$100 Million Start-Ups Featured on Panel

The Celebration of Innovation helps attract investors and entrepreneurs.
By Chris Eversole

Three entrepreneurs whose businesses sold for more than $100 million will speak at A Celebration of Innovation, the University of Florida’s Technology Showcase, on March 14.

The session at which the three will speak will be hosted by Jamie Grooms, a co-founder of two Alachua-based companies—RTI Biologics, a start-up that has risen to be a global leader in bone and tissue transplants, and Axogen, a company that provides surgical implants that that repair damage to peripheral nerves.

Grooms is now the CEO of the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research, based in Gainesville. The panelists are as follows:

·      Louis Oberndorf, founder of Sarasota-based Medical Education Technologies. The company’s products, based on a lifelike medical education simulator developed at UF, are used to train healthcare professionals worldwide. CAE Healthcare purchased Oberndorf’s company in 2011.

·      Randy Scott, the founder of toothpaste additive NovaMin, which reverses tooth decay and reduces hot and cold sensitivity. GlaxoSmithKline bought Scott’s company in 2010 for $135 million.

·      Al Kern, executive chairman and president of Pasteuria, which produces bacteria that kill nematodes, tiny pests that attack plant roots and cause extensive crop damage globally. Syngenta, based in Switzerland, recently purchased Pasteuria, based in UF’s Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator in Alachua.

Other presentations will be made by 16 successful companies, some specializing in biomedicine and some specializing in technology.

The biomedical companies include ones that speed up the detection of neurological disorders, rapidly rehydrate people and develop products to improve safety in pregnancy and childbirth. Featured technology companies include ones involved in renewable energy, social media for young professionals and innovative mosquito control.

The annual technology showcase allows companies based on UF research and housed in UF incubabors to connect with investors and entrepreneurs from around the country, says Jane Muir, associate director of UF’s Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) and director of the Florida Innovation Hub.

“Participation increases every year, leading to more and more success in attracting investors and entrepreneurs who can to help start-ups grow,” Muir says. “The Celebration of Innovation is part of OTL’s efforts that have helped UF become one of the nation’s leaders in transferring research into commercial products that transform the world.”

The schedule also includes:

●      A welcome by UF President Bernie Machen

●      An overview of UF research and commercialization milestones
 from UF Senior Vice President andCEO Win Phillips

●      An update on OTL initiatives
by OTL Director David Day and Muir

The event begins at 12:30pm on March 14 at the Hilton University of Florida Hotel and Conference Center, at 1714 SW 34th St. A reception and award ceremony honoring inventors whose technologies were licensed in 2012 will follow at 5pm. Early registration is $59 and late registration is $79. To register, go tohere email conference@dce.ufl.edu or call (352) 392-1701.


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