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Washington Technology Center Clients

Arcadia Biosciences, Inc.
Seattle

http://www.arcadiabio.com

RTD Award: Phase II

Research Partner: Diter von Wettstein, Ph.D., Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University

Project Began: 2007

Arcadia Biosciences, Seattle, has teamed with Dr. Diter von Wettstein from Washington State University to accelerate the development of new wheat cultivars for Washington crops. The partners are working to create new strains of wheat that reduce the allergens linked to Celiac disease. This gluten sensitivity affects approximately 3 million Americans. This phase two project is a continuation of research to develop and commercialize wheat which lacks the gliadin epitopes that cause Celiac disease. New technologies for developing wheat are needed since the dietary quality of grain protein cannot be improved by conventional breeding. Washington is the third highest wheat producing state in the U.S. and its wheat industry is a $450 million business. However, the state faces increasing competition from foreign markets. Finding ways to quickly grow and harvest higher-quality wheat will close this gap, reduce costs to farmers, open up new revenue for the state's wheat industry, and improve the lives of those affected by Celiac disease.

"Investment in the technologies and industries of the future is critical to the economic vitality of our state. Companies such as Arcadia Biosciences are not only commercializing technologies that protect our health, they are providing the residents of our state with living-wage jobs."

State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, (D-Seattle)


RTD Award: Phase I

Research Partner: Diter von Wettstein, Ph.D., Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University

Project Began: 2006

Arcadia Biosciences, Seattle, has teamed with Dr. Diter von Wettstein from Washington State University to accelerate the development of new wheat cultivars for Washington crops. Incorporating Arcadia's Nitrogen Use Efficiency gene into the wheat may result in reduced fertilizer costs for farmers, improved wheat quality and limit environmental damage of excess nitrogen leaching into groundwater. The partners are also working to create new strains of wheat that reduce the allergens linked to celiac disease. This gluten sensitivity affects approximately 3 million Americans. Washington is the third highest wheat producing state in the U.S. and its wheat industry is a $450 million business. However, the state faces increasing competition from foreign markets. Finding ways to quickly grow and harvest higher-quality wheat will close this gap, reduce costs to farmers, and open up new revenue for the state's wheat industry.

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Circulation

Seattle

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DiMeMa, Inc.

Seattle

Researcher: Professor Maya Gupta, University of Washington, Electrical Engineering Department

Year project began: 2004

This project involved a software solution for optimizing compression and structuring of scanned paper documents. DiMeMa is the manufacturer of the leading software used in libraries and archives for the creation of digital collections. The company products are currently sold to over 200 libraries in 42 states and six countries. As the digital age advances, archivists are looking to a process that allows printed documents to be scanned, compressed and converted to digital images. Current software is limited with respect to maintaining the quality of newspapers, maps, engineering and architectural drawings, and other documents that don't relate well to straight binary conversion due to grayscale details. The emerging standard for image compression is JPEG 2000.Gupta's group and DiDeMa is working on technology that will enhance this existing standard with better compression and features without sacrificing standardization or interchangeability with decompression software currently on the market.

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dTEC Systems, LLC

Seattle

http://dtecsystems.us/

RTD Award: Phase I

Project Title: "Multi-analyte Chemical Sensor Platform"

Research Partner: Samson A. Jenekhe, Ph.D., Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Washington

Project Began: 2007

Seattle-based dTEC Systems, a developer of environmental monitoring systems, has teamed with University of Washington Chemical Engineering researcher Samson A. Jenekhe to develop a novel low-cost chemical sensor technology for on-site environmental applications. The company-researcher team has received $100,000 in Research and Technology Development funding from Washington state for their project titled "Multi-analyte Chemical Sensor Platform." Many agricultural operations and wastewater treatment facilities are required to perform hundreds of chemical measurements each year - a time-consuming and expensive process involving collecting samples and sending them for analysis at specialized laboratories. Existing on-site measurement tools and kits are labor intensive. The proposed on-site sensor technology being developed by dTEC Systems will result in time and money savings for agricultural operations. The technology is based on the development of a chemoresponsive-material and micromachined-device platform that enables customizable miniature sensors for multiple analytes. The handheld chemical analyzer that will be developed as part of this project will allow customers to optimize agricultural practices and better control the environmental impact of their businesses.

