Translational Potential

Partnership strengthens entrepreneurial pipeline
August 1, 2011

In 2005, the Coulter Foundation charged nine universities, including Duke, with accelerating the development of university biomedical engineering projects into commercial products and clinical practices. This past spring, the Coulter Foundation donated $10 million—matched with additional investments from Duke and the Fitzpatrick Foundation—to create a $20 million endowment for the Duke-Coulter Translational Partnership, designed to encourage collaboration between bioengineers and clinicians.

Since 2005, nineteen Duke projects have been funded, focusing on such areas as detecting prostate cancer and esophageal precancerous lesions, treating hemophilia, and controlling urinary function for paraplegics. In total, the Duke projects have resulted in three start-up companies—all located in Research Triangle Park—several licensing agreements, more than $35 million in venture capital and investments, and another $47 million in federal, state, and foundation grants. The new endowment will allow the program to continue to support promising translational projects at Duke in perpetuity.

The Duke program has been led by biomedical engineering chair George Truskey; biomedical engineering professor Barry Myers M.D./Ph.D. ’91, M.B.A. ’05, who is also director of Duke’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization; and Melda Uzbil M.Eng.M. ’04, the Coulter program director.