDoc Closes $20 Million in Strategic Financing

WellDoc

Mtech Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) funding recipient WellDoc®, developer of the first FDA cleared mobile prescription therapy, BlueStar, recently announced that it received funding from its first institutional investors, Merck Global Health Innovation Fund and Windham Venture Partners, as part of a $20 million round of financing that now broadens its capitalization beyond its initial group of angel investors. For a limited time, WellDoc and its investors will also explore the possibility of adding co-investors that bring strategic value to the company.

“Our new investors share WellDoc’s vision of fundamentally changing how people manage their chronic diseases to improve outcomes and reduce costs,” said Ryan Sysko, co-founder and CEO of WellDoc. “This investment will help WellDoc launch and commercialize BlueStar, the world’s first Mobile Prescription Therapy for type 2 diabetes, on a nationwide basis.”

WellDoc’s flagship product, BlueStar, is a first-in-class, patient-centered product cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July 2010 for use by adults living with type 2 diabetes. BlueStar requires a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider and can be dispensed and reimbursed through a pharmacy. The new product is powered by WellDoc’s proprietary Automated Expert Analytics System and enables patients to self-manage their diabetes through real-time motivational, behavioral and educational coaching. BlueStar coordinates care by helping patients adhere to their treatment plan while also providing clinical decision support to the patient’s healthcare provider to optimize treatment decisions.

WellDoc’s 2008 MIPS project teamed the company with Charlene Quinn, associate professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine, for clinical trials to demonstrate the effectiveness of the company’s DiabetesManager product (now BlueStar). The company also wanted to prove that its easy-to-use diabetes management system could be implemented on a large scale.

Quinn and WellDoc evaluated the effectiveness of a patient-to-provider interactive diabetes management system that could be utilized with readily available personal electronic devices. In the MIPS phase one project, patient diabetes management algorithms were revised to test the effectiveness of the WellDoc intervention for a larger, randomized control trial (RCT) conducted in the phase 2 MIPS project.  The randomized control trial involved 30 patients, who were given WellDoc’s cell phone-based diabetes management software, which securely captured data and provided real-time diabetes management feedback. In addition, WellDoc’s system analyzed patient data and provided suggested action plans to patients’ healthcare providers (HCPs). The solution promoted patient self-management and enhanced communication between patients and their HCPs.

The MIPS study showed that adults with type 2 diabetes using WellDoc’s software achieved a 2.03-point reduction in A1c, an indicator used to identify the average blood glucose level of a diabetic over a 12-week time period. Every one-point drop reduces the risk of diabetes complications (e.g., amputations blindness) by as much as 40 percent. The top ten diabetes drugs in the U.S., on average, reduce A1c by about one point. The results of this trial were published in Diabetes Technologies and Therapeutics, Volume 10, 2008.

Dr. Quinn then conducted the first, one-year randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a mobile phone-based diabetes coaching and decision support intervention, the results of which were published in Diabetes Care, the world’s preeminent diabetes-focused scientific journal, published by the American Diabetes Association. The trial met its primary endpoint of reducing blood glucose levels over one-year, demonstrating patients using the WellDoc system plus their usual care had an average decline in A1c of 1.9 percentage points compared to a 0.7-percentage-point decline seen among patients treated with usual care alone (control group).

“Maryland Industrial Partnerships was really instrumental in helping us build the evidence associated with our product,” said Ryan Sysko, co-founder and CEO of WellDoc. “There were two specific areas where we used the MIPS grants. The first was looking at our clinical trial data and analyzing it to understand the impact of our system on patients. Second was looking at how we could start to evolve into more complex and advanced analytics to truly begin to personalize our system so we could begin to tailor our messaging and support to patients based upon their particular set of issues.”

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), more than 45 percent of all Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease and 25.8 million people in the U.S. (approximately 8.3 percent of the population) suffer from diabetes. The ADA estimates the total annual cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2012 was $245 billion, including $176 billion in direct medical costs and an additional $69 billion from reduced productivity.

“I would say MIPS validated us,” said Suzanne Sysko Clough, Founder & Chief Medical Officer of WellDoc. “Here we are, two people knocking on the doors of Fortune 100, Fortune, Fortune 300 companies, public payers, private payers, partners, and until we had that endorsement from a MIPS grant, it was hard. It really did help us open doors by saying we are MIPS-endorsed. It made a big difference in our ability to get traction.”

About the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) Program
MIPS, a program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, supports university-based research projects to help Maryland companies develop technology-based products. Commercial products benefiting from MIPS projects have generated more than $25.2 billion in revenue, added thousands of jobs to the region, and contributed to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet™, MedImmune’s Synagis®, and Black & Decker’s Bullet® Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit.

Pixelligent Granted Innovation Research Award for Next-Generation OLED Lighting

Pixelligent

Pixelligent Technologies, an Mtech TAP incubator graduate and MIPS funding recipient, recently announced it was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant by the Department of Energy (DOE).

The nine-month, $150,000 program will enable Pixelligent to accelerate the development of its nanoadditives for use in organic light-emitting diode (OLED) lighting, which is used to create digital displays in devices such as television screens, computer monitors, portable systems such as mobile phones, handheld games consoles and PDAs. As part of this program, Pixelligent will partner with OLEDWorks LLC, a leading OLED lighting company.

“As we continue working with the world’s leading electronics and next generation lighting companies, we are excited to partner with OLEDWorks, one of the leading American manufacturers of OLED lighting solutions”, said Craig Bandes, president and CEO of Pixelligent.

The SBIR program, established by the U.S. Congress, supports scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of federal research funds. The goal of the program, titled Advanced Light Extraction Material for OLED Lighting, is to develop an internal light-extraction structure that will be fully compatible with OLED device manufacturing processes and operating conditions that can expedite the commercialization of white OLED lighting.

“We are honored to receive this highly competitive grant from the DOE that recognizes the significant value our advanced materials can provide in Solid State Lighting (SSL) applications”, commented Dr. Gregory D. Cooper, CTO and Founder of Pixelligent Technologies.

Since 2012, the company has received three SBIR grants from the Department of Energy, totaling $1.3 million, to expedite the development of its advanced materials for commercial use.

Once occupying four wet labs and two offices in TAP from 2005 to 2011, Pixelligent moved to Baltimore in June, 2011. In 2012, the company expanded its footprint to include more than 13,000 sq. ft. and has increased its work force by nearly 150 percent since moving operations to Baltimore. This growth is attributed to the increased demand for its proprietary Zirconia nanocrystal additives and the progress Pixelligent has made in significantly scaling-up its manufacturing capacity. The company is now producing and shipping its nanocrystal additives to customers around the world.

Also in 2005, Pixelligent worked with UMD chemistry and biochemistry Professor Daniel Falvey through a Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) grant on nanocrystal additives for increased resolution in photolithography. The project helped Pixelligent as it transitioned its technology to other applications in semiconductor manufacturing and the electronics industry, according to the company.

In December 2012, The Baltimore Sun reported that Pixelligent was “searching the region for space for a manufacturing facility capable of increasing its capacity to make nanocrystal coatings for electronics and semiconductors by 10 times or more.”

Pixelligent has raised more than $17 million over the past four and a half years.

Pixelligent’s first three employees earned their Ph.D.s from the University of Maryland. Founder & CTO Greg Cooper earned his Ph.D.in Physics, Zhiyun Chen, Vice President of Engineering, earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, and Serpil Gonen Williams, Vice President of Product Development, earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry. Pixelligent also employs three other UMD graduates. Xia Bai and Selina Thomas both earned Ph.D.’s in Chemistry and Lei Zhang earned her Master’s in Material Science and Engineering.