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CTL eNewsletter: August 2013

Cornell Startup, Empire Robotics, Inc., is a Winner at Three Business Plan Competitions

Empire Robotics, Inc.

Empire Robotics, Inc., an Ithaca-based Cornell startup, is commercializing a platform robotics technology through its first product, a universal robot gripper. Founded on inventions from the laboratory of Professor Hod Lipson of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Empire Robotics serves the $25B industrial automation market. Their technology solves the problem of gripping and manipulating objects of varying size and shape. With potential applications in prosthetics, robotics, food processing, auto, and consumer goods, this technology offers a low-cost, high-functioning alternative to currently available grippers. Empire Robotics was founded by John Amend (PhD '13) and Bill Culley (MBA '12).

Empire Robotics won the $10,000 Grand Prize LES Foundation 2013 International Graduate Student Business Plan Competition where participants gained "a comprehensive education about the importance of intellectual property as part of a successful business strategy, as well as valuable mentoring and networking opportunities with members who readily volunteer to share their input and expertise."

Empire Robotics took home second prize at the recent Cornell Venture Challenge (CVC) out of 75 entries. In addition to second place, they also received the Cornell Technology Transfer Prize, a matching prize from CCTEC as a company that uses intellectual property developed at Cornell. Along with the other two top three finishers at the 2013 CVC, Cognical and Oratel, Empire Robotics will have the option to take advantage of an automatic berth at the New York Regional of the Startup World Cup competition hosted by the New York accelerator, CorpStarter.

Empire Robotics also won a second place finish at the 2013 Rochester Regional Business Plan Competition, "a collaborative initiative aimed at stimulating more entrepreneurial activity in the nine-county Greater Rochester Region." In addition to prize money, Empire Robotics received nine months of free incubation services and office space from High Tech Rochester, as well as $2,500 of marketing services.

For more information contact Chidori Boeheim at

Cornell Licenses Genomic Biomarkers to Empire Genomics

Cornell Licenses Genomic Biomarkers to Empire GenomicsCornell University signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Empire Genomics, a Buffalo-based company specializing in molecular genomic testing in oncology. The biomarkers will be the basis of a molecular diagnostic test for the diagnosis and treatment of neuroendocrine (NEPC) prostate cancer. NEPC, an aggressive orphan disease of adenocarcinoma prostate cancer, is often caused by hormonal therapy used to treat prostate cancer. Current treatment for adenocarcinoma prostate cancer destroys cancer cells, but does not destroy neuroendocrine cells that may be part of the tumor. Researchers believe the neuroendocrine cells then have room to grow. Effective treatment for NEPC does not exist, and most patients survive less than one year.

Dr. Mark Rubin and his colleagues at Weill Cornell Medical College developed a method to target the neuroendocrine tumors. Using comparative RNA sequence analyses, the researchers discovered that aurora kinase inhibitor PHA-739358 targeted human neuroendocrine prostate cells in laboratory studies and in animal studies. Large tumors in animals shrunk quickly.

Empire Genomics plans to launch a genetic test for NEPC through their clinical laboratories in late 2013.

Wine Grape Varieties Released in 2013

Cornell Grape 'Aromella'Bruce Reisch, a Cornell University grape breeder, revealed two new wine grape varieties during the Viticulture 2013 conference in Rochester, NY on February 7th.

'Aromella' is a winter-hardy white wine grape with high productivity potential and excellent aromatic muscat wine characteristics. Wines have notes of pineapple, honeysuckle, citrus peel and floral muscat character It is a mid-season grape that is recommended for commercial production with potential for use as a varietal or in blends.

Cornell Grape 'Arandell''Arandell' is a mid-season red wine grape characterized by a high degree of natural disease resistance and producing dark red wines with clean, berry aromas. Wines are densely colored, with light to moderate tannins, and exhibit notes of dark berry fruit (blueberry, black cherry), tobacco and hints of black pepper or cedar on the finish. It is moderately hardy and recommended for production under minimal spray programs, with potential for organic management.

