UNM Rainforest Innovations

One of the major challenges university inventors face when commercializing their technology is the prototype funding gap. This void lies between early-stage research and the point where a technology is ready for the marketplace. A valuable resource to help close this gap and support industry licensing or investment funding of start-up companies is technology-to-market funding opportunities like the Gap Fund @ UNM. This program has seen many successful projects over the years including grant fund awardees whose technologies have gone on to be licensed by startup companies.

Below are some examples of how this type of funding supported further development of UNM technology:

  • Spray Drying of Essential Oil-Based Larvicides by Ivy Hurwitz: Gap funding allowed for the demonstration that spray drying is a viable solution to support mass larvicide production for commercialization. These advantages resulted in a better ability to upscale production and increase the shelf life of the spray-dried material. This technology is now licensed by YEEO Eco Safe, Inc.
  • Colorimetric Ionizing Radiation Detector by Fernando Garzon and Kannan Ramaiyan: Through this project, UNM researchers evaluated the potential mechanism for the UV sensing material and how to quantify the UV dosage exposure. Additionally, a variety of dye molecules were tested to gain better color contrast upon UV irradiation. This technology is currently optioned to Sun Safe Technology, LLC.
  • Treating Acute and Chronic Pain in Female Patients by Karin Westlund High and Sascha Alles: Funding allowed researchers to identify several novel exosomal microRNAs that may be involved in the pathophysiology of chronic pain in women. The modulators of these microRNAs have the potential to provide a basis for the development of therapeutics for treatment. It is also possible that these exosomal microRNAs may serve as biomarkers for the diagnosis of chronic pain. This technology is now licensed by Neurochronix, Inc.

Beginning in September, UNMRI will start accepting applications for FY2024 gap funding. Each proposal, which can be funded up to $25,000, is evaluated based on merit and uniqueness of the technology as well as its potential for commercialization. Gap funding is intended to help a university inventor reduce an invention to practice (proof-of-concept), develop more experimental data for better patent applications, or make an invention or copyright more commercially interesting to a company or an investor.

If you think your technology could benefit from this funding, learn more here: https://innovations.unm.edu/gap-fund-unm-program/

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