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IsoRay announces a distribution agreement in Canada and another with GE subsidiary Oncura

IsoRay, Inc., a Richland-based developer of therapies for prostate and other cancers, has announced two new distribution agreements. Inter V Medical of Montreal, Quebec, Canada will have exclusive rights to sell Cesium-131 Brachytherapy seeds in Canada. GE Subsidary, Oncura will distribute the I-125 brachytherapy seed, OncoSeed™.

In a press release, Dwight Babcock, Chairman and CEO stated, "By adding I-125 seeds to our prostate product offering we can now be a full service provider to our customers. OncoSeed brings with it a substantial and well documented track record of efficacy. While we believe that Cesium-131 adds an important new dimension to brachytherapy for a variety of anatomic sites including prostate, we see strategic value in supporting our customers that have not yet converted all their practice to Cesium-131."

Related external links (will open a new window):

  • IsoRay, Inc. Announces Iodine Distribution Agreement with GE Subsidary, Oncura
    IsoRay - Richland, Wash. - December 3, 2009
  • IsoRay, Inc. Announces Distribution Agreement in Canada
    IsoRay - Richland, Wash. - November 18, 2009

    Related WTC links:

  • IsoRay is a WTC client
  • IsoRay announces world's first Cesium-131 lung implants
    Posted 11/05/2009
  • IsoRay announces first head and neck cancer treated with Cesium-131
    Posted 8/07/2009
  • IsoRay receives approval to market cancer therapy in Canada
    Posted 5/12/2009
  • IsoRay signs distribution agreement for prostate brachytherapy product
    Posted 2/19/2009

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    EKOS Corporation launches upgraded product for treating blood clots

    The EKOS Corporation has launched the EkoSonic™ MACH4e, an upgraded product for faster and simpler removal of arterial and venous clots. According to a press release "the EkoSonic System is FDA-cleared for controlled and selective infusion of physician-specified fluids, including thrombolytic, into the peripheral vasculature. It is currently used to treat patients with peripheral arterial occlusions (PAO) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and additional applications are being investigated."

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read more
    EKOS Corporation Web site product page
  • EKOS Corporation Launches the New EkoSonic® MACH4e at VEITHsymposium™ in New York
    EKOS Corporation press release - November 18, 2009
  • Ekos, Enduring Tough Year for Devices, Sticks With Goal to Break Even Next Year
    Xconomy - Seattle - November 30, 2009

    Related WTC links:

  • EKOS Corporation is a WTC client

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    IsoRay announces world's first Cesium-131 lung implants

    IsoRay, Inc., a Richland-based developer of therapies for prostate and other cancers, has announced that the world's first Cesium-131 lung implants have been performed at Cornell Medical Center.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • IsoRay announces world's first Cesium-131 lung implants performed at Cornell Medical Center
    IsoRay - Richland, Wash. - October 27, 2009

    Related WTC links:

  • IsoRay is a WTC client
  • IsoRay announces first head and neck cancer treated with Cesium-131
    Posted 8/07/2009
  • IsoRay receives approval to market cancer therapy in Canada
    Posted 5/12/2009
  • IsoRay signs distribution agreement for prostate brachytherapy product
    Posted 2/19/2009

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    Omeros stock IPO closes lower in first two days of trading

    Omeros Corporation, a Seattle-based biopharmaceutical company, saw its stock price close lower in its first two days of trading after the company's initial public offering (IPO) on October 8, 2009. The company had priced its offering of 6.82 million shares at $10 each, but saw shares close trading at $8.46 on October 9. The Seattle Times reported that "Omeros, the first Pacific Northwest-based company to go public in nearly two years, was also the first early-stage pharmaceutical company nationally to do so since 2007."

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Omeros, Worst Performing IPO of 2009, Casts Shadow Over Other Aspiring Biotechs
    Xconomy - Seattle - October 27, 2009
  • Omeros stock sinks in market debut
    The Seattle Times - Seattle - October 9, 2009
  • Omeros Prices IPO at $68.2 Million
    The New York Times - New York - October 8, 2009

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  • Omeros is a WTC client
  • Washington Technology Center Awards $485,261 in Research Funding
    Posted 1/14/2009
  • Omeros awarded $465,000 grant for Parkinson's research
    Posted 1/13/2009

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    IsoRay announces first head and neck cancer treated with Cesium-131

    IsoRay, Inc., a Richland-based developer of therapies for prostate and other cancers, has announced the first head and neck cancer treated with Cesium-131. Dwight Babcock, IsoRay's CEO, stated "This is an important development in our strategy to significantly broaden our base beyond prostate cancer. Cesium-131 has unique characteristics for treating many additional cancers such as this new application that provided a minimally invasive treatment option for this patient."

