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CTL eNewsletter: October 2008

Achronix Semiconductor Releases New Product

San Jose, CA- A new product that speeds up the processing power of programmable computer chips by up to 300% is based on Cornell research. Launched by Achronix Semiconductor in September, the Speedster™ Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) product line uses a unique circuit technology that eliminates the need for a clock. The "clock," which is used in traditional chips, is similar to an "orchestra conductor" that governs all operations on the chip.

In the Achronix chip the operations are self-governed and do not require a clock. Therefore, it can run very fast because it does not need to interact with the slow "orchestra conductor." The beauty of the Achronix circuit technology is that it is undistinguishable from a traditional chip from a user perspective, making it easy for chip designers to adopt the new technology.

The circuits underlying Speedster were invented by one of the company's founders, Rajit Manohar, an associate professor at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University, and several of his doctoral students. Dr. Manohar, and two of his former students, Clint Kelly and Virantha Ekanayake currently hold executive positions at Achronix.

"We are proud to have built an Achronix product from a Cornell invention," said John Lofton Holt, founder and CEO of Achronix. We grew from a company of four in Ithaca, New York to a global company with over 80 employees on three continents in less than four years. We already have significant revenue and see extraordinary demand for our product globally. This is a case study in how Cornell and entrepreneurs can work together to turn great research into great companies. I hope to do 10 more like this one." Holt added.

The Speedster has potential applications in a broad range of computing applications, including networking, encryption, video and imaging and industrial applications. Achronix says that Speedster parts will ship in the third quarter of this year, as will the development tools and a board-level development kit. So far, Achronix has received over $34.4 million in investments from New Science Ventures, Battery Ventures, Entrepia Ventures, and the Easton Capital Investment Group.

Weill Cornell Medical College Researchers Seek Novel Cure for Tuberculosis

Dark ovals reveal tuberculosis bacteria encapsulated
in vacuoles inside a macrophage cell.

Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY - Tuberculosis (TB), despite public perception that it's no longer a mainstream health threat, remains the single leading cause of death from bacterial infection worldwide; HIV/AIDS patients and diabetics are particularly susceptible to TB. The bacteria that causes TB, Mycobacterium tuberculosis or Mtb, takes up residence in the infected person's white blood cells and can remain there indefinitely, in a latent, non-replicating state without causing TB. In up to 10% of Mtb infected people the bacteria begins to reproduce and active TB develops which has a 50% mortality rate. Current treatments for TB require patients to take a combination of antibiotics for a minimum of six months. Compliance is low for this treatment and treatment-resistant Mtb strains have developed, making TB a global health threat.

Weill Cornell scientists are seeking ways to kill latent Mtb by finding their Achille's heel. A team led by Dr. Carl Nathan, Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, identified several novel enzymes the Mtb uses to stay alive within cells of the immune system despite the acid and other harmful ingredients there. With chemists he is working to develop drugs to inhibit these protective enzymes which could kill latent Mtb infections and improve the efficacy of current treatments for clinically active TB. His Weill Cornell colleagues Katerina Hearn Darwin, Gang Lin and Ruslana Bryk have succeeded in undermining Mtb's mechanisms for withstanding harmful oxidants and Omar Vandal, Sabine Ehrt, and Crystal Darby are working to make Mtb more susceptible to acid.

All these methods of treating or preventing TB are available for licensing from CCTEC. For further information contact Carol Dempster at

Cornell NanoMat Network Launched

Ithaca, NY - The Cornell NanoMat Network was released at Cornell's 9th Annual Nanobiotechnology Symposium in late October. The second portal in the Cornellboration® suite of professional networking websites, the Cornell NanoMat Network provides Cornellians a forum to learn, network, converse, find solutions, post information, and blog. All Cornellians (students, faculty, staff and alumni) interested in seeking business and academic collaborations are welcome to join the Cornellboration® networking sites.

The Cornellboration® suite is developed and maintained by the Cornell Center for Technology Enterprise and Commercialization (CCTEC).

Visit for more information about the networks and to sign up.


Upcoming Events

Seminar & Social Hour™

Date: October 29, 2008 & November 19, 2008
Time: 5:30PM - 7:00PM
Location: CCTEC Office Suite, 395 Pine Tree Road

Join CCTEC professionals and MBA students from the Entrepreneur and Venture Capital Club to hear about an exciting new Cornell invention over hors d'oeuvres and beverages.

Boot Camp

Date: November 14, 2008
Time: 10:00AM - 7:00PM
Location: Weill Greenberg Center, 2nd Floor Conference Rooms A, B & C

Boot Camp is a one day learning and networking event focused on what you need to think about when launching a new life sciences venture. The event will feature three panels of experts in the areas of diagnosis/prognosis, biomedical devices, and therapeutics. The day will culminate in a networking cocktail reception.

IP & Pizza™, Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics

Date: November 20, 2008
Time: 12:30PM - 2:00PM
Location: Biotechnology Building Room G10

Come and learn about Cornell's technology transfer process. Pizza and salad will be served.

Recent Events

Seminar & Social Hour™

Date: September 15, 2008

MBA students from the Entrepreneur and Venture Capital Club, along with CCTEC professionals, listened to a presentation by Antje Baeumner, Biological and Environmental Engineering. She spoke about "Designing Biosensors for Real World Applications". Hors d'oeuvres and beverages were served.

Click here to view photos from the event.

IP & Pasta™, Department of Radiology, Weill Cornell Medical College

Date: September 18, 2008

Members of the Department of Radiology at Weill Cornell Medical College learned how to commercialize their research and file patents while enjoying pasta.

Click here to view photos from the event.

Cornell Technology Venture Forum™

Date: October 16, 2008

The 2008 Cornell Technology Venture Forum™ (CTVF) consisted of technology and company presentations, poster presentations, networking opportunities, and a lunch discussion, followed by a reception. This annual event encourages technology entrepreneurship and commercialization by showcasing the best and brightest technologies and companies coming from Cornell's research. Both Cornell faculty from the Ithaca Campus and Weill Cornell Medical College presented their technologies.

For more information about the event, click here.

Click here to view photos from the event.