One of the biggest challenges for research teams in getting their innovations out to market is the struggle posed when research dollars are running out but their inventions are not yet ready for commercialization or seed stage investment. For some University of Washington researchers, the CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund can be the bridge between their research grants and the path to commercialization.
Each year, the CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund awards up to $1 million to fund and support inventions with high potential. Funding is provided by UW CoMotion through support and partnerships with individual donors, the Washington Research Foundation (WRF), the Population Health Initiative (which jointly funds one award recipient with CoMotion) and, coming soon, BECU which is launching a Fintech Track within the CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund in fall 2019.
The Innovation Gap Fund is open to any UW innovator who has disclosed their technology to CoMotion. Applications come from all sectors, including engineering, IT, life sciences, and social innovation. Anyone interested in applying is encouraged to contact our Innovation Development team to see if their project’s stage and goals make them a good candidate for the fund.
Once a team submits a declaration of intent for the CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund Awards Competition, they are paired with a CoMotion mentor, who assists with preparing business-related milestones and deliverables. They also attend a pitch practice session where they receive feedback and advice from other mentors from the innovation and investment community. Research teams going through the competition process are also encouraged to access other CoMotion resources like Round Robin Feedback Sessions, ZAP! Workshop for customer discovery, and Fundamentals for Startups events at CoMotion Labs.
The final Innovation Gap Fund Awards review committee consists of CoMotion and WRF staff, industry executives, and local investors. Once winners are selected, the award grants up to $40,000 for each project, with an additional $10,000 reserved for business development milestones. Awardees are encouraged to use funds for product development and marketing purposes such as creating prototypes, completing code, and researching customer demand.
Among this spring’s 10 winners are Jason Hauptman, UW assistant professor of Neurological Surgery, and Pierre Mourad, UW professor of Neurological Surgery and UW Bothell professor of Engineering and Mathematics, who together won the Population Health Innovation Award for their project, “Non-invasive ultrasonic clearing of implanted catheters.” The project simultaneously supports the UW’s vision for Population Health while also fulfilling the Innovation Gap Fund’s goal of enabling research that will achieve sustainable commercial or social impact.
We are pleased to announce the Spring 2019 CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund Winners:
Team lead: Albert Folch
Platform which maximizes information that can be obtained from tumor samples. Because it retains the local tumor environment, our approach enables evaluation immunotherapy, the most exciting recent development in cancer treatment. The approach is also rapid enough to inform clinical decision making.
Team lead: Alex Takakuwa
Cloud content depot which harbors audio content and syncs it with existing sports broadcasts,
msync provides accurate listening metrics and targeted video ads.
Team lead: Daniel Kroupa
Low-cost coating for the next generation of solar cells that can be incorporated at multiple stages of device manufacturing that lowers the cost per power output of a solar module.
Team lead: Eric Seibel
Disposable milli-fluidic device with automated rapid core needle biopsy sample preparation and diagnostic imaging enabling remote physician access.
Team lead: Jason Hauptman
Non-invasive ultrasonic clearing of implanted catheters
Non-invasive clearing of clogged shunts or prevention of clogged shunts, using ultrasound-induced fluid flow.
(a) cost-effective (i.e., cheaper than surgery)
(b) Safe and well-tolerated
(c) Easy to use
Team lead: Libin Xu
1. Accurate and rapid prediction of a unique quantifiable property of drug metabolites.
2. High reproducibility and sensitivity without the need for large amount of materials.
3. This property can be used for confident identification of unknown metabolites.
Team lead: Mehmet Sarikaya
Remineralizing Whitening Lozenge:
Team lead: Praveen Kaliappan Sekar
Thin film capacitance sensor for human platelets functional assay
1. By transforming the entire biophysical dynamics of platelets during blood clotting to an electrical domain (early to final stage on a time scale), we enable a comprehensive evaluation of human platelets based on adhesion, aggregation and contractile force generation.
2. A diagnostic tool capable of specifically pin-pointing the defect in platelets; from platelet counts, adhesion or attachment dynamics, force generation dynamics to lack or defects in clotting proteins in the blood.
3. Easy to use and interpret the results– doesn’t require extensive training. Easy to mass produce, customizable form factor with a potential for point-of-care.
Team lead: Syed Faisal
Synchronized Suction-Injection Catheter
A new improved catheter system consisting of suction and injection lumens provide a clear bolus of saline that clears blood and enables imaging.
Team lead: Thomas Lendvay
Fecal Microbiome Transplant Point of Care Processor (FMTPOCP)
1) We will provide clinicians with a means to process their patients’ own fecal samples to bank for episodes when they need to recharge their own intestinal bacteria – optimal personalized medicine and ultimate probiotic.
2) Once our POC processing solution is adopted, we will expand our solution to allow individuals and clinicians a means to submit samples for data about their gut. Through an app-based dashboard, patients/consumers can get up to date statistics on the gut flora composition and see how dietary, exercise, travel, stress, medical interventions, age, alters flora.