    Update 8/19/09: IsoRay received FDA clearance to market Cesium-131 for treating other cancers -- such as those affecting the head, neck and other organs -- beyond the current prostate market.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • IsoRay Announces First Head And Neck Cancer Treated With Cesium-131
    IsoRay - Richland, Wash. - July 27, 2009
  • IsoRay Announces FDA Clearance Supporting Enhanced Loading and Delivery Methods for the Treatment of Lung, Head and Neck, and Other Tumors
    IsoRay - Richland, Wash. - August 18, 2009

    Related WTC links:

  • IsoRay is a WTC client
  • IsoRay receives approval to market cancer therapy in Canada
    Posted 5/12/2009
  • IsoRay signs distribution agreement for prostate brachytherapy product
    Posted 2/19/2009

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    PhysioSonics raises $2 million in financing

    PhysioSonics, Inc., a privately held developer of noninvasive neurologic monitors, announced it has raised $2 million in a second tranche of series A financing. This follows a $4 million investment in 2008. The company is commercializing technologies including an ultrasound-based transcranial Doppler (TCD) monitor neuromonitor. In a press release, Brad Harlow, president & CEO of PhysioSonics said, "We are very excited with the continued validation of our product development as more neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists and cardiologists view our technology." The company was formerly known as Allez Physionix.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • PhysioSonics, Inc. Raises $2.0 Million for Second Tranche of Series A Financing
    Earthtimes (press release) - London, UK - July 1, 2009

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  • PhysioSonics is a WTC client

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    Question: what would you like to see at the next Innovation Summit?

    Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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    Photos, video and highlights of the Innovation Summit

    CTED Director Rogers Weed addressing the summit


    From Senator Cantwell's "energy is the mother of all markets" to McKinstry proving potential energy savings before financing a client's improvement project, Washington's Innovation Summit 2009 had many highlights and 'lightbulb' moments for the 350 attendees. Visit the summit Web page for photos, video and coverage of the event.

    What are your take aways from the event? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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    InnovaTek among 12 semifinalists in Clean Tech Open

    InnovaTek, a Richland-based developer of patented technologies for sustainable power and environmental safety, is among 12 Pacific Northwest region semifinalists in the Clean Tech Open, a national competition and program that helps clean technology businesses. The semifinalists were chosen from a field of 56 initial competitors in the clean tech business plan competition. Companies are vying for three regional prizes of up to $50,000 in cash and services as well as one national prize of up to $250,000 in cash and services.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Clean Tech Open
  • Clean Tech Open rewards 12 startups from the Northwest
    TechFlash - Seattle - June 26, 2009

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  • InnovaTek is a WTC client

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    Impulse Accelerated Technologies announces successful medical imaging project with University of Washington

    Impulse Accelerated Technologies, Inc., a Kirkland-based developer of software-to-hardware tools, announced the successful completion of a tomographic image reconstruction acceleration project at the University of Washington.

    According to a press release issued by the company, UW researchers "achieved 38 ms back-projection of a 512 x 512-pixel image from 512 projections. This represented a greater than 100X speedup over a software-only benchmark algorithm. This project, which was funded in part by a $100,000 Research and Technology Development grant from Washington Technology Center, was intended to determine the benefits and tradeoffs of using higher-level FPGA programming methods for medical imaging, radar and other applications requiring high throughput image reconstruction."

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Researchers accelerate tomographic image reconstruction with FPGA programming
    Vision Systems Design - Nashua,NH - June 22, 2009

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  • Impulse Accelerated Technologies is a WTC client

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    Life Sciences Discovery Fund opens 2009 summer commercialization grant competition

    LSDF plans to award up to $750,000 in its 2009 Summer Commercialization Grants Competition. Individual awards will be up to $150,000 in total costs, with work expected to be completed within one year. A required pre-proposal is due Wednesday, July 15, 2009.

    According to the LSDF announcement, grants will fund research and development of new technologies to reduce the risk associated with their commercialization. This work, often referred to as "prototype development," or "proof of principle" or "reduction to practice" experimentation is supported by LSDF to improve health and health care and to foster economic development within Washington state. Full proposals are due on Wednesday, September 9 and awards will be announced in mid December.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Learn more at the Life Sciences Discovery Fund

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    Life sciences commercialization initiative signed into law by Governor Gregoire

    Washington Governor Chris Gregoire signed into law E2SSB 6015 which directs the department of community, trade, and economic development (CTED) to review commercialization and innovation in the life sciences and technology sectors.

    According to the final bill report, CTED is required to report to the Legislature and the Governor by December 1, 2009, on methods Washington can use to encourage and support innovation in life sciences and information technology. CTED must look at ways to increase the amount of regional capital for early investments, examine state laws regarding these technologies, evaluate Washington's technology-based economic development efforts, and review the status of technology transfer efforts at research universities.

    CTED must provide a draft report to the Washington Economic Development Council (EDC), which must prepare written observations about the draft report and its relation to the overall strategies proposed by the EDC.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • View bill information for E2SSB 6015

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    IsoRay receives approval to market cancer therapy in Canada

    IsoRay, Inc., a Richland-based developer of therapies for prostate and other cancers, has announced that Health Canada’s Therapeutic Products Directorate has approved IsoRay's Proxcelan Cs-131 brachytherapy seeds for sale throughout Canada.

    In a press release, IsoRay CEO Dwight Babcock stated, “This completes another step in being able to expand the potential distribution of cesium-131 brachytherapy seeds. We initially plan to leverage the relationships of our exclusive U.S. distributor, BrachySciences, and contacts we have made with Canadian physicians who are interested in using cesium-131 to treat their patients. Through these channels we hope to begin to penetrate the Canadian brachytherapy market.”

