A First-Of-Its-Kind Online Technology Showcase

On Friday, February 3rd, Emory University’s Office of Technology Transfer partnered with three other institutions to host a first-of-its-kind, live online Technology Showcase.

The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), Louisiana State University Agricultural Center (LSU AgCenter), and Washington State University (WSU) participated in the showcase alongside Emory. The aims of the showcase were to increase interest in the technologies at these universities and give inventors the opportunity to interact directly with various companies.

Dr. Edward Diehl, Marketing Manager in the Office of Technology Development at the Medical College of Wisconsin, organized the event with the help of representatives from each institution. Dr. Norman Ong, Licensing Associate at WSU, Dirk Benedict, Marketing Coordinator at the LSU AgCenter, and Quentin Thomas, Marketing Manager at Emory University, worked with Diehl to achieve the final product.

“I wanted to do something new,” said Diehl. “Technology transfer offices often interact with companies and investors, but the inventors do not [interact], at least until things progress. This forum put the inventors themselves in front of potential buyers.”

Diehl, Ong, Benedict, and Thomas hosted the event through the online presentation software WebEx. The WebEx platform placed a limit on the number of people who could be invited to participate.

“We saw that there was a limitation,” noted Thomas. “This caused us to change our marketing plan, and we were able to tailor personal invites to specific companies.”

The showcase was intended for companies interested in therapeutics for humans. When the respective inventors presented their products live from each university, they could reach companies who tuned in from all across the United States. Recruited representatives from investment, pharmaceutical, and consulting companies could watch, listen, and ask questions through the WebEx platform. In total, eleven companies participated, and some companies had multiple attendees.

Seven inventors among the four institutions presented their discoveries. Two inventors attended from each institution, with the exception of Emory, which hosted one inventor. Dr. Stephen Traynelis, Professor at the Emory School of Medicine in the Department of Pharmacology, was the sole inventor from Emory. His presentation, entitled “Small Molecules Selectively Targeting Subunits of NMDA Receptors,” detailed how certain small molecule potentiators could lead to therapeutics for various human diseases.

Inventors at each institution were given seven minutes to present their innovations live, followed by three minutes of Q&A. Company representatives in attendance then had the opportunity to ask the inventors questions about their unique discoveries.

Overall, the showcase was a success that they hope to replicate in the future, providing benefits for presenters and attendees alike. “The main benefit is that we put the inventors out in front, not just someone in the Technology Transfer offices,” said Diehl.

The inventors who presented at the online Technology Showcase were:

Emory University

  1. Stephen Traynelis, Ph.D.
    Professor, Emory School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology
    “Small Molecules Selectively Targeting Subunits of NMDA Receptors”

Louisiana State University Agricultural Center (LSU AgCenter)

  1. Jack N. Losso, Ph.D. Professor, Chronic Degenerative Disease Prevention Laboratory, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences “Extraction and Food and Therapeutic Uses of Marine Collagen”
  2. Zhijun Liu, Ph.D. Professor, Medicinal Plant Lab, School of Renewable Natural Resources “Improved Paclitaxel for Treatment of Cancer”

Medical College of Wisconsin

  1. Michael Dwinell, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics “An Engineered Locked Dimer of the Human Chemokine CXCL12 for Metastatic Cancers”
  2. John Imig, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology “Novel Orally Available EET Analogs for Renal Protection”

Washington State University

  1. Santanu Bose, Ph.D. Caroline Engle Distinguished Professor in Research on Infectious Diseases “Treatment of Influenza A Virus Infection via Neutralizing Agents”
  2. Grant Trobridge, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and School of Molecular Biosciences “Retargeted Foamy Virus Vectors for Safer Hematopoietic Stem Cell Gene Therapy”