How CET Is Bridging Innovative Healthcare Research and Entrepreneurship

Since it was established in 2000, Cumberland Emerging Technologies has become an invaluable resource for advancing the development of innovative biomedical technologies in Tennessee. As a joint initiative between Cumberland Pharmaceuticals, Vanderbilt University, and LaunchTN, CET serves as a crucial bridge between research and commercialization, identifying breakthrough research and then providing the resource infrastructure to successfully bring it to market.

That mission is needed now more than ever. Tennessee and the mid-south have long been a hub of world-class research institutions and the healthcare industry. CET brings those twin pillars of regional success together to catalyze a new entrepreneurial ecosystem with a global impact.

CET’s unique value and impact can be seen in the success of companies already making unique contributions across the biomedical industry. Before opening their headquarters in Nashville, Insight Genetics built their molecular diagnostics companies within CET, growing from a startup to be a key partner in creating new standards of care for cancer patients worldwide.

Likewise, Protypia CEO Dan Liebler acknowledges that if it weren’t for CET’s Life Sciences Center, he would have had to move elsewhere to start his company, since no other lab space like it exists in Nashville. Lieber was a longtime academic and researcher before leaving Vanderbilt University in 2016 to found Protypia. With the help of CET, he was able to commercialize his work in cancer diagnostics, providing necessary lab space and partnership opportunities.

Liebler’s challenge reflects that of many fundamental researchers, especially in healthcare. He had the technical expertise to create an innovative and needed solution, but not the entrepreneurial experience. He understood that the greatest impact for his work would require getting beyond the academic setting, and CET offered an instrumental bridge to building Protypia.

Last November, CET welcomed their latest startup into its Life Sciences Center. Yaya Scientific offers exceptional promise in developing innovative diagnostic, therapeutic and integrated hardware solutions for biomedical problems. Specifically, Yaya Scientific’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Justin Baba, specializes in generating applications of optical techniques for the sensing and diagnosis of various pathologies, with a particular emphasis on the use of polarized light for noninvasive detection and identification of nerves during surgery.

Yaya Scientific was awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I grant to develop their technology, and CET is providing the company with the support and resources to create their prototype and prove out the concept, and the business expertise to work towards successful commercialization.

CET understands the unique challenges of researcher entrepreneurs, and that of bringing their products to market. They also understand the healthcare industry imperative to advance new technologies and solutions. CET’s work has become integral to the future of innovation in Tennessee.