Cincinnati Children's Nearly Quadruples Number of Invention Disclosures That Could Lead to Medical Breakthroughs of Tomorrow

Institution Also Sets Record for Technology Licensing Revenues in Fiscal 2007

Monday, October 01, 2007

CINCINNATI – The number of new inventions disclosed by researchers to the Center for Technology Commercialization at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center increased nearly four-fold during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007, creating a large pipeline of technologies with the potential to improve health outcomes for countless people. The center also reports that licensing revenues from medical/science technologies already commercialized by Cincinnati Children's more than doubled during fiscal 2007 to $6.5 million, up from just over $3 million the previous year.

Cincinnati Children's reported 89 invention disclosures for fiscal 2007, a steep rise from 24 during the previous year. The growth in invention disclosures and licensing revenues is consistent with the medial center's focus on translational research, which emphasizes projects with a scientific link between laboratory research and improving patient health.

"The growth in revenue and invention disclosures indicates that research programs at the Cincinnati Children's are increasingly effective at advancing scientific discoveries and applying these innovations to patient care," said Arnold W. Strauss, MD, chair of Pediatrics and director of the Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation.

"Licensing revenues will lead to more discoveries because we reinvest these funds into the medical center's research programs, thus generating an expanding cycle of applied technologies for our children and those throughout the world," Dr. Strauss said. "Having a third consecutive year of record licensing revenues tells us the technologies we develop are benefiting the public through new medical therapies, diagnostic tools and medical devices."

Invention disclosures occur when a scientific discovery is communicated to Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC) staff as having marketable potential. Once identified, new technologies can be patented and licensees sought to help develop technologies as viable commercial products. Qualifying companies, including specialized start-up firms established by Cincinnati Children's, can be granted exclusive licensing rights to develop and market new products.

"Cincinnati Children's has an excellent reputation for research and discovery while moving these discoveries forward to commercial development requires the specialized business expertise of investors and companies," said Joseph D. Fondacaro, PhD, director of the CTC. "Our dramatic increase in invention disclosures reflects an emphasis at Cincinnati Children's on translational research, which focuses very early on how to apply scientific findings to patient care. This adds value to the technology by allowing potential licensee companies to see that it has the potential to change the way we diagnose and treat diseases."

Technology commercialization efforts at Cincinnati Children's are part of a regional effort in Greater Cincinnati to develop the area as a growing hub for bioscience, information technology and global manufacturing. That effort includes the medical center's collaboration in CincyTech USA, a venture development organization serving technology companies in Southwest Ohio with high growth potential.

"The continuing expansion of technology commercialization at Cincinnati Children's as an outgrowth of its research and medical programs adds momentum as we build a vibrant high-tech economy in this region," said Robert W. Coy Jr., president of CincyTech USA. "Every time a new technology is disclosed and made available for commercialization it creates a potential opportunity for technology based economic development."

Cincinnati Children's currently has 49 active technology licenses with different companies, the highest number ever for the medical center. One start-up company established through Cincinnati Children's during the year is Cincinnati-based Ausio Pharmaceuticals LLC. The company is developing therapeutic products from biological agents known as S-equol and R-equol, discovered by Kenneth Setchell, PhD, director of the Clinical Mass Spectrometry Laboratory at Cincinnati Children's. The substances show promise in treating hormone-dependent diseases and other conditions with a number of possible clinical uses in men's and women's health and dermatology.

Of those new inventions and technologies that were disclosed to the CTC in fiscal 2007, three were highlighted by Dr. Fondacaro as having significant commercial potential:

  • A variety of medical devices to enhance or aid in fetal and pediatric cardiac surgery were disclosed by Pirooz Eghtesady, MD, a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon at Cincinnati Children's. Included in Dr. Eghtesady's disclosures were a cardiac output flow probe, cardiac catheter and a non-invasive fetal oxygen sensor, all designed to provide better surgical outcomes for patients.
  • Biomarkers and genetic markers are becoming increasingly valuable as commercial opportunities because they can be used to diagnose diseases, identify the most appropriate medication and dose for specific patients and even serve as prognostic tools to determine disease severity. Biomarker technologies to identify and evaluate the severity of septic shock, lupus nephritis, colon cancer and Crohn's disease all were disclosed to the technology commercialization center this year. In addition, genetic markers for epilepsy, chronic daily headache, eosinophilic esophagitis and various psychiatric conditions were also disclosed and show commercial promise
  • In collaboration with the Genomics Research Institute at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Children's has access to a large library of over 250,000 chemical compounds. Using high throughput screening analysis in the institute's new robotics laboratory, researchers at Cincinnati Children's can identify and validate potential disease targets, candidate drugs and research tools. An example of this powerful research tool's potential is demonstrated by the recent compound discoveries in the laboratory - by Nancy Ratner, Ph.D., and Rashmi Hegde, Ph.D., both researchers at Cincinnati Children's – that could lead to the development of drugs to treat neurofibromatosis and breast cancer.

Cincinnati Children's, one of the top five children's hospitals in the nation according to Child magazine, is a 475-bed institution devoted to bringing the world the joy of healthier kids. Cincinnati Children's is dedicated to providing care that is timely, efficient, effective, family-centered, equitable and safe. For its efforts to transform the way health care is provided, Cincinnati Children's received the 2006 American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize". Cincinnati Children's ranks second nationally among all pediatric centers in research grants from the National Institutes of Health and is a teaching affiliate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The Cincinnati Children's vision is to be the leader in improving child health.

Contact Information

Nick Miller