For Duncan Hunter, it has all been worth the wait – and now the university community gets to join in the celebration.
The Chemistry professor emeritus – a researcher who “exemplifies what it means to be an innovator” – has been named the 2019 Vanguard Innovator of the Year for his work in developing the cancer drug Azedra. Celebrated at an event Monday afternoon, the annual honour is presented by WORLDiscoveries.
“Of course, I am very excited – I am so pleased to receive the honour, but I am even more pleased that people are going to be receiving the drug the honour celebrates,” Hunter said.
ecommHunter earns Vanguard for innovation, patience
Left to right: Ibrahim Marwa, MPH’16, Souzan Armstrong, Director of the Medical Innovation Fellowship, Bartosz Slak, Maryanne Siu, Mahmoud Ramin, and Jacob Reeves, PhD’18. The 2018-19 cohort of Western Medical Innovation Fellows received two BURST funds valued at 70k each to fund their new medical device startups.
The Western Medical Innovation Fellowship (MIF) immerses talented young scientists, engineers and clinicians in training and research environments that build innovation leaders and create novel medical technologies. Now at the end of their 10.5 month program, the 2018-19 Western Medical Innovation Fellows are looking to move onto their next adventure – entrepreneurship. As part of their program, the fellows consulted with clinicians across the local healthcare industry and developed two projects to address needs they discovered throughout the process that fit within their areas of expertise. These two projects are being spun-off into two London-based innovative medical startups thanks to the support of BURST, an incubation program for high-potential medical technology startups through the TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario.
ecommWestern Medical Innovation Fellows awarded two BURST funds
Team Placentologix – composed of McMaster PhD candidate Michael Wong and Western PhD candidates Joshua Dierworlf and Tim Han – was among three teams taking top honours at the Proteus Innovation Competition.
A plan to bring to market a revolutionary device to help premature babies – and their parents – breathe easier placed a team of Western and McMaster students among those earning top honours at the Proteus Innovation Competition.
Developed by McMaster University, the artificial placenta is a medical device that attaches to the blood vessels in the baby’s umbilical cord after delivery to help get the oxygen they need. The baby’s own heart pumps their blood through the artificial placenta, where oxygen is then introduced into the blood through the air before being returned back into the baby’s body.
In a milestone for the university, every faculty at Western now has at least one Innovation Ambassador whose job it is to help share and cultivate all these ideas and values.
“This is a culture we are trying to create across campus. We’re all here to make entrepreneurship great and silos are being broken down at that level,” said Lisa Cechetto, a member of the Western Entrepreneurship Team.
If ever you needed to visualize the convergence of research, clinical experience and commercialization, take a close look at the Abilex device – and its inventor.
A deceptively simple-looking hand-held instrument, the Abilex helps exercise and strengthen the jaw, tongue and mouth for people who have difficulty swallowing or speaking. It is the brainchild of Ruth Martin, Associate Dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs in the Faculty of Health Sciences.
On Sept. 19, Martin will receive the Vanguard Awards Innovator of the Year honour from WORLDiscoveries for commercialization and entrepreneurship involved in developing the Abilex.
ecommCelebrated innovation aids patients in swallowing, wins 2018 Vanguard Award
FDA, Special to Western News, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the use of Azedra, a new compound developed by Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc., for patients with rare tumours of the adrenal glands. Chemistry professor emeritus Duncan Hunter developed the compound with his Western lab team and applied for the patent 30 years ago.
Duncan Hunter chokes up a little when it is suggested that work he began at Western three decades ago will now, finally, be applied to saving hundreds of lives. “It’s a good thing,” said the Chemistry professor emeritus after a long pause. “It took 30 years and had its ups and downs. So, yes, it’s emotional.”
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Azedra, a new compound developed by Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc., for patients with rare tumours of the adrenal glands.
LtR: Contestants Patrick McCunn, Adam paish, and Alex Moszcynski, PhD’17, took one of the tops spots in this year’s Proteus Innovation Competition, an intense four-month competition in which teams define a viable path to commercialization for newly developed technologies. The team was presented $5,000 by David Litchfield, Vice Dean, Research & Innovation for its business and marketing plan for a new tool, developed by Western professor Louis Ferreira (departments of Surgery, and Mechanical & Materials Engineering), intended to improve precision in joint replacement.
Make it another innovation-and-commercialization win for PhD candidate Patrick McCunn and Alex Moszcynski, PhD’17.
After taking one of the top spots in last year’s Proteus Innovation Competition with their plans to commercialize a cloud-based data collection app, the pair returned this year and teamed up with PhD candidate Adam Paish to win yet again – this time, tackling the marketability of a Western-developed tool to improve precision and efficiency in joint replacement.
A well-maintained laboratory notebook is an important tool for documenting experimental progress and keeping researchers organized. Maintaining a comprehensive laboratory notebook can also be a valuable resource when patenting a discovery. As discussed below, despite recent changes to the patent system in the United States, properly detailing experimental progress in lab notebooks remains relevant to the patent process and researchers would be well advised to be diligent in their record keeping.
There is increasing pressure on Canadian universities to produce research with translational or commercial potential. In this regard, researchers typically work with the technology transfer offices at their university to identify technologies with commercial applicability and if appropriate, secure patent protection for such technologies. Rarely have academic institutions been concerned with infringing third party patents, assuming the nature of their work immunized them from such concerns. For the reasons discussed below, academic institutions may wish to pay greater attention to patent infringement issues and be mindful of using patented inventions in their research to avoid incurring potential legal liability as the shift towards commercial research continues.
If you are an inventor who is looking for help from the University or other potential investors to commercialize your invention, you will likely come across an assignment agreement asking you to transfer ownership of the intellectual property rights associated with your invention in exchange for funding or marketing services.
However, upon reading such an agreement you may also notice that you are being asked to waive your “moral rights” to your invention under the Copyright Act. This may catch you off guard and question whether you are being asked to abandon your moral or ethical principles for the sake of marketing your invention.