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Tech firms, area schools to develop products

Fifteen Maryland technology startups and one medium-sized company are partnering with faculty members from the state’s public universities for projects that bring new products closer to market, University of Maryland officials announced Wednesday.

Approved through UMD’s Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, the research and development projects, worth $3 million, span the state, its universities and technologies, including products that advance clean or efficient energy, biotechnology, software, construction, chemical sensors and aquaculture.

Participating companies contribute $1.6 million for the projects while MIPS provides $1.4 million. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency also provided support. Four participating companies are from Baltimore and four are from Montgomery County, while three are from the Maryland Eastern Shore, two are from southern Maryland, two are from College Park and one is from Annapolis. Projects are subject to final contract negotiations.

This is the 56th round of MIPS grants. The program has supported research projects with more than 500 different Maryland companies since 1987.

All MIPS funding goes towards the faculty research for each project.

Approved through a competitive process, winning projects, segmented by institution, include:

Frostburg State University

  • Tutela Industries LLC, based in Baltimore, works with computer science and information technologies professor George Rinard to expand the clinical and patient-facing mobile app functionality of the company’s HIPAA compliant patient engagement platform, which improves communication across the care continuum. ($140,900)

University of Maryland, Baltimore

  • Centrexion Therapeutics, based in Baltimore, teams with school of dentistry associate  professor Man-Kyo Chung to develop efficacy tests for the company’s new drugs aimed at improving the treatment of chronic pain conditions such as osteoarthritis. ($141,000)
  • JPLC Associates LLC, based in Baltimore, collaborates with department of radiation oncology professor Byongyong Yi to extend the capabilities of the company’s Raven QA product, a unified and comprehensive quality assurance system for radiation therapy machines. ($152,840)

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

  • Bahari Energy LLC, based in Rockville, works with department of mechanical engineering professor Weidong Zhu to test the performance of the company’s Wind Tower, a wind power generation product with a unique design that can be retrofitted onto (and inside of) urban, suburban, business, industrial and residential buildings. ($160,000)
  • RedShred LLC, based in Baltimore, teams with department of computer science and electrical engineering professors Zareen Syed and Tim Finin to expand the company’s semantically enhanced open information extraction software system, which takes complex business documents, such as requests for quotes and proposals, quickly extracts important information, and offers users an efficient way to review opportunities with minimal manual intervention. ($185,000)

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

  • HY-TEK Bio LLC, based in Dayton, collaborates with Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology associate professor Feng Chen to developing a practical and economical system to grow microalgae with chicken manure nutrient in a large pilot system. ($303,213)

University of Maryland, College Park

  • Crab Machinery LLC, based in Woolford, works with Fischell Department of Bioengineering professor Yang Tao to develop a modern, imaging-guided mechanical crabmeat picker that incorporates machine intelligence, including machine vision, robotics, and electronic controls. ($192,750)
  • Earth Networks Corporation, based in Germantown, teams with department of mechanical engineering professor Jungho Kim to expand the functionality of WeatherBug Home, the company’s user-friendly and powerful home energy tool, which combines data from utilities with local weather information to save energy and cut cooling and heating costs. ($426,952)
  • Johnny Oysterseed LLC, based in Saint Leonard, collaborates with Chandrasekhar Thamire, a Keystone lecturer, department of mechanical engineering, to develop an oyster aquaculture system that offers higher productivity and cost savings for oyster farmers. ($242,674)
  • N5 Sensors Inc., based in Germantown, works with Thomas Murphy, a professor and director with the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics, to demonstrate a smartphone or tablet-based sensor for detecting toxic gases in ambient air, for use by industrial workers, hazmat crews, fire-fighters, police, security crews or civilians. ($136,964)
  • nanoDERM Sciences Inc., based in Derwood, teams with Srinivasa Raghavan, a professor in the department of chemical and biomolecular engineering, to improve the colloidal stability of antibacterial, drug-loaded HydroDEX nanogels for the effective treatment of bacterial infections, including those caused by multidrug-resistant (MDR) pathogens. ($135,000)
  • PaverGuide Inc., based in Worton, collaborates with Allen Davis, a professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering, to provide research and development support for a sub-base material to be used with PaverGuide, a base material for permeable paving that also reduces sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus runoff into the Chesapeake Bay. ($136,783)
  • Pavement Corporation, based in Fort Washington, works with Charles Schwartz, a professor and chair of the department of civil and environmental engineering, to confirm the material parameters and performance of pavement patches constructed using the infrared repair process and to develop accompanying standard procedures, quality control measures, and model specifications. ($134,860)
  • Redox Power Systems LLC, based in College Park, teams with Eric Wachsman, director of the  University of Maryland Energy Research Center, to improve the strength and robustness of the company’s solid oxide fuel cells. ($139,097)
  • Remedium Technologies Inc., based in College Park, works with Srinivasa Raghavan, a professor in the department of chemical and biomolecular engineering, to develop a hemostatic foam that can stop bleeding during minimally invasive surgeries without applying compression or converting to an open procedure. ($135,000)
  • XChanger Companies Inc., based in Annapolis, collaborates with Reinhard Radermacher, a professor in the department of mechanical engineering, to evaluate the energy-saving potential and thermal comfort of the company’s air delivery unit, which initial studies have shown yield potential HVAC operating savings of between 18-31 percent. ($248,048)

Commercial products benefiting from MIPS have generated more than $30.3 billion in revenue and directly added more than 6,600 current jobs to the state’s economy. MIPS-sponsored R&D has made key contributions to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet, MedImmune’s Synagis and Black & Decker’s Bullet Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit, WellDoc’s mobile diabetes management platform, and CSA Medical’s diseased-tissue ablation platform.

For information about the historical economic impact of the MIPS program, an independent study titled “An Analysis of the Impacts of MIPS Program Spending and the Commercialization of MIPS Funded Projects on the State of Maryland,” by Richard Clinch, from the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore, is available online.