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Washington Technology Center Funding & Services Microfabrication Lab Industries Initiative News Forum
Washington Technology Center Clients

La Haye Laboratories, Inc.

Redmond

Researcher: Boon P. Chew, WSU Dept. of Animal Sciences

Year project began: 2001

La Haye Labs is a developer, manufacturer, and marketer of natural pharmaceutical, nutritional, or dietary supplement products intended primarily for humans. Their latest product is astaZANTHIN, an all-natural antioxidant that has shown promise in many areas, including cardiovascular diseases, dermatology, and cancer. Antioxidants are thought to prevent certain types of cell damage associated with artery disease and aging, but their usefulness has not been proved. Project funds will help support studies of the product's possible immune-enhancing activity, a step that is necessary for the product to be accepted as a nutritional or dietary supplement.

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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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Leak Indicator Paint Systems (LIPS), Inc.

Tacoma

Researcher: Dr. Gamal Khalil, UW Dept. of Chemistry

Year project began: 2002

LIPS, Inc. is developing a microporous material that can remove arsenic in drinking water. The company believes this low-cost product will help small drinking water systems meet the new federal arsenic standard. This research collaboration is gathering data on surface areas, micropore structure, and loading capacity of a new microporous absorbent.

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LizardTech

Seattle

http://www.lizardtech.com

Researcher: Eve Riskin, UW Dept. of Electrical Engineering
Year project began: 2000

LizardTech is a developer of image-compression software that gives users the ability to reduce the file size of large images by as much as 40-to-1, with no loss of resolution. This compression utility, called MrSID, allows image managers the flexibility to store and distribute images through a variety of channels, including local computer networks or over the Internet. Current markets for the product are geospatial imagery, such as maps and aerial photography, publishing, and health care imagery.

WTC is funding an FTI project between LizardTech and Eve Riskin, UW Electrical Engineering Dept., to conduct research that would enable the software to transmit digital images over wireless networks. With this added functionality, users could view images on wireless hand-held devices such as Palm Pilots, cell phones, and other wireless communications products. Currently, because the rates of wireless data transmission are so much slower than wired links, graphics can't be transmitted to wireless devices.

"The forward error correction technique we apply aims to maximize the expected signal-to-noise ratio of the image under a model of packet loss on the communication channel," says Eve Riskin. "The goal is that the first few passes of the image are received quickly, even in the event of extreme data loss. This will enable a useful image to be reconstructed right away and will prevent stalling."

This project is part of LizardTech's overall plan to enter the e-commerce and consumer markets. LizardTech, a 70-person company, estimates that 20 new jobs will be created as a result of the project.

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Lumera Corp.

Bothell

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Lygan Technologies

Seattle

Researcher: Dr. Guozhong Cao, UW Department of Materials Science & Engineering Research

Year project began: 2004

This project will focus on developing and evaluating carbon-based nanostructures for use in industrial gas storage systems. These systems have the near-term potential to improve the safety, usability, and cost-effectiveness of storing such gases as nitrogen and methane. A longer-term goal would be to apply this technology to hydrogen, a desirable power source currently limited in use due to inability to store this gas effectively.

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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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MCD Technologies

Tacoma

http://www.mcdtechnologiesinc.com/

Researchers: Dr. Juming Tang and Dr. Caleb Nindo, Food Engineering & Food Processing Technology, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Washington State University

Project year(s): 2002, 2005

MCD Technologies, a developer and manufacturer of food drying and evaporation systems, is partnered with Dr. Juming Tang and Dr. Caleb Nindo, Professors of Food Engineering & Food Processing Technology for the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at Washington State University, to conduct further research on the company's Refractance Window® systems. MCD Technologies' market edge comes from the ease of use and cost-effectiveness of its drying system when compared to freeze-drying and vacuum evaporators. Earlier studies conducted by the research team proved that Refractance Window® drying can produce fruits and vegetables with excellent color and nutrient retention. The system also produces foods and human nutritional supplements that meet strict manufacturing standards for kosher and organic certified products. This next phase of research will investigate the feasibility of using the evaporator in tandem with the dryer to produce products with high nutrient retention over time and long-life shelf stability. Proof of performance in these areas will be used to secure future equipment sales and continue to increase the company's customer base.

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McFarland Cascade

Tacoma

http://www.ldm.com/

Researchers: Michael P. Wolcott (2001) and Dr. Karl Englund (2005), Wood Materials & Engineering Laboratory, Washington State University

Project year(s): 2001, 2005

McFarland Cascade, Washington's largest producer of specialty products for outdoor construction of decks and fences, is collaborating with Dr. Karl Englund to study the potential of using chemically-treated wood flours in Wood-Plastic Composites (WPCs) as a means of improving the quality and marketability of these increasingly popular building materials. WPCs have become a substantial part of the decking industry and are finding their position in other traditional building materials markets including siding and molding. Outdoor building products are a $3 billion dollar industry. The composite building materials industry has grown from negligible sales in the early 1990s to a more than $1 billion dollar U.S. market today. Consumer acceptance of this material has been positive, however, improvements in the durability and density of the product have the potential to increase their commercial value. In earlier research, the team evaluated the wood flours for their physical and mechanical performance in WPCs. The results showed that the modified wood fibers imparted a substantial increase in water resistance, which adds to the material's durability. In addition, the chemical treatment provides a method for foaming the product which reduced its weight. This project will address the impact that these additives have on the processing characteristics, formulation design and final product properties of commercial-scaled composites.

