Governor recognizes two USF research companies

Two USF Research Park companies, Draper Laboratory and Intezyne Technologies, received the Governor’s Business Diversification Award this month.

This comes after USF President Judy Genshaft announced in her University Address Sept 9 that USF was named one of the fastest-growing research institutions this year.

The award, which is sponsored by Enterprise Florida, Bank of America and Florida Trend Magazine, honors excellence in businesses that reach out into their communities.

The companies were two of 20 businesses honored in the state. Gov. Charlie Crist presented the awards at a Sept. 15 luncheon held as part of Florida’s yearly Industry Appreciation Week.

Draper Laboratoy received the award in the Newcomer Category for its work with USF faculty using Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). MEMS are mechanical devices “often smaller (in diameter) than a human hair” that can be used to detect and treat illnesses, according to a press release.

“Draper (Laboratory) was a significant investment in the state of Florida, coming out of Massachusetts,” said Associate Vice President of USF Research Foundation Rodney Casto. “The Draper relocation involved a lot of partners, including the state of Florida, the Hillsborough County, the city of Tampa, and USF … This is a new business for Draper working with very small medical devices.”

Draper Laboratories uses MEMS to aid artificial organ development, minimize blood clotting, maintain cellular phenotype, efficiently distribute oxygen and filter toxins from the artificial systems, according to the company’s Web site.

Intezyne Technologies received the award in the Entrepreneurship category. The company created two cancer treatment products designed to limit anti-tumor medication to the tumor itself, preventing healthy tissue from being attacked needlessly, according to a company press release.

“(Intezyne is) a biotech company focused on making cancer treatment safer and more effective for the patient,” said Habib Skaff, CEO of Intezyne Technologies.

The treatment product, called the IVECT method, will help pharmaceutical companies develop drugs that make cancer treatments “both safe and effective,” according to the press release.

The award is a reflection on advances made by USF in the field of biomedical sciences, Skaff said.

“(USF’s) investment into the (Tampa Bay Technological) Incubator is starting to mature,” he said. “USF has allowed the company to grow and mature and make contributions to the community.”

Instead of being awarded for the technology they create, the businesses are recognized for the way their technology helps to create new businesses opportunities in the economy, Casto said.

“I think we’ve won a lot of awards over the past few years for programs that help the community, and these were programs that didn’t exist five years ago,” he said. “The University got serious about business and economic development. That was President Judy Genshaft’s vision – that we don’t live in a community but are members of a community.”