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Harrisburg University of Science and Technology analytics professor can count on business support for an early-stage dementia testing tool project to further develop a proof-of-concept plan.

It’s all thanks to the University City Science Center’s QED program, which is designed to bridge the gap between academic research and product commercialization. Dr. Roozbeh Sadeghian will continue to receive customized coaching from industry experts, exposure to the investment community, access to regulatory and intellectual property specialists, and support to develop a commercialization funding roadmap. He is one of 12 to receive the award this year through the QED program.

Sadeghian, an Assistant Professor of Data Analytics, intends to develop a simple-to-use, non-invasive, inexpensive diagnostic test for dementia that can easily be applied in a clinician’s office, or even at home. He aims to develop a robust test using speech samples that are easy to collect and highly accurate. If the viability of this approach is established, the testing model could be further refined.

The clinical diagnosis of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), is extremely challenging, especially in its early stages. However, research shows that if AD is detected in its early stages, there could be drug therapies applied that currently are in clinical trials. These therapies could slow the progression of the disease.

Established in 2009, the QED program supports novel university technologies with market potential, bridging the gap between academic research and product commercialization. The 12 awardees for 2019 were selected from a pool of 50 applicants from 12 institutions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

“Over the last ten years, we’ve worked with over 100 researchers developing promising technologies in an effort to bridge the divide between basic research and technology commercialization,” says Science Center President & CEO Steve Zarrilli. “Thirty-eight projects funded and ten licensing deals later, we’re proud of the platform we’ve developed and the impact we’ve seen as a result of the program.”

Sadeghian’s dementia testing tool is one of only 12 to receive support through QED this year. This goal of the support to arm researchers like Sadeghian with the knowledge and tools needed to pursue follow-on funding that will help their early-stage projects advance along the commercialization pathway.

Since the program’s inception in 2009, QED has screened over 640 proposals from 21 participating academic and research institutions. Of the technologies screened, 128 projects have been accepted into the competitive program. Projects awarded funding by the QED program have raised over $22 million in follow-on funding.

QED receives support from the Department of Health of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Located in the heart of uCity Square, the Science Center is a mission-driven nonprofit organization that catalyzes and connects innovation to entrepreneurship and technology commercialization. For 50+ years, the Science Center has supported startups, research and economic development in the life sciences, healthcare, physical sciences, and emerging technology sectors. As a result, graduate firms and current residents of the Science Center’s incubator support one out of every 100 jobs in the Greater Philadelphia region and drive $13 billion in economic activity in the region annually. By providing resources and programming for any stage of a business’s lifecycle, the Science Center helps scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators take their concepts from idea to IPO – and beyond.

The QED Program provides funding and business development support for academic researchers developing early-stage life science and healthcare technologies with high commercial potential. A common participation agreement that defines matching funds, indirect costs, and intellectual property management, has been signed by 21 universities and research institutions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Delaware State University, Drexel University, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, Lehigh University, Monell Chemical Senses Center, Moravian College, New Jersey Institute of Technology, The Pennsylvania State University, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Rowan University, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University, University of Delaware, University of Pennsylvania, University of the Sciences, Widener University, and The Wistar Institute.

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