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UAMS venture licenses bacterial strain

Could be used to make vaccines.

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UAMS News Bureau

A University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) researcher, working through UAMS BioVentures, has licensed the rights to a bacterial strain that may lead to a vaccine for certain antibiotic resistant bacterial infections.

UAMS BioVentures announced today that it has entered into an exclusive license agreement with sanofi pasteur, the vaccines business of sanofi-aventis group, related to the development of bacterial vaccines.

Chia Lee, Ph.D., a professor in the UAMS Department of Microbiology and Immunology, invented the bacterial strain subject to the agreement with sanofi pasteur. Thanh Luong, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the same department is co-inventor.

The agreement provides sanofi pasteur rights to the bacterial strain for the development of vaccines. While specific terms remain confidential, the agreement provides UAMS an upfront payment, and milestone payments related to product development and sales.

“We have manipulated the genes of the bacteria to mass-produce enough material so that sanofi pasteur can work on the development of a vaccine,” Lee said

UAMS BioVentures assisted Lee with the licensing agreement and to get a patent pending on the bacterial strain.

“UAMS is fortunate to have scientists of Dr. Lee’s caliber, and we are excited about the promise his research holds for a potential vaccine against deadly bacterial infections,” said BioVentures director Michael Douglas, Ph.D.

BioVentures was formed a decade ago to help UAMS researchers get their discoveries into the marketplace whether through licensing agreements or forming start-up companies.

Through the efforts of BioVentures, UAMS-generated products have led to companies with 316 jobs, a total annual payroll today of $15.7 million and salaries that average $49,638 a year.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has about 2,430 students and 715 medical residents. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with about 9,400 employees, including nearly 1,000 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $5 billion a year. For more information, visit www.uams.edu.

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