b'We had interesting observations in the labSPARK Colorado. She says that, beyondin recent decades, says Terry Opgenorth and we had new and highly novel patents,providing traditional intellectual propertyPh.D., Vice President and Director of says Gottlieb. But we had reached themanagement services, the power of CUthe CSU Ventures (CSUV) LAUNCHPAD limits of what we could achieve with R01Innovations is in bringing innovatorsprogram. Based on knowledge funding. The best mechanism for movingtogether with business experts, entrepre- gained from launching more than 60 forward was going to be a Small Businessneurial mentors, investors, clinical advisors,startups since 2007, CSUV established Innovation Research grant. and industry partners to guide discoveriesLAUNCHPAD in 2018 to help innovators into commercially viable opportunities.objectively assess their technicalKevin Ness, Inscripta CEO, visits the lab.We knew we had to move forward withIMT is a great example of how, with thereadiness, and market need before founding a company, adds Michels.right help, two brilliant scientists withchoosing a commercialization strategy. Sure, it was fine to cure Type 1 diabetesa passion for patient care can bring anAccording to chief commercial officer in mice, but we wanted to take this reallyinnovative idea to fruition, says Benam.Core elements of LAUNCHPAD are theJason Gammack, Inscripta has harnessed great idea to patients. FUEL and Research to Market (R2M)CRISPR technology for forward CU Innovations SPARK Colorado programprograms, which provide proof-of- (R-L) Cigdem Benam, Ph.D., and SPARK Teamengineering of microbial genomes, at the National Institutes of HealthThey sought help from CUs tech transferoffers faculty opportunities for funding,concept funding through AIA grants, andgenetically nudging bacteria and yeast office, itself on the verge of a majorinto producing useful chemical entities restructuring from a systemlevel officeTheres this huge innovation boom happening,(Longmont) strongly informed CSUVsBoulders Assistant Vice Chancellor forthat would previously have required into two separate entities, CU Innovationsemphasis on customer discovery in itsResearch & Innovation and Managingmulti-step chemical synthesis.on the Anschutz Medical Campus andand that shows the power of federally fundedevolution from traditional tech transferDirector. While he started his career at Venture Partners at CU Boulder. Withto the accelerator model.a large biopharmaceutical company,We can create a library of, say, 200,000 the guidance of Steve VanNurden, nowresearch to create solutions to these problems. he was always attracted to early-stagebacterial clones, each with a unique associate vice chancellor for biotechnologyAccording to CEO Chris Tompkins, Ph.D.,innovation, which eventually broughtmutation. We screen for the desirable at Anschutz and president & CEO ofmentorship, education, and advising forput aspiring innovator-entrepreneursOpgenorth was instrumental in gettinghim to CU. changes and put those strains through Fitzsimons Innovation Community,promising product proposals. Fundedthrough the intense process of customerthe founders through the formationiterative rounds of manipulation until Gottlieb and Michels were able to secureby Colorados Advanced Industriesand stakeholder discovery.stage. He served as KromaTiDs firstUniversities have always been atbeneficial mutations accumulate to licensing, funding, and talent, andAccelerator Grant program, SPARK wasCEO and guided the company through itsthe bleeding edge of breakthroughdrive the microbe to do what we want, eventually start clinical-stage testing thatrecently selected as an NIH-fundedOur goal is to deepen participantsfirst Small Business Innovation Researchtechnologies, says Rees. PCR,says Gammack. Using our platform, recently enabled an Investigational NewREACH hub. Through the NIH program, CUunderstanding of what it really takes togrant and intellectual property filings,microarrays, CRISPR all came out ofcustomers will be able to generate Drug (IND) application with the U.S. FDA.Innovations is able to provide expandedcommercialize cutting-edge science,says Tompkins. When that started tothe university setting, but tech transferhighly diverse libraries without having to funding as well as access to key federalsays Opgenorth. Its not just about ayield results, Terry brought me in to leadoffices have suffered from the perceptionbe experts in genetic manipulation. They Filing that IND was a real validation ofpartners including the FDA, the Centergreat idea; its about proving that idea,the engineering development phase andof being slow or difficult to work with.just put in their target cells, push the our relationship with CU Innovations,for Medicare and MedicaidServices, theunderstanding what attributes the end- get us to a commercial launch in 2016. We formed Venture Partners to establishbutton, and then use their core says Gottlieb. They came in at the rightU.S. Patent and Trade Office, companiesuser really wants and needs, and what aa new culture at CU and ensure thatexpertise to screen the output for time and made the right investments.and industry organizations, and nationalcustomer would realistically pay for it. VENTURE PARTNERS AT CUcompanies that are ready to launchdesired phenotypes.We feel like this resource really setsinvestor communities.BOULDER: INSCRIPTA a new innovation are well resourced. the University of Colorado apart fromCSUV has gained a great deal of practicalIntellectual property is still a part of whatRees says that Inscripta has certain built-other institutions. CSU VENTURES: KROMATID knowledge from the experiences ofBack at the University of Coloradowe do, but we also teach researchers anin advantagesan aggressively attractive some of its earliest spin-outs. ForBoulder, the other independent entityentrepreneurial skill set. technology, entrepreneurially experienced Cigdem Benam, M.Sc., Ph.D., is theThe process of tech transfer andexample, Opgenorth says that earlythat formed after the 2016 techfaculty founder, and exceptional program manager at CU Innovations andentrepreneurship at Colorado Statepartnership with the chromosomaltransfer office reorganization wasOne of Venture Partners current successexecutive teamthat make it somewhat co-director of the associated program,University has also evolved dramaticallydiagnostics company KromaTiDVenture Partners. Brynmor Rees is CUstories is Inscripta, Inc. (Boulder).of an outlier among Venture Partners 22BIOSCIENCECOLORADO//2020-2021 BIOSCIENCECOLORADO//2020-202123'