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read the IsoRay press release

    Related WTC links:

  • IsoRay is a WTC client
  • IsoRay signs distribution agreement for prostate brachytherapy product

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    Washington's Innovation Summit 2009 wrap-up

    From Senator Cantwell's "energy is the mother of all markets" to McKinstry proving potential energy savings before financing a client's improvement project, Washington's Innovation Summit 2009 had many highlights and 'lightbulb' moments for the 350 attendees. Read on for Summit highlights and media coverage.



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    Summit Highlights

    Sustainable energy:
    -Jet fuel replacement is critical, as electricity is not an option as in cars
    -Algae, tallow and biomass will be the key sustainable biofuel sectors
    -Regulatory assistance is critical to helping small companies navigate bureaucracy.
    -Early-stage funding is very difficult; need political will for government assistance (need a 'man on the moon' mission for sustainable energy sector).

    Healthy ecosystems:
    -Green chemistry: replacing molecules to make things non-toxic or less toxic
    -Bio Security: nanotechnology to address water safety issue
    -Washington has leading research institutions, but needs to focus additional effort on commercialization

    Urban sustainability:
    -Monitoring and making visible the energy usage in buildings
    -Energy savings are dependent on users changing behavior
    -Focus on how to lessen dependence on single-occupancy vehicles

    Innovative materials and manufacturing:
    -The future of airplane construction could involve wood again in the form of nanocrystalline cellulose particles

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Washington Innovation Summit Roundup
    Blogging Innovation from Braden Kelley of Business Strategy Innovation - Seattle, WA - April 16, 2009
  • From Microsoft to Olympia: Q&A; With Rogers Weed, New Washington Commerce Chief
    Xconomy - Seattle, WA - April 15, 2009
  • Jet Biofuel, the Carbon Slaughterhouse and Green Jobs: Washington's Innovation Summit
    WorldChanging Seattle - Seattle, WA - April 13, 2009
  • How Cleantech Ideas Happen: Report from an Innovation Summit
    Energy Priorities - Seattle, WA - April 10, 2009
  • Bellevue tech summit highlights innovation
    Seattle Post Intelligencer - USA - April 10, 2009
  • Brother, Can You Spare a Stimulus Dime? Washington Innovation Summit Notebook
    Xconomy - Seattle, WA - April 10, 2009
  • Innovation Summit: Using wood to build airplanes, again
    The Seattle Times - WA - April 9, 2009
  • Cantwell: Smart grid "mother of all markets"
    The Seattle Times - WA - April 9, 2009
  • Technology Innovations in Washington
    Weekday from KUOW.org - Seattle, WA - April 6, 2009

    Related WTC links:

  • Washington's Innovation Summit 2009

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    VentriPoint raises $1 million in debenture financing

    VentriPoint Diagnostics Ltd., a Seattle-based provider of diagnostic tools to monitor patients with heart disease, announced it raised total proceeds of $1,052,317 in debenture financing. Health Canada has granted licensed approval for VentriPoint's diagnostic tool which is based upon technology received by VentriPoint through its exclusive technology license with the University of Washington. The diagnostic tool, together with its associated online service, is being developed for a variety of heart related diseases, including congenital heart disease and pulmonary hypertension.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read more in the VentriPoint press release

    Related WTC links:

  • VentriPoint is a WTC client

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    Healionics ships its first product, glaucoma treatment for dogs

    Healionics Corporation, a start-up biomaterials company in Redmond, announced the sale and shipment of the first commercial product featuring Healionics' STAR® biomaterial. A company press release says the product, TR-ClarifEYE™, an innovative veterinary glaucoma implant marketed by TR BioSurgical, LLC (TRBIO), is scheduled for limited market launch in April 2009. "We are very excited to announce the first commercial shipment of STAR, which is a significant milestone for Healionics and represents the Company’s first revenue from product sales," said Healionics CEO Michel Alvarez. In related news, Alvarez replaces Rob Brown as CEO in a management change.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read more in the Healionics press release
  • Read more in Xconomy

    Related WTC links:

  • Healionics is a WTC client
  • Healionics raises $2.6 million
  • Healionics announces first commercial product for biomaterial

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    VisionGate founder to sell company; takes leadership post at ASU Biodesign Institute

    VisionGate President and CEO Alan Nelson has taken the director position at the Arizona State University Biodesign Institute. Nelson plans to sell the company he founded, VisionGate, a Gig-Harbor-based company working in the field of cancer diagnostics. VisionGate recently sold its first commercially available Cell-CT™ imaging platform to ASU's Biodesign Institute. VisionGate's patented technology was developed with assistance from UW researcher Eric Seibel.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read more in The Arizona Republic
  • Read more in the Phoenix Business Journal

    Related WTC links:

  • VisionGate is a WTC client
  • VisionGate sells first commercially available Cell-CT™ imaging platform
  • VisionGate and University of Washington create 3-D cancer imaging

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    VisionGate sells first commercially available Cell-CT™ imaging platform

    VisionGate, a Gig Harbor headquartered company working in the field of cancer diagnostics, has sold its first commercially available Cell-CT™ imaging platform to Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute. VisionGate's patented technology was developed with assistance from UW researcher Eric Seibel.

