Month: November 2014

OneStart Program – Deadline Dec 1

Apply by December 1st for a chance to win $150k to realise your business idea

Do you have an idea to solve a critical problem in healthcare? Or do you have the scientific or business know-how to help someone else develop their idea?

The Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable (OBR) and SR One, the venture capital arm of GlaxoSmithKline, have teamed up again for the OneStart competition – the largest life sciences / health care startup accelerator programme in the world – to offer young innovators from all disciplines the chance to win $150k with free lab space, and ongoing legal and business advice from our sponsors to transform their ideas into a successful business.

Applications are now open until December 1st, 2014. To learn more about the programme and start building your team, visit

Who should participate?

  • Science/medical students and researchers interested in spinning out their research or commercializing their ideas
  • Business students and young professionals keen to get involved in the biotech and healthcare industries
  • Software developers and engineers interested in contributing their technical skills to realising a product
  • Anyone interested in entrepreneurship

You do not need to have a team yet, or even have your own idea, as you can register now at our Co-founder Hub< (and Discussion Forum) to find teammates to complement your strengths, show your interest to join other teams.

More information

UConn Incubator company, Avitus Orthopaedics, Raises $1 Million to Assist with Launch of Avitus Harvester

Investment supports product launch and product portfolio expansion

The University of Connecticut’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Avitus™ Orthopaedics Inc. – a developer of orthopaedic tools that aim to improve clinical outcomes while decreasing healthcare costs for patients, surgeons, and hospitals – are pleased to announce that more than $1 million in capital has been raised to continue commercialization and company growth.

Avitus was recently awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the amount of $750,000. Additionally, Avitus raised $300,000 toward its Series A round from Connecticut Innovations and another private investor. To date, Connecticut Innovations has invested $500,000 in the company to support growth activities, including testing, manufacturing and regulatory filings.

“We’re thrilled that these awards will enable us to grow the team as well as expand the company’s product portfolio,” said Maxim Budyansky, chief technology officer of Avitus. Budyansky is a UCONN alumnus, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2010.

“We have seen exciting progress with our fundraising efforts and product development goals,” said Neil Shah, CEO of Avitus. “We are looking to raise an additional $350,000 from new investment partners to close the Series A round. The funds will allow us to submit for 510k clearance of the Avitus Harvester and complete a pilot launch of the product.”

Budyansky and Shah cofounded Avitus Orthopaedics in 2011 after identifying an unmet clinical need during their graduate program in the Johns Hopkins University Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design. The founding team included leading spinal surgeons from the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute. To address this clinical need, the Company has developed a minimally-invasive bone graft harvesting device that provides surgeons with an intuitive, safe and efficient way to harvest bone grafts. The device, the Avitus™ Harvester, is a disposable manual surgical instrument that cuts and collects bone from the patient with a streamlined process.

In 2013, the company relocated its headquarters to the University of Connecticut Technology Incubation Program in Farmington, where it intends to work with local physicians to pilot its products upon FDA clearance. UConn’s Technology Incubation Program provides lab space and business services for fledgling technology companies that also benefit from the use of unique university resources needed to accelerate their growth. “The decision to relocate our headquarters to UConn has allowed the Company to integrate into the Connecticut start up ecosystem and leverage the strong resource base available in the community, catalyzing our company growth while preserving vital resources.” said Shah.

Dr. Jeff Seemann, UConn’s Vice President for Research, said “We are delighted to host this very promising technology company at UConn Health. As with those technologies discovered at the University, we are pleased to support commercialization of the Avitus Harvester and the potential it offers to Connecticut’s economic future. We are especially pleased to attract and retain graduates like Neil and Max who have both the technical skills and business savvy needed to achieve the goals of the state’s Next Generation CT economic initiative.”

Avitus Orthopaedics Inc. was established with the mission of developing new orthopaedic technologies that improve clinical outcomes while decreasing healthcare costs compared to current procedures and devices. Currently, the company is developing a novel surgical device that will enable surgeons to use gold standard autologous bone graft material. Current bone graft solutions are suboptimal in terms of efficacy, safety and cost. Avitus Orthopaedics aims to introduce disruptive technologies in order to improve the lives of patients worldwide.

Media Contact: Rita Zangari, 860 486-3010

UConn Awards Commercialization Funds

The University of Connecticut’s Office of the Vice President for Research, today announced that five early stage ventures have been awarded funds to help commercialize new technologies in Connecticut. The grants will fund proof of concept experiments, prototype development and testing, manufacturing design, and customer validation — all key steps to bringing new technologies into the marketplace.

According to Dr. Jeff Seemann, UConn’s Vice President for Research, funds will be made available from two unique programs aimed at filling the gap between research support and private investment. The Accelerator Fund, administered by the University and funded by the Department of Economic and Community Development, is designed to support innovation throughout the state (e.g. Yale, UConn) The University Prototype Fund, derived from the University’s patent revenue, is focused on supporting commercially viable innovations from UConn.

Voda, a UConn student startup, was awarded a $50,000 Accelerator Fund grant to support pre-manufacturing design for the company’s SmartWell beverage dispenser. SmartWell provides consumers with a choice of flavored and nutritionally enhanced beverages, while offering a green alternative to bottled beverages.

A $25,000 Accelerator Fund grant was awarded to 109 Design, a company formed by three recent Yale graduates, to develop a smart strap for scoliosis braces. The braces increase compliance and enhance the effectiveness of this important non-surgical treatment for the condition.

A $50,000 Accelerator Fund grant was awarded to Yale startup GestVision to create and test a new Point of Care diagnostic test for Preeclampsia. This award leverages a $100,000 grant the company recently received from the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute’s Innovation Fund.

