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CTL eNewsletter: June 2011

Cornell's Berry Breeding Program

Cornell’s berry breeding program is led by Dr. Courtney Weber, Associate Professor of Horticulture from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The program develops improved strawberry and raspberry varieties. These improvements include improved disease and insect resistance, larger fruit size, and higher yield. Dr. Weber’s program also pays particular attention to fruit flavor and eating quality. According to Dr. Weber, most of the berries produced in New York are marketed directly to consumers. It is important consumers are aware of the significant differences in fruit from local sources and will choose to purchase locally.

In response to the growing demand for fresh red raspberries, Dr. Weber is currently developing a new series. The first released raspberry variety in this series, ’Crimson Giant’ (patent application no. 12/932,475), has exceptionally large, plump, bright red berries, with firm texture, and late harvest for a primocane (fall bearing) type. The late fruiting characteristic of ‘Crimson Giant’ allows growers to have an extended season. In many parts of New York, growers can produce fruit into November, using ‘Crimson Giant’ and high tunnels to extend the season. Farmers can ask for premium prices because ‘Crimson Giant’ is available when other raspberries have stopped producing. ‘Crimson Giant’ will be more widely available for purchase in coming years.

Cornell’s berry breeding program, the oldest continuous program for developing new strawberry and raspberry varieties in North America, has demonstrated substantial commercial success throughout its history. Varieties including ‘Heritage’, ‘Encore’ PP11,746, and ‘Prelude’ PP11,747 red raspberries, as well as, strawberries ‘Jewel’, ‘Clancy’ PP16,571, and ‘L-Amour’ PP16,480 are recognized as nutritious, delicious, and attractive to consumers and are well adapted to New York’s growing conditions.

Ezra Pharmaceutical, Inc. is Developing Therapy for Diabetic Retinopathy

Ezra Pharmaceutical, Inc., a startup company based on licensed Cornell technologies from its Weill Cornell Medical College, is developing a preventive therapy for diabetes-related blindness, or diabetic retinopathy. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of adult blindness in the United States. Current treatments for this disease include laser procedures, which risk destroying the retina and causing sight loss, and steroid injections, which have many negative side effects. These treatments are not preventive in nature, but instead are used when blindness is imminent. Ezra Pharmaceutical is developing an FDA approved molecule, through a repurposing strategy, that can halt and potentially reverse the progression of the disease. Ezra Pharmaceutical's approach is based on an invention originally made by Professor Randi Silver of Physiology and Professor Roberto Levi of Pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College and further developed by Dr. Silver and her student, Nathan O'Connor.

Ezra Pharmaceutical collaborates with DSM, a global company based in the Netherlands. Using DSM’s novel technology for drug delivery, Ezra Pharmaceutical has formulated one of its repurposed drugs in DSM's drug delivery platform; the lead product is a microfilament that can be injected into the eye every several months and will release drug in a controlled manner. The DSM technology used by Ezra Pharmaceutical was also licensed by DSM from Cornell; it was invented by Professor Chih-Chang Chu of the College of Human Ecology. Currently, Ezra Pharmaceutical is testing the safety and efficacy of its lead product in diabetic rodents.

In a Pre-IND (Investigational New Drug) meeting with representatives from the Food and Drug Administration, the company received positive feedback and confirmation that it can test this product directly in diseased patients, obviating the usual step of first testing its product in a healthy patient cohort. The company plans to enter clinical trials in early 2012.

Ezra Pharmaceutical was founded by Cornell MD/MBA student, Daniel Knecht.

Cornell Angel Network Broadens its Reach

In addition to Cornell Startups (new businesses founded on licensed Cornell technologies), CCTEC now welcomes Cornellian Startups (new businesses founded by Cornellians, but not on licensed Cornell technologies) to join the Cornell Angel Network – a password protected social networking site within the Cornellboration® suite at Cornell Startups and Cornellian Startups can create detailed company profiles that include a wide range of content such as videos, presentations, images, data, and business plans. Cornellians, who are qualified investors, can browse the profiles of the new businesses for investment opportunities. The Cornell Angel Network is sponsored and maintained by CCTEC as a service to the extended Cornell community to promote and facilitate entrepreneurship, regional economic development, and technology commercialization. For more information and to join the Cornell Angel Network, click here.

Post Anonymously on Cornell BioPharma Network and Cornell NanoMat Network

Members of the Cornell BioPharma Network (CBPN) and Cornell NanoMat Network (CNMN) can now post discussions and comments anonymously. To start a new discussion anonymously, go to the desired section of the Members Forum and click “Add new post”. Enter your post, then scroll to the bottom of the page and expand the “Authoring information” option. Then, delete your username from the “Authored by” box and it will not appear in the published post. To reply or post a comment to an existing post anonymously, click “Post Reply” or “Comment on this article” and check the box on the bottom of the page that says “Post this comment anonymously”.

CBPN and CNMN are components of the Cornellboration suite of online networking portals for Cornellians.

