The Delaware technology community may still be new to building web and software businesses. Its medical and chemical heritage, however, means the state has a leg up in developing and commercializing life sciences research.
From the lasting legacy of DuPont, healthcare providers like Christiana Care Health System, academic efforts from the University of Delaware and facilitators like the Delaware Technology Park, the First State has a healthy crop of compelling work being developed across the state.
Below, we chronicle 13 of the most innovative projects currently being developed in Delaware. To get this list, we asked an array of leaders about the work that most excited them. Of course, there are likely lots more, so tell us what we’ve missed in the comments or at @technicallyDE.
1. The University of Delaware’s cancer research on spherical nucleic acids: Professor Emily Day is leading groundbreaking cancer research with UD students. Her team is currently forming second-generation spherical nucleic acids, which enter cells instead of degrading in the body. These nucleic acids have decreased brain tumor size in animals and will soon be tested on breast cancer in human subjects. Day’s past cancer research has included focusing a laser on cancerous genes.
2. B&W Tek’s Raman spectroscopy: B&W Tek is known for producing optical spectroscopy and laser instrumentation, as well as portable, laboratory and handheld Raman systems. One of the company’s popular medical devices is the NanoRam, a handheld Raman spectrometer that can be used by non-technical users to quickly identify samples in the lab, warehouse, or field. B&W Tek also helps users with its Learning Lab product, which provides easy-to-follow product how-to’s and technology information.
3. UD’s Rosenthal Research Lab’s research on carbon conversion: Led by professor Joel Rosenthal, the lab works within the University of Delaware’s Center for Composite Materials to create reusable and efficient forms of energy. By converting power sources like light and wind to pure carbon monoxide, the lab can create gasoline without the release of byproducts such as oxalate and other toxic elements.
4. Sanosil’s “Halo” disinfection system: We’ve covered Sanosil’s Halo system before — it works by spewing vaporized HaloMist (a disease-fighting disinfectant) into hospital rooms through a fogger. Now, Sanosil is sending its Halo disinfection technology into West Africa to help fight Ebola. Here’s more on Sanosil’s contributions towards fighting the virus.
5. Delaware Biotechnology Institute’s research on platelet production: Professor Terry Papoutsakis and his team of UD students are leading research in forming platelets from megakaryocytes, also known as large bone marrow cells. Papoutsakis hopes that creating these freezable platelets will lessen the likelihood of disease transference in blood transfusions. The team is also pursuing a cure for ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura), a bleeding disorder which destroys platelets.
6. Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology’s Ebola treatment: Located in Newark, Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology is known for its medical technologies and research into the use of plant materials as disease-curing agents. Fraunhofer’s most impactful work this year is its collaboration with BioFactura Inc., and other pharma companies working to develop a cure for Ebola.
7. The University of Delaware and NRG Energy’s eV2g electric vehicle program: Professor Willett Kempton is a professor in the university’s School of Marine Science and Policy, the director of the Center for Carbon-free Power Integration and also the driving force behind the university’s partnership with power utility NRG. So far, their combined efforts have allowed the university to host several electric plug-in vehicles and others that connect to an electric grid, which preserves electric fuel in an interactive format. We recently wrote about another partner on the project, Autoport Inc.
8. CD Diagnostics’ joint fluid testing: CD Diagnostics moved its headquarters to Claymont in May, but its reputation for providing rapid, cost-effective diagnoses is its real claim to fame. Currently, CD Diagnostics is using joint fluid as a diagnostic tool. By taking small amounts of joint fluid instead of performing blood tests, doctors diagnosing joint-related diseases can overcome the obstacle of interfering ailments (i.e., the common cold) that may muddy test results.
9. ANP Technologies’ NIDS biotoxin detection: Based out of Newark, this nationally recognized company is known for its impressive research and medical advances in the areas of immunogenicity, biodefense and nanotherapeutics. Its most recent achievement is its partnership with the U.S. National Guard, which is using ANP’s Nano Intelligent Detection Systems (NIDS) to identify possible biological warfare threats. NIDS can identify biological agents within 15 minutes.
10. The University of Delaware’s cybersecurity initiative, led by Starnes Walker: Walker has worked in the U.S. Departments of Defense, Energy and Homeland Security and is now the founding director of the University of Delaware’s Cyber Security Initiative. Walker is training UD students how to increase cybersecurity measures in educational institutions, government organizations and corporations. The ultimate goal is to change the number of recognized cybersecurity professionals from a mere 1,000 to 30,000 or more.
11. Lite Cure’s medical devices in sports and animal laser treatment: LiteCure is a top choice in non-invasive laser therapy for organizations such as the NFL, NHL and MLB, just to name a few. LiteCure also offers a laser treatment program intended for healing pets.
12. Incyte’s research on chronic disease and cancer treatment: This Wilmington-based pharmaceutical company is known for its flagship medication Jakafi, which treats patients with intermediate or high-risk myelofibrosis. Currently, Incyte is seeking FDA approval for a second medication that treats polycythemia vera (a bone marrow disorder that creates too many red blood cells). The company is also evaluating JAK inhibitors for the treatment of pancreatic, breast, colorectal and some types of lung cancer.
13. DuPont’s life-saving Dual Compartment Pouch MixPack: DuPont has been an Delaware icon for over 200 years, and now another one of its products is making a global impact: the Dual Compartment Pouch MixPack. This item keeps water and milk formula separate and fresh until a special resin is broken. The MixPack is meant for people in developing countries who have poor access to clean and nutritious food sources.
This report is sponsored by the Delaware Technology Park (DTP), an award-winning nonprofit research park that provides development-stage life science, IT, advanced materials and renewable energy companies with access to the resources and connections needed to grow and scale. The success of DTP is due to its strategic alignment within regional government, academic institutions and industry. Since 1992, DTP has housed over 75 companies including UD spinouts that have created over 16,000 new jobs in the region.
Jamie Winder is a recent graduate of the University of Delaware with degrees in creative writing and journalism. She is also a former Broadcast News Intern at WDEL 1150 AM News Radio. From the Hilltop neighborhood to the southernmost tip downstate Jamie has covered Delaware’s news, mainly in the areas of education and STEM applications and research. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org