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MicroConnex

Snoqualmie

Researcher: Dr. Scott Dunham, UW Dept. of Electrical Engineering

Project years: 2004, 2005

MicroConnex has teamed with Professor Dunham to develop a new process for manufacturing large arrays of high performance thin film transistors on flexible substrates. High frequency operation, light weight, and flexibility are critical factors for many existing and emerging semiconductor and electronics markets including radar, telecommunications, signal processing, and flexible displays. Consequently there is a growing demand for high performance devices that are thin and flexible. In a phase one project, MicroConnex and the UW collaborated on the development of a new flexible thin film transistor technology. In this phase two project, the team will work on optimizing the device structure and processing to combine high performance with high yield as well as improving cost-efficiency and scalability for rapid prototyping and manufacturing. The new process is expected to overcome the challenges facing wafer-based and PECVD processes, and the new products will have both military and commercial applications.

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Micronics, Inc.

Redmond

http://www.micronics.net/

Researcher: Albert Folch, UW Dept. of Bioengineering

Year project began: 2001

Micronics has become a leading developer of microfluidics-based solutions for application in life science (genomics), in vitro medical diagnostics, and analytical chemistry markets. Their proprietary technologies enable companies to perform chemical analyses faster, less expensively, and with less complexity. Dr. Albert Folch collaborated with Micronics to develop a unique microfluidic device that generates a large number of different mixtures by combining a few input compounds.

Researcher: Paul Yager, UW Dept. of Bioengineering

Year project began: 2000

Paul Yager assisted Micronics in the development of an inexpensive, disposable microfluidic cartridge. The cartridge, about the size of a credit card, is used to perform blood tests and other diagnostics requiring body fluids. The microfluidic system provides results at the "point of care," such as in the doctor's office, instead of being sent to a laboratory. Just one of these "lab-on-chip" devices can potentially perform up to 20 different medical diagnostic tests using the same sample. The microfluidic technologies behind these advances were originally developed at the University of Washington, using the same microfabrication techniques established in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. The research team is using WTC's Microfabrication Lab to create the prototype and optimize MEMS-based manufacturing methods.

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Microscan

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Microvision, Inc.

Redmond (Located in Bothell for a previous WTC affiliation)

http://www.microvision.com

Microvision in the WTC news forum
Research Partner: Dr. Kannan M. Krishnan, UW Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Project Began: 2004

Micro-electro-mechanical-system(MEMS)-based scanners are a natural choice for the scanning mirror requirements of scanned beam displays (SBDs). SBDs offer unique advantages for near-to-eye applications, such as head-worn displays for DVD players, or image-capture applications, including bar code scanners and endoscopes.
Current MEMS technologies offer scanners that are small and relatively low-cost to manufacture. However, many consumer market applications require lower cost, smaller packaging, and lower battery drain. Achieving these goals will open up numerous high-volume consumer product opportunities, as no other display technology, such as LCDs, can compete in the area of performance. Improving the MEMS actuation means (controlling the motion of a MEMS scanner) is one way to achieve these goals.

Microvision has teamed with Professor Krishnan to investigate the development of materials and processes for fabrication of hard micromagnets for actuation of MEMS devices. These new materials can reduce size, power, and costs, opening up the growing consumer market.

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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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Modular Radiant Flooring

Vashon

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Multiform Harvest, Inc

Seattle

Researcher: Dr. Joseph Harrison, Department of Animal Sciences, WSU Puyallup

Year project began: 2004

The effectiveness of a fluidized-bed crystallizer to remove phosphorus from dairy waste to prevent environmental degradation of surface water will be trialed at a dairy farm in Snohomish. Dairy production is one of the top-ranked agricultural industries in Washington. An estimated one-third of all dairy farms in Washington use flush/irrigation systems to create liquid fertilizer from the cattle waste. EPA regulations are calling for a reduction in build-up of phosphorus in soil. Solutions currently available are costly and cumbersome for dairy farmers to implement.

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Neah Power Systems

Bothell

http://www.neahpower.com

Neah Power Systems in the WTC news forum

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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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Northwind Marine

Seattle

http://www.northwindmarine.com

RTD Award: Phase II

Research partner: Juris Vagners, Ph.D., Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, University of Washington

Project Phase Began: 2007

Northwind Marine, a Seattle-based watercraft manufacturer, is teamed with Dr. Juris Vagners from the University of Washington's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics to develop an automated, realtime navigation and communications system for Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs), small boats used to monitor and protect maritime industries. Maritime Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are a threat to naval and civilian assets such as ships, port facilities, oil terminals and platforms. Current interdiction to detect and deter IEDs requires manned teams, exposing them to potential harm. Autonomous robotic systems comprised of cooperating teams of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) offer an attractive solution and provide 24/7 real time coverage of sensitive areas. Advances in miniaturized electronics and sensors coupled with sophisticated navigation systems have enabled the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for a large range of Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) missions operating for extended periods of time over large geographical areas. Similar technology is now being applied to USV technology demonstrations. In a phase one project, Northwind Marine and the UW collaborated to adapt algorithms created through UW research for UAVs to Northwind's Sea Fox USVs. In this phase two project, the team will extend the algorithms to multiple USVs operating concurrently and demonstrate capabilities on one Sea Fox in sea tests. The immediate market for remote controlled or autonomous boats is dominated by security and surveillance applications for the military and for port security. Developing markets include research, surveying, and commercial fishing.

