WMU News

WMU receives drug patent donation from Pharmacia

Jan. 22, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Pharmacia Corp. has donated the intellectual property rights for a portfolio of drug patents to Western Michigan University in a technology transfer initiative that has the potential to trigger new life science development work in Kalamazoo, give doctors a possible new option for treating cardiac patients and enhance WMU's bottom line.

Drug development pact brings Tennessee firm to Michigan
(Feb. 12, 2003) Tennessee firm will develop and commercialize recent Pharmacia Corp. drug patent donation to Western Michigan University.

The portfolio of patents for the drug Xemilofiban will be licensed out by WMU for further development and commercialization. The Xemilofiban donation was made by Pharmacia to enhance the Kalamazoo area's economic development prospects and to provide a future revenue stream for the University. WMU will enjoy royalties from any profits that result from the drug's successful commercialization.

"Like many companies, we sometimes find ourselves with technology that doesn't fit our research strengths and business strategies," says Phillip C. Carra, Pharmacia's vice president for corporate citizenship and Kalamazoo site executive. "In this case, Western Michigan University and Southwest Michigan First saw this as an opportunity for the company to make a unique contribution to the community and to a university with which we have long worked. This is a way to benefit those two entities and ensure this particular compound will receive renewed attention as a potential drug therapy, while enhancing WMU's--and the community's--life sciences capabilities."

Carra points out that Pharmacia, like other research-based companies, is not able to pursue all of the projects in its research and development pipeline. The company sought to identify a partner to assume the fibans research following its review of research priorities and business strategies during 2001. Company officials, he says, are very pleased with the arrangement, under which WMU will continue the research effort and involve local officials to determine how the patents can best benefit the area's economic development initiatives in the life sciences arena.

The Pharmacia donation follows a nationwide trend that has seen large corporations donating surplus technologies to universities for development. This is the latest in a series of such technology transfers to WMU. In 2000, Procter & Gamble donated rights to its enhanced paperboard technology for development by the University's Department of Paper and Printing Sciences and Engineering. In 2001, Ford Motor Co. donated patented fastener and latch technology for further development by University engineers.

The new technology gift, Xemilofiban, is an oral compound that shows promise in preventing heart attacks and other cardiovascular damage due to clotting during such treatments as angioplasty and the placement of stents.

Dr. Jack Luderer, WMU vice president for research and a former Pharmacia executive, says the development also has import for future collaboration between WMU and Pharmacia scientists. The University, he notes, has a strong and evolving research base and a growing body of scientists who focus on the life sciences.

"We are honored that Pharmacia had the confidence in our University to make this important donation," Luderer says. "We hope this technology can be developed and, most importantly, will ultimately benefit patients. Looking to the future, WMU wants to explore more areas of cooperation linked to the expertise of our faculty and our emerging Business Technology and Research Park."

The donation from Pharmacia to WMU has been in the works since late 2001. The University will announce a formal licensing agreement with a company that will develop the technology in the near future.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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