September 9, 2015

Record Number Of Patents Emerge From MUSC Technologies in FY 2015

Medical University of South Carolina

Innovations include therapies for brain and spinal cord injuries, cancer and leg ulcers

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Technologies developed at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) led to a record number of 69 patents issued to MUSC Foundation for Research Development (FRD) during fiscal year 2015, more than double FRD's previous high of 33 patents in fiscal year 2014.

FRD cultivates ideas with commercial potential as they emerge from MUSC and helps secure patents so the public health benefits of those technologies can be fully realized through the marketplace. To that end, FRD typically licenses technologies to medical companies that make substantial investments in the patent and clinical development process.

"To have so many technologies successfully go through such rigorous review, both domestically and abroad, speaks to the novelty of the technologies that are being created at MUSC," said Jesse Goodwin, who is both deputy director for FRD and technology development officer for MUSC SCTR Institute. "The fact that the patents are being nationalized into so many countries speaks to the importance of the technologies."

Of FRD's fiscal year 2015 patents, 17 were issued in the U.S., and 52 in foreign countries. Longtime commercial partner Alexion Pharmaceuticals is the licensee of 38 of those patents, due in large part to one therapy that was patented in 32 European countries.

Alexion's MUSC-based patents are part of a larger portfolio surrounding strategies to inhibit the complement pathway. Complement is a group of soluble and cell surface proteins that represent a crucial component of the immune system but may also contribute to a variety of autoimmune diseases and injuries. The 2015 patents cover therapies co-invented by an MUSC team to address traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury and to promote liver regeneration after a patient's liver has been partially removed.

In addition to its work with well-established companies such as Alexion, FRD facilitates the creation of startup companies that originate to commercialize MUSC technology. Startups that received issued patents in fiscal year 2015 include the following:

FirstString Research

FirstString is the licensee of six FRD patents issued in fiscal year 2015 (three U.S., three foreign) related to the wound-healing ACT1 peptide and therapies utilizing the peptide. FirstString is actively pursuing clinical testing of ACT1 as a treatment for venous leg ulcers and other issues.

SphingoGene, Inc.

SphingoGene, a licensee of patents covering small molecule drugs targeting sphingolipid metabolism, added seven foreign patents to its portfolio in fiscal year 2015. The drugs are being developed as cancer therapeutics, as sphingolipid metabolism plays a role in the survival and spread of tumor cells. The portfolio is based on the work of more than 10 MUSC inventors.

MicroVide LLC

MicroVide is the licensee of four newly issued U.S. and European patents covering a microdialysis system intended to provide real-time measurement of circulating biological substances or drug levels during surgery. MicroVide CEO and former MUSC faculty member Francis Spinale, M.D., invented the technology along with others from MUSC.

FRD's record patent numbers in fiscal year 2015 reflect an increasing emphasis on innovation at MUSC. At the end of last year, MUSC gained notable recognition when it was ranked No. 4 in the world on the Patent Power 2014 Scorecard for universities. Put out by the International Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) association, the Patent Power Scorecards are based on the number and quality of U.S. patents issued during the previous year.

About MUSC Foundation for Research Development

FRD has served as MUSC's technology transfer office since 1998. During that period, FRD has filed patent applications on more than 350 technologies, resulting in over 140 U.S. issued patents. Additionally, FRD has executed more than 150 licenses and spun out more than 50 startup companies. MUSC startups have had products approved by the FDA and acquired by publicly traded corporations while attracting substantial investment dollars into South Carolina. Innovations from MUSC, including medical devices, therapies and software, are positively impacting health care worldwide. Please visit us online at frd.musc.edu

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Contact: 

Executive Assistant Harriette Bayse

843-876-1901 (office)

bayse@musc.edu