Archive for February, 2013

GRA featured in Research!America newsletter

The Georgia Research Alliance was featured in February 2013 edition of Research Advocate, the monthly newsletter of Research!America.  In the article, GRA president Mike Cassidy describes GRA’s unique role as an economic development organization, building university R&D capacitiy and “shaping and seeding companies around the most promising discoveries.”  The article also notes that the ROI on the state’s $525 million investment in GRA’s programs over the last 22 years has been $2.6 billion.

Research!America is the nation’s largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. The organization works with  Congress and the administration to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Food and Drug Administration and National Science Foundation. Research!America also advocates for federal funding for global health research and a legislative and regulatory climate that stimulates growth in industry research and development. Read profile here>

February 26, 2013 at 5:50 pm Leave a comment

Rabies latest target for new vaccine delivery system

GRA Distinguished Investigator Biao He and colleagues at the University of Georgia have used parainfluenza virus 5 (PIV5), which causes respiratory infection in dogs, as a delivery mechanism to expose humans and animals to the rabies virus, allowing them to create antibodies that protect against future infections. The researchers hope that the new approach will reduce costs and increase accessibility to a vaccine for the disease.  Initial results from canine tests have been promising.  He hopes to have a vaccine for animals available in three to five years.

He also sees the promise of using the platform technology for other vaccines — including ones for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.  “This could be man’s new best friend in delivering vaccines,” He said.  “We are looking for different kinds of pathogens to develop into vaccine form, and so far we have been very fortunate that many of them work really well.”    Read more here>

February 26, 2013 at 5:19 pm Leave a comment

GRA VentureLab supports development of new bio-adhesion system

The remora attaches itself to large marine animals, including sharks, sea turtles and whales, for transportation, protection and food.  While enjoying a free ride, the fish eats the animal’s scraps and hides from predators — a process that’s good for the remora and causes no harm to the larger animal.

The head-mounted adhesive system the remora uses to attach and detach itself has been a research focus of Georgia Tech Research Institute scientists Jason Nadler and Allison Mercer.  Their ultimate goal is to optimize a bio-inspired adhesive that has capabilities and performance advantages over adhesives or fasteners available today.

GRA VentureLab director Keith McGreggor at Georgia Tech has seen significant commercial potential in the research, and, using GRA VentureLab grants and GTRI funding, the researchers are working to create an engineered reversible adhesive inspired by the remora that could be used to make pain and residue-free bandages, attach sensors to aquatic objects for the military use or help robots climb.  Read more here>

February 26, 2013 at 4:40 pm Leave a comment

Duke University to honor Max Cooper

GRA Eminent Scholar Max Cooper will be awarded an honorary degree from Duke University at its May 12 Commencement.  Dr. Cooper was recruited to Emory University in 2008, where he is the GRA Eminent Scholar in Immunology.  A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, he was the first to identify the two arms of the immune system — T cells and B cells — a cornerstone for understanding and marshalling its power.  Read more here>

February 5, 2013 at 12:16 pm Leave a comment

Clearside captures $7.9 million in new investment

Mountain Capital Group and its affiliates and Santen, a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan-based Santen Pharmaceuticals, are funding a $7.9 million investment Clearside Biomedical.  A graduate of GRA VentureLab, Clearside offers a proprietary microinjection system developed at Georgia Tech and is testing a new drug developed at Emory University to treat posterior ocular diseases.

“I cannot imagine a better alliance as we continue to understand the role the suprachoroidal space will play in dosing medicine directly to the site of retinal disease in patients experiencing retinal blindness,” said Dan While, Clearside’s chief executive.

In January 2012, the company closed a $4 million Series A round with investments from the GRA Venture Fund, Hatteras Venture Partners and Kenan Flagler Business School Private Equity Fund.  Read more here>

February 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm Leave a comment