County Executive Chris Collins to Kick Off 'Pre-Seed' Workshop

UB, Roswell Park, HWI and community researchers join in intensive business-launch program

Release Date: May 6, 2008 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Erie County Executive Chris Collins will make opening remarks at a dinner to kick off a 'pre-seed' workshop for Western New York researchers and entrepreneurs considering the launch of a technology-based business.

To be held from 5-8 p.m. May 8 in the University at Buffalo's New York State Center of Excellence in Life Sciences and Bioinformatics, the dinner will precede two days of intensive programming to determine whether the researchers are ready to pursue the next steps in commercializing their high-technology product and service concepts, including how to seek outside funding for their ideas, inventions or start-up business.

"This workshop is an excellent way to launch new businesses and spur the commercialization of new technologies in Western New York," Collins said. "With Western New York's premier research institutions and its ambitious spirit of entrepreneurship, we are making great strides in establishing a high-tech industry in our region."

The workshop sessions will be held on May 9 and May 16 in the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) Center for Genetics and Pharmacology, adjacent to UB's Center of Excellence on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

Six teams of researchers and inventors will partner with a business coach, legal and tech-transfer experts and MBA students from the UB School of Management at the workshop. The teams will simulate the start-up of a business as a way to analyze the commercial merit of the researchers' technology. Workshop participants include:

* Matthew Disney, Ph.D., UB assistant professor of chemistry, who is seeking to commercialize ways that RNA can be used as a drug target.

* RPCI researcher Ravindra Pandey, Ph.D., who created a company to commercialize tumor imaging compounds.

* L. Wayne Schultz, Ph.D., research scientist, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, who is developing a business to offer X-ray crystallography services to be used in the investigation of infectious disease.

* Dennis Ryan of SSL Industries, based in the UB technology Incubator, who is developing energy-saving LED lighting and other green products.

* Fred Harrington of Hamburg, who is developing a technology to convert waste materials into products to be used in biofuel production.

* David Dugan, M.D., D.D.S., of Oneonta, who is developing a hands-free toothbrush for use by disabled people and the elderly.

The program will be conducted by life sciences and engineering technology and business experts, Judy Albers, Ph.D., from JJA Consulting and Mark Wilson from Initiatives Consulting LLC.

On the workshop's final day, the teams will present their ideas and analyses to a panel of community experts and venture capitalists that will provide feedback on the technology's business potential and possible investor interest.

The workshops are being offered throughout Upstate New York by Initiatives Consulting. Seven regions of the state have participated in the sessions since 2003. One hundred thirteen ideas have been analyzed in the workshops and 37 companies have been formed, according to workshop organizers.

"This workshop is a proven way for potential entrepreneurs to decide whether or not they should move forward with their ideas and how to do so," said Marnie LaVigne, Ph.D., director of business development with UB's Center of Excellence and the UB Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology (UB CAT).

The workshop is being sponsored by NYSERDA, National Grid, UB's Center of Excellence, UB CAT, Element K and Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP.

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