"It's very rewarding as the Chair of Ways and Means Committee to see such a rich return on the funds we have invested in Research and Technology. Even more so when it's in my own 11th District! These recipients will profoundly improve our quality of life for years to come."

State Sen. Margarita Prentice, (D-Renton)

"I'm proud to represent the 11th District which is filled with innovative companies such as Northwind Marine, a 2007 recipient of the Washington Technology Center's Research and Technology Development grant. For twenty five years their cutting-edge boat designs have kept our waterways safe, from Puget Sound to the Persian Gulf. And this partnership with the University of Washington's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics will provide an invaluable service to maritime safety for years to come."

State Rep. Zack Hudgins, (D-Tukwila)

"The Research and Technology Development awards can make a big difference for small companies, such as Northwind Marine, that are looking to grow. The success of small companies is critical to job creation and sustainable economic development."

State Rep. Bob Hasegawa (D-Seattle)

RTD Award: Phase I

Research partner: Juris Vagners, Ph.D., Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, University of Washington

Project Phase Began: 2005

Northwind Marine, a Seattle-based watercraft manufacturer, is teamed with Dr. Vagners to develop an automated, real-time navigation and communications system for Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs), small boats used to monitor and protect maritime industries. Maritime Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are a threat to naval and civilian assets such as ships, port facilities, oil terminals and platforms. Current interdiction to detect and deter IEDs requires manned teams, exposing them to potential harm. Autonomous robotic systems comprised of cooperating teams of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) offer an attractive solution and provide 24/7 real time coverage of sensitive areas. Advances in miniaturized electronics and sensors coupled with sophisticated navigation systems have enabled the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for a large range of Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) missions operating for extended periods of time over large geographical areas. The same technology has not yet been applied to USVs. This project will adapt algorithms created through UW research for UAVs to Northwind's Sea Fox USVs and enable cooperative operation with the Scan Eagle UAV (built by The Insitu Group). The immediate market for remote controlled or autonomous boats is dominated by security and surveillance applications for the military and for port security. Developing markets include research, surveying, and commercial fishing.

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Nova Composites

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Nu Element, Inc.

Tacoma

Researcher: Fatih Dogan, UW Dept. of Materials Science & Engineering

Year project began: 2000

An alternative energy company founded in 1998, Nu Element is targeting the commercialization of reliable, cost-effective power sources for households and businesses. Currently, the company is concentrating on patent-pending technology of proton-exchange-membrane fuel cells, and developing new materials for low-operating-temperature solid oxide fuel cells -- the focus of this project.

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NuFlo Corporation

Snoqualmie

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OMAX Corporation

Kent

http://www.omax.com/

Researcher: Dr. Mamidala Ramulu, UW Dept. of Mechanical Engineering

Year project began: 2003

OMAX is a supplier of waterjet equipment to the machining market. Their competitive advantage lies in their software and patented control technology. The company is building a remote and unattended version of their JetMachining® Center (JMC). They are teaming with Dr. Ramulu to develop a proof-of-concept prototype consisting of a software algorithm and associated hardware. The company's goal is to improve productivity and ease of use for its customers' machining operations.

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Omeros Corporation

Seattle

http://www.omeros.com

Omeros in the WTC news forum

RTD Award: Phase II

Project Title: "Polymeric Micelles for Noninvasive Molecular Imaging of Cancer and Delivery of Therapeutic Anticancer Agents"

Research Partners: Assistant Professor Suzie H. Pun, Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington; Associate Professor Xingde Li, Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington.

Phase Began: 2009

Omeros Corporation, a Seattle-based biopharmaceutical company, is working with the University of Washington's Department of Bioengineering to develop a new drug delivery platform for applications in medical imaging and cancer therapy.

UW will receive $99,274 in Phase II research and technology development funding from Washington Technology Center and $34,746 from Omeros Corporation for the project titled "Polymeric Micelles for Noninvasive Molecular Imaging of Cancer and Delivery of Therapeutic Anticancer Agents."

The pharmaceutical industry is facing several difficulties in bringing new drugs to market. These include escalating R&D; costs, increasing regulatory commitments and increasing consumer demand for better, more convenient and lower-cost medicines. To overcome these difficulties, the industry is launching older molecules in new delivery platforms. Polymeric micelles have gained attention recently as a versatile nanotechnology platform that can significantly improve drug efficacy.

Omeros and UW researchers Drs. Suzie Pun and Xingde Li will continue a working collaboration in this Phase II project. The team plans to expand on the in vivo imaging studies of the polymeric micelles. In addition the team plans to formulate and evaluate polymeric micelles containing anticancer therapeutics. The ultimate results of their work could provide many benefits to patients including convenience, safety, lower cost, and improved targeting to specific sites such as tumors.

