Notre Dame Researcher Wins Commercialization Honor

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The director of In Vivo Imaging in the University of Notre Dame's Integrated Imaging Facility is the recipient of this year's 1st Source Bank Commercialization Award. W. Matthew Leevy has been honored for technology that addresses occupational exposure to anesthesia gases, which OHSA regards as a long-term health hazard in laboratory environments. April 10, 2014

News Release

W. Matthew Leevy, research assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame and director of In Vivo (biological) Imaging within the University’s Integrated Imaging Facility, has been named recipient of the 1st Source Bank Commercialization Award celebrating research that has made it to the marketplace.

Established in 2008 with a $1 million gift from 1st Source Bank, the award is presented each year to faculty from Notre Dame or the Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend who have successfully transitioned their technology from the lab to the marketplace.

The In Vivo Imaging Facility provides a non-invasive approach to observe various disease and biological models in living systems. The author of hundreds of papers, video articles and imaging protocols, Leevy was recognized for his extensive expertise both on the Notre Dame campus and across the nation.

Leevy’s frustration with inefficient, leaky anesthesia delivery systems, combined with his entrepreneurial approach to problem solving, resulted in the initial design of a new live animal manifold system. This device not only solves the common problem of animals waking up during procedures, but it also addresses the more serious problem of occupational exposure to anesthesia gases, an OSHA-recognized long-term health hazard common in laboratory environments.

In one short year, Leevy filed the disclosures necessary to initiate a patent protection process, created In Vivo Concepts, an LLC that licensed the technology from the University, secured an industry-experienced businessman to serve as In Vivo Concept’s president, negotiated an exclusive sales and distribution contract with the industry’s largest supplier of imaging facilities’ laboratory equipment, and subcontracted with a local manufacturer for fulfillment of an initial $50,000 order for Equa-flow Anesthesia Manifolds. In addition, Leevy has supported early discussions surrounding the expansion of In Vivo Concepts into the veterinarian space, a market whose offices experience similar operational and safety problems.

The award, which carries a $20,000 cash prize, was presented Tuesday (April 8) during a dinner at Club Naimoli of the Purcell Pavilion, with the theme “It takes a Village to Commercialize an Idea.” In addition to Leevy, numerous other individuals and organizations were honored for their work in 2013, including: Ninety-nine inventors who submitted 65 disclosures (32 of whom had multiple disclosures).

Nineteen inventors who were awarded U.S. patents.

Twelve inventors who were involved in licensing of 10 new technologies to seven different firms.

The ESTEEM Program, the Gigot Center and its McCloskey Business Plan Competition, the Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic, the Master of Science in Patent Law and the Proof of Technology Demonstration Center, which were recognized as evidence of Notre Dame’s investment in building internal support programs for the commercialization of its intellectual property.

The Irish Entrepreneurs Network and the Irish Angels, the Irish Innovation Fund, the MAGNET Investors, the state of Indiana’s Elevate Ventures program, the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce and its Small Business Counseling arm and the Elkhart Economic Development Corp., all recognized as active, essential “off-campus” partners.

Theresa Sedlack, private sector engagement director at Innovation Park, for her outstanding personal commitment to providing sound counseling and advice.

Other finalists included Gary Bernstein for Indiana Integrated Circuits LLC, Carol Tanner and Steven Ruggiero for LightSprite and Elliott Visconsi for Luminary Digital Media LLC.

The keynote speaker at this year’s event was Thomas J. Graham, a renowned hand surgeon who is the chief innovation officer of the Cleveland Clinic Innovations, the technology commercialization arm of the Cleveland Clinic, where he holds the Justice Family Chair in Medical Innovations. He also is vice chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery of the Cleveland Clinic.

Source: University of Notre Dame