Early in June, GlaxoSmithKline, Shire Pharmaceuticals Group and
Emory signed the final agreement in settlement of global disputes
and related U.S. litigation over certain patent rights relating
to the drugs lamivudine and emtricitabine.
Patent rights refer to who owns a discovery, whether
its a new drug or a new device, whereas license
refers to who has the right to use the patent to produce a useable
product. Both designations are important, because both have the
potential to earn royalties for the institutions involved.
Under the terms of the somewhat complicated settlement, Emory received
a license related to emtricitabine under patents held by Shire Pharmaceutical
Group, a rapidly growing international specialty pharmaceutical
company. Using the Emory license, North Carolina-based Triangle
Pharmaceuticals, is now developing Coviracil® (emtricitabine)
for the treatment of HIV infections.
Also under the terms of the settlement, Shire and GlaxoSmithKline
(GSK), one of the worlds leading research-based pharmaceutical
and healthcare companies, received licenses under Emorys patents
related to lamivudine. GSK developed and markets the drug Epivir®
(lamivudine) for the treatment of HIV under license from Shire.
Shire and GSK jointly market 3TC® (lamivudine) in Canada.
This announcement, like announcements of most legal settlements,
was completed with precise legal wording and according to an agreement
that severely restricted what could be said publicly at the time.
Nonetheless, the entire release was immediately placed on Emorys
health sciences webpage and deans, departmental chairs, and the
researchers involved were given more precise information at the
Emory's contributors to this work include Dennis Liotta, Samuel
Candler Dobbs Professor of Chemistry; Raymond Schinazi, professor
of pediatrics and senior research career scientist at the VA Medical
Center; and former chemistry postdoctoral fellow Woo-Baeg Choi,
president of FOB Synthesis.
This is an example of the excellent science conducted by
our outstanding faculty, said interim Provost Woody Hunter.
Emory scientists have been at the forefront of research on
HIV therapeutics for more than 15 years. Our Emory Center for AIDS
Research and Emory Vaccine Center also include a group of the most
respected immunologists and virologists at any university worldwide.
Mary Severson, director of the Office of Technology Transfer, said
after 10 years of steadily growing its program in technology transfer,
the process through which discoveries are patented and licensed
in order to move from the laboratory to the marketplace, Emory is
beginning to reap significant financial, scientific and medical
benefits from laboratory discoveries that have been patented and
licensed to industry. Since 1991, when Emory hired its first dedicated
technology licensing specialist, the University has made dramatic
strides in moving research discoveries from its own laboratories
into licensing agreements with established companies as well as
with Emory-created start-up companies,
The financial benefits to Emory and its scientists, although modest
compared to other funding sources, are beginning to return solid
support for ongoing research programs. In 199196, Emory received
nearly $8.6 million in royalties and fees through contracts with
industry. Over the next five years, from 19962001, Emory realized
revenue of more than $37 million from its technology transfer program,
for a 10-year total of more than $45.7 million.
In addition to the direct financial return, Emory scientists have
patented hundreds of inventions, created several successful new
companies, forged strong ties with industrial partners, and licensed
products that either are in use already or have excellent therapeutic
potential and are currently undergoing testing through clinical
There are many excellent reasons for Emory to pursue the
transfer of technology, said Frank Stout, vice president for
research administration. It allows us to create products that
benefit patients that might not exist without the protection of
patents and copyrights and the ability to transfer intellectual
property to industry. It also allows us to reward and recruit faculty.
In addition, we view collaborations with industry to be a positive
step in promoting economic growth and in generating income to support
teaching and research.
In 1980, the U.S. Congress enacted the Bayh-Dole Act, encouraging
patenting and licensing of federally funded inventions for the public
good. According to the Association of University Technology Managers
(AUTM) 10th annual survey, this act has created opportunities for
numerous significant scientific and medical advances as well as
the formation of new companies that create new jobs and new streams
of income that support further academic research education and corporate
Emorys Office of Technology Transfer matches researchers
and their ideas with companies or individuals desiring to develop
and market products. Researchers are guided through the patening
and licensing process including review of conflicts of interest
among researchers, the university and prospective investors. In
addition, the tech transfer office provides companies a portal of
entry into the university and access to information about investment
opportunities. When Emory receives a royalty for a product, a percentage
goes to the inventor and the remainder is funneled into continued
research and support.
One of the primary goals of technology transfer is to advance
important research that otherwise might go unfunded, Severson