RTD Award: Phase I

Project Title: "Near-infrared Fluorescent Polymeric Micelles for Noninvasive Molecular Imaging of Cancer"

Research Partners: Assistant Professor Suzie H. Pun, Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington; Associate Professor Xingde Li, Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington.

Phase Began: 2008

Omeros Corporation, a Seattle-based biopharmaceutical company, is working with Drs. Suzie Pun and Xingde Li, researchers in the University of Washington's Department of Bioengineering, to develop a new drug delivery platform for applications in cancer imaging.

The UW received $100,000 in Phase I Research and Technology Development funding from Washington Technology Center for the project titled "Near-infrared Fluorescent Polymeric Micelles for Noninvasive Molecular Imaging of Cancer."

The pharmaceutical industry is facing several difficulties in bringing new drugs to market. These include escalating R&D; costs, increasing regulatory commitments and increasing consumer demand for better, more convenient and lower-cost medicines. To overcome these difficulties, the industry is launching older molecules in new delivery platforms. Polymeric micelles have gained attention recently as a versatile nanotechnology platform that can significantly improve drug efficacy.

In this Phase I project, Omeros and Drs. Pun and Li will develop Omeros' micellar delivery vehicle, believed to offer enhanced stability, for applications in cancer imaging using the UW's imaging technology and, potentially, in cancer therapy. The results of their work could provide many benefits to patients including convenience, safety, lower cost, and improved targeting to specific sites such as tumors.

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Pacific Bioscience Labs, Inc.

Seattle

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Pacific Research Laboratories, Inc.

Vashon

Researcher: Susmita Bose, WSU School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Year project began: 2000

Pacific Research Laboratories, Inc. is a leading producer of artificial bones, Sawbones®, designed to simulate the bone architecture as well as the bone's physical properties. These training models allow demonstration and practice of different procedures that can enhance medical research and treatment. Therefore, having true-to-life models is crucial.

In July 2000, WTC funded a project teaming Pacific Research with Dr. Susmita Bose of Washington State University's School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, to develop the first artificial open-celled cancellous bone model. WTC's participation helped Pacific Research speed up development and lower the company's financial risk in ultimately bringing a beneficial new product to market.

Using Sawbones provided by Pacific Research, Dr. Bose and her colleagues have been experimenting with various materials and processes, trying to achieve the natural strength and architecture of cancellous bone. Materials used to make these bone models are polyurethane-based polymers, ceramic powders, and organic solvents. In the last year and a half, the team of researchers has developed some models attaining the proper architecture and is working to perfect the strength properties of real bone.

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Perstorp Xytec

Tacoma

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Polymers Northwest

Mukilteo

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Premier Building Systems

Fife

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PriTest, Inc.

Redmond

http://www.pritest.com/

Researcher: Dr. William Davis, WSU Dept. of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology

Year project began: 2004

Bovine tuberculosis is a serious disease of cattle that can also affect humans, domestic animals, and wildlife. Millions of cattle today are tested regularly for Mycobacterium bovis (Mbv) to reduce the risk of disease spread to other cattle and other types of animals, and protect public health.

Control of Mbv has been impeded by the lack of diagnostic analyses for early diagnosis of diseased animals and the lack of effective vaccines. Although progress is being made, it will be some time before vaccines are developed and commercially available. Therefore, diagnosing and separating infected animals from herds are the main methods of controlling the spread of disease.

PriTest provides products such as easy-to-use pathogen and bioanalytical detection systems for the food-safety-screening and life-science markets. The company is working with Professor Davis to complete the development of a new rapid diagnostic test kit, using the PriTest biodetection platform to significantly improve the diagnosis of Mbv in cattle. The test market for this product is Washington State's $100+ million cattle industry.

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Pro-Tech Services, Inc.

Mukilteo

http://www.pro-techservices.com/

Researcher: Dr. Vishesh Kapur, Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine Specialist, University of Washington Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center

Year project began: 2004

This collaborative team is working to develop a new device that measures changes in autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity during sleep as a means to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a disorder present in 3 percent of middle-age adults that causes disruption of sleep and changes in ANS activity during sleep. OSA can lead to fatigue, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. The sleep diagnostic sensor market is roughly $13 million a year. Pro-Tech is the market leader in the worldwide sleep sensor market. In this project, the team is working to create a sensor that measures ANS activity more accurately, easily and economically than is currently available. Commercial systems on the market now have a number of drawbacks including the inability to normalize for patient body and hand movements, high equipment and labor costs, and limited availability. The initial project involves developing prototype software for integration with existing systems. A second phase is planned to develop a wireless wrist-worn device with features for data transfer for post-test analysis as well as real-time analysis over the Internet.

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Publicity Providers

Seattle

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RationalDiagnostics, LLC

Seattle

Researcher: Daniel E. Sabath, University of Washington Dept. of Laboratory Medicine

Year project began: 2001

RationalDiagnostics is a start-up clinical genomics company whose goal is to develop novel diagnostic tools based on the discovery of disease-specific genes. The company is currently focusing on identifying genes whose patterns of expression distinguish different types of B-cell lymphomas, and developing a highly sensitive lymphoma diagnostic tool. Better diagnostic tools are expected to improve the management of lymphoma patients and may yield molecular targets useful for developing new drug treatments.

