UNeMed Corporation is the technology transfer office for the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Through licensing and other cooperative agreements, UNeMed builds relationships with industry partners to transfer UNMC intellectual property from the laboratory to the marketplace.
(Technology Transfer Office for University of Nebraska Medical Center)
|Founded||1991 (reorg. 2007)|
|Headquarters||Omaha, Nebraska, USA|
|Michael Dixon, President and CEO|
Prior to 2007, The University of Nebraska Medical Center's intellectual property infrastructure was bifurcated into two separate units. UNeMed, as it existed back then, was responsible for out-licensing UNMC intellectual property as well as administering other commercial and research-based contracts for the university. UNeMed's sister office was the UNMC Intellectual Property Office, which was responsible for evaluating invention disclosures by UNMC faculty and managing the intellectual property rights based thereon. In 2007, noting the obvious overlap between these two functions, the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska joined the two offices, forming the present incarnation of UNeMed. Today, UNeMed is a for-profit company which operates as an arm of UNMC's research division and is overseen by the UNMC Vice-Chancellor of Research.
In the 1990s, researchers at UNMC discovered that combining creatine, a dietary supplement popular among athletes and bodybuilders to increase strength and performance, with ethyl ester, an alcohol derived from common sources such as corn oil, would create a novel compound which lessens side effects, such as bloating and cramping, normally associated with creatine. The ethyl ester allows body tissues to absorb the creatine more efficiently, thereby reducing the amount needed to be ingested.
In 2001 UNeMed licensed the novel compound, known as creatine ethyl ester, to ProNutrient Technologies, Inc., a Nebraska start-up company designed to exploit the market potential. Together, UNeMed and ProNutrient filed patents, went through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration notification process, explored manufacturing options, and developed marketing and distribution plans.
In 2003 ProNutrient was acquired by Biovance Life Sciences, Inc. The state added value by awarding the city of Central City a community development block grant to help fund Biovance. An agreement was later signed with GNC to distribute the compound, known as CE2, online and through its retail stores.
Today, UNeMed specializes in innovations related to drug delivery, diagnostics and therapeutics, medical devices, research tools, and software for the commercial marketplace - many of which are showcased annually at national conferences, such as BIO, the American Association of Cancer Research, The Society for Neuroscience, and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. UNeMed employees are also regular attendees at various trade conferences such as AUTM, LES, and AIPLA annual meetings, and the Big Omaha entrepreneurship conference.
UNeMed has experienced substantial growth since 2007. Since the merger, UNeMed has more than doubled the annual amount of reported inventions developed by UNMC faculty, bringing in over 100 disclosures in Fiscal Year 2012 alone. Moreover, UNeMed manages a patent portfolio comprising over 200 pending patent applications and 300 issued patents. Furthermore, UNeMed maintains over 80 licenses to UNMC intellectual property and negotiates over 350 Material Transfer and Confidential Disclosure Agreements each year. UNeMed is also active in the entrepreneurship community, founding nearly 60 start-ups since its inception.
UNeMed's drug delivery technologies aid the body's acceptance of drugs or ease administration of drugs. These include nanotechnology, intracellular delivery advancements, inhibitors to halt thinning of blood vessels, solutions to mitigate tissue injury in stroke victims, and a taste-masking agent for oral medications. Neurological drug delivery advancements allow for better understanding of permeating the blood brain barrier. One breakthrough led to partnership with Telomolecular Corp., which develops therapies for age-related conditions.
Diagnostics and therapeutics
A number of medical tests to detect disease have been created by UNeMed scientists and include indicators for pancreatic cancer, alcohol liver disease, advanced HIV-1, encephalitis, and human herpes viruses. Peptide treatments have been discovered which have been shown to prevent and remedy intestinal infections by acting as antimicrobial agents. In collaboration with the Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases, an imaging technology for cancer diagnosis and therapy has been developed. In cooperation with investment firm Allied Minds, a protein purification process has been developed that reduces the production costs of pharmaceuticals such as insulin.
UNeMed is developing solutions to make medical procedures less invasive and easier to perform, often in conjunction with existing surgical systems. Mini robotic surgical tools seek to expand access to surgical procedures and to mitigate invasiveness. Innovative dental technologies, such as a dental implant drill guide, provide patients with both physiological and psychological benefits. UNeMed is working with UNMC scientists to develop new approaches to manage airways during medical procedures, especially in traumatic injury cases, ensuring adequate oxygen to patients.
To stimulate academic research, UNeMed cultivates resources to aid medical and scientific research. Biochemical methodologies include improvement in antibiotic development based on DNA research. A method for producing images of a single crystal structure was also developed. Obesity and diabetes are becoming major concerns for public health, and UNMC researchers are examining cellular pathways that regulate energy expediture which could unlock new treatments for myriads of health problems.
UNMC has been a leader in medical informatics. A computerized emergency response system for public health labs, developed with support from the Centers for Disease Control, is being used in other states. Approved by HIPAA, the Secure Telecommunications Application Terminal Package (STATPack) allows remote hospitals or labs to send images of suspicious culture samples electronically to a state public health lab for identification, saving precious diagnostic time and eliminating risks of hand-delivering the sample. Additionally, researchers have developed an accurate and rapid molecular tool to identify bacteria strains.
- UNMC news, January 9, 2007
- Flex magazine, December 2005
- UNeMed Annual Report, 2003
- Grand Island Independent, November 21, 2003
- GNC, CE2
- BioNebraska news, April 3, 2006
- WYTV news, Boston, May 4, 2007
- Lincoln Journal Star, December 8, 2004
- Nanotechwire.com, January 31, 2006
- UNeMed, peptide that prevents intestinal infection
- Biospace.com, December 21, 2006
- New Scientist Magazine, January 2006
- Lincoln Star Journal, February 7, 2005
- Business Wire, March 23, 2005
- UNeMed, knockout mouse model for study of manipulation energy expenditure, weight gain and diabetes
- CDC National Laboratory System Initiative, 2006
- UNeMed, custom sequence databases for mycobacterium identification