Finalists Named in 2004 Utah Innovation Awards Program

PR Newswire
April 28 2004

SALT LAKE CITY -- Eighteen high-tech innovations and the Utah companies that created them have been selected as finalists in the second annual Stoel Rives UTAH INNOVATION AWARDS. This statewide program was developed jointly 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.

Six winners -- one from each category -- will be announced at an awards lunch on May 20, 2004 at noon in the University of Utah Olpin Union Ballroom. A committee of 35 experts from private industry, government and higher education selected the award finalists, three in each of the program's six categories: biotechnology; chemicals, pharmaceuticals & nutraceuticals; medical devices; computer software & Web services; electrical devices; and mechanical devices. Votes were tallied by the accounting firm KPMG. More details about the awards program are available at

"This year's submissions were quite impressive," said State Science Advisor Dr. Michael A. Keene, who served on 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."


Finalists, listed alphabetically (by innovating entity) within each category, are as follows:

In the biotechnology category, finalists include the MAUI Microarray Hybridization System (created by BioMicro Systems, Inc.), Real-Time PCR Mutation Scanning (Idaho Technology Inc. and University of Utah), and Targeted Gene Manipulation (University of Utah). These innovations, respectively, are designed to monitor thousands of genes at the same time, more easily detect disease-causing mutations in DNA, and efficiently bind DNA and incorporate genetic material for genetic manipulation of any target organism.

Finalists in the chemicals, pharmaceuticals & nutraceuticals category are Flurizan (Myriad Genetics, Inc.), Isovaleramide (NPS Pharmaceuticals), and SoilSET (Sequoia Pacific Research Company, LLC). These innovations, respectively, include a drug for the treatment and prevention of prostate cancer, a small organic molecule compound being developed to treat migraine headaches and other central nervous system disorders, and a nanotechnology product that binds soil particles to control erosion, suppress dust and revegetate soil.

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

Finalists in the computer software & Web services category include Engage ThoughtTree(TM) (Engage ThoughtWare(TM) LLC), Forum Systems Web Services Security Solutions (Forum Systems), and RESIDENT WORKS(TM) (Property Solutions International, Inc.). These innovations, respectively, include a technology that promotes collaborative knowledge-sharing in organizations through the first behavioral software for thinking, communicating and accelerating new ideas, a Web services security technology that protects against information theft and new, hidden online threats, and a technology that allows residents and property managers to make payments, maintenance requests and other transactions online.

Finalists in the electrical devices category include Kestrel Autopilot (Brigham Young University), CodecSys(TM) (Broadcast International), and Hypercomputers(R) (Star Bridge Systems, Inc.). These innovations, respectively, provide flight control of miniature unmanned aerial vehicles, enable the creation of high-quality video and audio transmission at lower bandwidth, and 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.

Finalists in the mechanical devices category include CERCANAM(R) (Ceramatec, Inc.), High-Purity Conductive Quartz Heater (Trebor -- a unit of IDEX), and Novel Titanium Boride Surface-Hardening Technology (University of Utah). These innovations, respectively, include a nano-ceramic that can be used in a broad range of applications such as optical connectors and fire-retardant building materials, a single-piece heating element with a low thermal mass for use in semiconductor manufacturing, and a technology that enables the outer layer of articles made of titanium to become harder and more wear-resistant.


Finalists will be recognized and the six winners announced at the awards lunch held in conjunction with the Edison Conference on Thursday, May 20, 2004 at noon in the University of Utah Olpin Union Ballroom. Dr. Rex Spendlove, founder of HyClone Laboratories and this year's winner of the Experiment Station's Pathfinder Award, will also be honored. The awards lunch will be the centerpiece event of the Edison Conference, a day-long event that includes presentations by industry leaders, a showcase of Utah innovations, and one-on-one meetings with potential funding sources. This year's lunch will include opening remarks from Utah Governor Olene S. Walker and will feature Ed Catmull, co-founder of entertainment giant Pixar, as guest speaker.

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. To register for the awards lunch and the Edison Conference, visit For more information, contact Dr. Terrence Chatwin at 801-581-6348, [email protected]

"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," said Chatwin. "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."

Program organizer and Stoel Rives LLP attorney Kevin Laurence said his firm helped create the Utah Innovation Awards program with the ultimate aim of fostering further growth in Utah's high-tech sector. "Anything we can do to boost visibility and respect for Utah's high-tech industry benefits the community as a whole," he said. Stoel Rives LLP is a business law firm with significant experience in several practice areas, including intellectual property law. The firm's Salt Lake City office has 53 attorneys, including 11 attorneys who help clients obtain patents and trademarks, arrange licensing agreements, and defend and protect intellectual property assets. The firm has attorneys with degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, biology, chemistry and physics.


