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Midwest Executives-on-Roster platform matches entrepreneurs with university startups

Aug 9, 2018

ATHENS, Ohio (Aug. 9, 2018)—Ohio University is one of 11 higher education institutions that developed the new Midwest Executives-on-Roster (XOR) platform, an online portal that matches entrepreneurs with university startup companies.

The platform is intended to help commercialize university technologies by connecting with prospective CEOs who can build businesses that move innovations into the marketplace.

“The biggest job we have is finding C-level people to seed these companies,” said Bob Silva, the director of Ohio University’s Technology Transfer Office. “This will expose us to a much bigger audience.”

Ohio University is initially featuring four of its technologies and startup companies on the platform:

  1. BGI Therapeutics developed compounds that can cut off the glucose supply to cancer cells, starving them to death. The compounds can precisely target cancer cells, leaving healthy cells unharmed. The four biggest markets for the compounds are treatments for triple negative breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, renal cancer and leukemia.

  2. HepThera created compounds that treat the chronic inflammation of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Currently, there is no single treatment for the disease, and most therapies are targeted at comorbidities.

  3. LnR Technologies developed a copper extrusion technology to manufacture specialized copper micro-channels and heat exchangers for the HVAC and refrigeration industries. The copper micro-channels are more efficient than products currently on the market made from aluminum.

  4. Sunday Creek Pigments developed a process to transform the acid mine drainage from Ohio streams into artist-grade paint pigment. The domestically produced pigment can be manufactured by art supply companies.

“As we come up with new innovative projects that we can build companies around, we will add to the platform,” Silva noted.

At the time of launch, the platform will feature an initial total listing of 21 companies and 23 entrepreneurs.

The Midwest Executives-on-Roster (XOR) platform concept emerged from the Ohio Valley Affiliates for Life Sciences (OVALS), a partnership of six universities currently led by the University of Kentucky. Several additional universities joined the platform, which was designed by Wellspring, a technology commercialization software development company.

In addition to University of Kentucky and Ohio University, partner higher education institutions are Indiana University, Notre Dame University, Ohio State University, Oklahoma University, University of Cincinnati, University of Louisville, University of Minnesota and University of Nebraska. Other universities interested in participating in the platform may join, Silva said.

“By combining the entrepreneur talent networks of all participating universities, startup companies will have access to a larger talent pool whose members have been vetted by other Midwest schools,” according to a statement from the University of Kentucky Office of Technology Commercialization. “We believe this will improve the likelihood that startups will find fundable executive management and, ultimately, success.”

The concept of online portals that match startups to entrepreneurs is gaining popularity, Silva said. Universities in the Northeast and Southeast have launched similar platforms in recent years.

Ohio University’s participation in the Midwest Executives-on-Roster platform reflects its commitment to commercializing faculty innovations for the benefit of society.

“Advancing research and technology innovations that can foster economic development in the State of Ohio and the Appalachian region is a strategic priority for Ohio University, said Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis. “We look forward to working with our higher education partners to support and promote this new platform.”

Access to the platform and its technology listings is by invitation only. Entrepreneurs should contact Ohio University at midwestxor@ohio.edu .

For more information about the Ohio University Technology Transfer Office, visit www.ohio.edu/research/tto