Innovation Works Boosts Investment in Accelerator Companies

Innovation Works, the state-funded startup investment organization in Western Pennsylvania, recently announced that its AlphaLab and AlphaLab Gear software and hardware startup accelerators, respectively, will be increasing their investments into new cohort companies from $50,000 to $100,000 in the form of a convertible note plus 2% common equity, upon completion of milestone goals during the accelerator program. We caught up with Jim Jenn, IW's chief operating officer, to learn more about the about the change.

Pitt Innovators Issued 10 Patents in August 2022

Pitt Innovators were issued 10 patents in August 2022. Featured patent: 11,406,736 “Vascular Extracellular Matrix Hydrogel” Extracellular matrix (ECM) bioscaffolds are tissue-specific biomaterials with inherent bioactivity and native structural features that enable their use as three-dimensional in vitro cell culture substrates for biologic discovery of cellular mechanisms or as disease models. Certain decellularized tissues also show promise for therapeutic tissue regeneration in a variety of applications as they retain proteins that enhance cellular adhesion and invoke signaling to influence cellular differentiation and regenerative potential. Pitt innovators led by Julie Phillippi, associate professor of cardiothoracic surgery and bioengineering, have developed ECM compositions useful as in vitro cell culture substrates or in vivo biomaterials for tissue repair in cardiovascular applications. This invention embodies a method wherein decellularized ECMs from blood vessels (e.g. porcine or human aorta adventitia in one aspect) that are formulated into hydrogels that can be used as substrates for in vitro cell culture and in vivo tissue regeneration. For more information on this technology, including licensing inquiries, contact Alex Ducruet at Below is a listing of all patents issued to Pitt innovators in August 2022. Title   Inventor(s)   Licensing Manager        Status               Vascular Extracellular Matrix Hydrogel   Julie Phillippi; Thomas Gleason; George Fercana; Stephen Badylak   Alex Ducruet   Available for Licensing               Activators of CXCR3 for the Treatment of Angiopathies of the Eye   Alan Wells; Cecelia Yates-Binder; Joel Schuman   Janice Panza   Licensed               Methods for Preparation of a Terminally Sterilized Hydrogel Derived From Extracellular Matrix   Timothy Keane Jr.; Stephen Badylak; Christopher Dearth; Neill Turner   Alex Ducruet   Licensed               Artificial Cell Constructs for Cellular Manipulation   Steven Little   Janice Panza   Optioned               Compositions and Methods for Treatment of Inflammatory Disorders   David Hackam; Peter Wipf; Chhinder Sodhi   Maria Vanegas   Available for Licensing               Spak Kinase Inhibitors as Neuroprotective Agents   Mohammad Bhuiyan; Dandan Sun; Xianming Deng; Jinwei Zhang; Brandley Molyneaux   Maria Vanegas   Available for Licensing               Analysis of Eye and Pupil Movement Coordination in Vergence Testing for Detection of Acute MTBI   Carey David Balaban; Alexander Kiderman; Michael Hoffer; Mikhaylo Szczupak   Robert Racunas   Available for Licensing               Identification of Mutations in Herpes Simplex Virus Envelope Glycoproteins That Enable or Enhance Vector Retargeting to Novel Non-HSV Receptors   Justus Cohen; Joseph Glorioso; Hioaki Uchida   Maria Vanegas   Licensed               DNA Nanostructure Patterned Templates   Haitao Liu; Hyo Kim; Cheng Tian   George Coulston   Not Available               Expression of NKG2D Activating Ligand Proteins for Sensitizing Cancer Cells to Attack by Cytotoxic Immune Cells   Paola Grandi; Ndukaku Amankulor; Joseph Glorioso   Maria Vanegas   Licensed

Patent Basics with the USPTO

Experienced patent examiners from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) visited the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship's brand new Big Idea Center for student innovation recently to give a presentation on the patent process, in which they provided an insightful overview of how the patent office works and shared tips on the optimum approach to applying for a patent.  You weren't able to make it? That's OK. We recorded it for you. So if you have a discovery that you want to file patent protection for, check out the presentation, which includes questions from some of the Pitt innovators in attendance.

Startup Check-in: Lumis Corp Hires CEO and Expands Products

The last time we checked in on Pitt startup Lumis Corp. it was still a one-man show and seeking its first customers. As we catch up with the company today it has a new CEO that is not necessarily new the company, several paying customers, and is seeking an investment round to accelerate its growth.