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Pew names Pennsylvania a 'rising clean energy leader'

Pennsylvania has developed a fast-growing clean energy economy, attracting billions in investment dollars for solar, wind, hydropower and other renewable energy technologies, according to a recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts

Pew found that between 2009 and 2013, Pennsylvania added nearly 1.4 gigawatts of clean energy capacity and attracted $3.5 billion in private investment. In 2013, Pennsylvania ranked sixth nationally in attracting private investment in clean energy at $841 million.

New project installations over the next decade are expected to add five gigawatts of capacity and generate $17.7 billion in investment, Pew added.

The organization attributes much of the activity to the state’s 2004 Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards, and to federal and state incentives. 

"By setting a goal for renewable energy and offering incentives for clean energy projects, Pennsylvania has been able to attract private investment, create new jobs and diversify its energy mix," said Tom Swanson, manager of Pew’s clean energy initiative.

The state’s Energy Portfolio Standards call for 18 percent of the state’s electricity to come from advanced energy sources by 2021 -- eight percent from renewable power and the remaining 10 percent from other advanced technologies, including efficiency and innovations in fossil energy. Pew reported that because of this policy, solar power and industrial energy efficiency have grown rapidly -- 212 megawatts and 3.3 gigawatts respectively since 2013.

State and federal incentives have also boosted clean energy. Today, wind energy and hydropower account for the majority of the state’s renewable capacity. Pennsylvania’s installed wind capacity is enough to power over 300,000 homes. Pennsylvania ranks ninth in homes powered by solar (nearly 25,000), 11th in capacity added in 2013, and 11th in jobs supported by the industry (2,900).

Industrial energy efficiency technologies -- such as combined heat and power from a single fuel source, and reusing waste heat -- are also in play. In 2013, Pennsylvania ranked sixth for total installed capacity of these technologies, eighth for capacity added that year and eighth for private investment in the sector. 

Still, challenges remain. For example, Pew cited the import of electricity from out-of-state solar projects, "effectively outsourcing some of the economic benefits the standards were designed to generate in-state."

Source: The Pew Charitable Trusts
Writer: Elise Vider

Promising healthcare research gets funding from University City Science Center

Researchers in Greater Philadelphia developing technologies for high-speed eye exams, cancer treatment and healthcare sanitation will receive funding through the seventh round of the University City Science Center's  QED Proof-of-Concept Program

The program, started in 2009, funds novel university technologies with market potential, bridging the gap between academic research and product commercialization. To date, 24 QED projects have attracted $14.8 million in follow-on funding, leading to six licensed technologies.

"QED continues to resonate with both the academic and funding community," says Science Center President and CEO Stephen S. Tang. "The number of submissions continues to increase round over round as academic researchers identify ways to commercialize their emerging technologies. At the same time, the support of our funders enables us to continue to facilitate the development of these exciting technologies and contribute to the robust life science ecosystem in the Greater Philadelphia region."

The new awardees include: 
  • Dr. Chao Zhou of Lehigh University, who is developing a diagnostic instrument that will allow faster, more sensitive eye exams for macular degeneration and glaucoma, improving an approach known as optical coherence tomography (OCT).
  • Dr. William Wuest of Temple University, who is developing the next generation of disinfectants for a variety of commercial industries including healthcare, transportation, water and energy.
  • Dr. Sunday Shoyele of Thomas Jefferson University, who is developing a product for delivering highly-degradable gene inhibitors to cancer and other cells using antibody-based nanoparticles.
The QED grants will also support stem cell research at Rutgers University. The awardees will receive a total of $650,000 in funding, along with guidance from the Science Center's team of business advisors.

Source: University City Science Center
Writer: Elise Vider

Penn State researchers determine that printed books are better for sleep than e-readers

You there curled up late at night with your smartphone, tablet or e-reader. Having trouble sleeping? It may be that exposure to the device's light is messing with your circadian clock.

