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Royalty Pharma, Northwestern U, Sloan-Kettering, Amgen, Addrenex Pharmaceuticals, U of Nebraska Med, UTEK Corporation, Pharmalicensing, Hebrew U, Nanolymf, Viral Genetics, U of Colorado, V-Clip Pharmaceuticals, Genocea Biosciences, Harvard Med, Emory U, O

Royalty Pharma Buys Portion of NWU’s Royalty Interest in Lyrica for $700M
Royalty Pharma and Northwestern University said this month that Northwestern has sold an undisclosed portion of its royalty interest in Lyrica to Royalty Pharma for $700 million in cash.
The one-time payment is considered one of the largest royalty monetization deals ever related to an invention spawned from university research.
Lyrica, a pain medication used to treat nerve pain associated with diabetes and shingles and to manage pain associated with fibromyalgia, is currently sold by Pfizer.
An undisclosed portion of the payment will go to Richard Silverman, a professor of chemistry at NWU, and Ryszard Andruszkiewicz, a former postdoc in Silverman’s lab. Silverman and Andruszkiewicz were responsible for synthesizing the chemical compound that serves as the basis for Lyrica.
Net proceeds from the partial sale of royalty rights, less the payment to the inventors, will be placed in the NWU endowment, Eugene Sunshine, NWU’s senior vice president for business and finance, said in a statement.
NWU will retain a “large portion” of the royalty rights in Lyrica, the school said, but did not disclose the percentage.
Morgan Stanley is acting as structuring advisor and Covington & Burling LLP as legal advisor to NWU for the sale. Goodwin Procter LLP is acting as legal advisor to Royalty Pharma for the sale.

MSKCC Sues Amgen for Underpaying Drug Royalties by $72M
The Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research this month filed suit against Amgen for allegedly underpaying royalties on the anti-infectives Neupogen and Neulasta by more than $72 million.
According to court documents filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, Sloan-Kettering alleged that Amgen improperly deducted rebates related to its anemia drug Aranesp from sales of Neupogen and Neulasta in its calculations of royalties owed to the cancer center.
As a result of these rebates, Sloan-Kettering alleged that Amgen has underpaid its royalties on the anti-infectives in excess of $72 million through September 2007, the complaint states.
In 2003, Sloan-Kettering sold a portion of its royalty stream for Neupogen and Neulasta to Royalty Pharma, which subsequently sold the royalty rights to Royalty Pharma Finance Trust, the lawsuit alleges. Despite this arrangement, Sloan-Kettering retains the right to sue and collect for any underpayments, according to the complaint.
The Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research is a division of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Addrenex Pharma Licenses Compound Library from UNebraska Med
Addrenex Pharmaceuticals, a biotech startup based in Research Triangle Park, NC, has signed a licensing agreement with UNeMed, the tech-transfer arm of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, for UNMC’s library of nearly 400 compounds targeting adrenergic receptors.
Under the terms of the deal, Addrenex will provide the university with undisclosed milestone payments and future royalties on sales of approved drugs based on the compound library.
Addrenex, which is in its second year of operation, said that the licensing deal will expand its drug pipeline from a single product to several drugs aimed at medical conditions such as hypertension, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, pain, menopausal symptoms, insomnia, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Adrenergic receptors are docking sites on cells that react with the hormones adrenalin and noradrenalin, and are implicated in a variety of diseases. Addrenex said that it sought the deal with UNMC to rapidly acquire new drug candidates and expertise.
The compound library and associated intellectual property were gifted to UNMC by Procter and Gamble in 2002.

UTEK to Acquire UK’s Pharmalicensing for $2.1M
UTEK Corporation this month said that it has agreed to acquire York, UK-based Pharmalicensing through its subsidiary UTEK Europe.
Financial terms of the deal call for UTEK to issue 153,967 shares of its common stock which, based on the ten-day closing price at the time of the announcement, totaled approximately $2.15 million. The current owners of Pharmalicensing have agreed not to dispose of any of the consideration stock for at least 12 months following completion of the transaction, expected to occur in early January 2008.
Pharmalicensing services approximately 200 clients seeking to in- or out-license to augment their internal R&D and business development programs, UTEK said. UTEK also said that the acquisition represents an extension of UTEK’s open innovation services and increases its presence in the life sciences sector.

