It Takes a Venture Capitalist: Licensing Option Advances Implantable Biomedical Tech to the Market

Achievement date: 
2014
Outcome/accomplishment: 

A new option-to-license agreement with In Cube Labs, a life sciences research and venture capital firm dedicated to developing and commercializing medical breakthroughs, is bringing to fruition the efforts of researchers with the NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials (RMB), headquartered at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. The Center is focused on developing revolutionary, next-generation metallic materials for engineered systemsimplanted in the human body.

Impact/benefits: 

ERC-RMB’s research focuses on developing biodegradable metallic biomaterials and smart coatings with built-in capabilities to adapt to biological changes. Using these materials in engineered systems that interface with the human bodyholds great promise for transformational orthopedic, cardiovascular, and other specialized therapies that prolong and improve the quality of life. In Cube has an extensive track record of successfully commercializing innovative technologies plus a focus on implantable medical devices. The Center’s agreement with In Cube is a major step forward in moving its path-breaking research from the lab to mainstream medicine.

Explanation/Background: 

The Center’s researchers have made strong progress in developing metallic materials that can be broken down by the body and do not require mechanical removal, and had reached the stage of testing their use in clinically relevant prototype devices. Enter InCube, with its dual research-commercialization portfolio, which learned of the Center’s work through a prior strategic relationship with ERC-RMB partner, the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt).

InCube was excited about the potential ofthe biomaterials that the ERC-RMB is pioneering to address unmet clinical needs and lead to better patient care worldwide. Leaders in this promising collaboration are Dr. Jag Sankar, ERC-RMB Director and Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at North Carolina A&T; Dr. Harvey Borovetz, Distinguished Professor and Former Chair, Department of Bioengineering at Pitt; and Mir Imran, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, InCube Labs. Part of the initial effort is aimed at evaluating the safety and time-to-complete degradation of promising ERCalloys, with the objective of developing data and test methods to be used in studies that will underpin regulatory filings.The starting focus of the option-to-license agreement is on orthopedic applications.