UM Grant to Help Commercialize Inventions

September 17, 2018

MISSOULA – A new federal grant will allow the University of Montana to co-lead a regional effort to help biomedicine researchers develop their entrepreneurial skills to speed commercialization of their inventions.

The three-year, $3.5 million Small Business Technology Transfer grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences identified the University of New Mexico and University of Montana as co-academic leads for the project. UM’s Center for Translational Medicine will spearhead the effort in Montana and the surrounding region.

“The goal is to work across the Montana University System and western region to educate and assist university researchers in developing the clinical and commercial potential of their basic scientific discoveries,” said CTM Director Dr. Jay Evans, who will serve as the UM principal investigator for the Accelerating Solutions for Commercialization and Entrepreneurial Development (ASCEND) grant.

“The grant will help accelerate and expand educational programs in translational medicine and career development in health care and pharmaceutical industries across Montana,” Evans said.

UM and UNM will work in partnership with Virtici, a Seattle-based product development company, to build a technology transfer and entrepreneurial development platform benefitting all participating universities.

In addition to UM and UNM, participating universities include New Mexico State University; the University of Wyoming; the University of Nevada, Reno; the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Montana State University; the University of Idaho; the University of Alaska, Anchorage; the University of Alaska, Fairbanks; and the University of Hawaii.

“This project is one outcome of the Mountain West Research Consortium and is the result of the outstanding entrepreneurial and economic development efforts at both the University of Montana and the University of New Mexico,” said Scott Whittenburg, UM vice president for research and creative scholarship and MWRC director. MWRC is a consortium of 13 public research universities in seven mountain west states.

He said this project will build a sustainable community and culture of biomedical entrepreneurship in Montana and significantly improve education, mentoring, partnerships and technology transfer resources throughout the region.


Contact: Scott Whittenburg, UM vice president for research and creative scholarship, 406-243-6670,