'Arandell' and 'Aromella' are the 55th and the 56th cultivars released by Cornell's grape breeding program since 1888.


Upcoming Events

Microbes Growing to Micro Brewing

Date: August 14, 2013

Time: 5:15pm - 8:00pm

Location: Slate - 54 West 21st, New York, NY 10010

Industry professionals and founders will discuss the issue of production of various products that are made in small custom batches to scale to amounts for distribution. Included will be a presentation relating to the brewing of beer and possibly fine grain products as well.

Bruce Toman, Technology Commercialization and Liaison Officer, from CCTEC's WCMC Office will be present to meet and talk.

Speakers: Guy Penard, M.B.A - Chief Executive Officer, Synthezime

To RSVP, go to, click on the August 14 tab in the menu and fill out the form. Please mention "CCTEC" and include any questions.

IP & Pizza™

Date: September 17, 2013

Time: 12:00pm - 1:30pm

Location: Room A-126, 1300 York Ave, WCMC Campus

The Weill Cornell community and all those interested in technology-based entrepreneurship.

Join CCTEC professionals for a town-hall style meeting to discuss patenting issues. Pizza, salad, and drinks will be served.

For more information contact, Laura Cima Salter

BayHelix Reception

Date: September 18, 2013

Time: 6:30pm - 9:00pm

Location: The Cornell Club, NYC

CCTEC and the BayHelix group (an organization of Chinese-American executives in the life sciences) will hold a networking reception at the Cornell Club in New York City. This reception is sponsored by Scully Scott Murphy & Presser.

For more information contact, Laura Cima Salter

Cornell Technology Venture Forum™

Date: October 24, 2013

Time: 9:00am - 5:30pm

Location: East Hill Office Training Room & Atrium, Ithaca Campus

The 2013 Cornell Technology Venture Forum will showcase emerging technologies and new Cornell businesses from the Ithaca campus, Weill Cornell Medical College, and New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva.

For more information and to register, click here.

Recent Events

Cornell Technology Road Show

Date: July 10, 2013

Attendees reviewed selected physical sciences technologies coming out of Cornell University and learned about our technology transfer program.

Technologies presented include:

  • HyperDex: New data store for Big Data
  • Highly Scalable Scripting Language for Video Games and Simulations
  • Smartphone-Based Solutions for Personal Mobile Health Monitoring
  • Energy Efficient Magnetic Memory and Logic Devices
  • Silicon Photonics Chip for Computing and Telecommunications
  • 3-D Light Image Sensors for Electronic Devices and Biomedical Applications

Hors d'oeuvres and drinks were served after the presentations.

Cornell Reception at SEMICON West 2013

Date: July 9, 2013

Cornellians, including alumni, business partners and friends, were invited to join CCTEC professionals for a night of fun over drinks and hors d'oeuvres. This was a great opportunity to strengthen "Cornell Connections" and learn about technology opportunities available from the vibrant research enterprise of Cornell University!

Seminar & Social Hour™

Date: June 13, 2013

Attendees learned about an exciting Cornell technology over drinks and hors d'oeuvres. K. Rashid Rumah, MD/PhD Candidate, Weill Cornell Medical College, presented methods to prevent and treat multiple sclerosis.

Diagnostics Development Boot Camp™

Date: June 12, 2013

Attendees learned the keys to developing a successful in vitro diagnostic (IVD) product. The program offered information and practical advice for early stage entrepreneurs, and included presentations and discussion by IVD industry leaders, investors, regulatory, clinical trial, and reimbursement experts. Topics addressed traditional screening and diagnostic tests, as well as companion diagnostics that are delivering on the promise of personalized medicine.

What You Need to Know About Bringing Biotech Innovation to Market

Date: May 17, 2013

Alice Li and Robin Chadwick held a webinar entitled "Bringing Biotech Innovation to Market." The presentation dove into a specific biotech innovation created by Cornell's research community and illustrated the path it took to achieve successful commercialization development. Also, attendees learned about the latest in the on-going legal sagas and potential obstacles that threaten the protection of innovation within the biotech community.