Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Warf News & Media

Building Momentum: A message from Leigh Cagan

Photo of Cagan LeighThe WARF Accelerator Program continues to demonstrate strong commercial impact. I am pleased to report that Jim Steele’s fermentation technology company, Lactic Solutions, was acquired in November by Lallemand Biofuels & Distilled Spirits. This is a great win for Jim Steele’s company and the entire startup ecosystem at the UW. Jim used many of the entrepreneurial resources in Madison, including the AP and D2P, to help enable the commercialization of his technology. Jim acknowledged the role of AP, saying “The Accelerator Program made all the difference as it enabled us to move a concept into a prototype that we could demo to potential partners.” Congratulations, Jim, and we look forward to great things to come from Lallemand Biofuels’ leadership with this WARF Accelerator Program-supported innovation!

I am also happy to report WARF has recently executed two new commercial licenses from our biopharma portfolio. The first license was negotiated by John Nagel with Deltanoid, a company founded by Hector DeLuca to commercialize therapies derived from vitamin D-based compounds. The licensed technology shows great promise as a treatment for postmenopausal osteoporosis. A second biopharma license was negotiated by Rafael Diaz with Co-D Therapeutics, which is commercializing a nanotechnology-based drug delivery technology developed by Glen Kwon. Their first product, Triolimus, is a three-in-one nanomedicine formulation that is targeted for the treatment of multiple types of cancer.

Projects in AP continue to get good visibility with leading venture firms. In December, eight AP-supported PIs presented their projects to Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) as part of a meeting hosted by the Wisconsin Energy Institute. BEV is a $1 billion fund made up of members of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a group launched by Bill Gates at the 2015 global climate talks in Paris. Other leading investors in the fund include Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Jack Ma and John Doerr. The fund will invest in a number of areas relevant to UW research, including grid-scale storage, liquid fuels, alternative building materials, geothermal and microgrids.

Leigh Cagan