Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Office of Commercialization

Need for a better microscope prompts launch of a startup

By WIll Ferguson, College of Arts & Sciences
Originally published in WSU News

WSU physicist Matthew McCluskey wasn’t trying to invent the next generation of material characterization microscopes, but when he couldn’t get the results he wanted from the best on the market, he improvised.

Four years later, McCluskey launched Klar Scientific, a startup designing and manufacturing an innovative, new instrument that collects more information about materials in less time and at a lower cost than what is currently on the market. The company is the recipient of a $210,000 National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research grant to bring the affordable and easy to use microscope to market.

“Our new instrument could make a major impact in the $6.2 billion microscope market,” McCluskey said. “The business development advice and funding we received from the WSU Commercialization Gap Fund and the WSU Innovation Corps program were instrumental in our efforts to build a prototype and demonstrate the potential of this new technology.”

» More …

Licensing deal with Genus will help combat deadly cattle disease

First published in WSU News

A gene editing technology developed at WSU is being licensed to Genus plc, a global animal genetics company, to develop cattle that are more resistant to bovine respiratory disease (BRD).

“From domestication and selective breeding to today’s use of advanced biotechnology, the goal of all animal husbandry remains the same,” said Bryan Slinker, dean of WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine.  “The goal is to continue to optimize animal health and well-being and produce disease-free food animals.  This work is another important step in ensuring we meet our responsibilities to animals as well as the world’s food supply, now and in the future.”

» More …

Scientist develops gene therapy for muscle wasting

First published for WSU News by Seth Truscott

A discovery by Washington State University scientist Dan Rodgers and collaborator Paul Gregorevic could save millions of people suffering from muscle wasting disease.

The result of the team’s four-year project is a novel gene therapeutic approach. The work was published (http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/8/348/348ra98) July 20 in Science Translational Medicine, a journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“Chronic disease affects more than half of the world’s population,” said Rodgers, professor of animal sciences (https://ansci.wsu.edu/people/faculty/dan-rodgers/) and director of the Washington Center for Muscle Biology (http://wcmb.wsu.edu/). “Most of those diseases are accompanied by muscle wasting.

“It occurs with chronic infection, muscular dystrophy, malnutrition and old age,” he said. “About half the people who die from cancer are actually dying from muscle wasting and there’s not one single therapy out there that addresses it. » More …

Research fund partner helps WSU innovation advance

First published for WSU News

Since the Commercialization Gap Fund launched at Washington State University two years ago, 14 researchers have received funding to fill the gap between their discoveries and private investment. The Washington Research Foundation (WRF) has just invested up to $1 million for the next four years in the fund.

The fund has helped with everything from taking a muscle regenerating treatment to the next step in the drug development process (https://economicdevelopment.wsu.edu/2016/03/28/2333/), to developing training that will help police officers overcome biases (https://economicdevelopment.wsu.edu/2016/06/21/counter-bias-training-simulation-reaches-officers-gap-fund-support/).

“We have been impressed with the diversity of innovations at WSU,” said Beth Etscheid, director of research commercialization at the WRF (http://www.wrfseattle.org/), which established the fund with WSU in 2014. » More …

Licensing agreement will improve chemical detection

First published for WSU News

A new licensing partnership between WSU and Excellims Corp. will improve chemical detection tools used to detect everything from dangerous chemicals to human disease.

“I am very happy to see our research achievements being implemented into a commercial instrument,” said Herbert Hill, a WSU Regents Professor in the Department of Chemistry who developed the licensed technology. “This will allow researchers in a variety of academic research and industrial research fields to have a more powerful tool based on ion mobility spectrometry.”

» More …

Dr. Sita Pappu Named a Woman of Distinction

Sita Pappu

Congratulations to our very own, Dr. Sita Pappu, Director of the Office of Commercialization, for being recognized as a Woman of Distinction by the Women’s History Month Committee and the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. This distinguished honor recognizes Dr. Pappu’s professional contributions and service activities that span all of WSU’s campuses, and research and extension centers.

Dr. Pappu is an accomplished scientist, a goal-oriented and results-driven manager, a highly successful administrator, compassionate leader, and mentor to all. In just thirteen years at WSU, she has assembled an impressive list of accomplishments a few of which include:

  • Closing over 500 various types of agreements related to intellectual property management.
  • Licensing over 80 university technologies to industry partners.
  • Obtaining greater than $1 million in research support to drive the development of WSU technologies.
  • Negotiating and obtaining over $4.75 million in license income, patent reimbursements, and royalties.

