Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tech Spotlight: Advanced Lyotropic Liquid Crystal (LLC) Nanofiltration Membranes

University of Colorado research groups led by Douglas Gin and Richard Noble have developed a novel filtration membrane based on the polymerization of lyotropic liquid crystals (LLCs) that contains ordered, densely packed, size-tunable pores of uniform size. These new LLC membranes have pore sizes on the order of 0.5-2 nm. The resulting size-selectivity of these membranes enables high, predictable rejection of dissolved ions (salts, in particular) from water as well as a number of organic molecular solutes.

These research groups have refined, simplified, and reduced the cost of LLC monomer synthesis, and have also demonstrated that LLC membranes can be modified by inorganic atomic layer deposition (ALD) to reduce pore size and, optionally, alter the chemical selectivity of the membrane.For instance, an LLC membrane modified in this way can be used to separate smaller gas particles like (O2 from N2) and (H2 from CH2) with a potential use in coal fired plants to feed pure O2 into the furnace, making the process more efficient and yielding a pure outgas stream of CO2 which would enable easier sequestration.

To read a non-confidential summary of this technology, including links to relevant patent documents, please click the image above. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tech Spotlight: Targeted Delivery of Doxazolidine - Novel Cancer Therapy Prodrugs

Doxazolidine (Doxaz) is a formaldehyde conjugate of the anthracycline antibiotic doxorubicin (Dox) developed by Dr. Tad Koch of the University of Colorado. Doxaz is functionally distinct from Dox and induces cancer cell death in sensitive and multidrug resistant cells by crosslinking DNA. Due to its increased toxicity and instability, Doxaz is an ideal candidate for prodrug delivery. Dr. Koch has designed a series of prodrugs for the targeted delivery of Doxaz to cancers. Pentyl PABC Doxaz (PPD) is one such prodrug and is activated to Doxaz by the cytosolic and microsomal protein carboxylesterase 2 (CES2) expressed by liver, non-small cell lung, colon, pancreatic, renal, and thyroid cancer cells.

Preclinical work with PPD has supported an improved safety and efficacy profile: PPD-induced inhibition of tumor growth followed dose escalation and exceeded inhibition of tumor growth by doxorubicin near its maximum tolerated dose. Heart sections treated with PPD showed significantly less evidence of cardiotoxicity than heart sections treated with doxorubicin. Unlike Dox, PPD is potentially orally bioavailable. Dr. Koch is currently workong on next-generation leads based on PPD.

To read a non-confidential summary of this technology, including links to relevant documents, please click the image above. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

December 2010 Newsletter Now Available

Top stories from TTO's December newsletter:

New Combo Lung Cancer Therapy Improves Survival Over Single-Line Treatment
A combination therapy for treating cancer discovered at the University of Colorado Cancer Center (UCCC) showed improved survival rates in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to results presented from a double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2 trial run by Syndax Pharmaceuticals. The phase 2 results show that the combination of entinostat (Syndax's SNDX-275) and erlotinib was more effective in treating NSCLC in patients with elevated levels of the molecular cancer marker E-cadherin than using erlotinib alone. UCCC researchers were the first to identify elevated E-cadherin as a targetable cancer marker, the first to develop the biomarker tumor testing process for elevated E-cadherin and the first to test the combined therapy. Syndax holds rights to the CU intellectual property related to this type of combination therapy which includes the use of E-cadherin to predict responsiveness to the therapy.

Arch Biopartners Exclusively Licenses CU Peptide Surface Technology
Arch Biopartners Inc. announced in early December that it has obtained an exclusive license for a patent pending in the area of peptides and solid surfaces owned by the University of Colorado and emanating from the Program in Structural Biology and Biophysics headed by Dr. Robert Hodges.

Viral Genetics Launches Subsidiary to Develop Metabolic Disruption Technology for Biofuels
CU licensee Viral Genetics, Inc., a California-based biotechnology company researching new treatments and methods of detection for diseases including cancer, HIV/AIDS and others, has launched a subsidiary called VG Energy, Inc. which will explore biofuel and agricultural applications for one of the technologies in its licensed portfolio: Metabolic Disruption Technology (MDT).

