Corporate Engagement announces newest round of Accelerator Awards funding

Inventors — April 30, 2020

Corporate Engagement announces newest round of Accelerator Awards funding

Nine projects were recently chosen for Accelerator Awards funding totaling $1.25 million to advance the translation of technologies developed by Ohio State innovators from the university into the marketplace.
The Accelerator Awards program provides grants of up to $150,000 to help develop technologies to the point that they are either ready to be licensed by an Ohio-based startup company or are determined to be unfeasible for commercialization. The program is funded by the Ohio Third Frontier Technology Validation and Startup Fund (TVSF) and Ohio State and administered through the Corporate Engagement Office.
“Many discoveries are early stage and need additional funding to help advance the technology,” says Cheryl Turnbull, senior director of the Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship at Ohio State. “If we can help bridge that gap, the technologies are better positioned for becoming a successful startup and ultimately improve lives.”
Lentechs is one Ohio State startup that has benefited from Accelerator Awards funding. The technology, a novel contact lens based on research from Melissa Bailey, was validated through a small clinical trial and subsequently licensed to Lentechs. The startup company is currently in expanded clinicals trials and preparing for a market launch in the near future.
“The funding provided through the awards have helped provide a solid proof-of-concept platform on which to build a startup,” adds Turnbull. Since the 2015 inception of the program, $3 million has been provided to Ohio State researchers to develop their innovations. 46 projects have been completed. Nineteen of those technologies are currently licensed or in the option phase, 12 projects
are actively pursuing marketing and eight projects remain in development.
The project cycle can also provide the proof needed to no longer pursue commercialization on a technology – 15 technologies have resulted in a no-go decision. “We don’t see that as a failed outcome,” adds Turnbull. “Instead, this provides an opportunity for our researchers to pivot their work to where it can have a greater impact.”
In this most recent award cycle, researchers submitted 30 pre-proposals resulting in the nine funded projects highlighted below. Congratulations to these researchers!

Accelerator Awards | 2019-20 Cycle Awardees

Sylvester Black and Bryan Whitson

Novel Targeted Nanoparticle for CD38 Inhibition to Mitigate Stress Induced Organ Specific Injury

College of Medicine | Department of Surgery

Solid organ transplantation is one of the most impactful medical therapies available to patients with critical illness and end-organ failure. However, the success of organ transplantation has created a supply and demand problem as the number of waitlisted patients far outstrips the suitable donor organ supply. Currently, there is not a clinically available therapeutic to protect organs during transplantation. The team’s solution is a nanoparticle construct targeted to reduce stress and injury to the donor organ. This technology will improve donor organ quality or function as well as recipient outcomes. Accelerator Awards funding will allow optimization of the nanoparticle, scale up the manufacturing process, and validate the technology in rodent and human organs. 

David Dean

Chaotic Printing for Cell Expansion and Tissue Regeneration

College of Engineering | Department of Materials Science and Engineering

College of Medicine | Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Cell-based therapies, such as bone marrow replacement, novel cancer drug screening techniques, and many regenerative medicine technologies, require donor cells to be expanded from millions to hundreds of millions or billions to treat a single patient. Currently, donor cells are sent to expensive centralized facilities located far from patients for expansion in whole room incubators. The current procedure for cell-based therapies negatively impacts the affordability and the pace of treatment as well as, ultimately, the number of patients who can be treated. A solution is to use a chaotic bioreactor system fabricated using a novel method, chaotic printing. This new bioreactor will allow local, rapid, and less expensive expansion of cells to the numbers needed for treatment. Accelerator Awards funds will be used to finalize the design and set up of a chaotic printed bioreactor, demonstrate the cell expansion capabilities of the device, and to validate the commercial viability of this technology.

Emre Ertin

HFGuard: Noninvasive Sensing of Thoracic Fluid Levels for the Management of Congestive Heart Failure Patients

College of Engineering | Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Heart failure is a leading causes of hospital admissions and death in the United States and also one of the costliest disease syndromes. Current practice requires management of heart failure episodes in hospital and identifiers of worsening heart failure often develop too late to proactively manage. Earlier identification and treatment of worsening symptoms would help prevent development of heart failure exacerbations. Thoracic fluid accumulation develops prior to symptoms and presents a new early identifier. This project will develop a noninvasive sensor that can provide real time assessment of fluid levels, allowing early detection of worsening heart failure symptoms and trigger adjustments to medical therapy, preventing costly readmissions and avoiding life threatening complications. Accelerator Awards funding will enable refinement of the sensor design and user interface, as well as validate the accuracy of HFGuard in a clinical cohort of patients diagnosed with acute decompensated heart failure.

