Tech-transfer initiatives bear fruit – Albuquerque Journal

Tech-transfer initiatives bear fruit – Albuquerque Journal
The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technologies in Socorro manages a complete, collective strategy to tech-transfer by way of its Office of Innovation and Commercialization. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

New Mexico’s oil and gasoline industry could quickly clean up filthy, “produced” water with a new, low-charge filtration system created by the New Mexico Institute for Mining and Technology in Socorro.

The university recently launched a new enterprise, Socorro Membrane Technologies, to thoroughly acquire and industry the filtration technique in partnership with engineering and manufacturing firm System Machines & Service Co., or PESCO, primarily based in Farmington.

The associates strategy to establish a little industrial facility in Socorro to get started making filtration models, with a initially pilot venture predicted to start in San Juan County right before yr-conclusion, stated Peter Anselmo, NM Tech’s director of new ventures.

“We’re planning now to move ahead on the facility,” Anselmo explained to the Journal. “It will start out by making 20 or 25 filtration modules for every thirty day period and then scale up. It will all remain in Socorro, generating 10-to-12 large-wage manufacturing careers to start out.”

Socorro Membrane Systems is just one of 3 corporations designed just lately by NM Tech to acquire new university systems to industry. The other two will commercialize novel, motion-run, wearable sensors that eliminate any need to have for batteries, as well as a new, strong disinfectant that scientists in NM Tech’s Biology Division invented with typical, environmentally helpful products now employed in hundreds of professional goods.

Numerous far more college systems are in the pipeline as likely candidates to shift from lab to current market, reflecting concerted efforts about the past seven a long time to construct a bustling tech-transfer software on campus.

Snezna Rogelj, still left, and Danielle Turner, equally researchers at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Engineering, have designed a potent new disinfectant, which is now staying marketed in Europe as a preventive nasal spray in opposition to COVID-19. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Building on legacy

NM Tech is currently very well recognized for its past achievements, these types of as the now globally recognized “nicotine patch” – produced initially by neighborhood researcher Frank Etscorn – which has gained the university tens of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Additional a short while ago, Albuquerque-dependent cybersecurity business RiskSense – which released in 2006 with technological know-how produced at NM Tech – was obtained by Utah-based mostly details technological innovation large Ivanti for an undisclosed rate.

But, until eventually 2014, when the university launched its Center for Leadership in Technology Commercialization, NM Tech had commercialized select systems only on a case-by-circumstance basis. Nowadays, it manages a complete, collective solution to tech-transfer that includes entrepreneurship schooling, and aid for school and college students by the Workplace of Innovation and Commercialization, which replaced the Middle for Management in 2018.

The college features programs and arms-on encounter for college students to acquire knowledge and competencies to manual technological innovation to marketplace, even though also performing with academics at the earliest stages of their research to recognize possibly marketable innovation, patent it, and produce company tactics to commercialize it.

NM Tech now has a new tech-transfer czar, Myrriah Chavez Tomar, who was employed by the university in September as government director of the Business of Innovation.

Tomar is a biochemist, and prolonged-term veteran of general public and private initiatives to progress the commercial progress of science and engineering innovation. She labored formerly on tech-transfer at Rice University in Texas and, for the previous three a long time, headed the state Financial Advancement Department’s Office environment of Science and Know-how, offering her broad marketplace know-how, and intensive state and national connections.

“My get the job done with the point out gave me a pulse on every thing going on in New Mexico with regards to science and technology startups and existing businesses, and an understanding of their needs and the programs offered to help them,” Tomar told the Journal. “I have the track record and networks in place to connect the college up and to go on building NM Tech into an entrepreneurial establishment.”

NM Tech researcher Leonard Garcia drills a pipe whilst doing work on a new water filtration technological know-how at his West Aspect house Thursday. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Augmenting tech-transfer

Ingraining entrepreneurship into the university’s foundation is a mission supported from the top rated down. It’s enshrined in the branding logo “STE²M.” The college trademarked that in 2019 as a play on STEM – the acronym for science, technology, engineering and math – by squaring the “E” to signify equally “engineering” and “entrepreneurship.”

An once-a-year Inventors and Business people Workshop, which the college launched in 2016, has also boosted tech transfer.

The two-working day instructional convention features broad networking chances, presentations, panel discussions and a pitch competition for area innovators. It brings collectively school and college students with investors, veteran business owners and startup professionals from throughout the point out.

NM Tech Researcher Leonard Garcia assessments pipes when performing on a new h2o filtration procedure Thursday. The know-how, at first made by the university’s Petroleum Restoration Analysis Middle, is now staying scaled up for industrial use.

In previous yrs, it has also integrated higher-profile leaders from California, New York and other areas, thanks in great portion to recruitment efforts by Larry Udell, a veteran undertaking trader and entrepreneur from the Silicon Valley who has helped broaden NM Tech’s commercialization programs as an adjunct school member given that 2014.

The pandemic shut down the meeting previous 12 months. But it picked up yet again this Oct as a hybrid function attended in human being by point out leaders and online by some out-of-condition members. This time, it was shortened to a one-working day occasion that attracted about 90 men and women, down from some 180 in decades previous, Udell mentioned. But the turnout from all over New Mexico demonstrates the state’s fast maturing ecosystem, with nearby leaders doing work with each other to establish a statewide startup economy. And that, in transform, is helping NM Tech.

“New Mexico’s startup economy is nonetheless in its infancy, but it is beginning to rumble and make waves mainly because of its wealth of resources and establishments,” Udell informed the Journal. “They’re all performing together and cooperating underneath a single umbrella, and that is a massive benefit.”

Setting up partnerships

Certainly, NM Tech has sought local partnerships to advance its recently formed startup corporations, this sort of as PESCO in Farmington to aid build Socorro Membrane Systems.

PESCO helped researchers to scale up their filtration method for industrial use, stated new ventures director Anselmo. The university’s Petroleum Recovery Investigate Middle created the technology, but it needed PESCO’s engineering and manufacturing prowess to turn the primary, take a look at-tube-sized filtration models into industrial-sized modules.

“PESCO built them out into four-foot-long, four-inch diameter canisters that can filter up to 1,500 gallons of h2o per working day,” Anselmo reported. “Our researchers entered a total new realm of studying about what it takes to basically construct lab technologies into a marketable merchandise.”

The PESCO partnership makes it possible for NM Tech to retain the foreseeable future filtration manufacturing unit in Socorro.

“It’s compelling technological know-how,” Anselmo reported. “We’ve turned down venture expenditure in it mainly because we do not want it to depart the condition. We want to continue to keep it all ideal here.”

COVID preventive spray

The university’s newly created disinfection technologies is also headed to industry by a joint enterprise with Albuquerque genuine estate tycoon Paul Silverman, who co-owns Geltmore Companions LLC with his sons. About 4 a long time back, Silverman began investing Geltmore profits in neighborhood startups.

“We want to enable nearby corporations grow by reinvesting from our serious estate business enterprise,” Silverman informed the Journal. “We have our own minor fish farm in this article to expand little fish into significant fish that are sustainable, that produce employment and wealth, and that stay in New Mexico.”

Leonard Garcia, a researcher with New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technologies, examines a pipe when working on a drinking water filtration technique on Thursday at his Albuquerque residence. NM Tech a short while ago released a new firm to entirely build and marketplace the technique, which can support clean up up harmful “produced water” produced by the electricity industry, in partnership with Farmington-based engineering and production company System Gear & Company Co., or PESCO.(Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Silverman and NM Tech finalized the joint undertaking throughout the Inventors and Business people Workshop in Oct, forming MycoDelens as a new enterprise to marketplace NM Tech’s disinfectant.

Biotechnology researchers Snezna Rogelj and Danielle Turner designed the technologies by mixing frequent substances from commercial products and solutions to make a new product that is established very efficient in opposition to the coronavirus.

“The materials are previously in hundreds of out there products and solutions,” Rogelj advised the Journal. “The key sauce is combining the components in just the proper way.”

NM Tech researcher Leonard Garcia mixes epoxy while doing the job on a new h2o filtration technological know-how. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

The university has previously certified it to Parnell Prescribed drugs, which is now advertising and marketing it in Europe as a preventive nasal spray.

“People get contaminated via the nose and unfold the virus by way of their mouth,” Rogelj said. “This intercepts the virus and destroys it before it can infect cells. It been proven 99.9% effective by way of in-vitro screening.”

It’s been authorised for sale only in Europe. But rather than navigate the U.S. Foods and Drug Administration’s lengthy approval process for human applications, MycoDelens will find Food and drug administration and U.S. Environmental Safety Agency acceptance to apply it as a disinfectant in this sort of sites as airports, hospitals and educational institutions.

Sensor process

In the meantime, the university’s self-powering, wearable sensor technique will be marketed via RD Wellness Sensing, the third enterprise not too long ago set up by the NM Tech Investigate Park Corp., which established all 3 of NM Tech’s new startups as university subsidiaries under the state’s Study Park Act. After formed, the college seeks joint ventures to move the organizations ahead, Anselmo mentioned.

NASA at first produced the movement-activated technologies to detect harm on drones. NM Tech scientists transitioned it for use in wearable sensors, beginning with the soles in shoes for diabetics to monitor their toes for medical issues.

The university also strategies create it into garment fiber for clothes to watch athletes, who at this time use battery-driven sensors to accumulate work out-overall performance information.

“Our garment know-how would energy by itself,” Anselmo mentioned. “You never ever have to plug it in. You just place it on and movement powers it.”

NM Tech scientists Snezna Rogelj, proper, and Danielle Turner do the job in their lab at the biology department.(Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)