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Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE) Hosts the ASU Tech Forum for the Investment Community

TEMPE, Ariz., Feb. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE), the technology venturing arm of Arizona State University, held its first technology forum for investors on Feb. 12 and 13, 2009. In hosting the event with ASU SkySong in Scottsdale, AzTE collaborated with its tech transfer partner, the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Technology Transfer (CTT). The forum was sponsored and supported by Silicon Valley Bank, Squire Sanders, and Ernst & Young.

The ASU Tech Forum introduced the investment and corporate communities to selected university research programs, technologies, and startup opportunities from ASU and Penn. With more than 130 in attendance, the event drew over 80 external guests, including venture capitalists, angel investors, and corporate executives from around the country. These included venture firms such as ARCH Venture Partners, Harris & Harris Group, Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Redpoint Ventures, Sevin Rosen Funds, and Sofinnova Ventures. Companies attending the event included ATMI, Boeing Company, Dow Chemical, Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, and Merck.

At the event, several ASU faculty members presented technology and startup opportunities in the life sciences, physical sciences, and clean tech fields. These investment opportunities relate to biofuels and biomaterials derived from photosynthetic organisms, DNA and protein sequencing and detection platforms, neurostimulation technologies, sensor technologies, synthetic antibodies, advanced battery technologies, LED substrates, and low-power design methodology.

In addition, at a luncheon event held at the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center at SkySong, CTT officials presented several of their top venture investment opportunities available from the University of Pennsylvania.

"ASU is a source of many breakthrough discoveries, and our goal is to ensure that these inventions get into the hands of capable development and commercialization organizations which will eventually translate these discoveries into products in the public interest," said Augustine Cheng, managing director of AzTE. "In hosting this event, we wanted to showcase a sampling of commercially-promising technologies from ASU and Penn in one fell swoop to VCs, entrepreneurs, and private industry executives who would be encouraged to invest in early-stage technologies from the universities."

Among the investment opportunities presented at the ASU Tech Forum is Synsonix, LLC. This ASU start-up venture was founded by ASU Professor William ("Jamie") Tyler based on a potentially disruptive technology using focused ultrasound arrays for deep brain stimulation for various therapeutic applications.

"In forming this venture, we received valuable counsel, assistance, and support from AzTE and ASU," said Tyler and his business partner, Sumon Pal at Harvard. "AzTE closed a deal with us quickly and facilitated connections with potential investors, legal counsel, and other advisors. Our participation in the ASU Tech Forum allowed us to interact with successful business entrepreneurs who have already blazed the trail for accelerating university research to commercial development for industry."

Synsonix has garnered significant attention from investors attending the event.

"We at AzTE are gratified by the enthusiastic turnout for the ASU Tech Forum, as well as the many follow-up inquiries from potential investors relating to several of the presented technologies. The event was well-received by VCs and other guests," said Charlie Lewis, vice president of venture development.

According to John Diekman, founder and managing partner of 5AM Ventures, "University inventions are critically important to venture capitalists who want to build great companies. AzTE gave us one of the best 'venture capital days' I have seen. It was comprehensive, informative, efficient and well-presented. The researchers were available, interactive and toned the science down to where I could understand it."

"This event was a terrific way of connecting with ASU, a fast-rising research star in the university world, and Penn, an established Ivy League research center, as well as with the rest of the venture community," observed Matthew McCooe, a founder and managing partner of Chart Venture Partners in New York. "I was particularly excited to see the many investment opportunities resulting from the innovative research programs and initiatives at ASU."

An international investor and entrepreneur from the U.K., Jason Avery, founder of Rockpool Ventures in Cambridge and former senior vice president of Cambridge Antibody Technology, noted: "I now consider ASU as one of the most forward-thinking science faculties in the U.S. I was impressed by the spectrum and quality of the cross-disciplinary technology showcases that AzTE presented. The organization of the forum was impressive."

"The world-class science, state-of-the-art facilities, and integrated interdisciplinary approach being adopted by the ASU faculty should yield significant innovations in the years to come. As a healthcare venture capital investor, I am excited by the prospect of working with the dynamic, commercially-focused administration to develop the scientific discoveries into meaningful applications that advance human health," said Chau Khuong from OrbiMed Advisors.

Located at SkySong, Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE) was established in 2003 as an Arizona limited liability company and wholly-owned subsidiary of the ASU Foundation. Staffed by professionals with extensive industry and university experience in intellectual property and related business development, AzTE operates as the exclusive IP management and technology transfer organization for Arizona State University. For more information about AzTE and university technologies available for licensing or startup opportunities, visit

SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, is currently home to 42 enterprises from 12 countries, with clusters of companies in digital learning, information communications technologies, and sustainability. SkySong is an interactive business environment in which individual entrepreneurs, global enterprises, ASU researchers, and community members connect to bring new technologies to the marketplace and expand globally.

SOURCE Arizona Technology Enterprises
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