NM Angels Kick Some More UNM Technology Tires

The STC.UNM & New Mexico Angels Technology Showcase was bigger than ever! When we started this event 4 years ago, we didn’t have any start-up companies to showcase. This year we had six! That’s companies created from UNM technology, based in New Mexico, creating jobs here at home. Big thanks to the Kevin Robinson-Avila for covering the event, his article is reprinted below.
SOURCE: Albuquerque Journal

The University of New Mexico appealed to the New Mexico Angels — a group of individual investors who pool resources to provide seed funding for startup companies — to wrap their wings around four newly developed medical and engineering breakthroughs at a tech showcase Thursday.

About 70 investors, entrepreneurs and economic development experts attended the annual event, now in its fourth year, where UNM researchers presented three new drugs to treat stroke, chronic pain and HPV-positive tumors, plus a novel process for etching silicon wafers.

Angels President John Chavez said all four represent compelling breakthroughs with good market potential.

“I believe all four technologies have high potential to transition into startup companies and move to the next level,” Chavez told the Journal.

In fact, the new drug therapy for stroke already won initial backing from Tyrosine Pharma, a local, Angel-funded startup that’s commercializing a separate stroke therapy from UNM.

That company received $250,000 from the Angels this year to continue developing a peptide that’s based on a derivative of a human protein to protect brain cells against damage from traumatic injuries and stroke.

Now, Tyrosine is acquiring an option to license the new drug that UNM presented Thursday, which is actually a compound that’s already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating patients with blood circulation problems in the brain.

The university has “repurposed” that compound to instead treat stroke and neurological disorders, after laboratory experiments with mice showed it could substantially reduce brain damage from a stroke.

The other two therapies presented at the luncheon include a second “repurposing” project to turn some cancer drugs into medicine to fight tumors and warts caused by human papilloma viruses, plus an entirely new medical treatment for chronic pain that eliminates the use of addictive opioids like morphine.

UNM Science and Technology Corp. President and CEO Lisa Kuuttila said Angel seed funding is critical for such technologies to transverse what investors call the “valley of death.”

“It enables researchers to bridge that gap where study grants have dried up, but it’s still too early for the technology to be picked up by established companies,” she said.

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