Stay connected. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Science Center’s Multi-Institutional Proof-of-Concept Program Awards $600,000 to Researchers at Leading Academic Institutions

Awards Given to Researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Delaware
and the University of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA -- (January 15, 2020) – The University City Science Center has announced three awardees in the latest round of its QED Proof-of-Concept Program which partners with regional academic and research institutions to prepare their most promising life science technologies for commercialization.

The three researchers, representing the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Delaware and the University of Pennsylvania, are developing a new therapy for acute leukemia using an agent that jumpstarts the immune system, nanoparticles that deliver therapeutic cargo to stem cells; and an improved method for diagnosing and detecting cancer in liquid biopsies.

The awardees will each receive $200,000 and critical support from the Science Center’s network of seasoned business advisors and industry experts to position their technologies for exit out of their host institutions and into a startup or licensing agreement.


Dr. Ian Henrich, Dept. of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

A novel therapy utilizing USP6 to fire up the patient’s immune system against cancer cells
The team’s first target for proof of concept is acute myeloid leukemia. In the long-term, this therapy may be applied as a powerful immunotherapeutic for a wide range of malignancies, and also serve in combination therapy to optimize response to CAR-T cells and checkpoint inhibitors.

Dr. Emily Day, Biomedical Engineering Dept.

University of Delaware

Nanoparticles that can target delivery of “cargo” of small molecules that turn off specific genes to blood stem cells

This platform technology will be a valuable research tool to improve the understanding of blood stem cell biology and has substantial potential to transform the treatment of benign and malignant blood disorders including HIV, cancer, aplastic anemia, and sickle cell disease.

Dr. Haim H. Bau, Dept. Mechanical Engineering & Applied Mechanics

University of Pennsylvania

For use in liquid biopsies, this invention is a method for enriching target nucleic acid in body fluid samples to enable personalized therapy, early disease screening, and disease progression monitoring
For oncologists, the invention will allow high efficiency and specificity to detect cancer earlier in populations at risk, prescribe targeted drugs, and alter drug regimen as drug-resistance evolves.

“Through their commercialization programs, the Science Center continues to nurture and inspire our life science university start-ups,” says Coulter-Drexel Translational Research Program Director, Kathie Jordan. “These programs are unique in their ability to work with universities throughout the area to vet and fund high-promise biotechnology, while integrating with the university-based acceleration programs, including the Coulter-Drexel Translational Research Partnership fund and I-Corps.”

Each of the technologies were identified as having high potential for improving human health and of being of intense industry and investor interest. The awardees were selected from a pool of 45 applicants from 8 institutions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Since its inception in 2009, the QED program has provided development services for over 100 academic researchers with over $8M invested in 41 projects. Ten startups or licensing deals have resulted.

The Science Center’s commercialization programs, of which QED is part, is a leader in the development of biotechnology across the region. Equipped with deep expertise both in-house and in its network of advisors, the Science Center can efficiently identify, evaluate, accelerate, and finance the most promising life science ideas and businesses. The Science Center’s first-hand research, startup, and investment experience and its expanding set of analytical tools are used not only by academia but increasingly by industry partners seeking to simplify scouting operations around licensing, mergers and acquisitions, investment, and out-sourced technology incubation.

QED receives support from the Department of Health of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

To learn more about how the Science Center Commercialization team can help with your technology or more about our industry and investor sourcing and diligence services, visit or contact us at

About the Science Center
Located in the heart of uCity Square, the Science Center is mission-driven nonprofit that commercializes promising technology, cultivates talent and convenes people to inspire action. For over 50 years, the Science Center has supported startups, research, and economic development in the life sciences, healthcare, physical sciences, and emerging technology sectors. As a result, Science Center-supported companies account for 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 lifecycle, the Science Center helps scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators take their concepts from idea to IPO – and beyond. For more information about the Science Center, visit

About the QED Proof-of-Concept Program
The QED Program provides funding and business development support for academic researchers developing early-stage life science and healthcare technologies with high commercial potential. A common participation agreement that defines matching funds, indirect costs, and intellectual property management, has been signed by 21 universities and research institutions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Delaware State University, Drexel University, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, Lehigh University, Monell Chemical Senses Center, Moravian College, New Jersey Institute of Technology, The Pennsylvania State University, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Rowan University, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University, University of Delaware, University of Pennsylvania, University of the Sciences, Widener University, and The Wistar Institute.

Media Contact:

Kristen Fitch

Kristen Fitch

Senior Director, Marketing