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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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Rebound Sports Techn.

Kent

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Recycled Plastics Marketing

Redmond

Researcher: Vipin Kumar, University of Washington Dept. of Mechanical Engineering

Year project began: 2002

Once thought of as waste, recycled milk and orange juice jugs have found a new use as environmentally friendly plastic lumber. Recycled Plastics Marketing(RPM) manufactures plastic lumber products in its Tacoma production plant from 100-percent recycled High-Density Polyethylene plastic, the same material used for many beverage containers. RPM has teamed with Vipin Kumar of the UW to increase its production rate with more efficient heat extraction and a reduction in batch-to-batch variation. Dr. Kumar's research interests include polymer processing and manufacturing, with extensive work in microcellular plastics technology.

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Siemens Medical Systems

Issaquah

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Sienna Technologies

Woodinville

http://www.siennatech.com/

Researcher: Yasuo Kuga, University of Washinton Dept. of Electrical Engineering

Year project began: 2002

Sienna Technologies manufactures high-performance aluminum nitride components for demanding thermal management in electronics and microwave communications applications. Sienna Technologies and Yasuo Kuga of the University of Washington are researching a new family of microwave communications lens materials, Functionally Graded Artificial Dielectrics (FGAD) materials and meta-materials. FGADs allow microwave lenses to be much smaller and lighter than traditional lenses by bending microwave energy throughout the entire lens, rather than just at the lens surface like traditional lenses. Dr. Kuga will analytically and numerically model FGAD materials using his expertise in electromagnetics. Sienna Technologies will then fabricate FGAD samples as modeled for evaluation and testing. Dr. Kuga has expertise in electromagnetics and remote sensing.

Researcher: Mehmet Sarikaya, University of Washington Dept. of Materials Science & Engineering

Year project began: 2001

Occasionally, components for high-power electronics and microwave communications industries will contain visual defects that, while not affecting performance, require the parts be reprocessed. The goal of this project was to identify, analyze, and eliminate the source of this cosmetic defect in Sienna's aluminum nitride products.

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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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Sonus Pharmaceuticals

Bothell

http://www.sonuspharma.com/

Researchers: Marc Fariss and Jin-Gang Zhang, Washington State University Dept. of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Year project began: 2002

Sonus Pharmaceuticals develops therapeutic drugs using its drug delivery technology platform, which features a vitamin-E-based oil-in-water emulsion to promote the solubility of lipophilic (fat-soluble, non-water soluble) drugs that require novel drug delivery formulations for effective delivery into the body. Encapsulating injectable cancer-killing drugs in a vitamin E emulsion may lower the toxicity of the formulation, which could lead to a product that can be administered more easily to patients with fewer side effects and better efficacy. Dr. Marc Fariss of WSU has discovered a class of vitamin E derivatives that have the ability to selectively kill human tumor cells while protecting normal tissue. This project teams Drs. Fariss and Zhang of WSU with Sonus to investigate the ability of Sonus' platform, as well as its vitamin E components, to selectively enhance the antitumor activity of chemotherapeutic agents. Dr. Zhang has expertise in the mechanisms of vitamin-E-derivative-mediated cytoprotection and antitumor activity.

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Spectra Lux Corporation

Kirkland

http://www.spectralux.com/

Researcher: Mark Kuzyk, Washington State University Dept. of Physics

Year project began: 2000

Spectra Lux Corporation is a manufacturer of aircraft lightplates and lighted cockpit keyboards. Mark Kuzyk, of the WSU Physics Department, will conduct research to reduce the amount of energy required to illuminate a given area, making the company's products more efficient and less expensive to manufacture. The scope of the two-year project includes the development of a prototype and transfer of the manufacturing process to Spectra Lux. In addition to becoming more competitive in existing markets, the company plans to expand into untapped markets that use illuminated displays, such as the automobile, industrial, and medical equipment industries.

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SpringStar Inc.

Woodinville

http://www.springstar.net

RTD Award: Phase I

Research Partner: R. Bruce Darling, Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, University of Washington

Project Phase Began: 2006

Demand for pest control methods which do not rely on toxic or persistent chemicals is increasing as human and environmental concerns continue to grow. One such environmentally-friendly technology relies on natural chemicals, such as pheromones, instead of conventional toxic pesticides to control pests through mating disruption or trapping. However, the effectiveness of this method has been limited by the ability to capture and mimic the entire repertoire of communication patterns insects during courtship and mating. New research indicates that insect communication is more complex that previously believed. It has been discovered that some insects use a combination of message-bearing compounds and acoustic (vibration) signals to communicate. Integration of audio attractants with pheromone attractants into a comprehensive pest control system could greatly enhance the effectiveness of this biotechnology to control pests without toxicants. However, field-ready electronic equipment for researchers to capture and reproduce these faint and complex signals is scarce and costly. SpringStar Inc., a manufacturer of pheromone-based pest control products for homes and gardens, has teamed with Dr. R. Bruce Darling with the University of Washington's Electrical Engineering department to develop a system that can reproduce and integrate leading-edge entomology "song" data into an affordable, portable device for field analysis. This device will be integral to the development of new audio/chemical pest control methods for residential and commercial use with a goal of effectively and economically controlling key pests without pesticides.

