May 28, 2010

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The first University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Research Foundation Spin-Out Company Forum was held in May. Presenters included six UAB biotechnology researchers who have taken their university discoveries to the next level and developed spin-out companies through which they'll secure investments and grow their products.

"What the UAB Research Foundation does is it seeks patent protection for exciting, emerging technologies coming out of UAB laboratories," said Leona Fitzmaurice, Ph.D., director of Technology Transfer for UAB Research Foundation. "We look for homes for that technology, places where it can be developed and moved forward."

In the forum audience were leading investors from as far away as Los Angeles who provided valuable feedback on the UAB emerging technologies and the companies that have been created to foster them. The exposure was a windfall for UAB and its researchers.
"It is just wonderful for our researchers to be able to present their technologies to a panel of experts from both coasts and from Birmingham" said Fitzmaurice. Participating investors said it was an excellent opportunity for them to examine future partnerships with UAB and its world-class researchers.

"We are always looking for the most mature technologies that we can find that others haven't looked for, and UAB is a center for excellence that very few others in our position are coming down to," said Vinny Jindal,
chief investment officer of Bay Street Capital. 

Jindal said UAB and its Research Foundation-supported spin-out companies have the ability to transform Birmingham into a global biotechnology hub.

"We feel like technologies have an opportunity to mature here and develop here and reach a point much closer to commercialization than what you'd find in the biotech hotbeds of San Francisco, Boston and San Diego," Jindal said. "We have a very distinct interest in helping Birmingham create a biotechnology hub, and we think all the ingredients are here at UAB."