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Posted 01.26.06
 
 
   

Investment Firm to License MU-developed Breast Cancer Detection Technology

Venture Investment Company Inks First Deal with MU

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- University research is often characterized as promising and cutting-edge; however, taking ideas and inventions into the real world can be a tough proposition. MU officials and a venture investment company are signing a deal to help bridge the gap for a trio of University of Missouri-Columbia researchers who came up with a new non-invasive breast cancer detection system.

Signing of memo of understanding between Allied Minds and MU."Many of our technologies are underdeveloped from a commercial point of view," said Terry Nixon, associate director of entrepreneurial and business development in the University of Missouri Office of Technology and Special Projects. "Faculty members generally have to round up money on their own. We are trying to facilitate that process and help them work through the hurdles."

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Allied Minds, a direct investment company specializing in early stage investments based on university research, is making its first major investment at MU to establish a faculty start-up company -- LifeScreen, Inc. -- around new innovative technology. According to Ed Sauter, professor of surgical oncology, 99 percent of breast cancers form in the cells lining the milk ducts. These cells are shed from the duct lining into fluid present in the milk ducts. The fluid can be retrieved with the assistance of a modified breast pump, created by Sauter. He and his co-collaborators discovered two related carbohydrates in the fluid that are almost always present in women with breast cancer and absent in women without breast cancer.

The signing of a memo of understanding allows the University to license the technology to Allied Minds. In exchange, MU will gain equity in the newly formed company and royalties on sales when the product becomes commercially available. As the first step, Allied Minds will sponsor research at Mizzou to validate the original findings by Sauter and co-collaborators Tom Quinn, professor of biochemistry and Sue Deutscher, associate professor of biochemistry at MU.

"This allows MU to commercialize an invention of our faculty and form a start-up company right here so the generation of wealth and job creation stays in the state of Missouri to help boost the economy," said Tom Sharpe, executive director of the Office of Technology and Special Projects.

"We are very excited to make this investment in a most promising and important technology," said Mark Pritchard, founder of Allied Minds. "We hope this is the first of many collaborations with Mizzou."

"The signing of this agreement is a milestone for MU," said James Coleman, vice provost for research. "It clearly demonstrates the progress MU has made in facilitating the movement of our faculty's excellent basic research to products that will improve and possibly save people's lives."

According to Coleman, Allied Minds has expressed interest in other MU technology. The group praised the technology transfer office by calling it the 'gold standard' in facilitating the screening of university technologies.

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MU News Bureau: http://munews.missouri.edu/NewsBureauSingleNews.cfm?newsid=8204