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Forum connects NM inventors, investors

Dr. Federica Pericle, president and CEO of Agilvax, works with measurement devices in a laboratory. AgilVax is marketing UNM technology to rapidly identify and develop new vaccines,

Dr. Federica Pericle, president and CEO of Agilvax, works with measurement devices in a laboratory. AgilVax is marketing UNM technology to rapidly identify and develop new vaccines,

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Some two dozen University of New Mexico technologies were on display this week at a newly launched “Technology Social” forum that UNM hopes will help inventors, investors and entrepreneurs connect with one another.
The two-day event included presentations by startup companies working to commercialize UNM technologies, plus presentations by researchers who have yet to pursue market strategies for their inventions. The Science and Technology Corp., UNM’s tech-transfer office, organized the forum for participants to learn about what others are doing, to share ideas and advice and to become inspired to help each other move technologies from lab to market.
“It’s a great networking event,” said STC President and CEO Lisa Kuuttila. “We have so many startups now commercializing university technologies, and many raw technologies with marketable potential. We want the people working on those things to connect and integrate into the larger community ecosystem.”
The forum was divided into two groups of technologies, with engineering inventions in the fields of optics, photonics, software and more on display Wednesday. Life science inventions in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals were presented on Thursday.
“We’ve divided our portfolio of technologies into four categories, with different forums planned for each one,” Kuuttila said. “The next two will take place in February, with one for nanomanufacturing and materials, and another for medical devices and instrumentation.”
This week’s presentations included a range of technologies and companies at different stages of development. Resipra Therapeutics, for example, has been working since 2010 to commercialize a new inhaler that allows patients to absorb more medicine into their lungs than they can with today’s inhalers. That company has raised nearly $5 million in venture capital.
AgilVax, another company marketing UNM technology to rapidly identify and develop new vaccines, raised $2 million this summer. And Zocere, which has developed a peptide to protect brain cells against damage from stroke, has raised $500,000 from the New Mexico Angels investor group.
Participants said the forum helps to build collaborative networks among companies working in similar industries.
“For New Mexico to create a successful ecosystem around innovation, we need to build these types of industry clusters,” said Cottonwood Technology Fund managing partner David Blivin. “STC is becoming a catalyst for that.”

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