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MIPS Announces $2.7 Million for Commercially Driven Research Projects Between Maryland Companies, Faculty

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  February 19, 2004

CONTACT:

Eric Schurr
301 405 3889
schurr@umd.edu

COLLEGE PARK, Md.—The Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program, which helped develop MedImmune's Synagis, Martek Biosciences' Formulaid, and a revolutionary Black & Decker drill bit, is jointly awarding $2.7 million for 21 research projects teaming Maryland companies with university faculty.

The commercially driven projects, focused largely in the areas of Homeland Security and biotechnology, feature a disaster-proof telephone system, new Predator-type drones, biosensors for detecting E. coli, and antibiotic tracking systems.

The funding includes $1.1 million from MIPS and $1.6 million from Maryland companies. All funding goes exclusively towards university research. Maryland faculty carry out the research in coordination with company personnel.

"We're working with one of the pioneers who advanced the art of telecommunications, so needless to say—we're excited," said Roy Pinchot, CEO of TeleContinuity Inc., which is developing a system to restore telephone service to users within minutes after a terrorist attack, system failure, fiber cut, fire, flood, or other catastrophic event. "We're confident our product will benefit from the university’s expertise."

TeleContinuity's system employs Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology as a switching fabric, a delivery medium, and a transport mechanism to avoid phone system congestion. Calls will then go through to any location, over any device—whether by telephone, cell phone or laptop.

Dr. Steven Tretter, who co-developed the v.34 technology enabling Internet modems to jump from 14.4 to 33.6 kilobits per second in speed, is teaming with TeleContinuity to establish and test a Point of Presence for the system at the university, as well as design a preliminary wireless version. Tretter is the director of the Master's Program in Telecommunications and an associate professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Maryland.

The deadly E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria will be less elusive thanks to Gaithersburg-based Innovative Biosensors, which is working with the University of Maryland to optimize a portable test to detect the organism more rapidly and sensitively than previously possible. Current methods used by meat processors are labor intensive and can take up to 32 hours to complete. E. coli 0157:H7 affects 10,000 to 20,000 people and kills 500 each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Our MIPS project will really help us optimize and further validate this application," said Joseph Hernandez, CEO of Innovative Biosensors. The company's platform will also detect other emerging infectious pathogens, including SARS and BSE.

Hollywood-based NEANY Inc. is developing a new autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with the University of Maryland, College Park. The project follows a successful MIPS project with Navmar Applied Sciences Corporation, which resulted in the MAKO UAV product, a Predator-type drone currently flown by the U.S. Navy.

Navmar’s MIPS project enabled the company to award $10 million in subcontracts to Maryland companies, open three facilities in Maryland, and launch two new companies—one of them NEANY.

"MIPS gives one of the best returns on investment of any economic development program in the State," said Christopher Foster, deputy secretary for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. "Its reach has bolstered products across the whole commercial spectrum in Maryland—from crab, oyster, and farming products to manufacturing and biotechnology."

About MIPS

MIPS provides funding—matched by participating companies—for university-based research projects that help companies develop new products. Any company with operations in Maryland is eligible, as are faculty from any of the University System of Maryland's 13 institutions. Projects must deal with innovative technological or scientific concepts and have direct commercial applications. MIPS contributes up to $100,000 for each project year; projects can be funded for one or two years. There is no limit on company project contributions. All funds go towards the university research.

With 726 project awards to more than 300 companies since 1987—worth a total value of $122 million—MIPS projects create results. MIPS-supported products have generated more than $1.7 billion in revenue and sales, added jobs to the region, and infused technology into the global marketplace. MIPS-aided commercial products include MedImmune’s $1.6 billion-selling Synagis, which prevents a respiratory disease in infants, Black & Decker’s efficient masonry drill bits, and Martek Bioscience’s additive for infant formulas, which helped the company generate $114 million in revenue in 2003.

MIPS is a program of the A. James Clark School of Engineering's Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (MTECH), whose mission is to accelerate technology commercialization, strengthen companies, and catalyze new ventures in Maryland.

Complete listing of Round 33 awards.

 

 

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