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Steadfast Equipment
Mukilteo

RTD Award: Entrepreneur's Access Program

Research Partner: Nicole Hoekstra, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Plastics Engineering Technology, Western Washington University

Project Phase Began: 2000

Description: Testing of a disposable rotary drum filter used to separate solids from liquids in high value products.

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Stratos

Seattle

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StressWave, Inc.

Kent

http://www.stress-wave.com/

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

Year project began: 2000

Over 60 percent of aircraft component failures are caused by metal fatigue problems, particularly cracking around drilled fastener holes in the fuselage. Aircraft are particularly sensitive to fatigue because of their thin, highly stressed structures. Current manufacturing methods to prevent in-service fatigue damage are both labor- and tooling-intensive and are not amenable to automation. WTC funding has supported UW researcher Brian Flinn's collaboration with Stresswave to optimize the company's new automated process, which makes the fastener holes more resistant to fatigue in a variety of metals.

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SuperTel Technologies, Inc.

Redmond

Researcher: Ming-Ting Sun, University of Washington Dept. of Electrical Engineering

Year project began: 2001

SuperTel designs and develops wireless voice and data communications products for commercial and business applications. They are teaming with UW researchers to investigate and implement Wireless Local Loop (WLL), a technology that uses fixed or mobile radio transceivers to provide telephone services. WLL is an alternative to telephone lines or cellular services, which are costly and sometimes difficult to install and maintain.

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Survival, Inc.

Seattle

http://www.survivalinc.com/

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

Year project began: 2003

Survival provides chemical defense and ballistic protection technologies to military and homeland defense personnel. While current fiber or composite-wrapped ceramic plates offer limited multi-hit protection, they are too heavy to be used for full-body protection. The company is researching lightweight, multi-hit protective systems that do not impair mobility, cause distracting discomfort, or induce fatigue. Survival has teamed with Dr. Brian Flinn to develop a concept for a multi-material, multilayer solution that will leverage new uses for existing materials, new textile technology, and manufacturing processes to put a superior, affordable armor on the market.

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Syntrix Biosystems

Redmond

http://www.syntrixbio.com/

Researcher: William M. Atkins, University of Washington Dept. of Medicinal Chemistry

Year project began: 2002

Syntrix Biosystems has developed a microchip platform for drug discovery that avoids the coding and decoding constraints of other chips. Syntrix is collaborating with William Atkins of UW to validate the ability of Syntrix's Combi-Chip to screen and identify drug candidates. The project aims to use the microchip platform to identify promising cancer therapeutics by allowing large combinatorial libraries to be synthesized and screened. Dr. Atkins is an expert in the enzymology of glutathione-S-transferases, the promising cancer therapeutic targets that are the focus of the project.

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Systematix Controls

Tukwila

Researcher: Richard R. Gustafson, University of Washington College of Forest Resources

Year project began: 2002

Systematix Controls manufactures pulp and paper-process control systems. The company is collaborating with Richard Gustafson, UW professor of Paper Science and Engineering, to further develop an optical sensor for measuring lignin content of individual wood fibers. Lignin is the natural glue that holds cellulose fibers together in wood and must be removed when making paper and pulp products. The sensor, originally developed with support from UW's Center for Process Analytical Chemistry, the U.S. Dept. of Energy, and pulp and paper companies, will allow paper and pulp mills to produce a more uniform product. Dr. Gustafson's expertise is in the area of sensors and control of pulp and paper systems, recently focusing on single-fiber analysis techniques.

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System To ASIC Inc.

Bothell

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Theo Chocolate, Inc.

Seattle

http://www.theochocolate.com

Theo Chocolate in the WTC news forum
RTD Award: Phase I

Project Title: "'Magic Bean' - A point detection analysis system for predicting the quality of Cocoa beans in finished product"

Research Partner: Professor Robert Synovec, Department of Chemistry, University of Washington

Phase Began: 2009

Theo Chocolate, Inc., a Seattle-based manufacturer of artisan chocolates and confections, is collaborating with the University of Washington's Department of Chemistry to develop food-safety and quality-analysis technology. UW will receive $30,000 in Phase I research and technology development funding from Washington Technology Center and $6,000 from Theo Chocolate for the project.

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Therus Corporation

Seattle

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Todd Pacific Shipyards 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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TriPath

Redmond

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Ultreo (formerly Second Act Partners, Inc.)
(Business Closed)

Redmond (located in Sammamish at the time of the WTC grant)

Researcher: Dr. Pierre Mourad, UW Applied Physics Laboratory

Year project began: 2003

Power toothbrushes have proven to offer clear clinical advantages over manual brushing. Some models have bristles that move at a sonic speed--i.e., a frequency that can be heard. Dr. Mourad and his investigators are working to develop a power brush using a technology that they believe will improve the ability to clean the teeth and gums. Their research will test a prototype using various combinations of bristle motions. Second Act Partners, a start-up company, will draw upon their considerable experience to define the technical requirements of the product for market success.

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Vanson

Redmond

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VentriPoint, Inc.

Seattle

http://www.ventripoint.com

RTD Award: Phase I

Research Partner: Florence Sheehan, M.D., University of Washington Medical Center

Project Phase Began: 2006

Surgical advancements have greatly increased survival rates for babies born with congenital heart disease (CHD). However, anomalies in the heart persist that can cause complications years or even decades following surgery. Most patients require continued monitoring and imaging of the right ventricle to see if it is enlarging and developing heart failure. However measuring the right ventricle's function is difficult and costly due to its complex shape. The difficulty is amplified for CHD patients with abnormally shaped hearts. Current imaging systems on the market have serious limitations: echo techniques are inaccurate, MRIs are expensive, and CTs expose the patient to high doses of radiation. The best technique available is Knowledge-based Reconstruction (KBR), which generates a three-dimensional reconstruction of the patient's right ventricle to assist cardiologists in evaluating its volume, function, and shape. However this tool has yet to be fully developed and tested for CHD. VentriPoint is working with Dr. Florence Sheehan, director of the UW Medical Center's Cardiovascular Research and Training Center, to develop a KBR model for the right ventricle that will enable volume measurement over the full range of congenital anomalies, and to test the new model's accuracy and reproducibility for wide-spread clinical use.

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Virtual DSP

Everett

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VirtuSphere, Inc.

Sammamish

Researcher: Suzanne Weghorst, Senior Research Scientist, Human Interface Technology Laboratory, University of Washington

Project Year: 2005

VirtuSphere, Inc. has teamed with Dr. Weghorst with the UW's Human Interface Technology (HIT) Laboratory, a leading Virtual Reality academic research facility, to explore new market opportunities for the company's patented VirtuSphere product. This platform enables lifelike movements in virtual reality and delivers an innovative interface via the most natural form of navigation (i.e. walking). Virtual reality (VR) simulation was valued in 2003 at $42 billion worldwide. Revenues are projected to reach $78 billion by 2008. VR technology holds significant promise and potential for a host of applications including education and training, rehabilitation, recreation, and data visualization. One of the key barriers for VR has been the lack of devices which allow users to move freely and navigate naturally in virtual environments (VEs). The VirtuSphere omni-directional locomotion device provides a highly effective and robust solution to this problem, allowing lifelike movements with full-range of motion. VirtuSphere's primary market is military training and simulation. Through this project, the team will explore application of this technology to new commercial markets including interactive education, rehabilitation, and movement-based gaming.

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VisionGate

Gig Harbor

http://www.visiongate3d.com

VisionGate in the WTC news forum

RTD Award: Phase II

Research Partner: Eric J. Seibel, Ph.D., Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington

Research Phase Began: 2007

VisionGate, a Gig Harbor headquartered company working in the field of cancer diagnostics, is collaborating with University of Washington's Eric J. Seibel, Research Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering, Adjunct in Bioengineering and Assistant Director for Technology Development in the Human Interface Technology Laboratory (HIT Lab), to co-develop a 3D cell nucleus diffraction analysis instrument for pharmaceutical drug discovery and cell biology research. This phase two project is a continuation of work to develop high-throughput 3D diffraction analysis of cells. The instrument being developed will provide accurate, detailed information about a cell's macromolecular structure, as might result from changes in gene or protein expression due to mutation, disease processes or drug activity. The ability to analyze cell nuclei in 3D has the potential to advance cell biology research and make drug discovery more cost-effective. One area where this technology has high potential is rare event detection, where large numbers of cells are examined to discover the few that may contain genetic alterations, making them good candidates for use in drug discovery. Another promising field is drug therapy research where cellular and nuclear textures are often good indicators of basic cell response to active compounds. VisionGate's commercial instrument is expected to break new ground with its patented 3D diffraction analysis and, as such, will provide a uniquely powerful capability in the search for new drug opportunities.

"I am thrilled to see VisonGate receive this prestigious research grant. Alan Nelson and his staff are to be commended for their efforts and I am looking forward to the fruits of his, and Mr. Seibel's, research."

State Rep. Patricia Lantz, (D- Gig Harbor).

Research Partner: Eric J. Seibel, Research Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Adjunct in Bioengineering and Assistant Director for Technology Development in the Human Interface Technology Laboratory (HIT Lab)

Project Years: 2002, 2005

VisionGate, a Gig Harbor headquartered company working in the field of cancer diagnostics, is collaborating with Dr. Seibel to co-develop a 3D cell nucleus diffraction analysis instrument for pharmaceutical drug discovery and cell biology research. This instrument will provide accurate, detailed information about a cell's macromolecular structure, as might result from changes in gene or protein expression due to mutation, disease processes or drug activity. The ability to analyze cell nuclei in 3D has the potential to advance cell biology research and make drug discovery more cost-effective. One area where this technology has high potential is rare event detection, where large numbers of cells are examined to discover the few that may contain genetic alterations, making them good candidates for use in drug discovery. Another promising field is drug therapy research where cellular and nuclear textures are often good indicators of basic cell response to active compounds. VisionGate's commercial instrument is expected to break new ground with its patented 3D diffraction analysis, and as such, will provide a uniquely powerful capability in the search for new drug opportunities.

