Two technology companies spawned by Vanderbilt University researchers have won investment from the young Angel Network of Sumner County.
Angel Network Founder and CEO Rachel Qualls told NashvillePost.com yesterday that some of her member investors will invest in Pathfinder Therapeutics and Universal Robotics.
Qualls would not reveal investors or investment totals, but said both firms intend to make their homes in Middle Tennessee.
Qualls said she believes the companies' technologies "will save lives and change the world as we know it," and should help attract other entrepreneurs to this region.
Universal Robotics' Neocortex software is capable of learning as it operates in robots, forklifts and other devices. The first target market is materials-handling and logistics customers, of which there are many in the Nashville area.
Universal was founded by three brothers, including Alan Peters, who is chief technology officer, as well as an associate professor in the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering. On campus, he supervises research on a humanoid robotics platform.
His brother David Peters told NashvillePost.com this morning he believes Universal Robotics will employ six by January, and 25 persons in three years, before scaling-up to meet projected market demand. He said he will soon move from Santa Monica, Calif., to the Nashville area.
Pathfinder Therapeutics is developing an image-guided software system that will enable surgeons to perform more precise surgery on diseased livers and, eventually, other abdominal organs. The system, which has therapeutic as well as surgical applications, is not yet FDA-approved.
Pathfinder's initial support came from large grants provided by the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute. More recently, Pathfinder investors have included Vanderbilt, investors associated with Nashville Capital Network and the Nashville-based Discovery Life Sciences Fund, which is a partnership including Vanderbilt, Franklin-based Clayton Associates LLC, and MDS Capital Corp. of Toronto.
Neither Qualls, Vanderbilt officials, nor others close to the deals would comment on whether Vanderbilt's roles in these deals goes beyond licensing intellectual property that the companies' founders developed. An alliance between ANSC and Vanderbilt was reported earlier.
Pathfinder co-founders and executives did not respond to NashvillePost.com queries prior to deadline.