April 1, 2012

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Utah’s Legacy of Innovation Continues

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Innovation Awards

Utah’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Continues

Di Lewis, Heather Stewart, Sarah Ryther Francom

April 1, 2012

Utah is a state built on innovation. From the pioneers who took risks building a new community to the many men and women who continue to push creativity and growth, the state’s history of innovation is still being written.

The 2012 Utah Innovation Awards honor those who are always looking for a better solution, those who never settle for good enough. Stoel Rives, in partnership with the Utah Technology Council, launched the program as a way to recognize those people and their ground-breaking contributions. Now in its 10th year, the Innovation Awards bring together innovators, experts, academics and leaders to celebrate the pioneering work that keeps Utah on the cutting edge.

“Many of these innovations are now transforming industries, improving medicine and improving efficiencies at work and at home,” says Rob Yates, partner at Stoel Rives.

Richard Nelson, founder and CEO of the Utah Technology Council, says the awards highlight a growing creative community. “Utah’s off the charts in its entrepreneurial culture,” Nelson says. “That’s what drives a lot of our success; this thing in our DNA, this entrepreneurial culture is the core of our success.”

Innovation not only sets people, companies and products apart, it drives the state’s economy and future. Join Utah Business as we honor those with the vision for a different and better tomorrow.

Oncology Epigenetic Therapy By Salarius Pharmaceuticals
Salarius Pharmaceuticals is developing a first-in-class cancer therapeutic that works by targeting the epigenetic mechanisms central to cancer development and progression. A key histone modifying enzyme, lysine specific demethylase 1 (LSD1), is important in controlling DNA structure and gene expression—and this enzyme is over-expressed in many cancer tissues.

Salarius is working on a highly selective LSD1 inhibitor. This inhibitor targets LSD1, modulating the aberrant patterns of gene expression that drive cancer cell growth. This therapy may prove effective against many types of cancers, including prostate, breast, small cell lung cancer and others.

The LSD1 inhibitor was identified at the Center for Investigational Therapeutics at the Huntsman Cancer Center. So far, the compound has performed well in animal safety and efficacy studies, and Salarius is currently seeking a partner to help move the inhibitor into human clinical trials.

TP-0413 By Tolero Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Anemia of chronic disease (ACD) is a devastating condition with no effective treatment options currently available. ACD is a form of anemia that is always associated with a chronic illness, such as autoimmune disorders or cancer, and it leaves patients too exhausted to combat their underlying disease or remain on their treatment regimens.

ACD is caused by a signaling pathway in the liver that involves BMP receptors, which have been shown to be unregulated in patients with ACD. As a result, the liver over-produces the hormone hepcidin, which limits the availability of iron by promoting its storage in sequestered cells.

Tolero Pharmaceuticals is developing a potent inhibitor of BMP receptors, TP-0413. Preclinical animal models have demonstrated that TP-0413 reverses the effects of ACD, improving biomarkers like serum iron and red blood cell production. The company has taken TP-0413 through the most advanced stages of animal testing and plans to be in human studies by the end of 2012.

Honorable Mention

Generation of iPS Cells  by Stefan Pulst, M.D.

Clean Tech
W-10 Wind Power Universal Transmission By VMT Technologies, LLC
The W-10 Wind Power Universal Transmission technology solves one of the most problematic issues facing the wind power industry—the inefficiencies of gearboxes.

According to the Department of Energy, wind turbines typically last 15 to 20 years, but gearboxes within the turbines last only two to five years. The W-10 Universal Transmission aims to solve this problem with its innovative CVT (continuously variable transmission) technology. The W-10 Universal Transmission is the only gearbox to deliver a constant synchronous output by mirroring variable wind speeds. With this solution, gearboxes could potentially last years longer and be more efficient.

According to American Wind Energy Association, even a 1 to 2 percent increase in efficiencies could equal millions of dollars per year to wind farm developers, bringing wind power to be among the most competitive of all renewable energies.

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