Innovation Awards Finalists Picked

Deseret Morning News
April 29 2004


Eighteen finalists have been selected for the second annual Stoel Rives Utah Innovation Awards, a program honoring high-tech innovations and Utah companies that created them.

The program was developed by the business law firm Stoel Rives LLP and Wasatch Digital iQ magazine, in conjunction with the Utah Engineering Experiment Station and with support from MountainWest Venture Group, Utah Information Technology Association and Utah Life Science Association.

One winner from each of the six award categories will be announced May 20. Three finalists were named in each category, selected by a committee of 35 experts from private industry, government and higher education. Votes were tallied by accounting firm KPMG. Finalists are:

Biotechnology -- The MAUI Microarray Hybridization System, created by BioMicro Systems Inc. to monitor thousands of genes at the same time; Real-Time PCR Mutation Scanning, created by Idaho Technology Inc. and the University of Utah to more easily detect disease-causing mutations in DNA; and Targeted Gene Manipulation, created by the U, to efficiently bind DNA and incorporate genetic material for genetic manipulation of any target organism.

Chemicals, pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals -- Flurizan, created by Myriad Genetics Inc. as a drug for the treatment and prevention of prostate cancer; Isovaleramide, created by NPS Pharmaceuticals LLC as a small organic molecule compound being developed to treat migraine headaches and other central nervous system disorders; and SoilSET, created by Sequoia Pacific Research Co. as a nanotechnology product that binds soil particles to control erosion, suppress dust and revegetate soil.

Medical devices -- Improved Disease Diagnostics Based on Simplified Molecular Separation and Identification, created by ARUP Laboratories as a technique that can help hospitals, blood banks and bio-warfare analysts recognize diseases by their genetic identity; HeartQuest Ventricular Assist Device, created by MedQuest Products Inc. as a long-term implantable blood pump used as an alternative to heart transplant for patients with end-stage congestive heart failure; and CHADD, or Controlled Heat-Assisted Drug Delivery, created by Zars Inc. as a proprietary heating patch that enhances the delivery of drugs across the skin.

Computer software and Web services -- Engage ThoughtTree, created by Engage ThoughtWare LLC as a technology that promotes collaborative knowledge-sharing in organizations through the first behavioral software for thinking, communicating and accelerating new ideas; Forum Systems Web Services Security Solutions, created by Forum Systems as a Web services security technology that protects against information theft and new, hidden online threats; and Resident Works, created by Property Solutions International Inc. as a technology that allows residents and property managers to make payments, maintenance requests and other transactions online.

Electrical devices -- Kestrel Autopilot, created by Brigham Young University for flight control of miniature unmanned aerial vehicles; CodecSys, created by Broadcast International to enable the creation of high-quality video and audio transmission at lower bandwidth; and Hypercomputers, created by Star Bridge Systems Inc., that use field-programmable gate arrays to create reconfigurable supercomputers that are used in scientific research and development and in the life sciences, geosciences and other high-performance computing applications.

Mechanical devices -- Cercanam, created by Ceramatec Inc. as a nano-ceramic that can be used in a broad range of applications such as optical connectors and fire-retardant building materials; High-Purity Conductive Quartz Heater, created by Trebor, a unit of Idex, as a single-piece heating element with a low thermal mass for use in semiconductor manufacturing; and Novel Titanium Boride Surface-Hardening Technology, created by the U. to enable the outer layer of articles made of titanium to become harder and more wear-resistant.

"This year's submissions were quite impressive," said Michael A. Keene, state science adviser and member of the selection committee both this year and last.

"Utah inventors are developing innovations that can not only boost economic growth but also significantly improve our quality of life. The Utah Innovation Awards program shines the spotlight on promising innovations that we believe merit interest from venture capitalists and from businesses in and outside of Utah."

The awards lunch will be at noon at the U.'s Olpin Union Ballroom in conjunction with the Edison Conference, a daylong event that includes presentations by industry leaders, a showcase of Utah innovations and one-on-one meetings with potential funding sources. Dr. Rex Spendlove, founder of HyClone Laboratories and this year's winner of the Experiment Station's Pathfinder Award, will also be honored.

The cost to attend the awards lunch only is $40 per person or $320 for a table that seats eight. The registration fee for the Edison Conference is $95. The conference cost includes a May 19 pre-event reception and the May 20 day-long event, including the awards lunch. Registration for the awards lunch and the Edison Conference can be completed at www.utah.edu/uees/Edison/Edison_home.html. More information is available by contacting Terrence Chatwin at 1-801-581-6348 or terrence.chatwin@utah.edu.

Details about the awards program are available at www.stoel.com/innovation2004.

"Utah's high-tech and life science industries are developing wonderful innovations that have an immediate, positive impact on Utah and will stimulate the economy into the future," Chatwin said. "We hope that by highlighting these successes we can help educate businesses about the available funding and at the same time draw more venture capital to Utah to ensure continued growth."

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