Penn researcher wins $200,000 from Science Center’s Proof-of-Concept Program

The University City Science Center has announced three awardees in the latest round of its QED Proof-of-Concept Program which partners with regional academic and research institutions to prepare their most promising life science technologies for commercialization. One of the awardees is from the Penn School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

The awardees will each receive $200,000 and critical support from the Science Center’s network of seasoned business advisers and industry experts to position their technologies for exit out of their host institutions and into a startup or licensing agreement.


Dr. Haim H. Bau, Dept. Mechanical Engineering & Applied Mechanics
University of Pennsylvania

For use in liquid biopsies, this invention is a method for enriching target nucleic acid in body fluid samples to enable personalized therapy, early disease screening, and disease progression monitoring.
For oncologists, the invention will allow high efficiency and specificity to detect cancer earlier in populations at risk, prescribe targeted drugs, and alter drug regimen as drug-resistance evolves.

Dr. Ian Henrich, Dept. of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

A novel therapy utilizing USP6 that fires up different parts of the immune system against cancer cells
The team’s first target for proof of concept is acute myeloid leukemia.  In the long-term, this therapy may serve in combination to optimize CAR-T response and serve as a powerful immunotherapeutic for a wide range of malignancies.

Dr. Emily Day, Biomedical Engineering Dept.
University of Delaware

Nanoparticles that can target delivery of “cargo” of small molecules that turn off specific genes to blood stem cells  This platform technology will be a valuable research tool to improve the understanding of blood stem cell biology and has substantial potential to transform the treatment of benign and malignant blood disorders including HIV, cancer, aplastic anemia, and sickle cell disease.

“Through their commercialization programs, the Science Center continues to nurture and inspire our life science university start-ups,” says Coulter-Drexel Translational Research Program Director, Kathie Jordan. “These programs are unique in their ability to work with universities throughout the area to vet and fund high-promise biotechnology, while integrating with the university-based acceleration programs, including the Coulter-Drexel Translational Research Partnership fund and I-Corps.”

Each of the technologies were identified as having high potential for improving human health and of being of intense industry and investor interest. The awardees were selected from a pool of 45 applicants from 8 institutions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Since its inception in 2009, the QED program has provided development services for over 100 academic researchers with over $8M invested in 41 projects.  Eighteen startups or licensing deals have resulted.

The Science Center’s commercialization programs, of which QED is part, is a leader in the development of biotechnology across the region. Equipped with deep expertise both in-house and in its network of advisors, the Science Center can efficiently identify, evaluate, accelerate, and finance the most promising life science ideas and businesses.  The Science Center’s first-hand research, startup, and investment experience and its expanding set of analytical tools are used not only by academia but increasingly by industry partners seeking to simplify scouting operations around licensing, mergers and acquisitions, investment, and out-sourced technology incubation.

To learn more about how the Science Center Commercialization team can help with your technology or more about our industry and investor sourcing and diligence services, visit or contact us at

About the QED Program

The QED Program provides funding and business development support for academic researchers developing early-stage life science and healthcare technologies with high commercial potential.  A common participation agreement that defines matching funds, indirect costs, and intellectual property management, has been signed by 21 universities and research institutions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Delaware State University, Drexel University, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, Lehigh University, Monell Chemical Senses Center, Moravian College, New Jersey Institute of Technology, The Pennsylvania State University, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Rowan University, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University, University of Delaware, University of Pennsylvania, University of the Sciences, Widener University, and The Wistar Institute.

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