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Michael Young at the Center for Commercialization. (UW Photo)

Almost one year ago, University of Washington President Michael Young made a pledge to double the number of startup companies spinning out of the state’s top research institution.

But has he kept his promise?

The answer is yes. The UW is currently on track to reach its goal nearly two years ahead of schedule, with eight new startups having debuted in the past six months.

Last February, the university celebrated the grand opening of a 23,000-square-foot startup incubator in Fluke Hall, which was built to accomodate 25 companies. Now, startups with a broad range of technological focuses — from computerized hospital whiteboards to battery-powered leak detectors — occupy the offices of the New Ventures Facility at the UW Center for Commercialization (C4C).

Several companies in particular have made their way into the public eye, and have garnered significant support and funding.

KitoTech Medical — a startup that develops technology to close wounds, lacerations and surgical incisions — released a product called KitoStitch, a more glamorous alternative to your standard stitches and staples. KitoStitch uses a biomaterial that is painless to apply, and promotes wound healing, while reducing scarring, bleeding and bacteria. The company — led by Ron Berenson, who has started a number of successful NASDAQ-listed biotech companies — said it has the potential to “capture a significant share of the $7 billion worldwide market for wound closure products.”

SNUPI (Sensor Network Utilizing Powerline Infrastructure), another UW startup, designs wireless, in-home devices that detect and alert homeowners of hazards that may be occurring around the house. Such hazards include, but are not limited to, water leaks, smoke, heat, mold, humidity, and methane. The company has received $1.5 million in venture funding from Madrona.

“This kind of entrepreneurial activity is exactly what a university like ours is designed to do and what we should be doing,” said Young in a statement released by the UW. “We have great talent, great ideas, and great untapped potential to develop products and processes that will improve people’s lives and our overall productivity. I’m thrilled that C4C is facilitating the accelerated delivery of results of our great research enterprise into people’s lives.”

Another university-generated startup, PatientStream, announced today that it received a $500,000 investment from the W Fund. Based out of Harborview Medical Center, the company created a system called ORIX, which replaces whiteboards with cloud-based information displays such as iPads, wall monitors, and desktops.

Other recent UW startups include:

  • Rosetta@Cloud: provides a molecular modeling service on Amazon Web Services
  • JointMetrix: develops medical monitoring devices to improve joint replacement process
  • Portage Bay Photonics: creates optoelectronic devices that increase the speed of communication systems
  • Marine Construction Technologies: commercializes an acoustically optimized pile driving system for building structures in sensitive aquatic environments
  • RGB Hats: markets a card game that teaches players about cyber security and hacking
Reach editorial intern Lily Katz at or on Twitter: @LilyKatz.

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