AGTC Selected as Top Company in 2017 Gator100 (Yahoo! Finance)

UF startup Applied Genetic Technologies Corporation (AGTC), a biotechnology company conducting human clinical trials of adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapies for the treatment of rare diseases, has been selected as the top company in the 2017 Gator100 awards.

The Gator100, named after the University of Florida’s mascot, recognizes and celebrates the 100 fastest-growing businesses in the world that are either owned or led by University of Florida graduates. The annual award is sponsored by the University’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center and Warrington College of Business. The winning companies were announced Friday at the Gator100 Awards Gala at the University of Florida.

AxoGen CEO Discusses Signature Products (MedicalResearch)

UF startup AxoGen, founded in 2002, has become a global leader in innovative surgical solutions for peripheral nerve injuries. The company is passionate about restoring nerve function and quality of life to patients with peripheral nerve injuries by providing innovative, clinically proven, and economically effective repair solutions for surgeons and health care providers. In this interview with, AxoGen CEO Karen Zaderej talks about the ways donated tissue provides surgeons with improved ways to repair and reconnect damaged or severed nerves with its portfolio of products.

Altavian Expands Its Modular Payload Line (sUAS News)

UF startup Altavian is partnering with MicaSense to integrate its RedEdge multispectral camera as the latest customizable payload available in both Altavian’s Nova and Galaxy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Integrating RedEdge with Altavian’s enterprise grade drones, like the Nova, brings multispectral sensor capabilities to a single 90-minute flight that can cover up to 600 acres, following standard Part 107 regulations, with an 8cm ground sample distance (GSD), all while capturing both RGB and 5 unique narrow bands in the same flight.

This advanced payload brings new versatility and efficiency to Altavian’s drones. RedEdge integrates seamlessly with Altavian’s highly modular UAVs.

Alex Lee Inc. Offers Peerfit to Its Employees (Progressive Grocer)

UF startup Peerfit is helping one of the Carolinas’ largest private employers develop a culture of fitness for its employees. Alex Lee Inc., parent company of supermarket chain Lowes Foods and wholesaler Merchants Distributors LLC, has introduced Peerfit’s worksite wellness program, which aims to improve employees’ health and fitness. The program is available to Alex Lee, Lowes and Merchants Distributors associates.

The company’s employees can now personalize their fitness goals by choosing from a range of exercise classes at local studios that best fit their needs and schedules. The employer-sponsored classes are provided via digital platform Peerfit.

Morphogenesis Issued US Patent for Cancer Vaccines (Yahoo! Finance)

UF startup Morphogenesis, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the development of cell and gene therapies for the treatment of cancer, announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued US Patent 9,555,988 covering methods for treating cancer using gene therapy. This proprietary technology is applicable to multiple cancer types and uses a single gene in the form of a small DNA known as a plasmid. Plasmid DNA is considered extremely safe because no live bacteria or viruses are needed for delivery.

The DNA patent was awarded under the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot program, also known as Patents 4 Patients. This program supports fast-track review for cancer immunotherapy-related patent applications without the extra petition fees. From filing to issuance, the patent process took months instead of years.

NIH Awards Sun BioPharma Grant to Study Effect of SBP-101 on Pancreatitis (Globe)

UF startup Sun BioPharma, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing disruptive therapeutics for the treatment of pancreatic diseases, has been awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), one of the National Institutes of Health, to study the effect of their flagship product, SBP-101, as a potential treatment for pancreatitis. SBP-101 is a first-in-class, proprietary, polyamine compound designed to exert therapeutic effects in a mechanism specific to the pancreas.

Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, is responsible for approximately 300,000 in-patient hospital admissions annually in the United States and is the leading reason for hospitalization of patients with gastrointestinal diseases. It is estimated that over $2 billion per year is spent on the direct medical costs of treating these patients.


Paracosm’s Handheld Lidar Scanner Is Built for Construction Analytics (Spar3D)

UF startup Paracosm’s handheld lidar scanner is built to help construction teams gain access to powerful analytics that help them to understand a work site in new ways.

The PX-80 is built around Velodyne’s VLP-16 Puck. It includes two fish-eye cameras, an IMU, and a screen for visual feedback. The system scans at a range of 100 meters, gathers 300,000 points per second, and boasts accuracy of 2 cm both indoors and out.

Angel Investor Group Invests in TAO Connect (S. Fla. Biz Journal)

South Florida angel investor group New World Angels has invested follow-on capital in a St. Petersburg-based startup. Follow-on capital is an investment made by an investor that has given money to the company before.

The $460,000 investment will help fund UF startup TAO Connect’s expansion as it works to bring its digital mental health platform to private practitioners.

AGTC and Bionic Sight Partner to Restore Vision Using Optogenetic Therapy (GEN)

Applied Genetic Technologies (AGTC) and Bionic Sight are teaming up to develop a new form of optogenetic therapy that can restore vision in patients who have visual deficiencies or are blind as a result of retinal disease. The technology will combine Bionic Sight’s neuroprosthetic device and retinal coding algorithm with UF startup AGTC’s ophthalmology gene therapy expertise to stimulate patients’ remaining healthy retinal cells and restore normal neuronal signaling.

The Bionic Sight device combines a camera with proprietary software that can transform incoming images into the retinal code that the brain uses to convert electrical signals from photoreceptor cells, through the retina to the brain. The partnership between Bionic Sight and AGTC aims to use the device to activate an optogenetic protein delivered using AGTC adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy and trigger the target cells to fire and recreate images that the brain can detect.

Private Japanese Hospital Purchases ViewRay MRIdian System (Yahoo! Finance)

ViewRay, Inc. announced that Edogawa Hospital in Tokyo Japan has purchased a MRIdian system, the world’s first and only clinical MRI-guided radiation therapy system, as part of an expansion of the hospital’s cancer center.

The MRIdian system is a unique medical instrument that integrates an MRI with cobalt radiation delivery to treat cancer. Using the MRIdian system, clinicians can see soft tissue, and visualize and adjust the dose in real-time.