Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Warf News & Media

Building Momentum: A message from Leigh Cagan

Photo of Cagan LeighSince 2010, the WARF Accelerator Program has been advancing the commercialization of groundbreaking UW–Madison technologies. I am excited to announce that in April we awarded our 100th AP project! I would like to thank all of our Catalysts, UW researchers and the entire WARF staff for making this milestone possible.

We recently closed our third AP license agreement this year. The license with Intraband, a semiconductor laser technology startup, represents our 30th AP commercial agreement and our 13th startup license. Intraband was co-founded by PIs Dan Botez and Luke Mawst and is licensing their Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) technology. This technology promises higher efficiency and reliability in laser devices used in a range of applications from environmental monitoring to missile-avoidance systems. AP funding supported fabrication, packaging and demonstration of this novel QCL technology. In addition, the project received half a million dollars of post-AP funding as part of a two year Army SBIR contract. This project is an excellent example of how completed AP projects can leverage external sources of financing to support and advance commercialization of UW technologies.

The AP staff is excited about the projects that will be reviewed in the Market Focus Area (MFA) sessions at the upcoming All Hands meeting in May. Once again, we are teaming with WARF’s programming staff on a special event that will take place after the MFA meetings. This year we will have a moderated panel session that builds on WARF’s “Innovation and the Wisconsin Idea” series. The session will explore the importance of university and industry partnerships to fully realize the Wisconsin Idea. Our panelists, Chris Salm, CEO and co-founder of Ab E Discovery and an AP Catalyst, and Kathryn VandenBosch, dean of the UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, will expand on their thought-provoking article “UW/Industry Partnerships Yield Better Solutions.” We hope this session will inform and encourage UW researchers and other community stakeholders to work collaboratively in commercializing UW–Madison technologies.

Finally, I am pleased to report that in February the WARF Board of Trustees approved AP funding for another three years starting July 1, 2018. At our All Hands meeting, we will highlight the positive contributions AP has made to the commercialization of UW–Madison technologies and provide a vision for the future of the program. We look forward to sharing our vision and getting your feedback on the evolution of the Accelerator Program.

Leigh Cagan