Archive for July, 2011

GRA VentureLab company awarded $3 million from NIH to advance ischemia research

NeurOp, a biopharmaceutical GRA VentureLab company focused on treatments for central nervous systems disorders, has garnered $3 million from the NIH to further its ischemia research program.  Specifically, NeurOp will focus the funding on bringing its lead molecule forward to an Investigational New Drug filing for the treatment of subarachnoid hemorrhage and those patients at risk for stroke.

According to Barney Koszalka, Ph.D., NeurOp president and CEO, “This grant, coupled with support from the Georgia Research Alliance, will accelerate our work to identify within the year a drug candidate for ischemia to advance into pre-IND studies.”

Based on technology developed in the laboratories of  Ray Dingledine, Ph.D., at Emory University, NeurOp is developing treatments for depression, neuropathic pain, schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease, in addition to ischemia.  Read more here>

July 28, 2011 at 11:43 am Leave a comment

GRA Eminent Scholar leads HIV/AIDS research consortium

The National Institutes of Health has awarded a consortium of leading vaccine researchers at Emory University and partner institutions
a $26 million grant aimed at developing an effective HIV/AIDS vaccine.  The Emory-led consortium received the highest score among applicants for this competitive award, the largest ever for the Emory School of Medicine Department of Pathology.

The five-year program, led by GRA Eminent Scholar Eric Hunter, Ph.D., will focus on simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in nonhuman primates to better understand disease transmission and immune response.  SIV is similar to HIV in humans. GRA Eminent Scholars Max Cooper and Guido Silvestri are also part of the consortium.  Read more here> and here>

July 18, 2011 at 3:05 pm Leave a comment

Bringing precision to vision testing

Nearly everyone who wears glasses or contact lenses has been through the frustration of that part of an eye examine where the optometrist asks — Do you prefer lens 1 or lens 2? — and the difference is hard to discern.

GRA VentureLab company Digital Vision is developing patient friendly instrumentation for optimizing vision measurements.  The goal is to create a system that will provide highly accurate vision assessment leading to custom manufacturing of glasses and contacts that provide better eyesight and greater wearing comfort.

The Vision Optimizer allows the patient to look at images in a two-foot telescope-grade mirror and use hand controls to produce maximum quality and clarity.  The plan is to offer a variety of familiar settings with various lighting to make the exam a fun, engaging, lifelike experience.

Digital Vision expects to have a prototype system up and running in the next six months.   Read more here>

July 18, 2011 at 2:06 pm Leave a comment

GRA Role in Georgia’s Economic Development Strategy Expands

The Georgia Research Alliance, in concert with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, has taken on an expanded role in Georgia’s economic development strategy.

As part of Governor Nathan Deal’s vision for a business climate that encompasses and aligns the state’s most powerful assets for high-growth companies, Georgia’s Centers of Innovation and the Georgia Cancer Coalition will be integrated into GRA, enlarging its capacity for leveraging the state’s university resources to build a thriving, technology-driven economy.

“Integrating the Centers of Innovation and the Georgia Cancer Coalition with the Georgia Research Alliance creates a powerful set of programs to build on the innovation capacity of the state’s research universities and medical schools to grow companies and strategic industries, create jobs and build a vibrant economy,” said GRA President Mike Cassidy.  “At the same time, we can strengthen industry-university collaborations across Georgia, enhance the impact of GRA’s successful programs in communities statewide, and make Georgia a place for ready access to cutting-edge research results.”

Launched in 2003, Georgia’s Centers of Innovation help accelerate the growth of the state’s six strategic industries, which include aerospace, agribusiness, energy, life sciences, logistics and advanced manufacturing.  The centers are located across the state and connect high growth-potential companies with university research and industry expertise as well as other Georgia resources, resulting in long-term job growth and increased statewide investment. A common goal of the centers is to help commercialize new products, services and business models in these industries.

The Georgia Cancer Coalition is a not-for-profit organization that teams with other government agencies, academic institutions, civic groups, corporations and health care organizations in a concerted effort to strengthen cancer prevention, research and treatment in Georgia, with the ultimate goals of making Georgia one of the nation’s premier states for cancer care and reducing the number of cancer-related deaths in Georgia.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the opportunity to better connect these outstanding, strategic programs with the business community. Both the Georgia Research Alliance and the Georgia Cancer Coalition have enormous resources for high-tech companies, who create high-paying jobs for skilled workers. Together we can streamline companies’ access to the deep resources of these institutions and accelerate their growth,” said Chris Cummiskey, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “This move will further enhance the successful public-private partnership GRA has embodied through the years.”

Founded in 1990 as a vision of Georgia’s business leadership, GRA is an independent, non-profit corporation that capitalizes on the innovation capacity of the state’s research universities to grow the economy and improve the health and well-being of Georgians.

July 14, 2011 at 2:57 pm Leave a comment

Will it work? Quick test can predict immune response to flu shots

Emory Vaccine Center researchers have developed a way to predict whether a person will produce high levels of antibodies against the flu just a few days after the vaccination.  According to lead researcher Bali Pulendran, PhD, the ability to predict who will develop sufficient levels of protective antibodies and identify non-responders quickly would be of great value from a public health perspective.

The Emory Vaccine Center is a Georgia Research Alliance Center of Research Excellence and is led by GRA Eminent Scholar Rafi Ahmed.   Read more>

July 11, 2011 at 10:13 am Leave a comment

2011 R&D 100 Award goes to GHSU/Savannah River Lab project

A university-industry-federal laboratory research and development team has been tapped by R&D Magazine for a prestigious 2011 R&D 100 Award, which recognizes technologically significant products of the past year.  The team of scientists from Georgia Health Sciences University, the DOE Savannah River National Laboratory and Mo-Sci Corporation were honored for the development of Porous Walled Hollow Glass Microspheres.

The microspheres are about 50 microns in diameter — about half the width of a human hair.  They are unique because of a network of pores in the their walls, which allow the tiny microspheres to be filled with, hold and release gases and other materials, providing a safe method for handling, storing or transporting a variety of materials.

Applications for the microspheres abound, including systems for delivering drugs or MRI contrast agents and storage and handling of hydrogen gas in hydrogen-based vehicles.

Other technologies that have won this award over the years include the ATM, the halogen lamp, the fax machine, HDTV, the LCD and the Nicoderm anti-smoking patch.

GRA Eminent Bill Dynan led the GSHU team, which also included GRA Eminent Scholar Jin-Xiong She.  Read more here>

July 7, 2011 at 5:20 pm Leave a comment