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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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VWP, Inc

Bellevue

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Washington Farms

Tacoma

Researchers: Barry Swanson and Dong-Hyun Kang, WSU Dept. of Food Science and Human Nutrition

Year project began: 2003

Washington Farms produces 100-percent fruit pies sold in the Seattle area. The company's ability to market their products outside the state will be made possible by using ultra-high-pressure technology that pasteurizes fruit products to extend shelf life and maintain a desirable "fresh-like" flavor. In this project, the company will work with Drs. Barry Swanson and Dong-Hyun Kang at WSU's Dept of Food Science and Human Nutrition to develop fruit processing that will inactivate harmful bacteria such as E. coli, inactivate enzymes that "brown" fruit, and maintain "fresh-like" appearance, flavor and texture.

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YK Products

Everett company paves the way for a new standard in road repair

YK Products thought it had a product that could revolutionize road repairs throughout the United States. A research grant through WTC proved it to be true and paved the way for this small Everett company to create a new standard in cold asphalt application.

Company Profile
Building off a patented technology, YK Products has secured exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute its proprietary cold-mixed asphalt concrete product in North and South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and China. The product is currently sold in North America under the name U.S. Cold Patch®.

U.S. Cold Patch® is a fast, permanent, easy-to-use repair material for asphalt and concrete surfaces. What sets U.S. Cold Patch® apart from the competition is that is uses recycled asphalt concrete as its main ingredient, combined with small amounts of binding material. It is also an easy-to-apply permanent solution for road repair, and has very low levels of emissions.

Customer Base
U.S. Cold Patch's® target market includes state and federal transportation agencies, airports, military organizations, municipal and county public works departments, and private companies such as parking lot maintenance firms.

Business Situation
YK Products had been laying the foundation for a successful venture. The company had inroads into its target markets, and production facilities up and running in Puyallup, Washington and Orange, California. YK Products had conducted preliminary testing on their material, but the company was looking for a more comprehensive, objective verification process for their materials -- to build a stronger case for their product's performance claims and accelerate their growth into these markets.

A meeting with the City of Seattle's Solid Waste Division pushed YK Products into action and led them to seek grant money from WTC for their research efforts. The level of volatiles in current cold-mix asphalt was causing concern from an environmental and waste management perspective. The City of Seattle approached YK products with an interest in U.S. Cold Patch®, and King County was willing to contribute funding for materials testing to evaluate its effectiveness and compliance with environmental regulations.

Research Project
YK Products and Washington State University were awarded a research grant through WTC's RTD program to gather independent performance data on its product, compared to other products currently in use. Environmental and engineering standards assessments were performed by Washington State University's Center for Asphalt Technology, a partnership program among Washington State Department of Transportation, the Washington Asphalt Paving Association, and Washington State University.

Professors Tom Papagiannakis and Frank Loge with WSU's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering headed up the research project, which was conducted using Superpave® testing methods, the highest-caliber processes for testing this type of material and only available in a few select facilities in the country. Testing of this level had never been done on a cold asphalt product; it was generally reserved for hot asphalt treatments, which were believed to be the only methods suitable for permanent paving repairs, and therefore the only type to hold up to this level of scrutiny.

Dr. Papagiannakis says he was attracted to the project for two reasons: first, the company was a small emerging venture, and, second, the green nature of the product. "Here appeared to be a paving product that was made from recycled material, didn't require solvents, and was benign to the environment," Papagiannakis says.

The project, completed in February 2004, confirmed that U.S. Cold Patch® outperformed other cold asphalt products on the market overall, by both engineering and environmental standards, proving to be a robust product with negligible emissions.

Applications & Benefits
For YK Products, the research proved to be a critical factor, especially with reference to establishing performance benchmarks in a comparative/side-by-side test of U.S. Cold Patch® with its competition.

"The credibility factor from this type of research has had tremendous impact on our company's growth potential," notes John Ackerman, general manager for YK Products. "This wasn't just a small company-funded test. This is legitimate, third-party evaluation at a facility with excellent stature and reputation in this industry."

"The independent test clearly demonstrated the superiority of YK's products and identified it as the strongest and best-performing cold asphalt on the market, as well as being environmentally friendly," Ackerman explains.

The Future
Based on the research results, YK Products is releasing a report to current and potential customers outlining the findings from the study, which the company anticipates will be received favorably and result in increased sales.

The crux of the research has the potential to significantly impact the bulk market, which is the direction that YK Products plans to take. For a bulk market to be viable, a dedicated system needs to be in place to provide YK Products with greater access to the recycled asphalt, which makes up 75 percent of its product base, in multiple locations. The findings in the research report led to increased inroads into this partnership. YK Products is working with municipalities and the Washington State Department of Transportation to make this happen.

Results from the grant research also featured prominently in the company's strategic planning efforts, the basis of which is being used to attract key personnel, develop a quality control program (to accompany the company's plans to double its current production capacity by adding two new production facilities in Illinois and New York), and expand its distribution throughout North America.

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Zymogenetics, Inc.

Seattle

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