AU Engineering develops technology for new start-up companies

AUBURN – Auburn University’s Office of Technology Transfer has announced the formation of four new start-up companies based on technologies developed within the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. Two of the companies will be based in the Auburn area.

“Historically, we have helped launch two start-ups per year, but we’ve only done two purely engineering-based companies to date, ” said Jan Dowdle Thornton, director of Auburn’s Office of Technology Transfer. “To ramp these up so quickly, and have all of them come out of the College of Engineering is truly an unprecedented event for Auburn University.”

The Office of Technology Transfer serves as the link between the commercial marketplace and AU faculty, and one of its services is to work with start-up companies licensing AU technologies.

“A lot of this activity can be credited directly to the College of Engineering,” said Brian Wright, associate director for commercialization in the Office of Technology Transfer. “Dean Larry Benefield and the college have significantly supported technology transfer efforts, including analysis and marketing efforts, which have contributed directly to the development of these new companies. And, of course, tremendous credit goes to the researchers, for not only creating the licensed inventions, but for also being supportive of the start-up process.”

“Contributing to this success has been the inaugural Alabama Launchpad event, a university-centered state-wide business plan competition,” said Thornton. “Auburn placed two teams in the finals of the events, including a carpet recycling company, and the winner of the $100,000 competition, OcuMedic Inc.”

“There’s no question that Alabama Launchpad had a big impact on our start-up activity this year, said Thornton. “OcuMedic was launched directly from its involvement in the competition, and MCR the carpet recycling business certainly received a big boost in recognition and contacts.

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“The commercialization of intellectual properties developed by AU faculty represents a significant funding component as the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering moves to new levels of excellence,” said Larry Benefield, dean of engineering. “The technologies on which these companies are based represent truly innovative and forward-focused research with real-world applications.”

Aunigma Network Solutions Corp. is based in Atlanta, Ga. Based on wireless engineering research performed in the labs of John Wu and David Irwin of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Aunigma is launching next generation network security solutions. The technology will address new and expanding communication pathways and related internet security threats. Aunigma’s flexible and efficient protocols bring to the marketplace multiple threat protection while achieving unmatched performance compared to competing security offerings. Aunigma was founded by Auburn University graduate Ken Garrard.

Modular Carpet Recyling, Inc. is based in Auburn, Ala. Using a carbon dioxide-based process invented by Chris Roberts of the Department of Chemical Engineering, MCR will provide turn-key plants for efficient recycling of nylon from used carpets on a local and regional level. The company has initiated efforts to raise capital to demonstrate the technology in a pilot plant. A team lead by Paul Swamidass, director of the Thomas Walter Center for Technology Management, took this business plan concept to the finals of Alabama Launchpad.

Applications Quest, LLC is based in Fairfax, Va.
With recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings placing affirmative action under fire, mechanisms are needed to provide solutions to allow universities to realize their diversity objectives in a manner that is both effective and in conformity with legal standards. Applications Quest clustering software developed by Juan Gilbert of the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering provides this capability by comparing application pools in their entirety, thereby allowing multiple factors such as income, race, gender and geographical location to be considered without any one of them becoming a deciding factor.

Ocumedic, Inc., Auburn, Ala. Co-founded by Mark Byrne of the Department of Chemical Engineering, OcuMedic is a drug delivery and medical device company with proprietary technology that creates new polymer films to allow increased loading and delayed release of drugs. Byrne and his group have invented a number of novel contact lenses to deliver medications to the surface of the eye, improving therapy over standard eye drop formulations. Part of OcuMedics’ mission is to create a product line of therapeutic contact lenses to deliver medication for extended periods to address the considerable unmet need for more effective ocular drug delivery.

For more information contact Brian Wright at (334) 844-4977 or

Contact: Cheryl Cobb, (334) 844-2220, (, or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (