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University start-ups highlighted in national innovation report

April 26, 2017

Two University of Rochester start-up companies are among those singled out in a new report from the Science Coalition.  The report, “American-Made Innovation Sparking Economic Growth,” identifies 102 companies that trace their roots to federally-funded university research.

“The innovation that drives economic growth in the U.S. is based, in large part, on the scientific discoveries made in research universities and funded by the federal government,” said Rob Clark, University provost and senior vice president for research. “As a nation, it is imperative that we continue to support the fundamental science that leads to new technologies and improves lives.”

Clerio Vision was founded in 2014 by Wayne Knox and Jon Ellis with the Institute of Optics, and Krystel Huxlin with the Flaum Eye Institute in the Medical Center. The company is developing a new technology that improves eyesight by “writing” a prescription on the cornea using small pulses from a laser that change the focusing power of the eye.  Because the technique doesn’t change the shape of the cornea like LASIK procedures, it can be repeated as needed over a person’s lifetime to correct vision.  The research to develop the technology was funded in part with a $200,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Adarza Biosystems was founded in 2008 by University of Rochester researchers Ben Miller and Christopher Striemer. The company, which has operations in Rochester and St. Louis, is developing a microchip device that can be used to detect proteins in biological samples such as blood.  The technology is being developed for both the lab and the clinic and could be used to improve cancer diagnostics and allergy testing, drug and vaccine development, and research on infectious diseases. The technology was developed with the support of a $1 million grant from the NIH.

The release of the report comes as Congress begins the process of considering the FY2018 federal budget, included funding levels for agencies that support science. President Donald Trump has recommended severe reductions in funding for the NIH, the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, and the Department of Energy.

“Clerio Vision, Adarza Biosystems and the other companies listed in the Science Coalition Report exist because academic researchers had access to competitively awarded grants from many of the very agencies that could see their budgets cut,” said Clark.

Over the last 10 years, 42 companies have been formed based on University of Rochester-developed technologies.

The Science Coalition is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization of the nation’s leading public and private research universities, including the University of Rochester. It is dedicated to sustaining strong federal funding of basic scientific research as a means to stimulate the economy, spur innovation and drive America’s global competitiveness. The Science Coalition Report and an online database, which provide profiles for each company and is sortable by state, university, funding agency, and type of innovation, is available at www.sciencecoalition.org/successstories.

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Category: University News