PHILADELPHIA (January 30, 2017) -- The University of Pittsburgh is the newest academic participant in the University City Science Center’s Phase 1 Ventures program. To launch their partnership, the Science Center and the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute are collaborating to commercialize a Pitt-developed technology for accurately aligning lower-limb prostheses.
Phase 1 Ventures (P1V) is a startup accelerator for launching companies around “long horizon” technologies that typically require significant development and/or regulatory approvals, such as healthcare, materials, or energy. Entrepreneurs are either matched to a technology at one of P1V’s participating universities or enrolled as part of a previously formed company that has not yet raised financing. Since it was launched in 2015, P1V has committed a total of over $1.3 million to participants, typically as the first investment. These participants have raised a total of over $1.6 million in non-dilutive funding and $250,000 in follow-on investment to date.
“I am delighted by the strong cross-Commonwealth cooperation in our agreement with the University City Science Center,” said Marc Malandro, Founding Director of the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute and Chairman of Life Sciences PA (formerly Pennsylvania Bio), the state’s trade association for the life sciences industry. “Pennsylvania has two of the top five 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 benefitting all of society with impactful innovations that improve and prolong lives.”
The first Pitt project being supported by P1V is a technology that facilitates extremely accurate prostheses fittings, thereby reducing physical discomfort and wear and tear, as well as the need for recurring re-fitting visits. The technology was developed by Goeran Fiedler, assistant professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science, and former Pitt faculty member Jonathan Akins, now at Widener University. P1V has helped to form a startup company and work with the Pitt team to develop a commercialization plan, and has provided assistance in applying for a federal STTR grant to further develop the technology. If the company is successful in obtaining grants, the Science Center could choose to make its own investment, or seek other investors or industry funding for the company.
“Phase 1 Ventures is making the geographic gap between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh just a little bit less of a divide for commercialization in Pennsylvania,” says Science Center President & CEO Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA. “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.”
Launched in 2015, P1V’s portfolio currently includes 19 newly-formed companies representing intellectual property from twelve institutions, including The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Drexel University; Lehigh University; Penn State University; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; Temple University; Thomas Jefferson University; University of Delaware; University of Iowa; University of Pennsylvania; University of Pittsburgh; and University of the Sciences.
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 the commercialization of 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 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, 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 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, go to www.sciencecenter.org