UChicago Innovation Fund awards Therapeutic Human Exosomes, a biologic designed to repair de-myelinated neurons in multiple sclerosis

Two multiple sclerosis technologies and the data sensor Array of Things (AoT) project received a total of over $500,000 investments from the University of Chicago Innovation Fund this week.

The Fund distributes financial awards to innovative technologies and startups coming out of the University of Chicago community. The spring recipients of the Fund are 3F4AP, a PET tracer created to reveal lesions associated with multiple sclerosis during a PET scan; Therapeutic Human Exosomes, a biologic designed to repair de-myelinated neurons in multiple sclerosis; and the AoT, an urban sensing network of interactive, modular sensor boxes built by Urban Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD), according to the Chicago Innovation Exchange (CIE), where the fund is managed.

The three teams were chosen out of five finalists to receive funding. Reliefwatch was also selected to received $100,000 from the Fund through an off cycle investment.

“The University of Chicago continues to expand the resources available to faculty and staff considering commercialization of their research discoveries and business ideas,” said John Flavin, executive director of the CIE and member of the Innovation Fund advisory committee in a release. “Teams have started to take advantage of programs like I-Corps and Lab-Corps, as well as office hours with internal and external experts, membership at the CIE, and more, and it shows in the quality of applications we received this cycle from across the University and its affiliates.”

Therapeutic Human Exosomes

Funding received: $150,000

Led by:  Richard Kraig, MD, PhD, Aya Pusic, Kae Pusic, and Lisa Won, of the biological sciences division

Multiple sclerosis and migraines, two interrelated disorders, cost the US $40 billion annually, according to the Therapeutic Human Exosomes team. Both have to do with myelin damage and increased oxidative stress, which stems from the brain not being able to produce new myelin. However, the team has developed a biologic (genetically-engineered proteins derived from human genes), and they will study its effect on multiple sclerosis-based myelin injury in humans thanks to the funding. Here’s how they describe their work:

[The team has] developed a novel biologic – microRNA-containing exosomes from stimulated dendritic cells (SDC-Exos) – that, for the first time, remyelinates damaged brain and prevents migraine.

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