According to Researchers at Penn State, study participants took nearly 10 minutes longer to fall asleep and had a significantly lower amount of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep after reading from a light-emitting e-reader than they did after reading from a printed book.

Exposure to light during evening and early nighttime hours suppresses release of the sleep-facilitating hormone melatonin and shifts the circadian clock, making it harder to fall asleep at bedtime. And electronic devices emit a form of light that "is different from natural light in composition, having a greater impact on sleep and circadian rhythms," says Anne-Marie Chang, assistant professor of bio-behavioral health, who led the project.

Chang and colleagues observed 12 adults for two weeks, comparing when the participants read from an iPad before bedtime to when they read from a printed book before bedtime. The researchers monitored the participants' melatonin levels, sleep and next-morning alertness, as well as other sleep-related measures.

"Our most surprising finding was that individuals using the e-reader would be more tired and take longer to become alert the next morning," explains Chang. "This has real consequences for daytime functioning, and these effects might be worse in the real world as opposed to the controlled environment we used."

Chang anticipates that the findings will lead to further investigation of the effects of light-emitting technologies on sleep, including, for example, the timing of exposure to this light at different times of day.

"We hope this will lead to the development of technological devices that are more 'sleep compatible,'" she says. "We live in a sleep-restricted society in general -- it is important to further study the effects of using light-emitting devices, especially before bed, as they may have longer term health consequences than we previously considered."

Source: Anne-Marie Chang, Penn State University
Writer: Elise Vider

Hershey's Simulation Systems uses virtual reality to train microsurgeons

Just as pilots train on flight simulators before taking control of a real aircraft, doctors who perform delicate microsurgery require a training tool that allows them to learn and practice complex techniques without risking harm to patients or animals.

Simulation Systems is developing just such a tool: a simulator that uses virtual reality for microsurgical training.

The company’s device "combines proprietary computer hardware and software to enable virtual microsurgical suturing," explains CEO Brian Smith. "Highly specialized input devices that look, feel and respond like actual microsurgical forceps are used to control virtual forceps in a simulated three-dimensional environment. The virtual forceps can be used, as in real microsurgery, to tie surgical knots. Ultimately, the simulation will allow the user to pass sutures through simulated anatomy in order to practice closing wounds with realistic complexity."

Company founder Dr. Joseph Sassani, an eye surgeon and professor of ophthalmology at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, began research on the simulator five years ago. Simulation Systems was spun out of Penn State in 2013 after winning the TechCelerator @ Hershey Boot Camp  for promising entrepreneurs. The company, located at the Hershey Center for Applied Research, has since received two rounds of investment from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern Pennsylvania. 

Microsurgery is performed on the smallest and most delicate anatomy, such as blood vessels, nerves and structures of the eye.

"As with any fine motor activity, acquiring and retaining mastery requires frequent repetition, and this is where our simulator will have an immediate impact," says Smith.

Virtual reality microsurgical training will also be time and cost effective, and ethically responsible, eliminating the need for lab animals. And it will provide quantifiable data, such as hand motion analysis, to guide assessment of a trainee's skill level.

The company's current focus is on developing and implementing the physics required to simulate suturing interactions.

"At this point we have a functional prototype," explains Smith, "and we are improving the integration between software and hardware components." 

To date, most of Simulation Systems’ product development has been outsourced. Now the company is preparing to establish both its own software engineering team and a clinical advisory board, helping them establish the quantitative metrics that will be most valuable for skills assessment and validation in preparation for a mid-2016 launch.

Source: Brian Smith, Simulation Systems
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Philly's Curbside Care aims to be the Uber of healthcare

Philadelphia’s Curbside Care has combined an old idea -- doctor house calls -- and a new one -- the Uber model -- to create technology that allows patients to schedule healthcare services when and where they want them.

Inspiration for Curbside Care came to co-founder Scott Ames when he was away from home and experienced a costly and time-consuming visit to an urgent care center. He and Grant Mitchell started the company based on the premise that "there are people out there who don't want to travel, who don't want to wait, and who appreciate transparent pricing," explains Mitchell. 

Located at the Digital Health Accelerator at the University City Science Center, Curbside Care is developing a tech platform and mobile app that allows patients to schedule house (or office or hotel) calls. Using HIPAA compliant, geolocation-based technology, medical practitioners confirm appointments and travel to deliver care, all in real time. 

"It is a bit ironic that advancement in technology is now allowing medicine to be practiced in a way that it was years ago," muses Mitchell. "But developments in technology and logistics allows for house calls to actually be cost effective. On-demand care will come in many forms in the near future, and Curbside Care's particular version addresses the need for a practitioner's physical presence. Interestingly, the home is often the best place to provide quality care as the patient can be treated in their most relevant context."

Curbside Care says its market is technology-enabled consumers, in particular working professionals, young parents and corporations seeking to add attractive employee benefits. On the provider side, the target is shift-based physicians and nurse practitioners who are seeking to supplement their income.

Curbside Care currently has a working, web-based product and is completing its mobile app. The company, which is actively fundraising, is also in discussions with several large hospital systems to utilize their practitioner bases for immediate scale. 

Source: Grant Mitchell, Curbside Care
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Tourism blooms in Southwest Pennsylvania thanks to support from The Progress Fund

As rural southwestern Pennsylvania lost manufacturing jobs in the 1990s, community leaders turned to tourism as a potential economic driver. But access to capital was a major roadblock for the region’s fledgling tourism sector, recalls David Kahley, CEO of The Progress Fund
   
"If we wanted to grow the industry, we needed to start our own bank to fund a new wave of rural-based tourism businesses," he recalls. "In 1997, Karen Post, the other co-founder, and I started The Progress Fund to make those loans. In essence, we took on the mission to grow this industry one business at a time."
   
Since then, The Progress Fund, based in Greensburg, has made 455 loans totaling $56.5 million to 276 small businesses including restaurants, outdoor outfitters, campgrounds, B&Bs, farms, wineries and distilleries. The Fund has also expanded its mission to support local food producers, trails and related real estate initiatives in order to maximize tourism opportunities. 
   
For example, when the Great Allegheny Passage was being built, bicycle tourists were finding and riding it, but visitation was restrained by the lack of high-quality services along the trail. In surveys, riders asked for more B&Bs and inns, restaurants, bike and retail shops.

"Without more of these businesses, the region was losing opportunity," explains Kahley. "So, 10 years ago, we made the trail towns along the Passage a priority. We continue to try to help any entrepreneur that wants to serve this still growing market. We also work to make the towns and trailheads more rider-friendly. We’ve improved directional and business signs, and have purchased and are redeveloping multiple properties that were eyesores at key locations."
   
"The tourism opportunities we saw years ago are still growing," he adds. "We will stay our course and grow so we have resources available for businesses that will take advantage of future opportunities. As for new focus areas, trail groups are working on a new regional network of 1,600 miles of recreational trails running through hundreds of small communities. Think of all those business opportunities and the real estate that needs to be redeveloped to support that growth. We are."
   
Source: David Kahley, The Progress Fund
Writer: Elise Vider
   

'Temple Ventures - Powered by Ben Franklin' is new tech accelerator for Philly-area startups

Temple University and Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/SEP) have launched a new initiative to spur technological innovation and entrepreneurship in Greater Philadelphia.

Each partner has contributed $500,000 to Temple Ventures – Powered by Ben Franklin for investment in projects generated from Temple’s discoveries in advanced technologies. Ben Franklin will manage the fund, and provide mentoring and access to networks to assist those early-stage ventures.

"For an inventor in a university, it’s critical to find the right partnership to bring his or her ideas into successful businesses," said Temple Provost Hai-Lung Dai in a statement. "Ben Franklin is an effective venture partner that provides not only investment expertise, but mentorship and strategic advice that can enable technologies developed at Temple to benefit society at large."

Over the past five years, Temple has created 13 startup companies to assist in developing university-created technologies for the marketplace. The university is expecting to significantly increase that number with the help of Temple Ventures.

The collaboration features three main components: a joint Temple/Ben Franklin Seed Fund for prototype and startup funding; new business launch resources to support the formation of the new Temple-created technology ventures; and incubation services including workspace, professional resources, and management and commercialization guidance.

The $1 million commitment is for the initial pilot, the partners say, with intent to commit an additional $1 million annually for up to five years. Temple’s contribution to the initiative will be comprised of royalty revenues obtained from the previous licensing of Temple-created technologies.

Impetus for the initiative comes from a recent report by the region’s CEO Council for Growth that urged a collaborative approach to advocacy and funding of early-stage tech firms.

Source: Temple University and BFTP/SEP
Writer: Elise Vider

Lehigh Valley Angel Investors pay it forward

Three early-stage companies are counting their blessings after receiving investments from the Lehigh Valley Angel Investors network (LVAI) totaling $260,000. The network itself has grown to 33 member angel investors and is hoping to exceed 40 in 2015.

Todd Welch of Charter Partners, Stuart Schooley, founder and co-owner of Dutch Springs, and approximately a dozen other entrepreneurs founded LVAI in 2010 as a way to "pay it forward" by helping entrepreneurs raise the start-up capital they need to forge successful companies.
 
"All of us are entrepreneurs and we all built our companies from the ground up," says Schooley, president of LVAI. "Now, we are interested in supporting like-minded people. Somewhere along the way, someone helped us and we want to return the favor."
 
Carmell Therapeutics in Pittsburgh earned a $50,000 investment from LVAI. The company’s proprietary technology enables the manufacturing of biologically active plastics from blood plasma for treating injuries to bone and connective tissue. Carmell’s plastics use the body’s own growth and regenerative factors to naturally promote tissue healing. The company is currently focused on the sports medicine market, with products designed to accelerate healing and produce better clinical outcomes.
 
LVAI also invested $80,000 in Bethlehem’s Cerora, Inc., a healthcare information technology company. The company’s first device under development, Borealis, is a portable electroencephalogram (EEG) brain wave biosensor that measures and records the electrical activity of the brain. There are currently no easy-to-use, portable and accurate neuro-diagnostics available to physicians, nurses, first responders and certified athletic trainers. Rapid diagnosis of brain injuries and disease can lead to early and more effective interventions, yielding cost savings, improved clinical outcomes and increased patient satisfaction for people with concussions or traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurologic and psychiatric conditions. Cerora is located in Ben Franklin TechVentures and LVAI’s investment complements a total of $200,000 in funding from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania
 
Another funded company, Thubrikar Aortic Valve, Inc. in Norristown, is a start-up medical device enterprise developing a next-generation transcatheter aortic valve implantation TAVI system consisting of a newly designed aortic valve and associated catheter delivery system. Thubrikar is preparing for human trials this year; LVAI invested $130,000. 
 
Source: LVAI
Writer: Elise Vider   

Father/daughter company Upper Desk wins acclaim for innovative smart device mounts

A Hughesville father-and-daughter entrepreneurial team is racking up awards for their line of innovative mounts for smart devices.

Roderick Phillips, an electrician by trade and life-long inventor, and his daughter Stephanie Phillips Taggart launched Upper Desk in 2013. Their first product, a portable cabinet mount, won the first place gold award for new product innovation at the 2014 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, was a finalist at the 2014 International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago, and won the new product development award from the Bucknell University Small Business Development Center.

"We have been told that it is very rare for a startup company to receive awards when competing with major, established companies," says Phillips Taggart.

The motivation for the company came from wife-and-mother Debra Phillips who urged her husband to keep inventing before she died six years ago. Phillips’ inspiration was the realization that kitchen cabinets would be a perfect mounting surface if he wanted to use his computer while standing up. The company says its solutions improve ergonomics, provide a safe, study place for devices, reduce the risk of spills, and optimize the use of technology.

The ingenious mount, adds Phillips Taggart, "frees up valuable countertop space while allowing access to the cabinet. It’s perfect for Skyping, researching online recipes or streaming movies in the kitchen." Its quick clamp mechanism allows it to be easily installed or removed without tools and without marring surfaces. Besides home use, the company sees potential applications in medical, dental and industrial settings.

Based on the success of the portable cabinet mount, Upper Desk recently launched a second product, a portable table mount that secures a smart device to a desk, workbench, kitchen island or table.

Both products are made in China, says Phillips Taggart.

"We tried to manufacture in the U.S.," she explains. "However, based on U.S. manufacturing costs, it would have been impossible for a startup to remain competitive in the marketplace."

Upper Desk continues to promote itself at large trade shows; this week the team will appear in Las Vegas. And the company has several new ideas in development. 

Upper Desk products are available online through the company's own website, Amazon and other e-retailers and at select Walmart locations in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, South Carolina, Michigan and Illinois.  

Source: Stephanie Phillips Taggart, Upper Desk
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Go Green IT, and their young CEO, build mobile platform for human services sector

Only in his early 20s, Nick Mudgett is already a serial entrepreneur. Now the Shippensburg University student is running Littlestown's Go Green IT, developer of a mobile-based platform for human services that boosts efficiency and eliminates paper.

"My father owns a human service company and came to me, knowing my programming experience, and expressed the need for a platform like the one I developed," recalls Mudgett.

Mudgett worked with the Small Business Development Center at Shippensburg to establish the company in July 2013. Go Green IT quickly got traction from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern Pennsylvania, winning first-place for its business plan at BFTP’s TechCelerator Boot Camp in Carlisle, and, four months later, winning a $25,000 cash prize and other spoils as winner of Ben Franklin's BIG IDEA contest

Go Green IT’s platform is intended to replace paper-based systems, which are notoriously cumbersome and often lead to billing errors, lost documentation and a high level of employee frustration.

"Our product specifically accommodates human services agencies by providing an HIPPA compliant electronic filing system and data analyzing system that automatically interfaces with state billing systems and payroll companies," explains Mudgett.

A first beta test with Focus Behavioral Health reduced over 80 percent of payroll and billing errors and cut administrative costs by eight percent. A new version of the platform, dubbed "Reliable 0.5," will be tested starting this month with two users who Mudgett expects to purchase the platform. His goal is to have 15 to 20 customers by year’s end.

Looking further ahead, he plans "to continue growing the current platform throughout the state and generate revenue. I hope to expand the platform to other fields within three years."

Source: Nick Mudgett, Go Green IT, Shippensburg University SBDC, BFTP-CNP
Writer: Elise Vider

Horsham's Clinical Ink selected for Ebola studies

A Horsham company that provides technology for clinical drug trials has been selected for multiple Ebola studies in West Africa.

Clinical Ink’s "SureSource" platform allows for real-time analysis and remote review, especially important with Ebola research since it limits the number of healthcare workers that come in contact with the virus while speeding up the analysis process.

"Conducting clinical research in this part of the world is always challenging, given the remote location of the research sites and the generally poor quality of Internet connectivity," says Clinical Ink President Doug Pierce. "The Ebola epidemic heightens these difficulties dramatically. Clinical Ink was chosen because our SureSource platform allows sites to capture the data electronically rather than on paper, and seamlessly transmit that data to the pharmaceutical company for analysis -- in real time.

"A process that typically takes weeks takes minutes using SureSource,"  he continues. "Furthermore, those needing to see the information captured by the research sites can do so remotely, wherever and whenever the need arises. With this many lives at stake, saving time has never been as important."

The clinical trials are scheduled to start in several months, Pierce reports. For now, the company is preparing the electronic forms and helping assess Internet connectivity and related IT infrastructure at the sites. Once the sites have been selected, Clinical Ink will train the users and deploy tablets to the research sites.

Clinical Ink launched in 2007 when the only way to capture data in the clinical research market was paper-based, slow and expensive. SureSource, the industry's first purpose-built platform to capture data at the point of care, has been used in close to 60 trials since 2012 for clients ranging from large pharmaceutical companies to small biotech companies to large consumer product companies.

2014 saw Clinical Ink more than double in size, both in terms of revenue and employees, and further growth is projected for this year. Besides its offices in Winston-Salem, N.C., and Philadelphia, Clinical Ink plans to open offices in Boston and at a to-be-determined European location. As for the platform, it continues to evolve and the company plans to introduce what Pierce calls "a whole host of new functionality" early this year.  

Source: Doug Pierce, Clinical Ink
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Ignite Erie seeking small business grant applicants for up to $3.9 in funds

The Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority (ECGRA) has pledged up to $3.9 million through 2017 to spark small business growth. The organization is now accepting applications for two grant programs as part of its Ignite Erie initiative.

Ignite Erie aims to spur inner-city small business development, build industry-university collaborations for business acceleration, and offer a broader spectrum of financing products for starting, growing and reinventing small businesses. 

Under its Inner-city Small Business Development program, ECGRA is committing $150,000 over three years to seed one organization with the mission, capacity and knowledge to tap into the unrealized potential of inner-city markets and entrepreneurs. 

"Small business development in impoverished census tracts is at the heart of improving commercial corridors and revitalizing neighborhoods," said ECGRA Executive Director Perry Wood in a statement. "If we can find one key organization to mastermind and drive a business-focused revitalization strategy, we may change the trajectory of Erie’s inner city and its residents."

ECGRA is soliciting grant applications from eligible organizations that can develop a cohesive strategy to revitalize the inner city one neighborhood at a time. Applicants will need to demonstrate their ability to work collaboratively with banks, developers and small-business owners to ignite commercial activities in Erie. 

ECGRA is also investing up to $750,000 over three years to create an industry-university ecosystem to support local entrepreneurs.

"Across the country, universities are collaborating with each other, startup entrepreneurs, small businesses, manufacturing, labor, healthcare and local government to create an atmosphere conducive to innovation," said Wood. "While Erie can’t boast federal labs, major research institutions or tech clusters, we are strong in applied sciences and manufacturing. Erie’s entrepreneurial spirit will be ignited when our university community comes together and leads an effort to bring the applied sciences to local industry, basement tinkerers and ambitious students." 

For this Industry + University Business Acceleration Collaboration program, applicants must have clearly established ties to local industry and collaborative university partnerships that complement their organization’s research and development strengths in service to the entrepreneur. 

Both grant programs require a 1:1 cash match. Applications are due by 4:30 p.m. Thursday, January 22. 

A third Ignite Erie program, launching later this year, will inject up to $3 million in mission-related investments in Erie County small businesses.

Source: Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Game On: Three PA schools collaborating on interactive media consortium

Harrisburg University of Science & Technology, Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh and Drexel University in Philadelphia are establishing the PA Interactive Media Consortium, with the goal of growing the high-tech sector of digital entertainment and video gaming. 

The consortium is funded by a $750,000 Discovered in PA – Developed in PA state grant to Harrisburg University.

All three schools are known for their interactive media and gaming programs. Harrisburg has its Center for Advanced Entertainment and Learning Technologies (CAELT), Drexel its Entrepreneurial Game Studio, and Carnegie Mellon its Integrative Design, Arts & Technology Network.  

The consortium will unite various stakeholders around a strategic marketing and recruitment campaign promoting Pennsylvania to interactive media companies and potential entrepreneurs. It will also enable the universities to expand education, applied research and entrepreneurship programs. Each school will employ unique strategies including awarding of micro-grants to startups, employing a gamer in residence and improving startup mentoring.

According to Charles Palmer, Harrisburg’s CAELT director, the consortium’s mission "is to build a community of higher education partners and interactive development firms which will focus on the cultural, scientific and economic importance of digital media across the Commonwealth. By creating robust mentoring networks we will assist in the incubation of new companies grown from Pennsylvania’s rich pool of talented innovators."

