Offices of Biotechnology and Business Development

Introduction to Einstein's Technology Development Program and its First Success Story

On October 12, 2010, Einstein’s Technology Development Program was publicly introduced to the Einstein community in the second installment of the Science & Business series, entitled Investing in the Development of Einstein’s Technologies. It was co-presented by Richard Kosman (director of Einstein’s office of business development) and Dr. Victor L. Schuster (Chair of Einstein’s department of medicine).


Mr. Richard Kosman
 

In the presentation, the new Technology Development Program and the program’s financial (and other) support of Dr. Schuster’s prostaglandin transporter (PGT) technology were described in detail. Mr. Kosman and Dr. Schuster took turns presenting such concepts as the need for the program, the history of the PGT technology and the investment selection process of the program. The pair concluded the presentation by sharing the exciting commercial and scientific successes that have resulted from the program’s support of the PGT technology.


Dr. Victor L. Schuster
The audience, consisting of Einstein faculty, researchers and staff, learned about the challenges academic institution technology transfer offices experience finding commercial partners for the “early-stage”opportunities that are frequently discovered and developed on academic campuses. Mr. Kosman discussed the benefits of supporting the development of certain technology licensing opportunities so that they may become more attractive to commercial partners who have the capabilities to further develop the technologies and to bring them to market, allowing the underlying Einstein research advancements ultimately to benefit the public. Mr. Kosman then described the proactive steps Einstein’s office of business development takes to implement the program and the selection process used — which includes the methodology used by life sciences investment banking corporate finance teams to determine which technologies are worthy of investment and extensive third-party commercial participation. For the life sciences investment banking methodology component, Mr. Kosman reviewed the relevant characteristics and criteria used by life sciences investment banking corporate finance teams that he discussed in February’s Science & Business presentation.


Left to right: Mr. John Harb, Dr. Victor L. Schuster, Mr. Richard Kosman
Dr. Schuster was the first Einstein faculty member to benefit from the program, since his PGT technology was selected as the program’s inaugural “investment.” In the presentation, Dr. Schuster outlined the progression of his research, beginning with the identification of PGT as a prostaglandin transporter in 1995, followed by the physiological characterization of PGT. Approximately ten years later, Yuling (Julia) Chi, Ph.D. (currently an assistant professor in the department of medicine, but at the time of this research working as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Schuster’s lab), identified a series of PGT inhibitors in collaboration with medicinal chemists at another NYC institution. Scientifically, this development was exciting, as these compounds helped provide proof-of-concept data on the potential therapeutic benefits of PGT inhibition. However, as Dr. Schuster noted, the inhibitors lacked the medicinal chemistry properties necessary for them to be considered “druglike” molecules. Help was still needed to advance these compounds.

Dr. Schuster and Mr. Kosman discussed the successful results of the program from a scientific and a commercial point of view, which included the creation of more-potent and optimized inhibitor compounds that were subsequently licensed to a third-party entrepreneur, who formed a start-up company around the PGT inhibitor portfolio. Mr. Kosman concluded the presentation by reminding the audience of the importance of disclosing new inventions to the office of biotechnology (without Dr. Schuster’s original disclosure there would have been no basis for support under the program) and the objective of the program — to advance Einstein’s technology licensing opportunities so that they may become more attractive to potential commercial partners and to increase the likelihood that they will be licensed, developed and made available to the public. Finally, Mr. Kosman pointed out to the audience that the program has catalyzed and will continue to catalyze the development of products that could benefit patients in the local community, in the United States, and throughout the world.

The second installment of the Science & Business series was presented to the Einstein community on October 12, 2010. John Harb (assistant dean of scientific operations and director of Einstein's office of biotechnology) took the lead in presenting the two main speakers for the presentation: Richard Kosman (director of Einstein’s office of business development) and Dr. Victor L. Schuster (chair of Einstein’s department of medicine).

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