"Congratulations to dTEC for its ingenuity in helping agricultural businesses save time and money with a new chemical sensing technology. These innovations will be all the stronger for having been developed in partnership with the University of Washington."

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, (D-Seattle)

"Congratulations and thanks to these Washington firms for their creativity and leading-edge research."

Rep. Helen Sommers, (D-Seattle)

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Heartstream

Seattle

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Information Systems Laboratories

Seattle

Researcher: Denise Wilson, Associate Professor, Dept. of Electrical Engineering, University of Washington

Project Year(s): 2005

Information Systems Laboratories, a science and engineering innovator in the fields of sensors, communications, and signal processing, is collaborating with Professor Wilson to develop a "tool kit" (hardware, simulation platform and design architecture) to enhance the simulation capability and performance quality of high-end sonar/acoustic processing systems. Despite extraordinary increases in digital signal processing speed and computing power over the last decade, the ability to interpret the complex characteristics of acoustic signals remains a challenge, especially in an underwater environment. The ISL/UW model seeks to exploit biological signal processing principles, in particular, the echolocation and functionality of one of the top underwater sonar communicators - the dolphin. The new toolkit is initially aimed at improving U.S. Navy sonar systems, which are currently designed to operate in the open ocean environment and are less accurate in underwater environments. However, the ISL solution will be designed to accommodate a broader market of acoustic signal processing systems.

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Korry Electronics

Seattle

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LAB/COR, Inc.

Seattle

http://www.labcor.net/

Researcher: Thomas Stoebe, UW Dept. of Material Sciences & Engineering

Year project began: 2001

Founded in 1992, LAB/COR provides sophisticated particulate characterization and analyses for environmental remediation and industrial process development and control. The company is interested in developing particulate filters not currently available on the market. This project explores the use of tape-casting and SHS-derived SiC ceramic compounds, materials with great promise for high-temperature applications, for improved hot-gas particulate filters and traps.

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Magic Wheels, Inc.

Seattle

http://www.magicwheels.net

RTD Award: Phase III

Project Title: "Testing and Optimization for Low Cost Composite 2-Gear Wheelchair Wheels"

Research Partner: Brian Flinn, Ph.D., Department of Materials Science & Engineering, University of Washington

Project Began: 2007

Magic Wheels Inc., a Seattle-based maker of a patented, two-gear manual wheelchair wheel, has teamed with University of Washington Materials Science and Engineering researcher Brian Flinn to provide mechanical, endurance and environmental testing for a cost-effective wheel manufacturing process that will benefit wheelchair users.

The company-researcher team has received $99,938 in Phase III Research and Technology Development funding from the State of Washington to further develop their project titled "Testing and Optimization for Low Cost Composite 2-Gear Wheelchair Wheels."

Users of manual wheelchairs suffer limited mobility on inclines and uneven surfaces. The physical exertion needed to overcome these obstacles takes a significant toll on the users - 20-80% experience shoulder pain and 30-70% experience wrist pain. MagicWheels has created a two-gear manual wheelchair wheel that enables users to navigate challenging surfaces with less physical strain. While the carbon composite wheels used by MagicWheels have proven to be as strong, flexible and durable as traditional spoke wheels, the cost of the current wheel manufacturing process is high.

For their project, Magic Wheels and Dr. Flinn will conduct mechanical, endurance and environmental testing and analysis required to optimize the design of a lower-cost wheel using compression molding technology. The cost savings associated with the manufacturing of this innovative wheelchair component will make this strain-reducing technology available to more users.

"Kudos to Magic Wheels Inc., for its groundbreaking partnership with the University of Washington. Through their joint work, wheelchair users will benefit from a model that requires less exertion. Collaborative efforts such as this one also have the benefit of sharing resources and minds as they create innovative solutions."