At Drexel in Philadelphia, "this grant will help the Entrepreneurial Game Studio fulfill its mission of being a place where students can take risks as game developers and as entrepreneurs,” adds Professor Frank Lee.

Source: PA Department of Community & Economic Development; Drexel University
Writer: Elise Vider

Four northeast PA companies ring in the new year with Ben Franklin investments

Four companies in northeastern Pennsylvania are starting off 2015 with new investments from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
 
EggZack, located at Ben Franklin TechVentures in Bethlehem, has been allocated $50,000 to expand its sales efforts, adding more resellers and increasing its direct sales force. EggZack provides an automated sales and marketing system that is specially designed for companies that serve local markets. The web- and mobile-based platform automates the management of their website, search engine optimization, social media, local search, email marketing, blogs, video and directory optimization to generate more local leads. The system then makes it convenient to convert leads into sales. 
 
OPTiMO Information Technology, LLC in Bloomsburg will receive $65,000 to expand its Legal Technology Division. The company’s new eDiscovery and Forensics Managed Services wade through huge amounts of data to reconstruct electronic events, providing reliable information and evidence for legal, corporate and government agencies in a cost-effective manner. OPTiMO delivers enterprise-level information technology products and services including software related to the digital forensics, e-discovery and litigation support industries.

Orbweaver Sourcing, LLC, also at TechVentures in Bethlehem, will receive $65,000 to develop a "supplier pricing infrastructure" in a cloud-based software solution for electronic circuit board manufacturers. This feature will allow end customers and other industry participants to collect a more robust set of data from component manufacturers and distributors. Current sourcing and procurement models in the electronics manufacturing industry are highly inefficient. Orbweaver’s software platform will allow for better-negotiated terms with suppliers, thereby reducing costs and increasing productivity for clients.
 
In addition, a partnership between East Coast Erosion Control of Bernville, an established manufacturer, and Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center earned $25,000 in matching funds. The investment is intended to improve measures of back-end processes, improving customer delivery performance, reducing cost-of-goods sold, increasing efficiency and maximizing production capacity at this manufacturer of erosion control products for the construction industry. East Coast Erosion is one of the largest producers of erosion blankets in the U.S. This upgrade will allow the company to be the first in its industry to advance to this level, providing a competitive advantage and facilitating continued growth.

Source: Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Writer: Elise Vider

Health care tech startups and cancer drug developer come to Philadelphia incubator

Two health care IT companies and a biotech startup are the newest members of the entrepreneurial community at the University City Science Center’s Port business incubator. 

Denovo Health (de novo is Latin for a new beginning) is an engagement platform targeting chronic diseases that have a high annual cost per patient and where even marginal improvements in patient engagement drive significant health and financial benefits.

According to their website, the company incorporates "design thinking with behavioral psychology and [uses] advanced technologies to make prescribed activity easy, enjoyable and rewarding." Using mobile apps, digital and physical world interactions and behavioral change tactics, Denovo’s products target glaucoma, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and diabetes, assisting users with tracking their medication, monitoring their condition and communicating with care providers. Competitive game dynamics, rewards and social reinforcement are incorporated to boost compliance. 

Smart Activities of Daily Living (Smart ADL) is developing a digital health technology called Smart Cup that enables patients and clinicians to unobtrusively record and monitor fluid intake for effective clinical and self-care management.
 
Oncoceutics, Inc. is a drug discovery and development company targeting the most potent natural suppressor pathways in human cancer. The company’s lead compound is ONC201, a novel small molecule that promises strong anti-cancer activity in the most challenging indications in oncology. 

Oncoceutics' application to initiate clinical trials with ONC201 was accepted by the FDA in February 2014 and a series of clinical studies at leading cancer centers is being activated. Oncoceutics has development ties with Penn State and the University of Pennsylvania.
 
Source: University City Science Center
Writer: Elise Vider
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