UConn startup Valhalla Specialty Polymers, LLC, founded by Dr. Gregory Sotzing, was awarded a $50,000 UConn Prototype grant to create flexible antennae on fabrics for real-time transmission of health information of the wearer.

A $25,000 UConn Prototype grant was awarded to UConn startup Q-pro Bracing Technologies. Q-pro, advised by Dr. Kazem Kazerounian, is developing of a revolutionary knee brace for patients suffering from osteoarthritis, especially those who are too young for knee replacement.

These programs demonstrate how university research can be the catalyst for innovation, startup creation and economic growth in Connecticut” said Dr. Seemann, “UConn is delighted to support the work of early stage companies developing technologies discovered at Connecticut’s two leading research universities — UConn and Yale. We applaud DECD’s foresight in awarding funds to support commercialization of university-based innovations. As a sign of our commitment to Connecticut’s economic prosperity, we are pleased to leverage DECD funds with UConn’s Prototype Fund.

Media Contact: Rita Zangari, 860 486-3010

Big Bioscience Plans Start With Small Ideas

Published: November 17, 2014 | Originally Posted at Hartford Business

While Jackson Laboratory has grabbed most of the attention lately around efforts to turn UConn Health Center’s Farmington campus into a major economic driver, UCHC leaders say they see the real impact from the state’s bioscience initiative coming in small ideas incubating in newly renovated lab space.

When complete, the $1 billion Bioscience Connecticut investment will more than double the amount of incubator space at UConn, giving students, researchers, and the bioscience community greater opportunity to cultivate ideas and patents into startups and eventually full-fledged businesses.

“At its least, it is about workforce development and research,” said Mun Choi, UConn’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

The Greater Hartford business community can look to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge as the potential UCHC’s expansion can have on Connecticut, said Cato Laurencin, director of the UConn Institute for Regenerative Engineering, which operates out of the Health Center’s Farmington campus.

MIT has more than 200 small, medium, and large companies surrounding its campus, supporting its research and, in turn, spinning out new business applications. UConn, where bioengineering is the fastest growing academic department, has already started down this path with much room to grow, Laurencin said.

“The big culture change [at UCHC] has been the thought that the medical center is the driver of economic development,” Laurencin said.

l-catoLaurencin said for every $1 million in grant funding UCHC receives from the National Institutes of Health, 10 jobs will be created along with one invention disclosure. Those disclosures can lead to patents and eventually full-fledged companies.

“This can be a real economic driver for the state,” Laurencin said.

Laurencin and Choi, speaking at the Connecticut Business & Industry Association’s recent annual meeting, pointed to five startup businesses already up and running based on UCHC research:

• Natural Polymer Devices formed in 2011 to use bioactive materials to repair and replace damaged hard tissue in people’s bodies. The materials were developed in the UCHC Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

• DuraBiotech, which already has 11 employees, is part of the UConn Technology Incubation Program. The company has developed a heart valve that lasts four times longer than other heart valves.

• Macroscopic Solution is a company of scientific researchers selling a low-cost, portable 3D imaging product that helps other scientific researchers find the microscopic information they need.

• Smpl Bio’s seven-member founding team has developed a discovery tool that allows researchers to extract important information from complex data sets.

• Voda’s team of five UConn engineers and designers has developed a product called SmartWell that allows consumers to customize water-based beverages.

“The student workforce is an incredible plus that we have at the University of Connecticut,” Laurencin said. “Many of the individuals here want to be a part of Connecticut businesses and want to stay in Connecticut.”


Choi told the CBIA crowd the best way they could support Bioscience Connecticut is to hire UConn students as interns, so they can get to know the business community and lead collaboration as more research comes online.

Businesses also can work hand-in-hand with UConn researchers to develop new technologies companies need immediately, Choi said. UConn also can provide businesses access to expensive equipment companies might not be able to afford on their own, and trained UConn students and researchers can perform tasks at businesses’ requests.

“We can work with you on research you need,” Choi said.

Originally Posted at Hartford Business

UConn IDEA Grant Applications Open

Rosse Gates (2)The UConn IDEA Grant program is currently accepting applications for the next round of funding. Awards of up to $4000 per student are available through the program to support innovative, creative and original projects designed by UConn undergraduates, including research projects, entrepreneurial ventures, community service initiatives, and creative endeavors. To date 40 students have been awarded funding for projects spanning a variety of disciplines, ranging from mechanical engineering to marine sciences, fine arts to psychology.

There are two application cycles per year. Applications are now open for summer funding, with an application deadline of Wednesday, December 17, 2014. Applications for academic year funding will open in February 2015 with an application deadline of Monday, March 16, 2015.

Applications are accepted from individuals and from small groups who would like to work collaboratively on a project. Projects do not need to be tied to a student’s major or minor, but should be connected to their academic goals and future plans, and should be personally meaningful, relevant, and engaging. Undergraduates in all majors at all UConn campuses can apply.

Additional details on the UConn IDEA Grant program, including eligibility, timelines, the application process, and profiles of previous award recipients can be found on the UConn IDEA Grant website –

New Haven Startup Tour

New Haven Startup Tour
Friday, November 14th
Noon to 5:30 p.m.
The New Haven Startup Tour provides the opportunity to look behind the scenes of New Haven area startups. You will get the chance to visit each company (usually in their offices) and meet the founders and/or management, talk to employees, and discover a whole world of opportunity most never knew existed in the New Haven area. Best of all, it’s FREE!
Please choose one company per time slot to visit and be mindful of travel tie to physically move between the locations. You may mix and match from the different tracks if you prefer.
For more information and to sign up, go to: