Winter 2013  

NU Startup News

SiNode Systems
SwipeSense received 2013 Chicago Innovation Awards.
SwipeSense was also named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the top 3 startups of the year.

Voxsup, NU startup by McC Prof. Alok Choudhary, has changed its name to
4C Insights.  The platform 
increases the ability to translate social media into marketing intelligence. Partners include Facebook, Twitter, Netflix and Microsoft. 

Transplant Genomics, NU startup by Feinberg Prof. Michael Abecassis, has partnered with Scripps Institute to develop molecular
diagnostics that improve organ transplant outcomes.

Naurex , NU startup by McC Prof. Joseph Moskal, names new President and CEO, Norbert RiedelDr. Riedel retired from Baxter International as corporate VP and Chief Science and Innovation Officer.  He has "come to appreciate the transformational potential and breadth of the applications of the company's technology platform" and is "impressed by the skill and commitment of [the]management and staff."  He considers it a "privilege to lead this team as we strive to bring our rapid-acting anti-depressant to the millions of patients in need of new options as expeditiously as possible."

QuesTek Innovations, NU startup by McC Prof. Gregory Olson, receives approval for their ultra-high strength, high toughness Ferrium M54 Steel for inclusion in the aerospace industry's Metallic Materials Properties Development & Standardization Handbook. M54 Steel may be used by engineers to design landing gear and helicopter rotor shafts.
INVO welcomes New Staff  

Arjan Quist, PhD joined INVO in November 2013 as an Invention Associate managing portfolios in physical sciences and engineering after two years in research administration in the Materials Science Engineering Department.  Prior to joining Northwestern, he was a research scientist investigating scanning probe microscopy and micro- and nanofabrication/ lithography aimed at device development with life science applications.  Arjan has an MSc in Physics from the Vrije University in Amsterdam, and a PhD in Ion Physics with a specialization in SPM from Uppsala University.

Robert Toczycki, Esq. joined INVO as Intellectual Property Manager in October 2013.  He manages the IP team in domestic  and foreign filings of patent and trademark applications, as well as drafting, negotiating and managing license agreements, joint development agreements, and all other IP related agreements and transactions.  Robert has over 20 years of experience in developing and managing IP portfolios, representing clients including Motorola, Schneider Electric, and Apple Computer.  Robert holds a BS in Computer Science and Mathematics from University of IL, Urbana-Champaign and a JD from Valparaiso University School of Law.
New Resources for Northwestern Inventors
The Garage
A new collaborative space to be built in a garage...
Eleven thousand square feet is being devoted to innovation and entrepreneurship on the first floor of the six-level parking garage which is currently under construction on the north end of the Evanston campus.  The Garage will provide a collaborative space for students from different disciplines to explore and develop early stage ideas and offer resources to help mentor students in entrepreneurship.  The space will be designed by the global design firm, Gensler, and will possibly feature conference rooms, a large classroom, collaborative working areas, resident startup tenants, and a break area.  The goal is to create a collaborative space that is similar to 1871 that is unique to Northwestern.  The university hopes to open The Garage by the end of 2014.  

The Proof-of-Concept Fund
Funding to help bridge the biomedical commercialization gap.
INVO and NUCATS have worked together to create a new source of funds
($200,000 in total) for NU inventors in the biomedical space.  The objective
of the Proof-of-Concept Fund is to move promising research into a self-
supporting commercial pathway.  This is a one-time, non-recurring
opportunity.  Out of the 35 applications, eight were selected to prepare a 15
minute investor pitch before two external judges.  

Congratulations to the three awardees: 
  • Jonathan Leis  for further testing of lead compounds for viral therapeutics;
  • William Klein for validating a probe for early Alzheimer's diagnosis; and 
  • Guillermo Ameer and Melina Kibbe for testing safety and efficacy standards for a medical device in wound healing. 
Faculty Startup Milestones

McC Prof. Michael Peshkin's robotic surgery startup, Mako Surgical, was acquired by Stryker for $1.65B.   

EarMachine, an NU startup by McC Prof. Bryan Pardo and former postdoctoral researcher Andrew Sabin, created their iOS hearing app that enables listeners to adjust loudness and fine-tune sounds and then sends the enhanced sound to their ears.  It is now available on iTunes. 
New INVO Agreements
INVO executed


4 exclusive licenses 

NU entered into 2 agreements with Lurie Children's Hospital and Osage Partners.  INVO will help manage the technology portfolio for faculty at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.  This partnership will open the doors to pediatric health, which is a less active area for NU.  Osage Partners, a venture firm heavily invested in university startups, will invest in our startups in exchange for access to NU's equity pool. They currently work with over 50 other universities under the same model.
Other INVO News... 

INVO plans 2014 Summer Innovation to Commercialization (I2C) Fellowship
Graduate students from McCormick, Kellogg, Law and Feinberg who are interested in spending 8 weeks working collaboratively on commercializing NU technologies are invited to apply to be a 2014 I2C Fellow.  Details can be found on INVO's website.  The fellowship is from June 23-August 15, 2014.  For more details, contact Sonia Kim.

INVO Commercialization Seminar
Ed Pease from WilmerHale, an international law firm, spoke at NU on negotiating licensing agreements.  Mr. Pease has over  17 years of experience negotiating with a variety of academic institutions, including Northwestern, MIT, and Harvard.  The seminar was targeted to individuals who are considering launching a startup built around a university technology.  The goal was to help demystify the licensing process, emphasize key issues that should be considered for any licensing negotiation, and help plot out the most direct course to a successful outcome when negotiating with an academic institution. The slide deck is available on INVO's website under Commercialization Resources.

Update from Center for Device Development (CD2)   
2014-15 CD2 Fellows have been selected.  The current CD2 fellows are half-way through their experience in medical device innovation. They recently selected two distinct concepts to advance through product development and commercialization. In the next several months they will also file intellectual property and seek funding opportunities.  For more information, visit

INVO Video Series  
INVO's first video of its online video series has gone live!  Visit our website to watch "Disclosing Your Invention" which was written to help provide some best practices as you work with INVO. We have created a one-pager that describes the INVO process and what faculty can expect after disclosing an invention. The 2nd video "Patenting your Invention" is in the making.   Stay tuned... 
About Us

The Innovation and New Ventures Office inspires and nurtures a culture of innovation, bridging Northwestern research with its practical use for public benefit.

For more information, visit INVO or contact  
Sonia Kim.  Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


1800 Sherman Ave, Suite 504
Northwestern University
Evanston, Illinois 60201