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The three founding universities of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council – the University of Central Florida (UCF), the University of South Florida (USF) and the University of Florida (UF) – ranked for the eighth consecutive year among the “Top 100 Universities Worldwide Granted U.S. Utility Patents.”

Released by the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and the Intellectual Property Owners Association, the latest rankings and related report are based on data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and highlight the significant role patents play in university research and innovation.

“This accolade is not only a testament to the intelligence and ingenuity of our Corridor university researchers, but as importantly to their successful translation of research into commercialized products with direct benefits to our society,” said Corridor Council CEO Paul Sohl. “It demonstrates the potential for our 23-county region to accelerate our growth as an epicenter of transformative public-private partnerships.”

The Corridor Council helped launch the NAI from its headquarters in Tampa nearly 10 years ago and remains a major supporter today.

Together, its three universities earned a combined 267 patents in 2019, showcasing The Corridor region as a hotbed for invention and innovation. The following briefs demonstrate the types of patents that culminated in each university’s ranking.

UCF: Methods and Compositions for Natural Killer Cells US9623082B2

UCF College of Medicine Assistant Professor Alicja Copik, Ph.D. and her team secured a patent for a Natural Killer (NK) cell therapy, which has the potential to save patients with blood cancer.

NK cells are a type of white blood cell known to kill tumor cells or cells infected with a virus, according to the National Cancer Institute. Copik’s team stimulated existing NK cells with nanoparticles to multiply their killing capabilities, which led to the creation of a new cell therapy. The resulting drug, K-NK002, may be used in concert with stem cell therapies to prevent bone-marrow transplant patients from relapsing.

Kiadis Pharma has licensed the technology and recently launched a Phase I clinical study with 64 patients at leading bone marrow transplant centers in the U.S.

Images courtesy of the University of Central Florida

USF: Hormone Treatment for Age-Related Hearing Loss-Presbycusis US10342806B2

Chair of the USF Medical Engineering Department and Director of the USF Global Center for Hearing and Speech Research Robert Frisina, Ph.D. and his research team secured a patent for a drug created to treat hearing loss.

Nearly 15% of people worldwide – including nearly 40 million in the U.S. alone – suffer from permanent hearing loss or deafness. Presbycusis, age-related hearing loss, is the most common related ailment and the top communication disorder associated with aging. Currently, there are no approved drugs on the market that prevent, slow or reverse hearing loss, which underlines the significance of Frisina’s work.

Since the team launched its first study in 2016, several pre-clinical trials have been conducted on aging mice. Aging mice usually experience a 50% decline in hearing but, after receiving Frisina’s treatment, their hearing levels returned to what is considered “normal ranges.”

The team is now attempting to license its patented technology and partner with the licensee to conduct human clinical trials in pursuit of approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Images courtesy of the University of South Florida

UF: Apparatus For Use in a Lecture Environment US10198959B2

UF Professor and Chief of Nuclear Medicine, Director of Medical Plaza Radiology and Director of Advanced GI Imaging Walter E. Drane, MD, FACR, and IT expert Susan Cardinal secured a patent for the invention of a technological system designed to help lecturers determine how well a class understands instruction in real time.

The complex system includes a large screen or projector that is visible to each student during the lecture and portable devices that are provided to each student, such as a laptops or smartphones. As the lecture begins, the devices wirelessly connect to Drane and Cardinal’s responsive computer system, allowing the students to share their understanding of the content with their professor in a one-to-one correspondence. Throughout the lecture, professors may also record, capture and store the student’s live feedback in a singular database for review.

Researchers are still refining the invention, which may someday change the way university lecturers across the nation engage with their students.

Images courtesy of the University of Florida

Industry partners interested in learning more about each university’s intellectual property and technologies available for licensing should contact the offices of technology transfer:

UCF: https://tt.research.ucf.edu/

USF: https://www.usf.edu/research-innovation/pl/

UF: https://innovate.research.ufl.edu/tech-licensing/

Industry partners interested in partnering with the universities to conduct research for commercialization are encouraged to explore The Corridor Council’s Matching Grants Research Program: https://floridahightech.com/innovation/research-grants/.

A regional economic development initiative of: