New Georgia Tech Biosciences Center assists life-science startup companies

tant addition to the Georgia Tech campus," says Robert Nerem, director of the Georgia Tech's Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience.

Indeed, many companies in the new incubator have strong faculty connections. Faculty members may be inventors of technology that's being commercialized, or they may be providing expertise to assist an ATDC member company. Either way, the incubator's campus location allows university faculty to engage in entrepreneurial activity without sacrificing their teaching or research responsibilities.

Case in point: Gang Bao, a professor of biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech, is co-founder of Vivonetics, one of the first companies in the new facility.

For Bao, who is also a faculty member at Emory University and shoulders numerous research projects, teaching and committee responsibilities, every minute counts. Vivonetics's offices and labs in the ATDC Biosciences Center are next door to Bao's office in the Whitaker Biomedical Engineering Building - a "huge plus" for Bao.

"I can walk into the company lab in less than five minutes to talk with our engineer," he explains. "Not having to deal with more commuting or parking makes my life much easier."

Bao's first entrepreneurial undertaking, Vivonetics evolved from the VentureLab program.

Until recently, Bao had never even considered forming his own company. Yet in 2002, Dr. Karim Godamunn, a VentureLab Fellow with previous startup experience, approached Bao to discuss his research with a new class of molecular beacons - a technology that showed promise for rapidly detecting cancer and diagnosing viral infection. The two men joined forces and launched Vivonetics. Although still in R&D mode, the company is making strides and has won two grants from GRA as well as a grant from the federal government's Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.

Besides enabling him to juggle multiple roles, Bao says that A

Contact: John Toon
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News

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