Commercializing Technologies Developed at Harvard
Here is a select list of noteworthy licensing transactions over the past fiscal year. For a list of sponsored research collaborations, click here.
Note: The Harvard University fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30; hence, Fiscal Year 2010 includes July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010.
Breakthrough Discovery Platform for Next Generation HDAC Inhibitors
Harvard University and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute concluded a major licensing agreement with Acetylon under which Harvard and Dana-Farber granted an exclusive therapeutic license to a robust platform technology and chemical methodology that enables high-throughput screening and lead optimization for HDAC inhibitor compounds. Acetylon is a development stage company dedicated to the clinical development and commercialization of new therapies for inflammatory disease, neurologic disease and cancer.
Microfluidics and Cosmetics
Harvardís Office of Technology Development entered into an exclusive license agreement with Capsum, a start-up company formed by Professor David Weitz, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, Prof Jerome Bibette from ESPCI (Paris-France), and an entrepreneur named Sebastien Bardon. Capsum is the first company in the world commercializing materials manufactured by microfluidics, a technology that enables the design of a wide variety of truly new products. They offer innovative materials to the cosmetic industry by applying state-of-the-art technologies developed for the biological and medical spheres. The technology covered under the agreement is the encapsulation of active ingredients for use in cosmetics and food. The encapsulation method, designed in Prof. Weitzís lab, protects the active ingredients and allows them to be released in a controlled fashion.
Novel Paper-Based Diagnostic Assays
Harvardís Office of Technology Development signed an agreement with Diagnostics-for-All (DFA) giving DFA exclusive licensing rights for diagnostics technologies developed in the laboratories of George Whitesides. Led by Professor Whitesides, DFA is a not-for-profit Harvard spinout founded by a group of scientists and entrepreneurs with a shared commitment to saving lives and alleviating disease in developing countries and other resource-poor settings through low-cost, innovative, practical diagnostic devices. The Whitesides group has developed several ways of patterning paper to cause liquids to wick or flow in narrow channels. Multiplexed standard wet chemical reaction assays, as well as immunoassays, can be run with small sample sizes. Three dimensional paper-based devices have been developed that can filter out red blood cells, allowing the plasma to continue to the assay levels of the devices.
Analgesia Without Anesthesia
A major license agreement was concluded with Endo Pharmaceuticals, in which Harvard and MGH licensed jointly-owned intellectual property covering a pivotal platform technology for a new way of treating pain. This new technology provides compounds and methods to direct treatment at pain neurons, using two drugs in combination; one of which opens nociceptors with specificity and the other of which inhibits the activity of pain neurons, but is impermeable. The result is analgesia without anesthesia, a treatment modality that had eluded academic researchers and drug companies but is widely considered a holy grail. Endo has committed to launching a clinical trial in treating surgical pain using compounds already identified; evaluating the feasibility of a topical formulation; and launching a chemistry program to identify novel new compound entities that can be developed to treat pain.
Sequencing the Human Genome, Drop by Drop
An exclusive license agreement was signed between Harvardís Office of Technology Development and GnuBIO based on technologies which have the potential to revolutionize personal genomics. Developed in the laboratory of David Weitz, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, the platform technology is a droplet-based microfluidic DNA sequencing process. This technology will enable a hundredfold reduction in the cost of sequencing, which will allow GnuBio to build the largest database to date of both genotypic and phenotypic information, in order to focus pharmaceutical research and enhance personalized medicine. The license agreement will include substantial equity and royalties for Harvard.
Silicon Nano-Particles Improves Medical Imaging and Drug Delivery
An exclusive license agreement was signed between Harvardís Office of Technology Development and Imagnx for the development of a technology emanating from the laboratory of Professor Charles Marcus, Department of Physics, that relates to the use of hyper-polarized silicon nano-particles for medical imaging and drug delivery. We have partnered this technology with an entrepreneur who is starting a company that will pursue applications of the technology in the medical device and contrast agent markets.
Revolutionary Optical Microscopy
An exclusive license agreement was signed between Harvardís Office of Technology Development and Nikon Corporation for the development of a technology that will provide sought-after super-resolution fluorescence microscopy. Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy (STORM) will allow cell biologists to resolve structural features 20 nm apart within cells and tissue quickly and without damaging the cell. Multi-color STORM is also available. STORM will allow high resolution live-cell imaging with endogenous labels.
Synthetic Nanoparticle Vaccines Provide Highly-Effective Targeting to Immune Cells
An exclusive license was granted to Selecta Biosciences with the aim of developing the first generation of immunomodulatory nanoparticles for the treatment and prevention of human disease. Selecta was founded jointly by MIT Institute Professor Dr. Robert Langer, Harvard Associate Professor and Physician at BWH Dr. Omid Farokhzad, and Harvard Professor Dr. Ulrich von Andrian. The fundamental nanoparticle technology was developed by Drs. Langer and Farokhzad and licensed from MIT and BWH and the application for immunomodulatory treatments was jointly developed by the three co-founders and licensed from MIT, BWH and HMS. These technologies include vaccine nanoparticles, targeted delivery, controlled-release polymer systems, novel adjuvants, novel antigens, and nanoparticle formulation and processing for therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines, and immunomodulatory applications.
Novel Necrostatin Compounds and Drug Discovery
Harvardís Office of Technology Development and TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals, a privately held biopharmaceutical company, signed a license agreement providing exclusive worldwide rights to the company to commercialize novel necrostatin compounds and related drug discovery technology developed at Harvard Medical School. Necrostatins are small molecule compounds that block a programmed cell death process called necroptosis associated with multiple pathological conditions caused by ischemic, viral and inflammatory damage. Necroptosis and the potential effect of necrostatins were originally discovered in the laboratory of Professor Dr. Junying Yuan, a pioneer and a recognized leader in the field, at the Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School.