January 18, 2018

A strong alliance just got stronger

Scientists at GRA universities gain new access to each other's sophisticated lab technologies

Collaboration among GRA’s eight partner universities was strengthened in January with a new agreement to share core research facilities. Here's Holly Korschun's January 16 report from the Emory News website: 

Research leaders from the eight universities in the Georgia Research Alliance have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the shared use of core research facilities at each of their institutions. The agreement means identified core facilities and equipment will be available to scientists at all eight institutions at the same rates and terms offered to internal facility users.

The aim of the partnership agreement is to create a greater availability of research support services for faculty at all the Georgia research universities, to minimize duplication of resources, and to expand and maximize collaborative research opportunities.

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November 14, 2017

Acquisition of Cogent Education is a win for Georgia

Co-founder credits GRA's early support

University of Georgia startup Cogent Education will now bring its celebrated interactive science lessons to many more schools and students.

Charlottesville, Va.-based ExploreLearning announced Nov. 10 it had acquired the GRA-backed company. Cogent Learning’s entire R&D staff will remain in Athens, and it will also continue its Atlanta operations, according to co-founder Tom Robertson.

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September 27, 2017

Georgia grows a startup

How Vertera Spine went from university lab to surgical suite

If you want a clearer picture of how GRA’s venture development program works, begin with the happy ending to a good story: the acquisition this month of Georgia Tech startup Vertera Spine.
Vertera Spine, maker of two FDA-approved devices that improve spinal fusion surgery, is now a subsidiary of NuVasive, Inc., a pioneer in minimally invasive spinal technologies. Vertera Spine and its employee base will remain in Georgia for the foreseeable future, according to founder and CEO Chris Lee.
How the deal came to be is somewhat customary. NuVasive had its eye on Vertera Spine for some time, and acquiring the start-up strengthens NuVasive’s position as an innovator in spine surgeries, now estimated to number 400,000 procedures a year.
How Vertera Spine itself came to be is something else — a case study in the workings and impact of GRA Ventures, GRA’s venerable program to drive more discoveries and inventions from the lab to the marketplace.
Rewind to 2012: The Georgia Tech lab of Ken Gall (now at Duke University) invents a way to modify a material called PEEK — commonly used in spinal fusion surgery — so that its surface becomes porous without forfeiting any mechanical strength. To the scientists, the newly invented biomaterial may mean that bones will adhere better to spinal implants after surgery.
Their theory proved to be true following testing on rats in the lab of Bob Guldberg at Georgia Tech.

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