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Venture capital fund invests in UH biomedical research

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The Upside Fund, a venture capital fund managed by the University of Hawaii Foundation, Hawaii Strategic Development Corp. and the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii has invested $100,000 to launch a startup that will commercialize intellectual property developed by UH researchers.

Protekai Inc., formed by Omar S. Sultan, will seek to commercialize intellectual property of research on proteins that could create powerful new biomedical research and diagnostic tools, according to a press release issued today by the UH Foundation.

What is known as Physalia Fluorescent Proteins were discovered in the laboratory of Angel Yanagihara, a researcher in the Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology at the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Yanagihara discovered and patented the research over the past 12 years. The market for these proteins is about $2.5 billion dollars annually and growing at a double-digit rate, according to UH.

The $100,000 investment will be used to fund the additional work to isolate and sequence the proteins.

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