Cincinnati Children's and Girindus AG Strike Deal for Skin Technology

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and Girindus AG, a company based in Germany, have signed a licensing agreement through which Girindus will acquire exclusive rights to a portfolio of more than 30 patents of Cincinnati Children's related to skin lightening and dispigmentation.

The technology may reduce the dispigmentation that occurs as the result of burns, skin grafting procedures, wounds, acne, chronic inflammation, side effects of drugs, and scarring that occurs during surgery and from accidents. The technology also has potential applications in the cosmetics industry.

The technology is based on a compound known as deoxyarbutin. Deoxyarbutin is a skin lightening technology originally developed within the Procter & Gamble Co. In 2002, Procter & Gamble announced the donation of this technology to Cincinnati Children's.

Deoxyarbutin is a compound that differs slightly from hydroquinone -- the skin lightener in most products currently on the market. Deoxyarbutin, however, is less irritating to the skin and is more stable than hydroquinone, so that it evaporates less, allows for deeper skin penetration and has greater "bioavailability." That is, it is better absorbed.

"Because it began within P&G, deoxyarbutin is a more developed technology than is typically found in academic research institutions," said Joseph D. Fondacaro, PhD, director of the Office of Intellectual Property and Venture Development at Cincinnati Children's. "As a result, it created different licensing challenges and opportunities for us than we typically confront. We expect that Girindus is going to move this technology into the marketplace fairly quickly."

Revenue generated through license agreements are funneled back into research at Cincinnati Children's intended to help the medical center reach its vision of being the leader in improving child health.

Although P&G had made technology donations in the past, the donation to Cincinnati Children's was the first time such a technology had been given to a pediatric medical center -- and the first in Cincinnati. Since P&G made the donation, researchers at Cincinnati Children's led by Marty Visscher, PhD, director of the Skin Sciences Institute, have continued to conduct studies and further develop the technology.

Though the company no longer has an ownership interest in the technology, officials at P&G expressed pride in the licensing process. "This is how patent donations are supposed to work," says Jeff Weedman, vice president of global licensing for P&G. "The patent donee -- in this case Cincinnati Children's -- worked both to further develop the technology through its researchers and to license it through its Intellectual Property Office. This license agreement demonstrates that universities and non-profit research institutions can benefit from accepting patent donations."

Girindus is a technology-driven company offering the pharmaceutical industry comprehensive skills, including process research and development, good manufacturing practice consultation, scale-up and manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients and regulatory support. For deoxyarbutin, Girindus plans to work with both the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry to bring skin lightening products to market. "We are pleased to add this unique technology to our existing product portfolio," says Fritz Link, CEO of Girindus AG. "Skin lightening is a multi-billion dollar market and with this product we are well positioned in this rapidly growing area."

Girindus is headquartered in Bensberg (Cologne), Germany, and has U.S. operations in Cincinnati and Tampa.

Contact Information

Jim Feuer, jim.feuer@cchmc.org, 513-636-4656