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

PHILADELPHIA -- (January 25, 2021) – The University City Science Center has announced three awardees in its latest round of its QED Proof-of-Concept Program which works with regional academic and research institutions to prepare their most promising life science and healthcare technologies for commercialization.

The three researchers, representing The Pennsylvania State University, Rowan University, and Temple University, will be implementing their proof-of-concept plans and award funding to respectively: conduct toxicology studies of a novel wound healing therapeutic; develop an injectable and transparent adhesive for cornea repair; and develop dental biomaterials with anti-infective and hard tissue regeneration properties.

“A core mission of the Science Center is to transition promising new technologies to market faster,” says Aron Starosta, Vice President of Commercialization and New Ventures at the Science Center. “These three projects represent the considerable commercial potential of technologies being developed at institutions across our region. We’re eager to work alongside the awardees to develop a roadmap to transition these projects from bench to bedside.”

Each researcher will receive $200,000, half of which will be contributed by the Science Center and half by the researchers’ institutions. Each project will also receive guidance from the Science Center’s experienced team of business advisors to position their technologies for exit out of their host institutions and into a startup or licensing agreement.

“A core mission of the Science Center is to transition promising new technologies to market faster. These three projects represent the considerable commercial potential of technologies being developed at institutions across our region. We’re eager to work alongside the awardees to develop a roadmap to transition these projects from bench to bedside.”

Aron Starosta, Vice President of Commercialization and New Ventures

Patricia McLaughlin, MS, DEd, Penn State College of Medicine
Targeting the Cause of Delayed Diabetic Wound Healing – Naltrexone, A Novel Therapy
McLaughlin’s technology is a topical formulation of naltrexone for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers that targets the conditions of delayed wound healing, which are not effectively addressed by current treatments. McLaughlin’s technology has been a QED finalist in two prior rounds, and now, by applying the advice given by the program’s business advisors and specialists, the patented technology will be able to complete toxicology studies moving it into clinical use.

Iman Noshadi, Ph.D., Rowan University
Development of Highly Adhesive Hydrogel for Cornea Tissue Regeneration
Noshadi is developing an ocular sealant that is strong, resorbable, non-toxic, and can safely be applied to wet ocular surfaces, making it ideal for eye injuries and cornea tissue repair. This transparent hydrogel provides a safer alternative to sutures, with reduced risk of infections. From advice given as a previous applicant of the QED program, Noshadi recruited an ophthalmologist for his advisory team.

Santiago Orrego, Ph.D., Temple University
Development of Multifunctional Biomaterials with Combined Anti-Infective Hard Tissue Regeneration Properties
Orrego‘s light-curable hydrogel exhibits combined antibacterial and tissue regeneration effects for periodontal disease treatment. The composite is being developed to give doctors the ability to reduce the pocket depth, prevent inflammation and preserve teeth.

Each of these technologies was identified as having high potential for improving human health and attracting industry and investor interest. The awardees for this round of QED were selected from a pool of applicants from institutions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Since its inception in 2009, the QED program has provided business development services for over 130 academic researchers, with over $8M invested in 41 projects. Twelve startups or licensing deals have resulted.

In addition to the three funded projects, nine other researchers received critical support in developing their proof-of-concept plans: Scott Bartlett of the University of Pennsylvania, Anuraag Boddupalli of the University of Delaware, Nidhal Bouaynaya of Rowan University, Dongfang Liu of Rutgers University, Jeffrey Neighbors of the Penn State College of Medicine, Alexander Ploss of Princeton University, Elias Rizk of the Penn State College of Medicine, Rouzbeh Tehrani of Temple University, and Ping Wang of the University of Pennsylvania.

The 12 QED finalists received customized coaching from industry experts, exposure to the investment community, access to regulatory and intellectual property specialists, and support to develop a commercialization funding roadmap. This support armed the researchers with the knowledge and tools needed to pursue follow-on funding that will help their early-stage projects advance along the commercialization pathway.

Through its suite of commercialization programming, of which QED is a part, the Science Center 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 research, startup, and investment capabilities are leveraged 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.

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 22 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, Princeton University, 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.

The QED Program is supported by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Health, and has also received support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, and Wexford Science and Technology.

Media Contact:

Kristen Fitch

Kristen Fitch

Senior Director, Marketing