Zhiwei Hu

Targeting Pathological Neovasculature for Treatment of Advanced Triple-Negative Breast Cancer using Tissue Factor-Recognizing Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-Engineered Natural Killer and T Cells

College of Medicine | Department of Surgery/Surgical Oncology

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is typically an incurable malignancy due to lack of targeted therapy. This technology is a group of novel specifically targeted CAR constructs that can alter patients’ own immune cells to effectively fight cancer. The technology is specific to a new target in TNBC, which is clinically validated in other cancers. Outcomes of this technology would benefit the majority of TNBC patients, help prevent recurrences, and have less side effects than current treatments. Accelerator Awards funds will be used to investigate the efficacy and safety of the technology in preclinical animal studies, with the goal of commercializing for patients with TNBC.

Sanjay Krishna

Lateral Interband Type-II Engineered Detectors (LITE Detectors)

College of Engineering | Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) applications are used for defense, space and autonomous vehicles. Current LiDAR technologies lack high performance sensors and affordable price points. LIDAR needs to be more sensitive with better response times. This novel technology, Lateral Interband Type-II Engineered (LITE) detectors, will solve these needs by enabling LiDAR systems to see farther and respond faster using a higher performance detector architecture. If LiDAR are the eyes of the driverless car, then the proposed LITE detectors are the photoreceptors. Accelerator Awards funds will be used to develop and test the LITE detectors.

Mrinal Kumar

Data Security Measures and User-Layer Development for a Prognostics Use Case

College of Engineering | Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Currently, jet engine prognostics rely on a preventative schedule of maintenance and unforeseen breakdowns are costly. The technology under development is a scalable computational platform that performs accurate, predictive computer simulations to predict failure of aircraft jet engines in less time, with the end goal of supporting a decision-making agency. The goals of the project are to demonstrate that the front-end controllable accuracy of the platform can overhaul the existing preventative decision-making cycle for optimization of engine performance and prediction of engine failure. Accelerator Awards funds will allow a minimally viable product for pilot case use in jet engine prognostics to be built and tested, and develop a user interface for deployment.

Tanya Nocera

A Junctional Tourniquet for Control of Bleeding from Areas not Accessible to Standard Extremity Tourniquets

College of Engineering | Department of Biomedical Engineering

Exsanguination, or “bleeding to death,” is a leading cause of preventable deaths world-wide, and accounts for up to 90% of preventable combat fatalities – 17.5% of which are due to hemorrhage from the torso-appendage junction. A junctional tourniquet that effectively and efficiently treats junctional wounds in a tactical or civilian setting, is compact for carrying, and cost accessible to various agencies is lacking. This technology is developing a new junctional tourniquet device that: tightly conforms to the wound; can be quickly and effectively applied in high-pressure combat environments; and has a size/weight profile compatible with tactical medic bags. Additional applications of this technology can include law enforcement, EMS and civilian (i.e., active shooter situations). Accelerator Award funds will advance the design and fabricate functional prototypes for user testing.

Michael Tweedle

Hybrid Cell-Penetrating Peptide Pharmaceuticals

College of Medicine | Department of Radiology

Oncologic surgeons use imaging to plan surgery but only their vision and touch guide them during surgery, resulting in deadly missed tumors. Oncologists then treat half of all cancer patients with platinum chemotherapy, but with dose-limiting side effects in 25% of patients, resulting in many failures. This technology uses proprietary pharmaceuticals that transiently permeabilize tumor cell membranes, making a real time cancer specific imaging agent that will increase the accuracy of cancer surgery. A platinum chemotherapy potentiator will make chemotherapy drugs more effective in late stage cancer patients and allow patients to remain in therapeutic range, solving both problems. Accelerator Awards funds will be used to scale up the technology and determine therapeutic indices.

Kai Zhao

Non-Invasive Nasal Aid to Relieve Nasal Obstruction Sensation

College of Medicine | Department of Otolaryngology

Nasal obstruction is a chronic medical condition where invasive surgery is the only permanent solution. Patients experience decreased quality of life and loss of productivity. There is a lack of products based on scientific evidence that specially address the issue. This invention is a novel nasal aid designed to relieve nasal obstruction symptoms and to be sold over-the-counter.  It redirects nasal airflow to targeted therapeutic regions, which preliminary clinical data shows relieves nasal obstruction, potentially benefitting some 30 million adults in the US with related symptoms. The Accelerator Awards will fund work to improve prototype design and engage in rigorous clinical trials for FDA pre-marketing filing.