Penn’s Center for Tech Transfer Wins Award for Industry/University/Government Research

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Media Contact:Jacquie Posey | jposey@upenn.edu | 215-898-6460October 8, 2010

PHILADELPHIA –- The University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Technology Transfer has been honored with a Deal of Distinction Award by the Licensing Executive Society (USA and Canada) Inc.

The award was given for a collaborative research agreement forged earlier this year by Penn and pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca that will make use of academic and private-industry resources to generate new Alzheimer’s disease drug candidates for clinical development.

The Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine will provide rapid access to unique state-of-the-art drug compound screening assays and knowledge of the biology of tau, a protein known to play a key role in dementias.  In turn, AstraZeneca scientists will supply drug compound expertise and research support with access to the technologies and skills required to discover and develop new drug molecules.

The agreement, “Discovery and Development of Novel Drug Candidates Against Alzheimer's Disease,” was judged the most distinctive in the Industry/University/Government Interface Sector.  The agreement allows the parties to work together in drug discovery and development, and it contains potential royalties and milestone payments linked to successful clinical development and eventual worldwide marketing of tau-targeted therapies for Alzheimer’s.

“This partnership with AZ is so important for advancing us closer to the goal of developing disease-modifying therapies,” John Trojanowski, director of the Institute on Aging at Penn, said.  “I think this will be the wave of the future for Alzheimer’s drug discovery so we are very excited to have such a creative and entrepreneurial office of technology transfer on our team."

The LES Deals of Distinction is an award program which aspires to recognize noteworthy licensing deals and promote creative and innovative solutions to business issues and deal structures in contracts.

“The time is now for tau-focused Alzheimer’s drug discovery, and the Penn-AZ partnership will hasten the pace of advancing this important drug target ahead at a rapid pace," Virginia M.-Y. Lee, director of CNDR, said.  “We are pleased that CTT helped us to craft this partnership so the science can move forward as fast as possible.”  

““It is very gratifying to help connect important discoveries made by world-class scientists such as John and Virginia with the right commercial development partners in this way,” Michael J. Cleare, associate vice provost and executive director of Penn’s Center for Technology Transfer, said.  “Our sincere hope is that products that result from these types of partnerships and collaborations will help to address devastating conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.”     

Additional information is available at www.LES2010.org.

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