Archive for February, 2011

GRA VentureLab Company Apica snags $5,100,000 in new investment

Apica Cardiovascular, a medical device company, has garnered new investment totaling $5.1 million from Ireland-based Seroba Kernel Life Sciences and Israel-based TriVentures.

Georgia Tech and Emory University researchers and clinicians developed the company’s lead technology, a system to simply and standardize opening and closing the beating heart during cardiac surgery.  Apica CEO James Greene says that the technology has the potential to revolutionize the delivery of different types of medical devices to the heart, including aortic and mitral valves.

Early support from the Georgia Research Alliance VentureLab program and the Coulter Foundation Translational Research Program helped researchers complete a series of pre-clinical studies of the functionality and biocompatibility of the device.  Read more>

February 11, 2011 at 4:06 pm Leave a comment

More than just a change in name

Georgia Health Sciences University (formerly Medical College of Georgia) officially launched its new name earlier this month and presented how the new name embodies that mission of the 183-year-old institution.  At the launch ceremony, GHSU President Ricardo Azziz said:  “The name change pivotally positions the university to advance its goal of becoming a leading academic health center and top-50 research university while transforming the institution and the region into a health care and biomedical research destination.”  Read more>

February 11, 2011 at 3:27 pm Leave a comment

Lampreys may help unravel evolution of immune system

GRA Eminent Scholar Max Cooper at Emory University and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, Germany, believe that predatory, primitive lampreys may represent a way to envision the evolutionary past of the immune system.  Lampreys are “living fossils” that have not changed in millions of years and are thought to be an early offshoot on the evolutionary tree, before sharks or other types of fish.

The biologists have discovered that lampreys have structures within their gills that play the same role as the thymus, the organ where immune cells called T cells develop in mammals, birds and fish.  According to Cooper, “Our research has allowed us to see that lampreys have cells that resemble our [immune system’s] T cells and B cells, but until recently we did not know where they developed.”

Understanding the evolution of the immune system can help to determine ways to enhance its role in preventing and fighting infectious and non-infectious diseases.  Read more here>

February 4, 2011 at 1:58 pm Leave a comment

Helping industry save $$$

Sentrinsic, a GRA VentureLab company, is helping industry save energy and reduce costs.  The company developed and sells “special sensor technology for managing fluids running through heavy duty industrial pumps in large scale industrial systems.”  Based on technology originated at Georgia Tech, the company was propelled by early GRA VentureLab grants and an investment from the GRA Venture Fund, LLC.  The Atlanta Business Chronicle featured the company’s success in last week’s edition.  See below.

Sentrinsic sensors equal energy, cash savings

By Doug DeLoach
Contributing Writer

With the cost of doing business on the rise in many industries, energy conservation and savings have becomee more critical than ever — a fact that’s spurred one local company to carve out a market niche. 

Started in 2008 by three Georgia Tech graduates, Atlanta-based Sentrinsic Inc. developed a special sensor technology for managing fluids running through heavy-duty industrial pumps in large-scale industrial systems.

The energy savings resulting from implementing Sentrinsic’s sensors can be as much as 50 percent or more, depending on the application.  In an industrial setting, the level of savings performance can amount to hundreds of thousands — even millions of dollars over time.

Company founders CEO Mike Orndorff, Chief Operating Officer David Beck and Chief Technology Officer Dr. Haihong Zhu met at Tech.  The two MBA students were looking for a project with commercial potential:  Zhu’s  modeling program was deemed a likely candidate.

As the project progressed, Zhu’s program for calculating physical properties and effects of certain materials proved too costly to produce.  However, the group decided a new type of sensor developed for the project would be relatively easy and cost-effective to manufacture.

The sensor became the flagship product of a new company, which was entered into the 2005 Georgia Tech Business Plan Competition/  After taking first place in the Most Fundable category and earning a $15,000 service package, Sentrinsic was on its way.

In the beginning, Sentrinsic encountered entrenched and conservative product development companies, which were reluctant to adopt the Sentrinsic sensor.

“They would rather endure the headache of working with a product that might be inferior in terms of its performance rather than risk their reputation on a startup,” Orndorff said.  The solution was to partner up with IDEX Corp., one of the largest and best-known industry firms, which was open to exploring the potential benefits of the Sentrinsic technology.

The two companies worked out a developmental partnership.  Sentrinsic’s patented position feedback system is now embedded in IDEX’s energy-efficient, AirVantage products.

“We originally chose to work with Sentrinsic because we recognized their expertise in control systems and new product development,” said Mark McCourt, director of innovation at IDEX.  “We’ve continued to work with them because they’ve delivered on their promises.”

“Another factor in Sentrinsic’s success was early assistance and mentoring through VentureLab, a Georgia Rsearch Alliance program.  “Sentrinsic is somewhat of a poster child for us,” said Mike Cassidy, GRA CEO and president.




February 3, 2011 at 2:50 pm Leave a comment

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