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, (D-Seattle)

"Congratulations and thanks to these Washington firms for their creativity and leading-edge research."

Rep. Helen Sommers, (D-Seattle)

Project Began: 2004

In this Phase II RTD project, Dr. Flinn will continue testing the endurance, reliability, and environmental resistance of Magic Wheels' new two-speed manual wheelchair wheels. This two-speed drive contains composite wheels and provides multiple benefits to the manual wheelchair user, including easier navigation on uneven terrain and possible reduction of arm pain.

Researcher: Dr. Brian Flinn, University of Washington Dept. of Materials Science & Engineering

Project Began: 2003

Wheelchair users have long sought to transport themselves more efficiently to increase their mobility and independence and to reduce the strain on their arm joints. Current wheelchairs allow limited mobility on inclines and uneven terrains. Magic Wheels, Inc. has developed a simple, cost-effective mechanism in a two-speed geared drive wheel that enables wheelchair users to negotiate obstacles such as slopes and challenging surfaces with less strain.

Magic Wheels (also the product) incorporates a patent-pending two-speed gear drive in quick-release wheels that can be easily installed on existing wheelchairs. In addition to the extra climbing power provided by the gears, it also offers an advanced hill-holding feature (with pushrim override) and a pushrim-operated downhill assisted braking feature (for fingertip braking -- no more burned hands), without relying on complex electronics or cumbersome motors and batteries. Dr. Brian Flinn is working with the company to test the structural strength of this new manual wheelchair wheel, which contains a carbon-fiber composite wheel core.

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MathSoft

Seattle

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Mimic Technologies

Seattle

http://www.mimic.ws/

Researcher: George M. Turkiyyah, UW Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Year project began: 2002

Mimic Technologies is developing computer simulation hardware and software that will allow medical personnel to practice their surgical skills before trying them on people. This new technology provides feedback on internal stress and strain as simulated tissue is manipulated, which allows surgical tasks to be performed and evaluated in real time. Mimic has teamed with George Turkiyyah of the UW and the UW Human Interface Technology (HIT) Laboratory to develop a realistic, real-time suturing simulator. A central feature of this technology is its ability to allow the doctor-in-training to feel the procedure and see surgical tools interacting with simulated tissue via a new breed of human-computer interaction hardware that brings the sense of touch to the desktop experience. Dr. Turkiyyah is an expert in finite element modeling, scientific computing, and geometric modeling.

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NanoString Technologies

Seattle, WA

NanoString™ Technologies is developing a patent-pending nanotechnology-based platform for high speed, completely automated, robust, highly multiplexed, single molecule identification and digital quantification. This breakthrough has the potential to become a biological operating system on which any biomolecular analysis application can be developed. The NanoString™ system uniquely barcodes each individual target molecule, scans them, and delivers a literal inventory of single molecules in the biological sample. Applications include gene expression analysis, genotyping, proteomics, clinical diagnostics and, in the future, predictive, preventative, and personalized medicine. NanoString will be using the Microfab Lab to prototype microfluidic devices in a variety of materials.

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Northstar Neuroscience

(Business Closed)

Seattle

http://www.northstarneuro.com

About Northstar Neuroscience, Inc.
Northstar Neuroscience (NASDAQ:NSTR) is a medical device company focused on developing neuromodulation therapies to treat neurological injury, disorder and disease. Northstar's proprietary Renova Cortical Stimulation System* is an investigational device that delivers targeted electrical stimulation to the outer surface of the brain - the cerebral cortex. The Renova system is currently under investigation for several indications. For more information, visit www.northstarneuro.com.

*CAUTION: Investigational Device. Limited by Federal Law (U.S.) to investigational use.

Research & Technology Development (RTD) Award: Phase I (* project canceled)

Project Title: "Implantable recurrent brain-computer interface for activity-dependent brain stimulation"

Research Partner: Eberhard Fetz, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Physiology & Biophysics, University of Washington

Project Began: 2008

In partnership with Northstar Neuroscience, the UW Department of Physiology & Biophysics plans to further research and develop cortical stimulation as a form of therapy for stroke survivors. Cortical stimulation refers to the process of stimulating the cerebral cortex, or the outermost layer of the brain with low levels of electricity to promote neuroplasticity, which may lead to an improvement of motor function.

