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IP and Commercialisation

Is your business looking to partner with a university to create commercial opportunities to licence and develop intellectual property (IP)?

Our innovation at UCLan team offers a range of services including opportunities to exploit university owned IP, as well as providing investment towards the cost of collaborating with us. All of these opportunities are designed to help your business innovate and grow by tapping into the expertise here at the University of Central Lancashire.

We can provide advice on IP protection, including patents, and arrange licensing deals and spin-out opportunities. We work together to find ways to apply new knowledge and innovations with maximum impact on your business.

Our portfolio of Intellectual Property covers a wide range of categories, including: Biomedical Sciences, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Forensic Sciences, Nuclear Sciences, Materials and Nano-Materials Technologies, Tribology Technologies, Pharmacy and 3D Printing Technologies.

Title of the patent: Developing new drugs to treat brain tumours

Introduction

We have developed and patented a series of new molecules that could be advanced into a much needed new treatment for malignant brain tumours. Current prognosis for such patients is poor and our continued aim is to invent better drugs to treat the disease.

Description

​We have been working on the development of new compounds for use as therapeutic agents, particularly in the treatment and/or prevention of proliferative disorders, such as cancer, especially brain cancers and tumours. Our work scope includes the development of pharmaceutical compositions and specific therapeutic uses of the compounds.

Proliferative disorders, such as cancer, are caused by uncontrolled and unregulated cellular proliferation. Wide ranging research has, over the years, lead to the development of numerous anticancer drug treatments, though it is becoming increasingly recognised that particular types of cancers need to be targeted with particular drugs. As such, chemotherapy research is increasingly focussing on specific treatments for specific types of cancer rather than generic cancer treatments.

The discovery of alternative and efficacious drug treatments for brain cancers and brain tumors has proved particularly challenging for researchers. For instance, to be effective, such drugs must be capable of penetrating the blood-brain barrier and be efficacious whilst minimising undesirable side-effects. Brain cancer drugs currently in use include inter alia Cisplatin, Temozolomide, Etoposide, and Carmustine. Amongst these particular drugs, Cisplatin has been shown to possess the best cytotoxic effects against established glioma cell lines 1321N1 (WHO Grade 2) and U87MG (WHO Grade 4).[1] It is thought that Cisplatin derives its therapeutic activity against brain cancers from DNA-alkylation behaviour.

Core advantages

    1. The current work aims to provide an alternative therapeutic treatment of proliferative disorders such as brain cancers.
    2. The work is focused on a drug which operates, at least in part, via a mode of action dissimilar to drugs of the prior art, such as Cisplatin.
    3. The technology has the potential to provide a drug which is suitable for treating proliferative disorders, such as brain cancers, and is straightforward to synthesize.

Application

Our approach provides a method of inhibiting growth of either or both U87MG and 1321N1 cell lines in vitro or in vivo, provides a method of inhibiting cell proliferation, in vitro or in vivo, provides a method of treating a proliferative disorder or cancer in a patient in need of such treatment.

The focus of our work is the treatment of and/or prevention of proliferative disorders, such as cancer, especially brain cancers/tumours in particular glioma.

Further information

Territories filed: Europe, Australia, China, Canada, United States

Status: Pending

Published as: WO2014049364A1

To discuss this patent please contact: innovationteam@uclan.ac.uk or view via Espacenet

Details

Title of Patent: Disposable dilator for children and adults

Introduction

We are developing solutions for the medical equipment market and in particular a dilator product for use in a clinical and home setting.

This new product which is inexpensive and disposable, is designed to maximise patient safety by minimising the risk of cross contamination in adults and children.

Further information

Design Registration Number: 2588491

To discuss this patent please contact: innovationteam@uclan.ac.uk

Details

Title of the patent: Water-purifying composite material for use in the photocatalytic destruction of pollutants in water

Inventor: Richard McCabe

Introduction

Many industrial processes produce water soluble organic pollutants, which need removing before the water can be discharged.

Our patented technology enables the removal of these pollutants through the use of a relatively inexpensive water-purifying composite material and processing technology that is environmentally benign.

Description

The global chemical industry is facing the continual challenge of meeting strict discharge limits while keeping overall operating costs down. Our research has led to the development of a novel, cost effective, safe and recoverable catalyst system that mineralises water pollutants to purify wastewater before it is discharged into the environment.

The invention produces water-purifying composite materials through growing photocatalytic metal compounds in situ within aluminosilicate mineral materials, such as clays or zeolites. Typically, pre-active metal species, such as iron cations, are first introduced into the aluminosilicate mineral material via ion-exchange, to replace the native ions originally residing in interlayer regions or pores of the aluminosilicate. The pre-active metal species may then be activated by transforming them, in situ within the interlayer regions or pores of the aluminosilicate, into the photocatalytic metal compound.

