CLEMSON — Clemson University is working to quicken the commercialization of biomedical technologies through its participation in a regional technology transfer accelerator hub recently funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

In partnership with XLerate Health LLC, the health care technology accelerator has been awarded $500,000 for the first year of a potential three-year $3.5 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is based in Louisville, Kentucky and participants include the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville and West Virginia University; along with a consortium of 21 academic institutions, including Clemson.

This new grant mechanism creates an online accelerator hub for commercialization of biomedical technologies in the Southeast Institution Development Award (IDeA) region, which includes Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and West Virginia. The IDeA program was established in 1993 to broaden the geographic distribution of NIH funding.

This hub will be one of four NIGMS-funded hubs to help IDeA states accelerate early-stage biomedical technology from the laboratory to market. The goal is to enhance the capacity to move scientific results from academic institutions into commercialization and to promote a sustainable culture of biomedical entrepreneurship within IDeA states.

The grant will fund creation of an online “virtual hub,” through which XLerateHealth LLC, the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville and West Virginia University can connect and coordinate programming, resources and commercialization tools for utilization across the network of participating institutions. The hub will develop and share educational curriculum at participating institution sites across the region. There will also be a focused intellectual property and technology transfer support services component for regional and Historically Black Colleges and Universities to assist where those services are not currently available.

The Clemson University site leads on this grant are Tanju Karanfil, vice president for research, and Chris Gesswein, executive director of the Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF).

“We look forward to the opportunity to participate in this high impact effort to provide a continuum of education and mentoring resources to our faculty and graduate research community interested in translating their respective research into commercial products and service to the benefit of the public,” Karanfil said. “The virtual hub model provides an efficient means to provide a diverse set of commercialization resources to the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem at Clemson University and the South Carolina Upstate region.”

Said Gesswein: “We look forward to the opportunity to participate in the development of this highly innovative technology transfer and commercialization model. This program aligns well with CURF’s focus on providing enhanced support services to the increasing number of biomedical startups coming out of Clemson University. The Southeast regional accelerator hub will serve as a platform for biomedical researchers to gain access to a network of resources that will help them successfully navigate the complexities of bringing life science technologies and services to market.”

The institutions in the consortium who have pledged their support and who will be participating in managing the program’s various committees and initiatives include: University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, West Virginia University, Benedict College, Clemson University,Coastal Carolina University, Eastern Kentucky University, Jackson State University, LSU Health Services, Medical University of South Carolina, Northern Kentucky University, Puerto Rico Science, Technology & Research Trust and the University of Puerto Rico, Southern University, Tulane University, University of Arkansas, University of Mississippi, Western Kentucky University and Winthrop University.

The Clemson University Research Foundation manages the process of moving Clemson’s hundreds of innovative technologies from the laboratory into commercial markets – otherwise known as technology transfer. To view a collection of Clemson University technologies available for licensing, please visit curf.technologypublisher.com.