Connecticut’s Investment in an Expanding Tech Ecosystem

uchcaerialview

Aerial view of The UConn Health Center, Farmington, one of Connecticut’s most active collaborative hubs

Connecticut is gaining a reputation for its growing tech ecosystem in diverse areas including biomechanics, advanced materials, optics, alternative energy, drug development and manufacturing technology.

What’s behind this? Strong collaborative relationships between innovative entrepreneurs, universities and large companies with specialized resources.

For example:

  • At the University of Connecticut, Eric Sirois, Ph.D, Biomedical Engineering founded Dura BioTech at the UConn Technology Incubator Program, and has received $400,000 in awards including a federal Small Business Innovation Research grant and an investment from the Connecticut Bioscience Innovation Fund, part of Connecticut Innovations. He is utilizing his background as a submariner and medical industry experience to produce a heart valve that’s substantially smaller than valves now in use.
  • Susan Froshauer, president of Connecticut United for Research Excellence (CURE), a biosciences industry group, has a Ph.D. from Yale University and a postdoc. Having moved from Pfizer to partner with drug development firms such as Neurogen, she now observes ” … a trend in which researchers are using data to mine health improvements in an age when the cost of new drugs, procedures and devices can be astronomical. It’s about the big picture of health care, not just pills or surgery …”
  • Meriden’s Protein Sciences has developed the first approved flu vaccine made from cell cultures, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA.
  • One of the state’s largest new research centers, The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine (JAX) is partnered with Farmington’s UConn Health Center, and is projected to generate 4,000 jobs by spinning off a large number of innovative tech firms.
  • In a project with the City of New Haven, Veoci, a company specializing in emergency and crisis response led by CEO Sukhminder Grewal, is working with SeeClickFix, a Yale-connected startup that enables anyone to report an infrastructure problem to authorities, from potholes to downed wires.
  • Joseph Coray heads The Hartford Technology & Life Science Practice and the Renewable Energy and International Practices unit, based in Hartford and staffed by underwriters dedicated to understanding problems specific to emerging and research-based firms. Projects include development of route and braking patterns to alert fleet drivers to adverse road conditions.
  • Boehringer IngelheimAlexion Pharmaceuticals, and Bristol Myers-Squibb have also connected with entrepreneurial innovators on successful projects.

These are just some of the innovative partnerships and products that contribute to Connecticut’s varied ecosystem, which gives the state an advantage, according to Kip Bergstrom, Deputy Commissioner of the DECD.

“I think we probably have the most diverse skill set and diverse mix of companies of just about any place in the country if not the world,” Bergstrom said. “If you were going to have one attribute, that would be the one.

For more examples, read the full article – Growing Technology In Many Directions, published in The Hartford Courant and authored by Dan Haar on Dec. 28, 2014.

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