BioMicro Systems, Inc.
"MAUI Microarray Hybridization System"
This system simplifies and optimizes the hybridization step in microarray technology for cancer research, genetic studies and other applications. The innovation expedites the simultaneous monitoring of the expression of many thousands of genes.

Idaho Technology Inc. and University of Utah
"Real-Time PCR Mutation Scanning"
The outgrowth of a strategic technology development partnership between Idaho Technology and The University of Utah's Center for Homogeneous DNA Analysis, this innovation provides a novel system for mutation scanning and discovery, with a high-resolution detector of disease-causing mutations in DNA.

University of Utah
"Targeted Gene Manipulation"
With this technology, Zinc finger nucleases can be engineered to bind to specific DNA sequences and to stimulate the production of targeted changes in the genes of essentially any organism.


Myriad Genetics, Inc.
Flurizan is a drug being developed for the treatment and prevention of prostate cancer. With Flurizan, Myriad seeks to create a treatment without the harmful side effects found in current treatment options.

NPS Pharmaceuticals
Isovaleramide is a proprietary small organic molecule compound currently under development for treatment of central nervous system disorders, including therapy for migraine headaches, epilepsy and other disorders.

Sequoia Pacific Research Company, LLC
SoilSET is a nanotechnology product structured from organic, food-grade, biodegradable materials. It binds with nano, micro and macro soil particles for use in erosion control, dust suppression and revegetation of soil.


ARUP Laboratories
"Improved Disease Diagnostics Based on Simplified Molecular Separation and Identification"
This innovative technique enables rapid concentration of genetic material from pathogens and cells, followed by molecular identification. The innovation was developed to improve medical diagnostics but has potential for broad application in food, environmental and biodefense testing.

MedQuest Products, Inc.
"HeartQuest(TM) Ventricular Assist Device"
This innovation is a long-term, implantable blood pump designed as an alternative to heart transplant for end-stage congestive heart failure patients. The device uses magnetic levitation instead of mechanical bearings, allowing an impellor to gently sweep blood through the pump without damaging the blood or creating wear and tear on the pump.

Zars, Inc.
"CHADD (Controlled Heat-Assisted Drug Delivery)"
CHADD is a proprietary heating patch that enhances the delivery of drugs across the skin.


Engage ThoughtWare(TM) LLC
"Engage ThoughtTree(TM)"
Engage ThoughtTree is software that allows for anonymous contribution, exploration, collaboration and evaluation of ideas from anyone in an organization. The technology creates a safe and rewarding environment where individuals can say what they truly think, without fear of reprisal.

Forum Systems
"Forum Systems Web Services Security Solutions"
This comprehensive suite of security appliances, software and embedded products and services for the automated Web provides protection against information theft, impersonation, eavesdropping and a new breed of hidden online threats. Forum systems' suite of Web solutions includes XWall(TM), Forum Sentry(TM) and Forum Presidio(TM).

Property Solutions International, Inc.
RESIDENT WORKS(TM) is a property management system that enables Web-based circular dataflow between residents and managers, including portals that allow online payments, maintenance requests and other transactions.


Brigham Young University
"Kestrel Autopilot"
Kestrel Autopilot provides flight control of miniature unmanned aerial vehicles. The technology reduces costs and removes human pilots from danger in surveillance, reconnaissance and other military applications, search and rescue, traffic monitoring, aerial mapping and other situations.

Broadcast International
CodecSys is a multi-codec system that enables the creation of high-quality video and audio transmissions at lower bandwidth requirements than those required by other streaming technologies. The technology can be used in storage, video conferencing, compression/decompression streaming media systems and other applications.

Star Bridge Systems, Inc.
In conjunction with the company's Viva(R) hardware programming language/development environment, Starbridge's Hypercomputers utilize 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. Hypercomputers allow biologists, for example, to unlock vital information contained in the human genome.


Ceramatec, Inc.
CERCANAM is an inexpensive, castable nano-ceramic that can be used in a broad range of applications such as optical connectors, on-board reformers for automobile fuel cells, insulation for fuel cells and fire-retardant building material coatings.

Trebor -- a unit of IDEX
"High-Purity, Conductive Quartz Heater"
This innovation is a simple, reliable, noncontaminating, single-piece heating element with a low thermal mass for use in semiconductor manufacturing.

University of Utah
"Novel Titanium Boride Surface-Hardening Technology"
This surface-hardening technology forms Titanium boride crystals on the outer layer of titanium articles for applications that require high surface hardness and wear resistance.

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