We partner with the UW community on their innovation journey, providing tools, connections, and acumen to transform ideas into economic and societal impact.

Licensing to Industry

Seaglider - Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

The Seaglider autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) was developed by a large team in the UW School of Oceanography and the UW Applied Physics Laboratory. The Seaglider AUV makes oceanographic measurements traditionally collected by research vessels or moored instruments, but at a fraction of the cost. They fly through the water with extremely modest energy requirements using changes in buoyancy for thrust, coupled with a stable, low-drag, hydrodynamic shape. Seaglider AUVs can also be commanded to alter their sampling strategies throughout a mission from a base station on land.

The technology was initially licensed to iRobot. When iRobot decided to exit the maritime business, CoMotion recaptured the rights, and later licensed them to Kongsberg Underwater Technology, Inc. (KUTI), then a subsidiary of Kongsberg Maritime. KUTI’s sister company, Hydroid, now a subsidiary of Huntington Ingalls, is the current holder of the license. UW CoMotion supported this team, helping them move from idea to impact by working collaboratively with the team to find and vet interested companies, executing the licenses, and adapting over time to the changing needs of UW and our licensee. The Seaglider AUV is used by the Navy, researchers, and the oil and gas industry.

Intrinsyx Bio

Plant microbiologist Sharon Doty, UW Professor of Environmental & Forest Sciences, focuses on developing improved phytoremediation of organic pollutants. Phytoremediation is the process where plants that thrive in metallic soil or water are planted to eliminate environmental pollutants. She identified the microbes that naturally colonize poplars, which can breakdown toxic water into carbon dioxide and chloride and other non-harmful byproducts.

UW CoMotion licensed these strains of microbes to Intrinsyx Environmental, a California-based company that designs integrated biological systems that remediate pollutants in soil, groundwater, and surface water, and improve the speed and efficacy of phytoremediation using their proprietary biology. Read more about a recent project in Mountain View, CA in this New York Times article, and other projects for the government and Fortune 100 clients in the energy and technology sectors on their website.

Perkin Elmer

Mike Gelb is the Professor and Boris and Barbara L. Weinstein Endowed Chair in Chemistry Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry, specializing in enzymes–the protein catalysts in cells that break down food, eliminate toxins and build up new molecules to keep our bodies in good working order. Gelb is the primary investigator of a newborn screening technology that tests for certain lysosomal storage diseases, caused by key enzyme deficiencies, resulting in various severe symptoms in young children which are difficult to diagnose.

There are, however, treatments for some disorders that can prevent the damage if caught early enough. Gelb’s newborn screening technology can provide such early detection and is now recommended for every newborn and is conducted in most US states as well as some foreign countries. It is part of a battery of tests done using blood spots from neonatal heel pricks. Professor Gelb was selected to give the prestigious UW Faculty Lecture in 2018 for his work on newborn screening for genetic diseases.

The technology was licensed to Perkin Elmer, the leader in the field, to develop and widely deploy the test with safeguards to ensure broad affordable access.