    In a February 26th press release from ASU, Thomas Neumann, M.D., VisionGate’s vice president for medical science, said the sale of the company’s first Cell-CT platform is a significant step for the company. “We are encouraged that the scientists at the Biodesign Institute will be using our novel 3-D cellular imaging technology for their groundbreaking research on single cell biology,” he said. “VisionGate plans to continue developing the Cell-CT system for clinical use in the early detection of lung cancer, and the agreement announced today is expected to provide valuable contributions to the institute’s personalized medicine initiatives.”

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read more in the Arizona State University press release

    Related WTC links:

  • VisionGate is a WTC client
  • VisionGate and University of Washington create 3-D cancer imaging

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    IsoRay signs distribution agreement for prostate brachytherapy product

    IsoRay, a Richland-based producer of the Cesium-131 brachytherapy seed used to treat prostate and other cancers, announced it has signed an agreement with BrachySciences, a division of Biocompatibles International plc, to distribute IsoRay's Proxcelan Cesium-131 brachytherapy seeds.

    In a press release, Dwight Babcock, chairman and CEO of IsoRay, stated, "We are very pleased to announce this collaboration with BrachySciences. Management believes this distribution agreement will enable us to increase the sales of Cesium-131 within the prostate cancer therapy market. This supports our ongoing strategy of driving sales by adding an additional outside distribution channel to augment our current sales staff. We look forward to a close working relationship with BrachySciences that will help us further penetrate the brachytherapy market."

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read more in the IsoRay press release

    Related WTC links:

  • IsoRay is a WTC client

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    VisionGate and University of Washington create 3-D cancer imaging

    VisionGate, Inc., a privately-held company in Gig Harbor, Wash., and University of Washington researchers led by Eric Seibel, a UW mechanical engineering associate professor, have helped develop a new kind of microscope to visualize cells in three dimensions, technology that could help advance early cancer detection. According to a University of Washington press release, the machine works by rotating the cell under the microscope lens and taking hundreds of pictures per rotation, and then digitally combining them to form a single 3-D image. Funding was provided by VisionGate and Washington Technology Center.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read more in UWNews.org

    Related WTC links:

  • VisionGate is a WTC client

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    Ultreo closes operation

    Ultreo, maker of an ultrasound toothbrush, posted a statement on its Web site announcing it ceased operations on December 22, 2008. Company CEO & President Glenn Bonagura cited insufficient cash flow and a lack of potential investors or purchasers as reasons for closing.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read the statement on the Ultreo Web site.

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    Theo Chocolate, UW scientists to identify the best organic cocoa beans

    Xconomy's interview with Theo's chief operating officer and food scientist, Dr. Andy McShea, describes Theo's partnership with University of Washington to develop food quality-analysis technology.

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  • More in Xconomy

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  • Theo Chocolate is a WTC client

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    Omeros awarded $465,000 grant for Parkinson's research

    Omeros Corporation, a Seattle-based biopharmaceutical company, has been awarded a $465,000 grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation to evaluate Omeros' recent dicovery of a new target for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read the press release from Omeros

    Related WTC links:

  • Omeros is a WTC client

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    Northstar Neuroscience announces plans to dissolve

    Northstar Neuroscience, a medical device company developing therapies for the treatment of major depressive disorder, announced in a press release January 5, 2009 "that its Board of Directors has determined, in its best business judgment after consideration of potential strategic alternatives, that it is in the best interests of the company and its shareholders to liquidate the company's assets and to dissolve the company."

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read the press release from Northstar Neuroscience

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    Insilicos Awarded $900K Grant From NIH

    Insilicos announced that the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (part of the National Institutes of Health) has awarded the company a $900,000 grant to study Ensemble Learning. Ensemble Learning is a prediction technique that is particularly well-suited to the large data sets of biomedical research. Insilicos has received over $3 million in NIH grants, which support the company's research towards diagnostics for cardiovascular disease.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • More in the Insilicos press release

    Related WTC links:

  • Insilicos is a WTC client

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    Healionics raises $2.6 million

    Healionics Corporation, a start-up biomaterials company in Redmond, has raised $2.6 million in a second round of financing. Investors came from several angel funding networks -- the Bellingham Angels, the Alliance of Angels, Keiretsu, the Tacoma Angel Network and the Zino Society. The company is commercializing UW technology that will reduce infection from skin-breaching devices such as catheters.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read more in the Seattle Times

    Related WTC links:

  • Healionics is a WTC client

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    UW's "bionic" contact lens named a best invention by TIME

    A prototype 'bionic' contact lens manufactured at WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory by Babak Parviz, a UW assistant professor of electrical engineering, has been named to TIME's Best Inventions of 2008.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read more at TIME
  • Learn more about the technology at University of Washington News

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    Scientists develop new cancer-killing compound from salad plant

    Researchers at the University of Washington have updated a traditional Chinese medicine to create a compound that is more than 1,200 times more specific in killing certain kinds of cancer cells than currently available drugs, heralding the possibility of a more effective chemotherapy drug with minimal side effects. The compound is currently being licensed to Artemisia Biomedical Inc. for commercialization.

