October 2012

Catalyzing Tech Transfer and Startup Financing

Illinois Science + Technology Park hosted CATTEC V on October 11 and 12.  This program brought together Midwest talent, ideas and capital in a showcase of emerging high tech startups from Midwest universities and accelerators. At CATTEC, angel and early stage venture capital investors, entrepreneurs and university technology managers engaged as startup facilitators facilitating the connections that strengthen the Midwest's new venture innovation network.


Highlighting the 2 day program was a presentation by G. Steven Burrill, Chief Executive of Burrill & Company.  A long-standing expert on the life science industry, Steve highlighted changing commercialization processes that are impacting the development of life science products.  Rather than the traditional early stage hand off of university research to Big Pharma, increasingly traditional companies are focusing their efforts on the final stages of development, marketing, and distribution, while outsourcing early stage research and development to universities.  He noted that venture angels are filling the role of funding the movement of research out of the university lab and into early stage commercial development.  Later stage development is being leveraged by the venture capital community.   Angel capital represented more than $20 billion in the U.S. last year and is growing faster than venture capital investments.


In addition to keynotes, there were insightful panels and discussions that addressed items such as models for early stage financing and leveraging global opportunities, 


Another component of the program was "fast pitch" presentations  by local companies in search of capital. Fifteen companies from Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Michigan updated attendees on new technology opportunities. 


Noting a few of the presentations: Daniel Gibbs of General Biomass Company talked about their new technology that converts nonfood biomass to sugars for cellulosic biofuels, renewable chemicals, and bioplastics.  Josephine Polich fromCearna, Inc outlined how her company provides a family of products designed to reduce bruising, swelling, and pain in trauma and surgical procedures. A.J. Noronha with Citrics Biomedical, a spinout of Northwestern University, discussed their lead product, CitrOSponge.  This is an innovative nanocomposite for the orthopedic market that is demonstrating improved healing time and bone formation

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