Baxter Nabs Archemix' Lead Synthetic Hemophilia Candidate and Assets for About $30M
Baxter International is paying aptamer therapeutics firm (and CU licensee) Archemix somewhere in the region of $30M to acquire all the latter's hemophilia-related assets plus an exclusive license to its lead hemophilia candidate, ARC19499. Under terms of the deal Archemix could receive another $285M in milestone payments. ARC19499 is currently undergoing Phase I evaluation in the U.K.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

New Combo Lung Cancer Therapy Improves Survival Over Single-Line Treatment

University of Colorado-developed treatment effective in Phase 2 Trials in a biomarker-selected group of patients

AURORA, Colo. (Dec. 13, 2010) – A combination therapy for treating cancer discovered at the University of Colorado Cancer Center showed improved survival rates in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to results presented today from a double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2 trial run by Syndax Pharmaceuticals.

The phase 2 results show that the combination of entinostat (Syndax’s SNDX-275) and erlotinib was more effective in treating NSCLC in patients with elevated levels of the molecular cancer marker E-cadherin than using erlotinib alone. University of Colorado Cancer Center researchers, who are faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, were the first to identify elevated E-cadherin as a targetable cancer marker, the first to develop the biomarker tumor testing process for elevated E-cadherin and the first to test the combined therapy.

About 40 percent of NSCLC patients have elevated E-cadherin levels, making this a significant advance towards highly personalized treatment for lung cancer patients. Entinostat controls expression of genes that can cause resistance to conventional cancer therapies like erlotinib.

“The outcome of patients with advanced lung cancer has been disappointing historically but the identification of new molecular features and new therapies directed at these molecular features has markedly improved outcome for some patients,” said Paul Bunn, MD, professor of medical oncology at the CU medical school and principal investigator of the University of Colorado Cancer Center’s Specialized Program of Research Excellence in Lung Cancer, funded by the National Cancer Institute.

“Unfortunately, some of the molecular changes are quite rare,” said Bunn. “A more common molecular change is the high expression of epithelial markers such as E-cadherin. HDAC inhibitors such as entinostat can increase the expression of epithelial markers and can delay the development of resistance to EGFR inhibitors such as erlotinib. In this study, the combination of erlotinib and the HDAC inhibitor entinostat lead to a small but not statistically significant improvement in survival in unselected patients but a large and statistically significant improvement in survival in patients with high expression of E-cadherin ( 9.4 months vs.5.4 months). While extremely promising, these results will need to be confirmed in a larger randomized phase III trial.”

"Using a biomarker to select patients based on the tumor biology can improve patient outcomes versus treating an unselected patient population," said University of Colorado Cancer Center researcher Fred Hirsch, MD, PhD, professor of medical oncology at the CU medical school.

Data from the phase 2 trial, led by Robert Jotte, MD, PhD, of Denver’s Rocky Mountain Cancer Center, was presented at the ASTRO 2010 Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology, co-sponsored by the American Society for Radiation Oncology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer and The University of Chicago.

“The data presented suggest that NSCLC patients with elevated E-cadherin levels can do better when treated with entinostat and erlotinib,” said Joanna Horobin, MD, president and chief executive officer of Syndax, the company that holds worldwide rights to entinostat.

Syndax holds rights to the CU intellectual property related to this type of combination therapy which includes the use of E-cadherin to predict responsiveness to the therapy.

“Syndax has been a model commercial partner for the University, and we are both encouraged and excited by the Phase 2 results,” said David Poticha, senior licensing manager at the CU Technology Transfer Office.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

