Montana State University

MSU offers two new technologies for licensing to entrepreneurs

June 5, 2008 -- By Michael Becker, MSU News Service

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
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Bozeman - A seed coating that can increase plants' abilities to withstand salt and a new tool for fighting cancer are two new technologies available for licensing to interested companies and entrepreneurs through Montana State University's Technology Transfer Office.

The first technology, a coating that can be applied to many species of plant seeds, can increase plants' salt tolerance, growth and yield. MSU and U.S. Geologic Survey researchers found that fungi living symbiotically with plants in stressful, high-salt conditions confer tolerances to the plants, a phenomenon the researchers call adaptive-symbiosis. By isolating these fungi, researchers substantially increased, over the course of a single growing season, a plant's tolerance for salt-levels as high as those found in seawater.

Possible applications include boosting plant growth in high-salinity environments or in places where salt levels are rising. The coating could also help increase plant growth for environmental restoration efforts.

The second technology involves tumor necrosis factor therapies, potential cancer treatments that could enhance a patient's innate immunity. Developing such therapies has been limited by the scarcity and expense of compounds used to induce tumor necrosis.

However, MSU researchers have created the first synthetic small-molecules that induce tumor necrosis. In addition, these synthetics trigger a suite of defense and inflammatory responses, suggesting that the MSU technology may provide a unique opportunity for therapeutic drug design.

The molecules, which are less expensive than conventional methods for inducing tumor necrosis, can be applied to anti-cancer treatments and could help patients develop innate immunity.

Companies interested in licensing any of these technologies should contact Nick Zelver with the MSU Technology Transfer Office at (406) 994-7868 or by email at nzelver@montana.edu by the end of June.

To date, MSU has 142 active technology licenses. Eighty of those licenses are with Montana companies.

Contact: Nick Zelver, MSU Technology Transfer Office, (406) 994-7868 or nzelver@montana.edu