Two tech companies launched through Pitt research in 2011

November 02, 2011

PITTSBURGH -- The number of University of Pittsburgh innovations that has moved from the lab to commercialization increased by 31 percent in fiscal year 2011, resulting in 105 licenses or options to industry and two start-up companies for Pitt technologies. This increase in commercialization activity also included 37 U.S. patents that were awarded to the University in 2011 and the submission of 257 new invention disclosures by Pitt faculty, according to Pitt's Office of Technology Management (OTM).

The OTM released its annual report Oct. 12 at Pitt's 7th Annual Celebration of Innovation reception. The event celebrated OTM's 15 years in operation and honored researchers whose innovations were licensed/optioned in 2011.

More than 400 Pitt researchers submitted invention disclosures in FY 2010-11, among them was Marlin Mickle, the Nickolas A. DeCecco Professor in the Swanson School of Engineering, whose research led to the 2011 start-up company, Ortho-Tag, Inc. The company designs radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology for tracking and monitoring prosthetic joints. The tiny tags, attached to implanted prostheses, allow orthopedic doctors to obtain specific information about a joint by waving a wand over the prosthesis to capture recorded data.

Another business, LINC Design LLC, was started by Linda van Roosmalen, a former visiting professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology in Pitt's School of Health and Rehabilitation Science, along with Michael Turkovich, a bioengineering doctoral student at Pitt. They developed a new barrier system to contain wheelchairs and restrain wheelchair-seated passengers when they are traveling in large accessible transit vehicles. Their technology formed the basis of LINC Design.

The launching of Ortho-Tag and LINC Design raises the total number of start-up companies established from Pitt technologies to 80 since the OTM's inception in 1996.

Other notable inventions featured in the 2011 annual report included a way to give asthma sufferers an alert to a possible attack, a better way to diagnose gastroesophageal reflux disease during infancy, and software that calculates cancer mortality risks by studying demographic, geographic, and work history.
The OTM facilitates the development and commercialization of Pitt innovations, helping innovators patent their intellectual property, market it to potential outside partners, execute commercial licenses/options, and launch new companies.

To read OTM's FY 2010-11 annual report, visit

University of Pittsburgh

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