Hebrew U Spins Out Nanolymf to Develop Nanotech Drug Delivery
Yissum, the tech-transfer arm of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has announced the formation of Nanolymf, a biotech startup dedicated to advancing a nanotechnology-based, controlled-release, drug-delivery platform that increases the bioavailability of orally administered lipophilic drugs.
Nanolymf was founded as a subsidiary of Shisim, a leading group of life sciences companies based in Israel.
Nanolymf’s technology was developed by Simon Benita at the Hebrew University’s School of Pharmacy, and is exclusively licensed from Yissum. Under the terms of the licensing agreement, Yissum will receive undisclosed royalties, sublicense fees, and an equity stake in Nanolymf.
To date, Nanolymf has raised approximately $500,000 from private investors and is seeking to raise an additional $2 million to fund initial clinical studies for the drug-delivery system.

Viral Genetics Strikes Licensing Deal with U of Colorado, V-Clip Pharma
Viral Genetics this month said that it has entered into several agreements with the University of Colorado and V-Clip Pharmaceuticals related to the exclusive rights to patent applications and know-how for diagnosing and treating HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and herpes.
The intellectual property was developed by Karen Newell, a professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. V-Clip Pharmaceuticals was formed specifically for the acquisition of the license to this IP, and its shareholders are Viral Genetics, University License Equity Holdings (UC’s equity holding arm), Newell, and other UC scientists.
The licensed rights include several patent applications related to the mechanism of action of Viral Genetics TNP compound, which has been shown to modulate the immune system in certain diseases and cause apoptosis of unwanted cells.
Viral Genetics has agreed to conduct preclinical testing of TNP peptide components to further characterize their mechanism of action. Following the successful completion of these tests, which will be financed by Viral Genetics through grant funding or public and private sources, Viral Genetics said it intends to acquire V-Clip.
The exclusive license agreement also includes various undisclosed royalties and milestone payments to UC upon certain events, including sales of diagnostic or therapeutic products and certain regulatory milestones.
Viral Genetics is also currently working with UC to complete a sponsored research agreement that will outline a program of research to be conducted in Newell’s laboratory.

Genocea Biosciences Licenses Vaccine Targets from Harvard Med
Genocea Biosciences, a vaccine discovery and development company, this month said that it has licensed 14 antigens for Chlamydia trachomatis from Harvard Medical School.
Financial terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed. The vaccine target portfolio was developed in the laboratory of Darren Higgins, associate professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at Harvard Med.
Founded in 2006, Genocea is focused on identifying antigens for next-generation vaccines. Its core vaccine discovery platform is based on technology licensed from the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard Med.
C. trachomatis is the leading bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the US, with an estimated 3 million infected Americans.

Emory, Ohio State Launch Personalized Medicine Partnership
Emory University and Ohio State University are pulling together their biomedical and biotechnology resources to start a personalized medicine partnership that will focus on genomics, clinical trials, bioinformatics, technology transfer, and environmental and behavioral research, Emory said this month.
The initiative, called the Alliance for Predictive and Personalized Health, is aimed at “transforming health care into a more patient-centered system that integrates scientific breakthroughs in genomics and molecular biology with advances in communications and information technology,” the universities said in a statement.
The effort builds on several initiatives already underway at the two institutes. In 2005, Emory teamed with Georgia Tech to start a Predictive Health Institute that focuses on genetic and protein biomarkers and a Center for Health Discovery and Well-Being that serves as "a clinical testing ground" for predictive medicine and translational research.
The same year, Ohio State started its Center for Personalized Health Care, which combines bioinformatics, genomics, imagine and clinical trials.
Under the auspices of the Alliance for Predictive and Personalized Health, the universities plan to partner in biomarker research, biobanking, cancer genetics, autoimmune imaging, and other medical areas.
The schools also plan to conduct clinical trials and study phenotyping and biomarkers, as well as the legal issues, and the education and training involved in personalized medicine.
The partners also plan to focus on technology transfer and research and IP management, as well as technology research and development focused on databases, biobanks and biomarkers.

The Scan

Sick Newborns Selected for WGS With Automated Pipeline

Researchers successfully prioritized infants with potential Mendelian conditions for whole-genome sequencing or rapid whole-genome sequencing, as they report in Genome Medicine.

Acne-Linked Loci Found Through GWAS Meta-Analysis

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics find new and known acne vulgaris risk loci with a genome-wide association study and meta-analysis, highlighting hair follicle- and metabolic disease-related genes.

Retina Cell Loss Reversed by Prime Editing in Mouse Model of Retinitis Pigmentosa

A team from China turns to prime editing to correct a retinitis pigmentosa-causing mutation in the PDE6b gene in a mouse model of the progressive photoreceptor loss condition in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

CRISPR Screens Reveal Heart Attack-Linked Gene

Researchers in PLOS Genetics have used CRISPR screens to home in on variants associated with coronary artery disease that affect vascular endothelial function.