Published On: Fri, Apr 11th, 2014

Tel Aviv University Technology Transfer Company, Announces First Round of Momentum Fund Investments

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 Ramot at Tel Aviv University Ltd. (Ramot), the University’s technology transfer company, today announced it has completed the selection process for the first round of project funding by the Technology Innovation Momentum Fund (“Momentum Fund”). Of the more than 60 applications submitted, six projects were selected with an approved budget of approximately five million NIS. Pending successful completion of milestones, funding of the selected projects can potentially increase to more than 20 million NIS. The next call for proposals is scheduled for Q3-2014 for a selection process to take place in Q4-2014.

The Momentum Fund, with $18 million already secured out of targeted $20 million, will invest in promising breakthrough technologies in a wide range of fields, including pharmaceuticals, healthcare, high-tech and the physical sciences.

Professor Klafter, Tel Aviv University (TAU) President commented: “Bridging the gap between basic science and commercializable technologies has been a major challenge to most academic institutions around the world. The Momentum Fund is uniquely positioned to bridge this gap with suitable levels of funding combined with professional management, structured to generate financial returns to investors as well as TAU and the scientists. Tata’s involvement as a lead investor, paved the way to successfully secure this fund.”

Mr. Shlomo Nimrodi, Ramot CEO and the Fund manager said: “Our goal is to take our most promising TAU innovations from basic science and bring them to the point where they have a solid, proven concept, according to industry standards. At that stage, they are sufficiently attractive to multi-national companies or venture capital funds prepared to commit substantial resources for funding the technologies all the way to commercialization. At the same time, the potential licensing terms are maximized. This perfectly aligns with our vision of translating TAU’s theoretical discoveries into useful products and applications in the real world.”

The Momentum Fund’s lead investor is Tata Industries, part of the Indian Tata Group conglomerate. Tata has committed to an investment of up to $5M. The fund’s other main investor is SanDisk, along with other angel investors from South Africa, USA, India and the UK.

Four experts committees, comprised of three Scientific Committees and an Investment Committee, thoroughly reviewed selected technologies from Tel Aviv University for funding and selected the following six leading technologies:

Novel Bio-Adhesives for Large Incisions and as an Internal  Surgery Sealant – Prof. Meital Zilberman – Dept. of Biomedical Engineering – delivering a novel Gelatin-Alginate polymer-based tissue adhesive, providing high bonding strength, biocompatibility, easy application, and wound healing acceleration using controlled drug release.

Hyaluronic – Nanotube Hydrogel for Aesthetic Tissue Augmentation – Prof. Zvi Nevo, Prof. Ehud Gazit – Dept. of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry –  delivering a new hydrogel filler, combining the favorable biological properties of the natural polymer Hyaluronic Acid, and the mechanical strength of self-assembling Peptide Nanostructures.

Small Molecule – Trp-Naphthoquinone Derivatives for Amyloidosis  – Prof. Dan Segal – Dept. of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology –  generating pre-clinical data, supporting the therapeutic effect of NQTrp in AA amyloidosis and in Dialysis-related amyloidosis (DRA)

Smart Image Sensor – Prof. David Mendlovic, Mr. Ariel Raz – Department of Electrical Engineering – the program will revolutionize the mobile phone and automotive cameras market by replacing the old Bayer color sensing mechanism with a mechanism that will deliver 4X higher resolution, stabilized image, enhanced colors and improved low-light performance.

Peptide Nucleic Acid (PNA) Luminescent Materials for OLEDs – Prof. Ehud Gazit – Molecular Microbiology & Biotechnology Department, Faculty of Life Sciences – fundamentally change the OLED TV and mobile phone display arena by introducing a unique bio-inspired “green” technology for flexible displays, delivering low cost, long life, and impressive luminescent spectrum.

Superconducting Fault Current Limiter (FCL) on Sapphire Tapes – Prof. Guy Deutscher, Dr. Boaz Almog, Mr. Mishael Azoulay – School of Physics and Astronomy – delivering superconducting tapes, utilizing sapphire substrate, which will serve as the heart of future FCL products that will provide superior Grid Electric Power protection against burnouts and blackouts

The Momentum Fund is managed by Ramot at Tel Aviv University, its Scientific Committees and Investment Committee.  Mr. Shlomo Nimrodi, Ramot CEO, is the General Partner of the Momentum Fund and heads the Investment Committee.

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