The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida on January 26, 2015 · D1
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The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida · D1

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Orlando, Florida
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Monday, January 26, 2015
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D1
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Section D Monday, January 26, 2015 BRINKMANN ON BUSINESS Save more money by using quick tips D6 Your Money D6 The Arts D9 TV listings D10 Comics D12 UCF seeks expanded entrepreneur program BY PAUL BRINKMANN Staff Writer University of Central Florida is aiming to become a major location for a national entrepreneurial program by the National Science Foundation, called I-Corps. The university is already a pilot location for the program, the first in Florida, with its first class beginning Jan. 30. I-Corps focuses on getting innovative research and startup companies into the marketplace faster, through a 10-week program to help students and faculty test their ideas so they can launch a profit able business. UCF professor Ivan Garibay said the program has generated a lot of interest at UCF and other universities. If the teams involved in the program prove to have a good product, the Florida Angel Nexus is prepared to support them, Garibay said. Only IS sites in the U.S. have an I-Corps program, Garibay said. "Currently we are only in line for $300,000 in funding over three years, so it's not necessarily a huge amount of money, but it is the Please turn to BRINKMANN, D2 More industry reports Restaurants Real estate D2 Tourism D3 Rise of geek culture creates opportunities in Central Florida By Tod Caviness Staff Writer "The Walking Dead" has taken over television, Harry Potter has his own theme park and a superhero (Chris Hemsworth of "Thor") is People magazine's sexiest man alive. The revenge of the nerds has arrived, and it looks nothing like the 1984 film "Revenge of the Nerds." Now that geeks have lost their pocket protectors, every entrepreneur from online crafters to Hollywood movie moguls is banking on those pockets being deep. That's especially true in Central Florida, where several businesses are competing for the nerd dollar in imaginative ways. Aaron Haaland, owner of A Comic Shop in Winter Park, is known for his flamboyant marketing techniques. In 2007, a year after he opened his store, Haaland and his employees donned superhero costumes and took to the streets in mock protest against the Superhuman Registration Act, the controversial and fictional measure at the heart of Marvel Comics' "Civil War" story line. The mainstreaming of comicbook culture has helped grow the industry, said Haaland. At A Comic Shop, his outreach events have pushed his subscriber base to more than 300 people. He has expanded into a neighboring property with a comics-themed bar called the Geek Easy, where customers can read the latest issue of Batman over a beer or enjoy nerd-centric performances by local bands. The success of superhero movies such as last year's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" Please turn to NERDY, D8 Businesses battle to corner nerd market bbbbbbbRbbBb jmS KKfmKM '. jHM bYbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbV- ?iiaBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBl bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb kbbbbbbbbbbbbI BBQBfBiB BHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbkkS3bbby -bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbI bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbVbbbV ''IIbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbI bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbwJ bbbbbbbbbbb GEORGE SKENE STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Debra and Alex Beardsley, owners of It's A Trap! in Winter Park, stand by a magical tree in their fantasy-themed escape room. The month-old fantasy and science-fiction attraction challenges participants to solve puzzles and riddles in order to exit a locked room. TALKING WITH , Sean Stanton: Clinical trials contribute to growth in medical sector Sean Stanton is the co-owner and CEO of Compass Research, a clinical-trial company in Orlando. With nearly two decades of experience in the field, Stanton and his partners established Compass in 2006. Company officials said that they grew by 25 percent between 2013 and 2014. By 2014, they had expanded their downtown Orlando office to 25,000 square feet and added a new 5, 500 -square-foot clinic in Lees-burg. The company, which has more than 200 employees, has participated in clinical trials for drugs including Zoloft andLipitor. Some of its current trials focus on Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis and diabetes. Stanton talked to reporter Naseem S. Miller. In simple terms, what does your company do? We work with pharmaceutical and medical-device companies to run clinical trials on new treatments. We look at our downtown office as our hub. We have a large network in the city that makes our spokes. We do the more complicated research here and the less complicated ones in partner physician practices. There are 27 physicians that we partner with in the community. What's driving your growth? I think there's a lot of activity in the pharmaceutical industry and among device companies. The number of new medicines and devices are growing so we're in the position to offer that service. We started by focusing on central nervous system disorders, specifically neurology, and other illnesses where there are not enough treatments. The areas that are obviously big in research are in hard-to-treat populations, where there's demand for new medications and devices, and that's how we grew the company. There are other clinical-trial companies in Orlando. What do you all contribute to the medical ecosystem here? We're a vehicle. We have access to medications and treatments that will be used in the years to come. So it helps the city to gain access to the newer medications and devices before they're approved. What's the most difficult part of what you do? The most challenging part of what we do is finding volunteers, because most people don't understand what we do. I think the perception on clinical trials has changed tremendously with advances in cancer research and I think people are more open-minded about it, but I still think there's a stereotype that we're like a research lab and run rat studies. We're not. We're very much like a physician's office. But getting that word out is challenging. The people who participate end up being one of our greatest resources to find other volunteers. How has the landscape of clinical trials changed in Central Florida over the past decade and where do you see it going? I think it's grown 100 times. When I first came here in '96 it was spotty. There were a handful of people doing research. Now there are 100 different doctors par ticipating in clinical trials. It's nice to see Sanford Burnham and other entities like Translational Research Institute conducting research, and with more biotech companies coming in the future I think it'll be nice. Wouldn't that create more competition for you? We see ourselves as pretty established in our field and we'll try to partner with our competitors in the city. If we collaborate we'll grow so much more than if we do things alone. There's more work than all of us can do. What gets you up in the morning? It's my family and changing people's lives in a positive direction. It's growth; the company growing motivates me more than anything I can ever express. And it's when you teach people how to do something and they can go beyond what they expected they could do. That gets me up every day. What do you do for fun? I cycle a lot. Family first, then work and then cycling. We have a competitive cycling team. In season we probably ride over 220 miles a week. nmillerorlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5158 0pX AND HJH - ill - "" REACHING NEW HEIGHTS - FOR YOU With the addition of a 10-story patient tower and expansion of our Emergency Room (opening March 2015), Orlando Health ORMC is elevating the care we provide in trauma, cardiology, neurosciences and orthopedics. Take a guided tour at MyORMC.com. A . jrwrr -- r . i rlnnrln Reninnnl Odi AMnnUcAiTu O medical center I ii i I i-BhT-a

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