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  • Read more in UW News

    Related WTC links:

  • Artemisia Biomedical is a WTC client

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  • Healionics announces first commercial product for biomaterial

    Healionics, a start-up company in Redmond, has entered into a multi-million dollar manufacturing, supply and distribution agreement for use of its biomaterial in a veterinary glaucoma implant made by TR BioSurgical. Healionics was founded on technology developed by Dr. Buddy Ratner and Dr. Andrew Marshall at the University of Washington Engineered Biomaterials center and licensed from UW.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read more in Xconomy

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  • Healionics is a WTC client

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    UW licenses 'camera in a pill' technology

    In one of its largest technology transfer deals, University of Washington has licensed imaging technology to medical-device maker Hoya, which plans to commercialize the technology in the next couple of years. Research funding for the technology came from several sources including Washington Technology Center.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read more in Puget Sound Business Journal

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  • Prototype 'Bionic' Contact Lens Developed at WTC Lab

    Babak Parviz, a UW assistant professor of electrical engineering, heads a multi-disciplinary group developing virtual displays on contact lenses. The prototype contact lenses, with metal connectors for electronic circuits, were manufactured in WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory. "Looking through a completed lens, you would see what the display is generating superimposed on the world outside," said Parviz.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read more at UWeek.org

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  • Aculight Awarded $850K SBIR Grant

    The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program award from the National Institutes of Health will fund a joint effort with the University of Washington to develop a laser-based vestibular implant to treat impaired balance and vision.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read the Aculight press release [PDF]

    Related WTC links:

  • Acculight is a WTC client

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  • Life Sciences Discovery Fund selects six awardees in inaugural grant round

    UW researcher Daniel Chiu — a Washington Technology Center past award winner — is among the winning researchers proposing novel uses of technology to improve health care.

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  • Read the Life Sciences Discovery Fund press release

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  • MFL, CN Probes Partner in Breakthrough Growth of Carbon Nanotubes

    In one of the most famous scenes in the 1967 film, The Graduate, Walter Brook's character Mr. McGuire ceremoniously intimates to protagonist Benjamin Braddock (portrayed magnificently by Dustin Hoffman) that "Plastics" are the next big thing.

    Thirty years later, you might hear a similar statement touted by recent Columbia graduate and CN Probes CEO Brian Ruby. Only instead of plastics, the catch phrase is "Carbon Nanotubes."

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    Ruby, a New York college graduate-cum-Washington state business entrepreneur, is a client of the Washington Technology Center's Microfabrication Laboratory (MFL) and a key player in a successful joint research project between CN Probes and the MFL to develop and grow carbon nanotubes (CNTs) on a silicon wafer. The team recently completed groundbreaking research that did, in fact, successfully grow CNTs on a targeted location and confirmed the growth through various spectroscopic techniques. It is estimated that only four or five research groups in the world have achieved similar results on this scale.

    The CNTs grew out of pure collaboration. WTC's facility had the right tools in place to spark this type of innovation. According to Ruby, these capabilities extended beyond the lab's physical equipment such as the furnace used to grow the CNTs and the UW Nanotechnology User Facility's Raman Spectrum used to verify the results. "It's the collaborative environment of the Microfab Lab that makes these kinds of breakthroughs possible," he says. "It's a highly supportive and creative culture. The staff is just as committed to discovery and process innovation as their clients," Ruby notes. "Plus, WTC understands 'start-up mode' and work with their customers to keep access up, costs down and IP protected."

    Lab Manager Michael Hjelmstad concurs. He says that working with clients like CN Probes, PCB Piezotronics, and Microvision, who are pioneers in their fields, is inspiring and the goal of the lab is to go beyond just providing equipment and training and be a true research partner.

    "Imagine WTC is an architect who builds the ultimate kitchen for master chefs of various cuisines," explains Hjelmstad. "Brian Ruby has brought the lab his own special CNT recipe. That's a good analogy for the Carbon Nanotubes project."

    Hjelmstad also praises the assistance of the University of Washington's Nanotechnology User Facility, also housed in Fluke Hall, WTC's headquarters and the location of WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory. "We could not have confirmed the CNT growth without the assistance of Dong Qin and her team," Hjelmstad notes. "They were an invaluable partner and resource throughout this process."

    While still in the very early stages, carbon nanotubes have been lauded for their potential product versatility. The material is widely applicable to numerous applications and has been praised for its unique properties.

    However, when trying to integrate CNTs into a small-scale device, such as Nantero's nanotube based memory, CN Probes' molecular imaging probes or a new Intel processor, issues of scalability, reliability and reproducibility arise. With the new system at MFL, CN Probes and WTC are attacking these issues head on and making great progress. They are not the first team to grow carbon nanotubes, but they are part of an elite few that claim to be able to grow them under manufacturing conditions.

    Brian Ruby is optimistic this can be done. He sees CNTs as having high value in developing targeted applications for drug discovery. Ruby is aiming to evolve a process to grow an entire wafer of tubes on micro-machined atomic force microscope tips, which will vastly improve the resolution and utility of atomic force microscopes, a molecular imaging technique used by virtually everyone doing nanotech research.

    Related WTC links:

  • Carbon Nanoprobes is a WTC client
  • WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Institute Söliv opens in Seattle -- Prototype facility will help company shape its commercial future

    Söliv is a Seattle-based skin care company with a breakthrough product line based on marine biotechnology.

    Founder and CEO, Diane Boratyn, first connected with the Washington Technology Center (WTC) in 2001. Söliv received a research grant from WTC to collaborate with researchers in the University of Washington's botany department to develop an advanced aquaculture system for cultivating the specific seaweed strain used in the company's proprietary skin care product line.

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    The WTC grant, in combination with support from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), allowed Söliv to develop a platform for natural selection and propagation of its raw base material -- a red ocean algae -- and to "farm" these materials for multi-product development and full-scale manufacturing.

    In 2004, Boratyn again tapped into WTC resources and contracted with Elaine Kong, manager of WTC's business consulting services, to help develop a marketing and sales strategy to position the company for its next growth phase. With a strong business model in place, Söliv begin to realize new growth. The company added staff, expanded production and manufacturing operations, penetrated target markets and increased sales.

    In January 2006, Söliv celebrated the launch of its flagship training center at Seattle's University Village. This is the first of the company's bricks and mortar operations and serves as both an education facility, treatment center, and retail store.

    Institute Söliv represents the third step in the company's vertically-integrated Washington operations which include seaweed farms on the Kitsap Peninsula, manufacturing operations in downtown Seattle, and Institute Söliv.

    Boratyn explains that the Institute is a "concept location" for Söliv and will serve as a prototype for the company's retail sales moving forward. The Institute opens in tandem with the roll out of the company's new Sea 2 Skin™ brand, the trade label for its red algae-based nutraceutical skin care line.

    The unique nature of the product makes education and inventory control important factors in its sales strategy. The company's marketing approach is currently centered on outreach, referrals, and word-of-mouth. Distribution channels include both wholesale and retail partners including high-end spas, physicians, naturopaths and skin care specialists. Clients can also book appointments for services at Institute Söliv. The addition of Institute Söliv will help the company expand its retails sales, further define its niche market, and determine branding strategies moving forward.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • www.Söliv.com

    Related WTC links:

  • Söliv is a WTC client

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  • Positioning the Northwest as a Biotechnology Leader

    by Lee Cheatham, executive director, Washington Technology Center

    Biotechnology will be a dominant force in the 21st century -- a force that not only drives the economy of the Pacific Northwest, but regional and national economies around the globe.

    But our region faces challenges. How effectively we deal with these challenges makes all the difference whether we realize the advantages of a leadership position or suffer mediocrity.

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    Challenge #1: Ensure more available capital flows into our local companies
    Let's be clear. There is a shortage of available seed capital -- those early stage investments of $50,000 to $500,000. The success of venture investment funds over the past decade has meant they simply can't afford the effort to invest in small amounts. Angel investors are a great source for this seed level investment, but they are difficult to find.

    More than three years ago, WTC recognized this lack of capital as a critical issue and acted to develop the necessary programs to address these needs.

    Our first step was to leverage federal investment opportunities. In 2001, with nine partner organizations around the state, we developed programs, tools, and training workshops that educated companies on how to access Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) funds. Each year, the ten largest federal agencies make more than $1.5 billion available to small businesses. WTC's program provides easy access to SBIR information and assistance to companies that apply.

    Our second step was to create the WTC Angel Network. This program, funded in part by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, is increasing the investment pool by encouraging investors from around the state to participate. The program consists of a network of angel groups forming around the state in areas such as the Olympic Peninsula, Wenatchee, Tri-Cities, and Bellingham. By joining this network, these angel investors will realize benefits similar to larger angel groups.

    Realizing that access to investors is critical for growth, WTC has also partnered with the Washington State Investment Board to make a portion of their private equity portfolio available to companies within the state. This program makes it significantly easier for our local companies to gain an initial review of their business plan by one of WSIB's 87 general partners.

    WTC supports the efforts of the Washington State Legislature, which last year created the Investing in Innovation fund. This legislation creates the mechanism for investment in proof-of-concept and early stage product development that can be especially helpful to the biotech industry.

    In addition, the Seattle/King County Economic Development Council has launched a project to determine how a biotech seed fund might be created within the state. The Explore Life initiative is, in part, dedicated to developing private funding for early stage proof-of-concept projects. These and the other efforts to increase the available capital must be encouraged. Effectively addressing challenge one means increasing the number of financing options for our companies.

    Challenge #2: Expand and renew our infrastructure
    It is safe to say that the biotech industry is driven by the skill and knowledge of its people. In the early stages of the industry's evolution, those people are researchers and entrepreneurs. As the industry matures, the manufacturing experts join in.

    But these people need a place to work and develop their ideas. A place that is different from the manufacturing, software or financial services industries. For biotech this place includes wet laboratories, clean rooms, and ultra-high speed computing and networks.

    WTC operates a microfabrication user facility in the John M. Fluke Sr. Hall, WTC's headquarters. The MicroFabrication Laboratory represents about $20M in facility and equipment investment. It provides critical equipment and processing capability in a clean room environment for a company's product engineers and university researchers alike.

    More than 25 companies are using this facility in their new product development. Significant university research laboratories are also located in Fluke Hall. As a result, Fluke Hall is a place where science and industry really do rub shoulders.

    Further development of appropriate facilities around the state is critical for the growth of this industry. Research space for University of Washington, Washington State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory must be increased. Facilities that allow entrepreneurs and our existing companies to co-locate their commercial operations with these research activities must be developed next.

    Challenge #3: Position our region among other regions around the world
    Make no mistake. This is a competition. We're competing for talented people, for money, for market access. We're competing globally -- against the best from around the world.

