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Texas Innovator Winter 2008

The In
Crowd

Kris Looney – Emergent Technologies Inc.

Vice President, Strategic Asset Planning

Kris Looney

Innovation often requires the combination of multiple efforts. And sometimes those putting forth the effort need some help finding one another. That’s where venture capital groups like Emergent Technologies Inc. (ETI) enter the picture.

“We’re focused on commercializing early-stage biotechnology,” says ETI’s Kris Looney, vice president of strategic asset planning.

One such project for the Austin-based group is Selenium Ltd., founded in 2004 based on discoveries by Dr. Julian Spallholz and Dr. Ted Reid at Texas Tech University. They discovered that the natural element selenium had antimicrobial properties that could benefit patients who wear braces and other orthodontic appliances by eliminating the primary plaque-causing bacteria.

“In orthodontics, this will assist in preventing the plaque buildup caused by bacteria that can lead to costly extended wear and cavities,” says Looney.

To market the technology, called SeLECT™, ETI created the WestTech Venture Fund to provide funding for the research and to bring it together with industry.

“In the case of Selenium Ltd., we were able to partner with ClassOne Orthodontics, a world-class leader in new products for the orthodontia industry, to develop the antimicrobial benefits of our selenium compound [for that market,]” he says.

Lubbock-based ClassOne’s work will be featured in the January/February issue of the Comptroller's newsletter, Texas Rising, which is online at www.window.state.tx.us/texasrising/archives.html.

SeLECT technology could also have uses in other medical devices and ophthalmics such as contact lenses, Looney says.

Texas' strength at the university-research level and commitment to technology transfers with private industry add to its reputation as an innovation center.

“Texas is a great place for innovators and is growing in its infrastructure and support for all aspects of innovations,” Looney says.

For more information on Selenium Ltd., visit the GrupoSOS Web site at www.seleniumltd.com

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