Reaching such tremendous success in such a short time speaks volumes to Dr. Pappu’s contributions to the WSU community and her exemplary leadership and management. Her motivation, determination, and passion for her work are an inspiration to the entire OC team.

The 2015 Woman the Year and Women of Distinction recipients were formally recognized at the annual Women’s Recognition and Symposium.

  • Negotiating and obtaining over $4.75 million in license income, patent reimbursements, and royalties.

WSU Innovators Receive Funding from Commercialization Gap Fund

The OC is pleased to award 7 WSU researchers with a grant from the FY2015 Commercialization Gap Fund (CGF). The awards are intended to be the final funding step to advance innovations from the lab to the marketplace. In collaboration with the OC, CGF recipients will work to reach key milestones throughout the duration of the 12-month funding cycle.

The awardees include:

Dr. Amit Bandyopadhyay, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture (Pullman)
Project Title: Next Generation Infection Resistant Load-Bearing Implants

Dr. Clifford Berkman, College of Arts and Sciences (Pullman)
Project Title: Tunable pH – Sensitive Linker for Targeted Drug Delivery

Mark E. De Kleine, College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (Prosser)
Project Title: Commercializing an Apple Harvesting System by Integrating Three Critical Technologies: Fruit Removing End-Effector, Fruit Catching Structure, and Transport Machine

Dr. Hanjo Hellmann, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Pullman)
Project Title: Development of a Novel Biotechnology Platform to Improve Agricultural Traits in Plants for Beneficial Impacts on Biofuel Production, Plant Stress Tolerance, and Food Yield

Dr. Hanwu Lei, College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (Tri-Cities)
Project Title: High Energy Dense Bio-Fuels from a Versatile Conversion System: Feedstocks and Processes for Securing Bio-Aromatics

Dr. Hans Van Dongen, College of Medical Sciences (Pullman, Spokane, Vancouver)
Project Title: User Interface and Commercialization Plan for Drowsy Driver Detection at Moderate levels of Fatigue

Dr. Matthew Whiting, College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (Prosser)
Project Title: Pound-for-Pound: Refining and Commercializing a New Harvest System for Specialty Crops

A total of 20 applicants entered the competitive funding process in August 2014 by submitting pre-proposals. Eleven applicants were then invited to submit a full proposal. The application process culminated with applicants presenting the commercial opportunity of their respective technology to a panel of external experts in December.

The funds represent a collaborative investment among the Offices of the President and Provost in conjunction with the Vice President of Research, the Washington Research Foundation, and the OC. The next round of CGF funding will begin in the summer of 2015.

Life Sciences Discovery Fund announces $750k in proof of concept grants

The Life Sciences Discovery Fund announced nearly $750,000 in Proof of Concept grants to Washington state for-profit and non-profit organizations, looking to promote translation of health related technologies from the lab to the marketplace. In addition, an existing grant was expanded by $56,000 to increase the commercial potential of a drug to protect hearing in patients taking certain antibiotics.

The awards will advance the development of products to improve lupus treatment, permit at-home monitoring of lung function for individuals with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other conditions. In addition, the funding will also support validation of novel cell separations technology for cancer immunotherapy and other medical and research applications.

LSDF executive director said “We are excited to make additional investments in the areas of autoimmune disorders and cancer and to expand our grant-making reach into lung disease management.” Board chair Carol Dahl agreed, adding that “LSDF is pleased to support the burgeoning field of mobile health technology, which represents a powerful tool for improving overall quality and cost-effectiveness of our health-care system.”

The LSDF is now accepting pre-proposals from Washington for-profit and non-profit organizations for the 2014-2015 Matching and Proof of Concept granting programs. The next pre-proposal submission deadline for both programs is January 7, 2015. For additional details, visit http://www.lsdfa.org or email programs@lsdfa.org.

Inventors Convene at the WSU Innovation Open House

On September 18th, the WSU Innovation Open House, a “special showcase of just a small sample of the many research activities at Washington State University” was held in the CUB to correspond with the WSU Foundation Annual Meeting of the Board of Trustees. From projects just past proof-of-concept to innovations well under way to their commercialization, the showcase demonstrated not only the efforts of the researchers, but the OC’s contributions as well. Here’s a brief presentation of the projects in attendance:

IOH_BlogPost
Attendees try their hand at the VALS test simulator

» More …