    Unlike biotech initiatives of a few years ago, regions today are more focused and more selective. They are examining their strengths and defining their niche in the biotech industry accordingly. We have world-class public and private research institutions in our region. We are home to the world's leading non-profit foundation and program for global health. Leading medical device and pharmaceutical companies are here. Our challenge, however, is to describe our competitive edge when we consider these institutions, and others, together.

    Several efforts are underway to do just that. Through the support of Senator Cantwell, WTC is leading an effort to develop such a vision and strategy for micro- and nano-scale science and technology. With our partners, PNNL, Avogadro Partners, and the National NanoBusiness Alliance, we are working to ensure that this long term vision emerges. Its implementation will establish our region as a leader by applying "small science" to the discovery, production and marketing of diagnostic and therapeutic devices and processes.

    The Bio21 effort launched by Governor Locke last year is an important component in meeting this challenge because it provides the backdrop required to position and brand our region. It is our first concerted attempt to develop a cohesive direction -- 21st Century Global Health -- based on our region's strengths. As Bio21 is refined, I believe it will prove to be the backbone from which many "implementation" initiatives can draw their context. Existing programs, like the Investing in Innovation Fund for proof-of-concept projects and WTC's nanotechnology initiative, are examples of programs that will implement the Bio21 principles.

    Challenge #4: Engage everyone
    Finally, I believe our most difficult challenge is how to position biotech as an industry that has broad impact. Most people believe it's just for Ph.D. scientists and it won't really affect their lives. No doubt the biotech industry draws its ideas from the depths of research in biology, chemistry, physics, computing and engineering. But just like other industries, its greatest impact will only be realized when local companies and their suppliers are making products and selling them.

    At one point the aerospace industry probably faced this same issue. Aircraft design, specialty materials, and complex electronics are all part of that industry. Over the decades, however, the industry's suppliers made metal working and electrical subsystem manufacturing understandable and hired thousands of people to fill those needs.

    How to meet this challenge is yet to be discovered. But it is the transition our biotech industry must make if we expect a similar impact to our region's economy.

    By addressing these challenges, and others that may arise, Washington Technology Center is prepared to contribute to solidifying our region's position as a global biotechnology leader.

    Related WTC links:

  • SBIR Program
  • WTC Angel Network
  • Microfabrication Laboratory
  • Nanotechnology

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  • Söliv case study

    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 Washington Technology Center's Small Business Services proved to be a smart move for Söliv and provided the company with an action plan for moving forward.

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    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 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 $80M–$100M retail business with 25 products.

    Business Situation
    With its product line well established, Söliv turned its attention towards financing, marketing, sales and manufacturing. The economic slow down 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," Boratyn adds.

    Enter Washington Technology Center's Small Business Services expert, 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 Elaine as a resource to assist them with their business strategy.

    Elaine 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, startup 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," explained Elaine Kong, manager of small business services for the Washington Technology Center. "For a company in their stage of growth, this is key to attracting investors," she noted. "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 projected growth for a sales force throughout Washington is expected to increase three-fold 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 Services consulting services helped us overcome the 'financial paralysis' stage that a company may face when funding is tight," Boratyn stated. "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," she adds. "Now we're prepared to deliver a high-quality, attractive presentation to investors supported by a solid growth plan."

    Related WTC links:

  • Söliv is a WTC client
  • Business Consulting

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  • Seminar aims to help biotech companies access federal grants

    Washington Technology Center (WTC) is hosting a breakfast seminar on April 15 from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Faculty Center on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. Targeted to biotech and biomedical companies, the seminar, entitled "What Biomedical or Biotech Companies Want to Know about DoD-funded Medical Research," aims to help these types of companies understand the value of and process for going after federal dollars to support R&D; effort critical to their company's evolution and to better understand how federal agencies like the Department of Defense (DoD) and National Health Institute (NIH) play into this funding program.

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    At the seminar, representatives from Washington companies in the biotech and biomedical fields will have the ability to talk candidly with a company founder who has been through the federal funding process with both NIH and DoD and can talk to this issue in-depth and the value that comes from going after SBIR and STTR funds.

    Dr. Shawn Iadonato, founder, chief scientific officer, and director of Seattle-based Illumigen Biosciences Inc., will be the featured speaker at the breakfast. Illumigen Biosciences is a Seattle-based life sciences company that uses proprietary human genetic technologies to identify and exploit beneficial, health-promoting mutations. Illumigen has been the recipient of numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense and Dr. Iadonato has served as an ad hoc reviewer of grant applications for NIH and DoD institutes and centers around the country.

    The cost to attend the breakfast is $35.

    Related WTC links:

  • SBIR Program

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  • Pacific Research Laboratories "boning up" for medical research and training

    Ever wonder how surgeons hone their skills or practice new and difficult procedures? Plastic bone models have played an increasingly important role in educating medical students and patients, training orthopedic surgeons and testing medical devices.

    Pacific Research Laboratories, Inc. of Vashon Island, Washington, 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 are crucial.

    During the last two decades, Pacific Research Laboratories has made a variety of bone structures synthetically -- by mimicking the architecture and strength of natural bone. Various aspects of bone shape, size and its complex internal structure make it difficult to manufacture artificial models. Products currently on the market have a hollow medullary canal with closed cell urethane foam interiors at the ends, not the open celled cancellous (the porous honeycomb structure inside bones) interiors found at ends of real bones. One of greatest challenges in simulating real bone is the modeling of cancellous bone.