Cornell Venture Challenge

For the fifth year in a row, CCTEC provided matching prizes for winners of the Cornell Venture Challenge whose business plans were based on intellectual property developed at Cornell and managed by CCTEC. This year, ADispell, won third place and CCTEC presented them with a matching prize at their Seminar & Social Hour in April.

Stephen Curry, CEO of ADispell, accepts a check from Alice Li, Sr. Technology Commercialization & Liaison Officer at CCTEC.

Seminar & Social Hour™ is a monthly event at CCTEC to link Cornell researchers with entrepreneurial minded MBA students and community supporters. The free events are held at CCTEC in the months of February, March, April, September, October, and November every year from 5:45 to 7:15 pm in CCTEC's Conference Room at 395 Pine Tree Road, Suite 310.

Inaugural Director of the McGovern Family Center

Lou Walcer joined Cornell as the first Director of the McGovern Family Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences on June 1, 2011. Lou was previously a Senior Commercialization Officer responsible for developing new startup and commercialization ventures at Cleveland Clinic Innovations.

Pre-Seed Workshop

Cornell hosted a Pre-Seed Workshop at the McGovern Family Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences in March and April. Pre-Seed Workshop is a two and a half day community event that spans over three weeks. Teams, each with experienced professionals and entrepreneurs serving as mentors, build foundational business plans for companies. The workshop was coordinated by the Cornell Center for Life Science Enterprise and involved many supporters and sponsors. Professionals of CCTEC participated on the teams to share technology transfer information and advice.


Upcoming Events

Cornell Reunion

Date: June 11 & 12, 2011
Time: 11:30AM-1:30PM
Location: Barton Hall

CCTEC will participate in the two-day Cornell Reunion Event to share information on Cornell's technology transfer efforts.

Startup Boot Camp

Date: June 16, 2011
Time: 10:00AM-6:00PM
Location: G10 Biotechnology Building

A one-day event focusing on the issues and challenges involved in starting a company. Panels of experts will discuss the process of starting a company including what you need to know before you take the leap, Cornell and community resources, organizing the startup, and making the pitch.

Recent Events

IP & Pizza™

Date: March 14, 2011

Attendees learned about intellectual property issues and technology transfer at Cornell. This event was sponsored by Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti, PC.

Click here to view a photo from the event.

Bringing Your Startup to Life: A Mini Boot Camp Event

Date: March 16, 2011

The Cornell Center for Technology Enterprise and Commercialization (CCTEC) and NYC Tech Connect hosted a Mini Boot Camp at the Weill Cornell Medical College campus as part of CCTEC’s Boot Camp series. This event gave attendees legal, investment and university perspectives about bringing a startup to life from knowledgeable panel members.

Click here to view photos from the event.

Upstate New York Biocareer Connection

Date: April 8, 2011

Attendees learned about what Upstate NY has to offer in the field of bioscience. Exhibitors from across the region were at the event to explore and discuss opportunities. A panel of experts provided strategies and advice for landing a job in a large or small biotech company, academic institution, or government/non-profit organization. Also, the speakers provided resume and interviewing tips.

Click here to view photos from the event.

CCTEC New Business & Emerging Technology Showcase™

Date: April 14, 2011

The CCTEC New Business & Emerging Technology Showcase highlighted exciting new Cornell technologies and unique business opportunities from both the Ithaca campus and Weill Cornell Medical College. This showcase is part of the Entrepreneurship@Cornell Celebration event.

For more information, click here.

IP & Pizza™

Date: April 18, 2011

Attendees from the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences listened to a discussion on patent claims and why they are important to the success of technology commercialization. This event was sponsored by LeClairRyan.

Click here to view photos from the event.

IP & Pizza™

Date: April 20, 2011

Starting a business based on a new technology usually requires careful attention to intellectual property. This IP&P event focused on the issue of how ownership of intellectual property, including software, is established. What may happen to the ownership of that intellectual property as talks proceed with potential collaborators, potential contractors, and new hires, was discussed. This event was sponsored by Valauskas Corder LLC.

Click here to view photos from the event.

Inventions Roundtable™ - Stem Cell Technologies & Therapies

Date: April 21, 2011

This event featured presentations on stem cell technologies and therapies. Invited guests provided feedback in the areas of marketability and applications.

The presentations included:

  • Method to Efficiently Expand Adult Stem Cells in the Absence of Serum and Growth Factors
    Shahin Rafii, Professor, Department of Medicine
  • Methods for Liver Regeneration
    Shahin Rafii, Professor, Department of Medicine
  • Method to Generate Large Amounts of Endothelial Cells from Human Embryonic Stem Cells
    Daylon James, Assistant Research Professor, Department of Medicine
  • Technologies for Neural Stem Cell Identification and Isolation

Click here to view photos from the event.

Seminar & Social Hour™

Date: April 26, 2011

Johnson School MBAs from the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club joined CCTEC professionals to learn about an exciting new Cornell technology over drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Susan Daniel, Assistant Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, presented a device to sort and classify cell membrane components at the event.

Click here to view photos from the event.