Such a transformation typically requires the application of heat over a suitable period. The interlayer regions or pores typically control the growth of a crystalline form of the photocatalytic metal compound such that highly catalytically active nanocrystals are produced. The nanocrystals thus formed suitably behave as semiconductors that can be activated through irradiation with visible light to promote catalytic electrons from a valence band into a conduction band to thereby make electrons available to catalyse reactions.

Core advantages

​Previous technologies have relied on the adsorption of pollutants onto expensive activated charcoal. The charcoal waste produced using this method is then expensive to dispose of.

Our research has identified several novel catalysts that possess unique and advantageous properties that:

  • Facilitate rapid oxidative photocatalytic destruction of water pollutants using environmentally benign species that can be easily separated from purified water after use.
  • Are simple and inexpensive to produce and use, especially as natural daylight may be used to provide relevant electromagnetic radiation.
  • Extremely robust and durable, whilst retaining their catalytic activity
  • Is fully recyclable and destroys rather than simply adsorbs the pollutants.

Applications

​The invention provides a cost-effective solution that prevents pollutants produced by the chemical industry being discharged into the environment.

Further information

Status: PCT Filing

Published as: WO20147/155077 A1

Licensing status: Ready for exploitation

Priority filing date: 26 March 2014

To discuss this patent please contact: innovationteam@uclan.ac.uk

Patent available to view on: Espacenet

 

Details

Title of Patent: DNA forensic test to differentiate between close paternal relatives

Introduction

Our research is developing Rapidly Mutating (RM) YSTRs can differentiate between closely related males. A 13 -locus multiplex PCR kit RM-YPlex was developed to simultaneously amplify them, in a robust and sensitive manner down to 0.0625ng template DNA.

The test allows full RM Y-STR profile detection out of male-female mixtures, giving reliable results.

Description

Short tandem repeats (STRs) are commonly used for the analysis of DNA in a range of forensic applications, such as the analysis of DNA found at crime scenes. STRs found on the Y chromosome (Y-STRs) are used in determining the presence of male DNA in samples that may also contain female DNA, such as those obtained in sexual assault cases.

Many Y-STRs are unable to distinguish between related males sharing the same paternal lineage. Since mutations in these Y-STRs are relative rare events, the majority of these will be shared between such male relatives.

Certain Y-STRs have been identified as “rapidly mutating”, which for the present purposes indicates that they have mutation rates in the order of 10-2 whereas all the other Y STRs have a mutation rates in the order of 10-3. The use of these markers for identification allows distinctions to be made between even closely related male subjects.

Our research provides a method of determining the alleles of rapidly mutating Y chromosome short tandem repeats (RM Y-STRs) in a sample of interest.

RM YSTRs are genetic loci that are amplified through Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Multiple loci can be investigated in a single reaction, but it means that the primers have to be constructed appropriately and the reaction has to be optimised to a high level. Our research has achieved that and is first time such a multiplex reaction has been described for the 13 RM Y STRs.

Since Y STRs are inherited from the father these remain unchanged since the mutation rates are low (10-3). Thus, close relatives cannot be identified by using normal Y STRs. Rapidly Mutating (RM) Y STRs have a high mutation rate (10-2). These are therefore good for identifying close relatives. A single PCR amplification makes the reaction simpler, easier and quicker. This was not possible before we developed this tool.

We started working on the concept in early 2012 and we had the working prototype i.e. all markers amplifying simultaneously in later part of 2012. All the amplifications have been successful with different male samples. Female samples do not give rise to any amplification results (which should be the case). The system has also been tested with several close male relatives to show its application to identify close male relatives. In 2013 we started work on a different enzyme and that also has been successful. Attached are the results from different samples amplification as Electropherogram plots.

The present invention relates to methods and kits for use in determining the alleles of rapidly Mutating short tandem repeats located on the Y chromosome. The current literature describes rapidly mutating STRs, amplified through 3 multiplex reactions. Our vision was to be able to amplify all the 13 RM Y STRs simultaneously.

Core advantages

​The work makes possible kits for use in determining the alleles of rapidly Mutating short tandem repeats located on the Y chromosome, using a single reaction for amplifying all the 13 RM Y STR loci, which avoids the time resource and human effort of the previous methods.

Application

​Forensic Science providers around the world can use this product for determining the identity. Paternity determination companies can use it in complex kinship cases. Life Technologies and Promega have marketed a number of multiplex STR and Y STR kits. Recently Promega marketed a kit Y-23 that includes 2 RM Y STRs and 21 other genetic markers. Life Technologies is about to market a kit called Y-Plus where they have added 5 RM Y-STRs and other markers Thus there is a potential for commercialisation of this product as an additional multiplex kit.