    Continuing to be a leader in the artificial bone market, the company has been working to develop these cancellous bone models.

    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 Laboratories 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 Laboratories, 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.

    Related WTC links:

  • Pacific Research Laboratories is a WTC client

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  • WTC awards new FTI project

    In addition to the Research and Technology Development (RTD) program, WTC has two programs that facilitate fast-track industry-university research collaborations. The Entrepreneur's Access (EA) and Focused Technology Initiative (FTI) programs are ideally suited to assist small businesses and startup enterprises in collaborative technology development. Both programs are available throughout the year.

    FTIs provide up to $10,000–$30,000 and are targeted for companies with under 100 employees with a project duration of 6–12 months.

    Bio~OriGyn, LLC, Spokane
    Researcher: C. Harold Mielke, WSU Health Research and Education Center
    To meet medical blood transfusion demands, there is a critical need for a continuous supply of fresh human blood platelets. However, because of inferior storage methods, much of the nation's supply of platelets is discarded every year -- at a loss to the industry of nearly $300M. Since 1994, OriGyn Technologies has specialized in cell storage and in vitro handling systems, discovering a proprietary plant sugar currently used in their infertility products. These sugars, by reducing cellular oxidative stress during handling, can be used to improve the storage of blood products. In the FTI project funded by WTC, Bio~OriGyn is working with Dr. Mielke to develop a novel liquid storage system for banking fresh human platelets that not only prolongs platelet viability, but also improves functional capacity following collection and storage. Dr. Mielke is an expert on blood platelets and is the founder and Editor Emeritus of the Journal of Clinical Apheresis, a journal specializing in blood banking, blood cell separations and blood cell storage.

    Related WTC links:

  • Bio~OriGyn is a WTC client
  • RTD Grant Program

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  • WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory is indeed fab

    WTC is home to a remarkable resource for Washington company and academic researchers -- the Microfabrication Laboratory. Located in Fluke Hall on the University of Washington campus, the lab is available on a user-fee basis for research, technology development and prototype product manufacturing in areas such as avionics, micro-optics, micro-fluidics, fuel cells, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), biomedical devices, and biotechnology.

    Opened in April 1995, the 14,000 sq. ft. facility has 8,000 sq. ft. of clean room processing space. Industrial use of the lab has increased by 70% since its inception, with a corresponding increase in revenue of 500%. A catalyst for much of this growth has been WTC's technology initiatives in MEMS and more recently, in photonics / optical systems. Since 1997, WTC has invested $1.5 million into funding MEMS research and building the lab's resources. It has become the only public use MEMS R&D; facility in the state. The recent addition of a Deep Reactive Ion Etcher -- a tool that can fabricate deep, narrow structures - will significantly expand the lab's capabilities.

    Companies can access the lab's equipment and staff to perform the full range of micro-machined product development.

    Other academic-based facilities prohibit their industrial users from performing any 'for-profit' manufacturing of products in their facility, i.e., companies can perform R&D;, but must use some other facility for their manufacturing. WTC does not put any such constraints on its users and, thus, is able to support the product cycle for a longer period of time -- from prototyping through pilot production. This is particularly valuable to small or startup companies who otherwise wouldn't have the financial resources to access facilities of this caliber.

    Currently, more than 15 companies and 120 individuals are using the facility for microfabrication R&D.;

    Significant new technologies have been developed in the laboratory over the past several years. For example, Microvision, Inc., a leader in imaging technologies, used the lab to develop a video scanner for head-mounted displays. This revolutionary way to display images and information promises to make possible cost-effective, high-performance miniature devices that provide personal displays for electronic and computing products in military, aerospace, medical, industrial, and consumer electronics applications. Redmond-based Micronics, Inc. created the prototype for an inexpensive, disposable microfluidic cartridge that is used to perform blood tests and other diagnostics. Just one of these "lab-on-chip" devices can potentially perform up to 20 different medical diagnostic tests using the same sample.

    Related WTC links:

  • Microfabrication Laboratory
  • Micronics is a WTC client
  • Microvision is a WTC client

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  • WTC hosts WSU Showcase for biotech companies

    For Immediate Release: September 28, 1998

    Seattle - Washington Technology Center (WTC) will host a one-day tour of Washington State University specifically for biotechnology and biomedical device companies on November 10, 1998. The tour will showcase the facilities available to the biotech industry, and will include WSU's Veterinary Hospital, the Institute for Biological Chemistry, and the Laboratories for Bioanalysis and Biotechnology. An afternoon session is reserved to allow company representatives to meet individually with university researchers with expertise in their specific field of interest.

    "This event represents a unique opportunity for biotech/biomedical companies, particularly those located in western Washington, to tap into R&D; resources at Washington State University", says Lee Cheatham, Executive Director of the WTC. "Initiating these relationships between high-tech companies and university research facilities here in Washington is a big part of our mission at WTC."

    Washington Technology Center is a state-funded agency committed to facilitating and providing funding for industry/university research collaborations that will result in commercially promising technology development. Biotechnical/biomedical instrumentation is one of five major technology areas that the WTC focuses on. Since 1996, WTC has funded 14 research projects with biotech/biomedical device company partners, including six at WSU. For more information about WTC, visit our Web site at http://www.watechcenter.org.

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