UW will receive $79,992 in Phase I Research and Technology Development funding from Washington Technology Center and $16,000 from Northstar Neuroscience for the project titled "Implantable recurrent brain-computer interface for activity-dependent brain stimulation." In this Phase I project, UW Professor Eberhard Fetz and Northstar Neuroscience will leverage the resources of the University of Washington and Washington Technology Center to develop technology that will use neural and muscular activity to control electrical brain stimulation during stroke rehabilitation. The technology may ultimately be integrated with Northstar's Renova Cortical Stimulation System with the goal of improving the lives of stroke patients.

Each year, more than 700,000 people in the U.S. suffer a stroke. Physical therapy is the most frequently prescribed post-acute treatment for stroke survivors; however, this therapy is often offered for only a brief time post-stroke and is rarely continued long-term due to the misconception that brain function is beyond repair a certain period after the initial stroke. Recent studies have shown that repetitive, targeted cortical stimulation of the brain during physical therapy may increase recovery of speech and motor function in stroke patients.

"With the ground-breaking research taking place in Seattle, this grant helps ensure that Washington state will remain at the forefront of the biotechnology industry."

State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle).

"The partnership between the University of Washington and Northstar Neuroscience Inc. holds great promise for jobs and even more importantly for stroke victims. This is exactly the kind of collaboration that can keep Seattle at the forefront of high tech job creation."

State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-Seattle)

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Publicity Providers

Seattle

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RealNetworks, Inc.

Seattle

http://www.realnetworks.com/

Researcher: Eve A. Riskin, University of Washington Dept. of Electrical Engineering

Year project began: 2000

RealNetworks is a leader in streaming media -- a way to make information such as audio and video available in real-time over the Internet. This project will implement code that improves performance of RealNetworks' streaming video over the World Wide Web and in wireless networks, by minimizing image loss during periods of network congestion.

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Saigene Corporation

Seattle

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SoilSoup, Inc.

Seattle

Researcher: Dr. Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University

Year project began: 2004

The team is working on biotechnology solutions for increasing the life of liquid compost (Compost Tea). SoilSoup currently has patented aerobic compost tea brewing equipment that makes a fresh liquid compost tea and is selling in the market today under the brand name of SoilSoup. In this project, the company hopes to develop other versions of its existing products which will increase market share. In 2003, U.S. consumers spent $69 billion on do-it-yourself law and garden activities and professional services. In the past year, 110 million U.S. households purchased outdoor fertilizers or soil amendments. SoilSoup's products are gaining brand awareness as a leading chemical-free solution for lawn and garden care. The company currently sells it brewing kits direct to consumers, retailers, garden centers, schools, and commercial farmers. Liquid compost helps to decrease fertilizer use and restore natural balance to the soil ecosystem. SoilSoup's customers can now buy a home brewing unit or purchase the product by the gallon in select locations across the country. By adding new biological products, the company will increase its distribution and workforce within Washington State.

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Söliv

Seattle

http://www.soliv.com/

Consulting can be key to helping small companies gain competitive edge

Söliv is a small Seattle skin care company with a breakthrough product line founded on marine biotechnology. Armed with a patented proprietary material and R&D; to back it up, the company was ready to hit the ground running. But an economic downturn threatened to cripple the company's progress. The slowdown in the financial markets motivated the company to turn its attention inward, to fine-tune its market strategy and hold tight until investment opportunities looked more promising. A consulting contract with WTC's Small Business Counseling proved to be a smart move for Söliv and provided the company with an action plan for moving forward.

Company Profile

Söliv develops, processes, and markets bio-active, anti-aging skin and body care products. It is the first company in the Northwest to develop marine-based biotechnology products. In 2001, the company completed its initial research phase through WTC's Research Grant Program, in partnership with the University of Washington's Department of Botany, to develop an advanced aquaculture system for cultivating a specific seaweed strain used in Söliv's proprietary skin and body care products. The goal was to develop a technologically feasible method for assuring that large-scale supplies of this raw material would be available for product development and sales.

