Commercialization Endeavor

An example of our commercialization efforts is the strategic partnership in telomerase research with Geron Corporation (Geron), a US-based biopharmaceutical company, in 2000. The partnership was centered on a research collaboration whereby researchers employed a systematic approach to screen TCM extracts for telomerase modulators using Geron’s telomerase technology platform. Among the different TCMs screened, two compounds were identified as potential drug leads for treating age-related diseases. In continuation of the collaboration, Biotechnology Research Corporation Ltd. (BRC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of HKUST, and Geron Corporation jointly (50/50) established a new biotechnology company, TA Therapeutics (TAT) Limited, in 2005. Since its formation, TAT has actively engaged in the discovery and development of telomerase activators. Our researchers have played substantial roles in generating compound derivatives for lead optimization, establishing drug screening platforms, developing and refining the manufacturing scale-up process, validating the pharmacological animal models, as well as determining the efficacy and pharmacokinetic properties of the lead compounds. Promising results have been obtained from manufacturing and pre-clinical studies for the drug leads. In 2010, Geron has taken over the telomerase activator program and HKUST will be entitled to receive a royalty on future sales of drugs covered by the intellectual property.