Sun BioPharma Starts Fifth Patient Cohort in Pancreatic Cancer Drug Trials (EconoTimes)

UF startup Sun BioPharma, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing disruptive therapeutics for the treatment of patients with pancreatic diseases, announced that the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), an independent group of medical experts closely monitoring the company’s clinical study, has completed its safety review of the data from cycle 1 dosing of the fourth cohort of patients. As a result of this review by the DSMB, Sun Biopharma has begun recruiting patients for the fifth patient cohort in the dose escalation phase of the study. The Company currently expects to begin dosing patients in the fifth cohort as early as December 12, 2016, which is approximately 60 days after the fourth patient cohort commenced dosing.

The treatment is a first-in-class, proprietary, polyamine compound designed to exert therapeutic effects in a mechanism specific to the pancreas. Sun BioPharma originally licensed it from the University of Florida in 2011. The molecule has been shown to be highly effective in human pancreatic cancer models, demonstrating superior activity to existing FDA approved chemotherapy agents.

Department of Defense Opens Biomedical Countermeasure Facility in Alachua (WUFT)

The U.S. Department of Defense opened its new Advanced Development and Manufacturing facility in Alachua on Dec. 7. The DOD has partnered with the local, private company Nanotherapeutics, a UF startup, to make vaccines and medical products to support the troops from biological weapons and the country from surprise infection outbreaks.

The 183,000 square foot facility was specifically designed to provide the rapid development and manufacturing of vaccines and antitoxins. These countermeasures would be protecting troops and the nation as a whole against man-made or naturally occurring biological threats.

Nanotherapeutics Opens $138 Million Plant Near Progress Park (The Gainesville Sun)

Several speakers invoked lessons learned from the Pearl Harbor bombing 75 years ago to the day as they marked the opening of a manufacturing plant that will make vaccines and drug treatments to protect soldiers from chemical and biological threats.

About 130 people attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day for UF startup Nanotherapeutics’ new $138 million, 183,000-square-foot plant built near Progress Park in Alachua, including officials from the Department of Defense, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and local government.

The plant was built to fulfill a Department of Defense grant that could be worth up to $359 million.

Study Shows Online Therapy Programs Are Effective (Yahoo! Sports)

A study conducted by UF startup TAO Connect, Inc. at a major university found that therapist-assisted, online programming showed benefits over traditional face-to-face, hour-long psychotherapy sessions for students. The study, titled “Therapist-Assisted, Online (TAO) Intervention for Anxiety in College Students: TAO Outperformed Treatment as Usual,” was recently published in the Journal of the American Psychological Association.

The study showed that the use of online assisted therapy contributed to symptom reduction, a better sense of well-being, higher life functioning, and improved mental health. The treatment combined elements including online education, practice tools and a 15-minute video conference session with a therapist, enabling therapists to see three students per hour instead of the traditional one student per hour.

ViewRay’s MRIdian System Spares Healthy Tissue During Radiation (PR Newswire)

UF startup ViewRay, Inc., makers of the world’s first and only clinical MRI-guided radiation therapy system, announced the results of a study published in the November 2016 issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics (the official journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology), highlighting the value of the MRIdian system in delivering accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI). The study, conducted by researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., demonstrated the ability to reduce planning target volumes using MRIdian, thereby dramatically reducing the amount of healthy tissue exposed to radiation.

The study evaluated 30 women with breast cancer (stages 0-I) who had previously undergone breast-conserving surgery. The women received APBI using the MRIdian system. The goal of the study was to determine intrafractional motion of the breast surgical cavity and assess delivered dose versus planned dose.

Sharklet Takes Big Bite out of Bacterial Growth (WhatTheyThink?)

“Oh, the shark has pretty teeth, dear, and he shows them pearly white.” So goes the first line of the classic hit song, Mack the Knife—a ballad that has nothing to say about an equally impressive feature of the shark’s anatomy, its pristine skin. A new casting and release paper product called Neoterix ST sings the praise of shark skin and its built-in cleanliness in an altogether different way.

Neoterix ST is the result of a collaboration between UF startup Sharklet Technologies, which holds the patent on the antimicrobial surface texture that makes the product unique, and Sappi North America, which will manufacture and distribute it beginning next year. The companies say that in Neoterix ST, they have developed the first release paper that can make surfaces resistant to bacteria without toxic additives or chemicals. It’s meant for use in germ-fighting environments like hospitals and may eventually find applications in labels and packaging.

Paracosm CEO Forecasts Use of Augmented Reality in Construction (Upload)

The global construction market will hit $10.3 trillion in 2020, and it’s a field where mistakes are costly: rework typically makes up 12 percent of project costs, reaching tens of millions of dollars on big projects. But augmented reality can change that, which is why construction is one of the first industries starting to explore the use of AR in day-to-day work.

Amir Rubin, founder and CEO of UF startup Paracosm, sums up the state of AR in construction and what’s coming next. Today, workers can use Paracosm’s scanning hardware to walk through a site and capture accurate 3D data, but eventually, Paracosm wants to automate this scanning with ground robots and then drones. After scanning, Paracosm automatically aligns the coordinate system of the captured data to the project’s Building Information Modeling. Once aligned, they can run comparisons and use Paracosm’s visualizer to provide analytics and insights into how the project is going, whether it’s on spec, and where potential issues could be.

Study Supports Use of enterade® Following Radiation Treatments (PR Newswire)

UF startup Entrinsic Health Solutions, Inc., an innovative health sciences company, announced the publication of results from research at UF using enterade® Advanced Oncology (AO) formulation titled, “An amino acid-based oral rehydration solution (AA-ORS) enhanced intestinal epithelial proliferation in mice exposed to radiation.” The full article can be found in the 23 November, 2016, issue of Nature Scientific Reports.

Through backing from the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), a NASA-funded consortium, the study in mice investigated the mechanism responsible for better absorption of electrolytes and nutrients with enterade® AO following radiation exposure. It was hypothesized that increased villus height induced by enterade® is involved in increased electrolyte and nutrient absorption following irradiation.

Employee Health Benefits Platform Peerfit Scores $400K (PE Hub)

Florida Funders has completed a $400,000 investment in UF startup Peerfit, a Tampa-based health technology company that provides a digital platform for employers to offer employees health and fitness benefits. Through Peerfit, companies offer credits to their employees to use to enroll in a variety of fitness classes offered by a network of fitness studios across the country.

This model improves employee wellness, reduces employees’ fitness expenses, increases fitness studios’ traffic and revenue, and provides employers and insurance companies with improved efficiency and utilization of wellness solutions.