The Research Project

The WTC grant, in combination with support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), allowed Söliv to develop a successful platform for refining its aquaculture methods along with natural selection and propagation of new strains, each with different properties for skin care products. The result was a raw material base to support an $80 million to $100 million retail business with 25 products.

Business Situation

With its product line well established, Söliv turned its attention toward financing, marketing, sales, and manufacturing. The economic slowdown experienced over the past three years had made access to capital difficult, if not seemingly impossible, for small start-up businesses. Without a strong climate for going after investors, Söliv decided to focus on its internal operations and use the downtime from seeking funding to evaluate its positioning strategy for entering the market.

"This time proved valuable for us," notes Diane Boratyn, president and CEO of Söliv. "We got extremely efficient at doing what we do. We were ready to enter the market yet needed a game plan for transitioning the findings and test market maneuvers into a marketing and investment strategy. We had the elements in place, but saw the benefits of having a seasoned professional help shape our strategy for getting the 'edge' on securing funding."

Enter WTC's Manager of Small Business Counseling, Elaine Kong. In late 2003, WTC launched a new branch of its regional and technical services line, specifically targeted to assist small- and medium-sized technology companies with financing and strategic planning.

Having worked with WTC through its R&D; grant program, Söliv was familiar with WTC's services and was introduced to Kong as a resource to assist them with their business strategy.

Kong has a great deal of experience nationally and internationally in developing business and investment strategies for companies in the growth stages. Her background includes venture capital, start-up consulting, and strategic business planning.

For Söliv, the team focused on strategic planning, capitalization planning, due diligence package preparation, stock option research and compensation planning, investor advisory and sales strategies implementation.

"One of our primary objectives for Söliv was to develop a solid marketing and sales strategy," Kong explains. "For a company in their stage of growth, this is key to attracting investors. They are acutely interested in knowing how the company is preparing to move the product to market and generate revenue."

The Future

Since completing their consulting contract with WTC, Söliv has a solid sales and marketing plan in place, complete with short- and long-term goals for broadening their customer base, penetrating their target markets, and increasing sales of their product. To date, this includes adding four new full-time staff and five independent sales representatives. The sales force throughout Washington is projected to increase threefold by May 2004. The company plans to use recent capital raised to roll out its sales plan, expand its production facility, and increase manufacturing operations.

"To put it simply, WTC's Small Business Counseling services helped us overcome the 'financial paralysis' stage that a company may face when funding is tight," Boratyn says. "Elaine helped position the company to capture its strengths and accomplishments in financial terms and develop the tools needed to attract the most sophisticated groups of investors. Now we're prepared to deliver a high-quality, attractive presentation to investors, supported by a solid growth plan."

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Therus Corporation

Seattle

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TraceDetect

Seattle

http://www.tracedetect.com/

Researcher: Karl F. Böhringer, UW Dept. of Electrical Engineering

Year project began: 2004

TraceDetect develops electrochemical sensors for water analysis, and switching and sensing technologies. This project will research, design, and build a prototype fiber-optic routing switch for telecommunications system applications that is compact, low-power, and significantly faster than current products.

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VizX Labs

Seattle

http://www.vizxlabs.com/

Researcher: Dr. Daniel Sabath, UW Dept. of Laboratory Medicine

Year project began: 2003

VizX Labs is a life science technology company delivering knowledge discovery systems that enhance researchers' understanding of genetic mechanisms of disease. The diagnosis, treatment, and prediction of outcome from treatment of diseases such as cancer would substantially improve if tests were available to characterize various forms of the disease more precisely. VizX and Dr. Sabath are developing laboratory and software methodology to simultaneously measure the expression of multiple genes using DNA microarrays, to determine which genes are active in a blood or tissue sample. DNA microarrays will allow doctors to provide customized therapies by understanding the basis of disease at a molecular level.

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