University of Pittsburgh
January 30, 2017

Pitt and University City Science Center Join Forces to Commercialize Early-stage Technologies

Contact: 

Joe Miksch

412-624-4356

Cell: 412-997-0314

PHILADELPHIA—The University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute and the University City Science Center are collaborating to commercialize a Pitt-developed technology that improves the alignment of lower-limb prostheses.

The Pitt technology facilitates extremely accurate prostheses fittings, thereby reducing physical discomfort and wear and tear, as well as the need for recurring refitting visits. The technology was developed by Goeran Fiedler, assistant professor in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and former Pitt faculty member Jonathan Akins, now at Widener University.

The Pitt project is the newest partner in the Science Center’s Phase 1 Ventures (P1V) program. PIV is a startup accelerator that launches “long horizon” technologies that typically require significant development or regulatory approvals, such as in health care, materials, or energy. The program matches university partners with experienced entrepreneurs to aid them through the commercialization process.

P1V has worked with the Pitt team to develop a commercialization plan and has provided assistance in applying for a federal Small Business Technology Transfer grant to further develop the technology. If the startup is successful in obtaining grants, the Science Center could choose to make additional investments or seek other investors or industry funding for the company.

“I am delighted by the strong cross-commonwealth cooperation in our agreement with the University City Science Center,” said Marc Malandro, founding director of Pitt’s Innovation Institute and chairman of Life Sciences Pennsylvania (formerly Pennsylvania Bio), the state’s trade association for the life sciences industry.

“Pennsylvania has two among the top NIH-funded universities in the United States in the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pennsylvania, along with many other institutions with strong life-sciences programs. Through increased collaboration, we can ensure that Pennsylvania continues to grow its life-sciences economy, providing good paying jobs, while also benefiting all of society with impactful innovations that improve and prolong lives,” Malandro said.

“Phase 1 Ventures is making the geographic gap between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh just a little bit less of a divide for commercialization in Pennsylvania,” said Science Center President and CEO Stephen S. Tang. “Partnerships like the one that the Science Center and Pitt are forging through Phase 1 Ventures mean that inventors and entrepreneurs can access the resources they need to create great new companies—regardless of where they are.”

Soft-launched in 2015, P1V’s portfolio currently includes 19 newly formed companies representing intellectual property from 12 institutions, including the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Drexel University; Lehigh University; The Pennsylvania State University; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; Temple University; Thomas Jefferson University; University of Delaware; University of Iowa; the University of Pennsylvania; the University of Pittsburgh; and University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. Since its launch, P1V has committed a total of more than $1.3 million to participants, and to date these startups have raised a total of more than $1.6 million in nondilutive funding and $250,000 in follow-on funding.

About the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute
Established in 2013, the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute is the University’s hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. The Innovation Institute provides a comprehensive suite of services for Pitt innovators, from protecting intellectual property to commercializing new discoveries. The institute also provides a wealth of educational programming, mentoring, and networking for Pitt faculty, students, and regional small businesses.

About the Science Center
Located in the heart of uCity Square, the Science Center is a mission-driven nonprofit organization that catalyzes and connects innovation to entrepreneurship and technology commercialization. For more than 50 years, the Science Center has supported startups, research, and economic development in the life sciences, health care, physical sciences, and emerging technology sectors. As a result, graduate firms and current residents of the Science Center’s incubator support one out of every 100 jobs in the Greater Philadelphia region and drive $13 billion in economic activity in the region annually. By providing resources and programming for any stage of a business’s life cycle, the Science Center helps scientists, entrepreneurs, and innovators take their concepts from idea to IPO—and beyond.

For more information about the Science Center, go to www.sciencecenter.org.

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