Two Penn teams named finalists in the Science Center’s QED Proof-of-Concept Program

The University City Science Center has named 10 finalists in its 2019 QED proof-of-concept program, which partners with regional academic and research institutions to prepare their most promising life science technologies for commercialization.

The two finalists from Penn are:

  • A new method for removing devices from the bloodstream and heart, Lead Investigator Matt Gillespie
  • A method for improving the detection of genetic mutations, Lead Investigator Haim Bau

Along with the two Penn teams, eight teams from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Rutgers, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and the University of Delaware will also advance. Finalists will receive intensive coaching from the Science Center’s network of industry experts.

In the spring of 2020, up to three of the ten teams will be selected for further backing, with each receiving $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.

Each of the technologies in this year’s portfolio were identified as having high potential for improving human health and of being of intense industry and investor interest – key ingredients in startup success.  The program will work with teams developing new gene therapies and associated drug delivery methods, new ways of brain and cancer imaging, and new molecular- and cell-based diagnostic tests.

The other teams include:

  • Using mRNA as a new therapy for acute leukemia, Lead Investigator Ian Henrich
  • New methods of using ultrasound to detect brain growth and injury, Lead Investigator Misun Hwang
  • A device for capturing tumor cells out of the blood stream, Lead Investigator X. Lucas Lu
  • Drug delivery using cell fragments, Lead Investigator Matthew Hudson
  • Use of nanoparticles to deliver gene therapies to cells, Lead Investigator Emily Day
  • Inhaled nanomedicines for cystic fibrosis, Lead investigator Charles Roth
  • A new method for imaging skin cancers for improved diagnosis, Lead Investigator Frederick Silver
  • A new ‘lab on a chip’ method for simplified blood testing, Lead Investigator Eon Soo Lee

Details about past QED program projects can be found on the Science Center website. Since its inception in 2009, the QED program has provided coaching for over 100 academic researchers with close to $7.5M invested in 38 projects.  Ten supported technologies have subsequently been licensed, and eight start-ups have been launched, some of which went on to receive further support and financing from Science Center programs.

In recent years, the program has benefited from financial support from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

To learn more about QED and other Science Center programs and services for early-stage technology companies, visit or contact us at

About the Science Center

Located in the heart of uCity Square, the Science Center is a mission-driven nonprofit organization that catalyzes and connects innovation to entrepreneurship and technology commercialization. For 50+ years, the Science Center has supported startups, research, and economic development in the life sciences, healthcare, physical sciences, and emerging technology sectors. As a result, Science Center-supported companies account for one out of every 100 jobs in the Greater Philadelphia region and drive $13 billion in economic activity in the region annually. By providing resources and programming across the early stages of a business’s lifecycle, the Science Center helps scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators take their concepts from idea to IPO – and beyond.

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