Further information

Status: PCT Filing (Published as: WO2015097479 A1)

Licensing status: Ready for exploitation

Priority filing date: 24 December 2013

To discuss this patent please contact: innovationteam@uclan.ac.uk

Patent available to view on: Espacenet

Details

Title of the patent: New methods of non-invasively tracking the increase of fluid in a bladder.

Status: UK Filing

Introduction

Our patented research using intelligent signal processing is being used to non-invasively track the increase of fluid in a bladder.

Our invention comprises of software which can track the increase of fluid in a bladder using ultrasound data. This data can then be used as a biomarker for triggering alarms, aiding a patient with incontinence or similar problems.

Description

Further information regarding this patent application will be made available once published by the relevant Intellectual Property Office.

Further information

To discuss this patent please contact: innovationteam@uclan.ac.uk.

Title of Patent: Uses of aptamers, ligand-binding fragments of aptamers, and oligonucleotides in the prevention and/or treatments of cancers, and diagnosis of cancers.

Introduction

Our patented research is utilising aptamers, ligand-binding fragments of aptamers, and oligonucleotides for use as agents in the prevention and/or treatments of cancers, and diagnosis of cancers. These agents and methods are particularly useful in brain cancers such as gliomas.

Description

Our Aptmer work concerns the identification, characterisation and application of novel aptamers to malignant cells for diagnosis and treatment.

Aptamers are small and highly structured single stranded DNA or RNA molecules. They have a highly defined three-dimensional structure, which helps them to bind with high affinity to targeted molecules with high specificity. Their unique binding properties make them valuable for diagnostics, purification process, target validation, drug discovery and therapeutic interventions. A number of recent studies have used aptamers to identify and selectively target cancer cells, including AS1411 (refractory acute myeloid leukaemia or renal cell carcinoma, NOX-A50 and anti-MUC1 (epithelial cell cancer). These aptamers take advantage of the irregular protein expression on the surface of affected cells.

The worldwide annual incidence of primary brain tumours is approximately 4 per 100 000 males and 3 per 100 000 females while the mortality is approximately 3 per 100 000 males and 2 per 100 00 females (Bondy et al., 2008). Eighty-six percent of these tumours were gliomas, with greater than 50 % being the more malignant grade IV glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

The current strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of glioma are inadequate. For those patients diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, the most malignant and aggressive glioma, there is a less than 5% probability of surviving beyond 5 years with a median survival of approximately 15 months (Bondy et al., 2008).

The major issue with the use of chemotherapy is the side effects incurred by the patient, largely due to non-specific drug effects on healthy cells. Therefore a method to specifically target chemotherapy agents to the tumour cells rather than to healthy cells is required.

Our work relates to aptamers, ligand-binding fragments of aptamers, and oligonucleotides. The work is also aimed at the prevention and/or treatments of cancers, and diagnosis of cancers. The agents and methods used are particularly useful in brain cancers such as glioma.

We have now established the method for systemic evolution ligand exponential (SELEX) using glioma cell lines (U87MG; grade IV tumour and 1321n1; grade II tumour) and a non-tumourigenic glial cell line (SVGp12) using the random aptamer library mentioned above. We have a number of unique aptamer sequences which are currently undergoing the same screening process as the modified Cerchia aptamers.

Although the SELEX process to date has involved cell lines, we intend to further develop the process and use patient tissues as a substitute for cell lines. Tumours are a heterogeneous population of cells and therefore to develop a specific aptamer for diagnosis/ therapy/ drug monitoring then we need to take this into account.

Core advantages

Aptamers are short stranded oligonucleotide sequences that bind to target ligands with high affinity and specificity. They can be modified to attach other moieties such as fluorescent dyes, chemotherapy agents and therefore can be used as a targeted drug delivery system.

Aptamers overcome a number of drawbacks by other targeting systems such as antibodies; they are cheaper and relatively easy to isolate; no risk of batch to batch variability; do not involve the use of animals to generate them; non-immunogenic; smaller and thus able to penetrate further into the tissues and they can be easily modified to make them more stable under in vivo conditions.

Applications

​Attachment is possible to other moieties such as fluorescent dyes, chemotherapy agents and therefore can be used as a targeted drug delivery system.

Further information

Status: PCT Filing

Published as: WO2015/004412 A1

Licensing status: Ready for exploitation

Priority filing date: 10 June 2013

To discuss this patent please contact innovationteam@uclan.ac.uk

Patent available to view on: Espacenet

 

Contact us

Email: innovationteam@uclan.ac.uk