Dozens of West Virginia University bioscience researchers and representatives of biomedical/pharmaceutical companies got together for what could have passed for a massive round of speed dating at the Erickson Alumni Center. Like its social counterpart, this scientific version of speed dating had the same kind of goal – long term relationships – but with uniquely different results.

It was billed as the “showcase for bioscience and biomedical research” and was sponsored by an initiative of the WVU Office of Economic Development called Linking Innovation Industry and Commercialization – or LIINC – which works to initiate relationships between researchers and industry professionals.

Technical posters illustrating complex bioscience research rimmed the gigantic Ruby Grand Hall. Inside that ring, 67 WVU bioscience researchers mingled with representatives of 26 biomedical or pharmaceutical companies where they munched on hors d’oeuvres and discussed potential marriage – the kind that creates new products, industries and jobs.

One veteran WVU scientist commented after the event that in her long research career she had never contemplated the possibility of spinning scientific results out into a private company for commercialization until speaking with the private industry representatives during the showcase.

One industry representative said she looks forward to the next LIINC event and wants to bring her colleagues.

WVU Interim Vice President for Research Fred L. King noted that the LIINC initiative supports the overall mission statement of the new strategic plan for the university that calls for delivery of high quality education, excellence in discovery and innovation, promotion of health and vitality and an exchange of knowledge and opportunity.

According to WVU Director of Economic Development Russ Lorince, commercializing scientific research into new products can have a domino-effect of benefits for the region from boosting the local economy with new jobs to improving lives by putting new products in the hands of men and women who need them.

“The fact that the list of companies represented here tonight is so long and vast is testimony to the great interest out there in the outstanding research being done at WVU,” he said. “If we can facilitate new relationships to move that research out of the lab and into the marketplace, we will see positive results.”

Some of the faculty that presented their research were:
• Tim Nurkiewicz of Physiology and Pharmacology on engineered nanomaterial exposure and microvascular toxicity
• Peter Gannett of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences on immobilizing enzymes for bioreactors and biosensors
• Yuxin Liu of the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources on “lab on a chip nanomanufacturing and biomimetic systems
• Jianbo Yao, of the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design on functional characterization of oocye-specific genes
• And more than 60 other cutting edge researchers.

Some of the private sector companies represented at the showcase included:
• Diagnostic Imaging Sales, LLC
• Merck
• Mylan Pharmaceuticals
• Napo Pharmaceuticals
• Norgenix Pharmaceuticals
• Progenesis Technologies
• Protea
• Pfizer
• Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse
• And more than 20 other top companies.

Lindsay Emery, business development manager for research and economic development, coordinated the LIINC event and reported that dozens of other company representatives had expressed an interest in the showcase but were unable to attend.

The bioscience and biomedical research showcase is just a part of the overall LIINC commercialization effort which is supported by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. An earlier showcase focused on WVU research with application for national defense. The next interactive LIINC event focusing on student research will highlight graduate students from the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design and the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences will be held later this spring.



CONTACT: Lindsay Emery, WVU Research Corp.

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