News (15)

On October 27th, the ASCEND Hub completed the 6th iteration of its commercialization course, Bridging the Gap: Commercialization for Clinical Researchers. Developed by the ASCEND Hub in 2019, this course aims to provide an overview of the concept-to-commercialization process to help researchers understand and apply business processes and principles to commercializing ideas, inventions, designs, devices, concepts, expertise and technologies.

While all levels of experience are welcomed, this course is especially useful to those just beginning their journey in the commercialization space.

The ASCEND Hub is excited to share the achievements of one of our program participants, Dr. Sreejayan Nair. Dr. Nair is a professor and Associate Dean of Research in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Wyoming. In 2014, Dr. Nair founded Nutriwyo LLC, which focuses on developing novel therapeutic strategies for treating diabetic wounds. Nutriwyo’s goal is to develop a new approach to treat diabetic wounds by using a potent and selective protease inhibitor. To date, Dr. Nair has received:

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Logo Design Contest

In collaboration with the Proof-of-Concept Network Action Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (PACE), the ASCEND and DRIVEN Hubs are sponsoring a logo design contest.

The Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program was founded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in 1993. The program was established to enhance the competitiveness of research institutions in the IDeA eligible states for NIH-funded grants and increase the probability of long-term growth of NIH-competitive funding to investigators at institutions from these eligible states (RFA: RR-94-002). To date, the IDeA program has awarded 221 grants, totaling more than $370 million in research support.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

2021 Business Advising Cohort Graduates

We are thrilled to announce the 2021 ASCEND Hub Business Advising Cohort graduates! Over the past year, these individuals have worked to develop their technologies, business strategies, and pitch decks through discussions with ASCEND Hub mentors. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Sreejayan Nair, Dr. Rita Serda, Dr. Tione Buranda, and Dr. Alexander Hafez on their hard work and entrepreneurial successes!

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

A Recap From the Steering Committee

The ASCEND Hub Steering Committee met on July 14, 2021. The committee — which is comprised of representatives from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, University of Hawaii, University of Idaho, University of Nevada-Reno, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, University of Montana, Montana State University, University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, and University of Wyoming — discussed successes, challenges, and areas for improvement within the Hub alongside representatives from the National Institute of Health (NIH). 

The ASCEND Hub is excited to share the achievements of one of our program participants, Dr. Jay Evans. Dr. Evans, a Research Professor at the University of Montana, co-founded Inimmune in 2016 and currently serves as the company’s President and CEO.

Last month, HealthTechApps was named a rising star of the health technology entrepreneurial sector. The Forbes article, titled “52 Women-Led Startups Driving The Future of HealthTech and FemTech,” highlighted companies around the world developing everything from artificial intelligence platforms for medical decision making to lab grown breast milk.

Montana based drug discovery company Dermaxon has notably received multiple NIH funding awards in recent years. Dermaxon targets the brain-skin connection to discover and develop novel therapeutic strategies to treat life threatening diseases and disorders such as pain, pruritus, and genetic disorders of skin keratinization.

Today, ASCEND Hub – a member of the National Institutes of Health funded program designed to stimulate entrepreneurship and transition discoveries and technologies from the lab into commercial products that address human health – announced plans to leverage its second phase of NIH funding to intensify its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion efforts to bring more visibility to under-represented groups and encourage the engagement of diverse life sciences students, faculty and innovators at higher-educational institutions within the states it serves.


The NIH Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) Program is intended to help small businesses identify and address their most pressing product development needs. The TABA Program supports companies developing all types of technologies, e.g., clinical products such as devices, drugs, biologics, and therapeutics, as well as software, educational, and multi-media behavioral science products.

A key component of the TABA Program is the TABA Needs Assessment Report. The report provides a third-party, unbiased assessment of your progress in 10 technical and business areas that are critical to success in the competitive healthcare marketplace.

UAF scientist turned startup-founder Bahareh Barati took her company, Barati Medical, to the finals of the 2020 Alaska Angel Conference on May 21 and won the People’s Choice Award sponsored by Alaska Airlines. Barati Medical participated in the ASCEND 2020 Business Advising Cohort where executives received technology review and pitch preparation.

With a newly awarded research grant, the GPER G-1 Development Group will continue to develop a novel therapeutic for the treatment of diabetes and obesity.  The technology comes out of the University of New Mexico Health Sciences center with research led by Eric Prossnitz, PhD, a professor in and chief of the Division of Molecular Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant was awarded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Dr. Prossnitz said the funding presents an incredible opportunity to present an innovative approach to treating and preventing diabetes and obesity. GPER G-1 participated in the ASCEND 2020 Business Advising Cohort where executives received technology review and pitch preparation.

Inimmune, a biotechnology company based in Missoula, Montana, has accomplished its first outside investment with $22 million in Series A funding. Inimmune participated in the ASCEND Business Advising Cohort in 2019 where executives received technology review and pitch preparation.

Virtici, LLC announced today that it has received a three-year, $3.5 million award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Center of Biomedical Research Excellence. Virtici has been selected to create and operate a Regional Technology Transfer Accelerator Hub in the Western region (the ASCEND Accelerator Hub: NM, AK, ID, HI, MT, NV and WY).