A faculty member has anonymously donated $1 million to UB to
establish a fund that will help commercialize discoveries and
inventions at the university.
Holm Memorial Catalyst Fund is named for the SUNY Distinguished
Professor and UB senior vice provost who died last year at 52.
In the 1980s and early ’90s, Holm and Edmund
A. Egan, II, MD, professor of pediatrics and physiology and
biophysics, developed Infasurf,
a lung surfactant that has contributed to lower mortality rates
among premature newborns.
fund will finance prototype and proof-of-concept studies that
will help translate inventions and discoveries made by UB faculty
into products and treatments.
It also will generate revenue for the start-up companies it
The $1 million donation to the fund has been made as a match
challenge. If fully met, the fund would provide a total of $2
“The Bruce Holm Memorial Catalyst Fund is the kind of
resource used by most major universities to fill the gap between
government-supported basic research and private investment needed
for commercialization of products and services based on faculty
inventions,” says UB Vice Provost Robert
Genco, DDS, PhD.
The fund will be based in UB’s Office of
Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach (STOR). In
the past decade, STOR has licensed some 130 UB faculty inventions,
more than half of which have evolved into Western New York start-up
Another 85 companies have graduated through STOR’s
incubator system, employing an estimated 3,300 people and
generating $540 million in revenue, primarily in the region.
“The success of the innovative Western New York companies
that STOR supports demonstrates that UB research is making a
difference in our community,” says Genco, who serves as
“From the gastrointestinal diagnostics developed by SmartPill to the lung
surfactant developed by ONY, Inc. to the
cancer-fighting compounds of Kinex, all are bolstering
our regional economy while improving people’s
Holm, who joined UB’s faculty in 1989, was a professor of
pediatrics, obstetrics and
gynecology, and pharmacology and
toxicology. At the time of his death, he was senior vice
provost, having previously served as executive director of the UB New York State
Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.
In each of these roles, he worked diligently to attract
high-profile researchers and inventors to Buffalo.
In 2004, the Hauptman-Woodward Medical
Research Institute presented Holm and Egan with its Pioneers of
Science Award. In 2008, UB awarded them the Faculty Entrepreneur
Award for commercializing Infasurf.