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Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals strikes global deal with San Antonio’s Health Science Center
May 7, 2015

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio's James Lechleiter expects the institution will pursue greater collaboration with Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals. (Courtesy of Lester Rosebrock/Health Science Center)

By W. Scott Bailey, San Antonio Business Journal

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has gained critical yardage in its quest to commercialize more research. The Alamo City institution has entered into an exclusive global licensing agreement with Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based company, which could prove to be a game-changer in the trauma treatment arena.

Under the agreement, Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals will have exclusive use of patent rights for a breakthrough therapeutic approach for brain trauma, such as traumatic brain injury and concussions, owned by the Health Science Center and developed by one of its research scientists, James Lechleiter.

Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed. But Health Science Center officials said the patent rights cover a class of small molecules that have shown promising neuroprotective results in a series of preclinical tests.

"This is the foundational patent. The hope and even the expectation is that there will be continued development of intellectual property based around the premise that this caretaker cell we've been studying can be an asset in protecting the brain after an injury," said Lechleiter, who is also co-founder of Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals, which was formed in large part because of the Health Science Center research.

"Without the Health Science Center, this would not have advanced," said Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals CEO William Korinek. "There would not be a patent. There would be no company."

Both Korinek and Lechleiter expect the relationship between Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals and the Health Science Center will continue to expand.

"This really is the first step in what we see as a long-term collaboration," said Korinek about the two organizations.

Lechleiter expects that the scope of the Health Science Center's research in brain trauma will also expand as Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals advances the neuroprotective therapy discovered in San Antonio.

"Right now, we are focused on the one patent and traumatic brain injury," Lechleiter said. "But we envision this also being an effective strategy potentially for strokes and degenerative diseases."


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