CU Shingles Vaccine and Reading Software Featured in AUTM Better World 2010

The 2010 Better World Report: The Positive Impact of Academic Innovations on Quality of Life (produced by the Association of University Technology Managers) celebrates real-world examples of technologies that directly impact the health, well-being and overall quality of life of people around the world. Two CU technologies made the cut:
  • Zostavax is the trade name for a virus vaccine for the prevention of varicella zoster virus (VZV) infection. VZV causes herpes zoster (shingles in adults, chickenpox as a child) and post-herpetic neuralgia. The Zostavax clinical program was built upon U.S. Patent 5,997,880, held jointly by the University of Colorado and Merck. Later pharmaco-economic analysis of the vaccine shows a health care financial benefit comparable to that offered by cervical screening for cancer or cholesterol screening (report, page 63).
  • My Virtual Tutor™ is interactive software developed by CU licensee Mentor InterActive, Inc. and based on the Foundations to Literacy reading program developed at CU-Boulder's Center for Computational Language & EducAtion Research (CLEAR). The first products in the My Virtual Tutor™: Reading line debuted in September 2009 at leading retailers throughout the US and Canada (report, page 95).
Read the full report (PDF) for these and other short vignettes of tech transfer success stories.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Arch Biopartners Exclusively Licenses CU Peptide Surface Technology

AURORA, Colo. – December 7, 2010 – Arch Biopartners Inc. (“Arch” or the “Company”) announced today that it has obtained an exclusive license for a patent pending in the area of peptides and solid surfaces owned by the University of Colorado (“CU”) and emanating from the Program in Structural Biology and Biophysics, headed by Dr. Robert Hodges.

The Company has agreed to pay $36,000 USD as consideration for the license. Additionally, the Company has agreed to issue 150,000 common shares to CU in the event the Company identifies a product covered by the patent that is ready to be advanced into formal clinical or commercial development. Future royalty payments by the Company to CU relating to the licensed patent will depend on future sales. The Company’s patent attorney is now responsible for completing the prosecution of the patent filing with the US Patent and Trademarks Office.

See also: Arch Biopartners Acquires Option to License Anti-Cancer Compounds from CU.

About Arch Biopartners
Arch Biopartners is a portfolio based biotechnology company established to develop new products and technology for sale to pharmaceutical and industrial companies. For more information on the Company, please consult the other public documents including all press releases, management information circular, financial statements and management discussion and analysis filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. The company’s website address is www.archbiopartners.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
All statements, other than statements of historical fact, in this news release are forward looking statements that involve various risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, statements regarding the future plans and objectives of the Company. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate. Actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. These and all subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements are based on the estimates and opinions of management on the dates they are made and are expressly qualified in their entirety by this notice. The Company assumes no obligation to update forward-looking statements should circumstances or management’s estimates or opinions change.

Tech Spotlight: Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) Preparation of Noble Metal Catalysts

Organic pollutants in wastewater streams and volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere have been increasing over the recent decades. Currently, semiconductor photocatalysts such as Titanium Oxide (TiO2), are used to minimize the effects of environmental pollution by detoxifying harmful organic materials. These photocatalysts provide many benefits in use, as they are low cost, non-toxic, and have the ability to degrade a broad range of pollutants. However, TiO2 is not used in environmental treatment because its low treatment efficiency prevents it from being used on a large scale.

At the University of Colorado, a research team led by Dr. Alan Weimer has developed a method of using Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) to create noble metal nanoparticles on high surface area materials. The noble metal nanoparticles are of uniform size, and are evenly disbursed on the high surface area particle, as well as within in the pores of high surface area particles. This is a technical breakthrough considering that current methods have proven unsuccessful in reaching the inner pores of the mesoporous gel and have shown poor dispersion and distribution. This method  introduces improved applications for noble metal catalysts that can be used in environmental remediation, water treatment, catalytic reforming for fuel production, fuel cells, batteries, and similar applications.

To read a non-confidential summary of this technology, please click the image above. For more CU technologies available for licensing, please visit our Tech Explorer site.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Podcast: Tech Transfer and Renewable Energy

W3W3 radio spoke with Trent Yang, Direct of Entrepreneurship and Business Development at CU-Boulder's Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI), and MaryBeth Vellequette, TTO Licensing Associate, about RASEI and its joint proof-of-concept programs with TTO.


 The purpose of the institute is to bring together all of the cleantech and renewable energy research that is occurring on campus and marry it with the collaborative efforts going on at NREL and really make a world-class research institute here in Colorado in Boulder.
Listen to the podcast, or view an archive of all TTO podcasts.