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Colorado State University is no stranger to innovation, and in the past fiscal year, faculty, students, and staff received a record 69 new international and U.S. patents. These came from a similarly record-breaking 177 patent applications.

This feat put CSU, for the first time ever, on the National Academy of Inventors’ top 100 list of international universities for U.S. patents.

“University patents ignite a culture of growth and innovation which in turn stimulates the economy,” Jessica Landacre, executive director at the Intellectual Property Owners Association, which co-authored the NAI’s report, said in a statement. Added NAI’s President Paul Sanberg: “The institutions included in this year’s report are leading innovation worldwide through their encouragement of academic discovery and invention.”

The new patents were issued to researchers and inventors in the College of Agricultural Sciences; College of Business; Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering; College of Liberal Arts; College of Natural Sciences; College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and Facilities Management.

These patents have come through the University’s technology transfer office, CSU Ventures. “Technology transfer provides an avenue that helps to highlight important translational research at CSU – and how it positively impacts people’s lives, locally and globally,” said Sarah Hibbs-Shipp, director of outreach and communications for CSU Ventures. “It also supports the land-grant mission of CSU.”

In 2020, CSU Ventures selected Dr. Chris Orton, professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences, as the recipient of the Innovative Excellence Award. A leading authority in veterinary cardiovascular surgery, Orton is known for launching the first veterinary open-heart surgery program in the world.

One of Orton’s patented technologies is licensed to Abbott Laboratories and contributed to the design of the company’s Tendyne™ Transcatheter Mitral Valve Implantation system for human use. The system is approved for use in Europe, and is currently in review with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This life-changing therapy offers patients with significant mitral regurgitation a minimally invasive alternative to open-heart valve replacement surgery.

 

Startups launched

In addition to obtaining patents, faculty are also launching new startup companies with their innovations. Five were founded this past year with CSU intellectual property, with the assistance of CSU Ventures.

“Startup companies are often the best path forward to bringing new technology to the marketplace,” said Todd Headley, vice president of CSU Ventures. “They also create jobs and have a positive impact on economic development.”

Of the five startups, four of them were founded by CSU faculty and staff.

  • AEMS, Inc. – Scott Compel, CSU alumnus, formerly with the lab of Chris Ackerson, Department of Chemistry
  • Blueline Veterinary Technologies – Natalie Malkut, Veterinary Technologist, James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital
  • Soil Metrics, LLC – Keith Paustian, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences
  • Validus Therapeutics – Dr. Steven Dow, Center for Immune and Regenerative Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences

Of note, a COVID-related device technology developed by CSU researchers Brian Geiss of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology; Chuck Henry of the Department of Chemistry; and David Dandy, of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, was licensed to Quara Devices Ic. for further development. Ken Reardon of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering is the chief science officer of Quara Devices and helped initiate the licensing deal.  The hope is that this small, inexpensive virus-detection technology will serve as the basis of a new product that could compete with standard diagnostic testing for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

In all, CSU investigators are currently working on more than 44 COVID-related projects.

“These are wonderful demonstrations of how members of the CSU community were able to pivot their research and focus to solve real world, active problems, fully embodying the land-grant mission,” Hibbs-Shipp said.