SOURCE: Western University of Health Sciences

Western University of Health Sciences

October 21, 2010 18:51 ET

Faculty Startup at WesternU Lands Federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Contract Award

POMONA, CA--(Marketwire - October 21, 2010) -  A recent collaboration between Western University of Health Sciences and its College of Pharmacy has resulted in the founding of a new faculty startup -- Strategic Drug Solutions, Inc. (SDS).

SDS is a for-profit company that creates a university-private partnership bridge to facilitate the development and commercialization of innovative drug technologies via unique funding opportunities and various licensing options. SDS has been awarded a $249,490 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to begin its important work.

SDS will initially focus on the oral formulation of an aminoglycoside that has heretofore only been available by intramuscular injection to treat tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is a world-wide disease that affects nearly 10 million people annually. Adherence to current forms of therapy has been a major impediment to successful treatment.

Under a general licensing agreement, WesternU will transfer licensing of the novel drug delivery patent to SDS for the SBIR contract's field of use in exchange for royalties on any commercialized products.

"The collaboration between SDS and the University allows SDS to apply for government-sponsored SBIR grants or contracts, among other sources, and provides an important resource for the development of University-owned technology that is otherwise not available to the College of Pharmacy or the University," said College of Pharmacy Dean Daniel Robinson, PharmD. "The federal government sets aside 2.5 percent of its research and development money annually for small businesses innovation research and technology development. The success rate for funding of research proposals through this mechanism is actually higher than through traditional NIH funding channels."

The company began as an idea of Moses S.S. Chow, PharmD., FCCP, FCP, coupled with the business sense and entrepreneurial talents of Jesse Martinez, PharmD, FASCP, Vice Dean of the College of Pharmacy, the counsel of Randy Berholtz, a life science business professional and lawyer, and the support of Dean Robinson. Dr. Chow, Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Administration and Director of the Center for the Advancement of Drug Research and Evaluation, is the principal investigator and a co-founder of SDS.

"The entrepreneurial spirit of the College of Pharmacy and the ultimate founding of SDS, reflects the type of progression that occurs when research is supported and encouraged at the University level," said Benjamin L. Cohen, DO, WesternU Provost and Chief Operating Officer. "The University is truly committed to strategically enhancing its research enterprise and strengthening and motivating faculty research in all its nine graduate health science colleges."

"The development of technology that will provide a better mechanism for treating tuberculosis not only benefits WesternU's local, national and global communities, but also delivers the kind of impact that all academic health science centers hope to impart in their efforts to further health care and strengthen the health professions," said WesternU President Philip Pumerantz, PhD.

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