OTC News Archive

University of Texas and Dow reach drug technology deal

Associated Press
November 12, 2002

The University of Texas has signed an exclusive licensing deal with Dow Chemical Co. for technology that both say is an important advance in how drugs are absorbed by the body.

Dow already has put more than $1 million into UT’s research of the technology.

Terms of the licensing deal were not disclosed, “but this certainly has the potential to fall in our top five deals,” Steve Nichols, associate vice president for research at the university, was quoted as saying in Tuesday’s Austin American-Statesman.

UT will get a percentage of the revenue Dow gets from applying the technology. The deal is a boost for UT’s efforts to improve commercialization of its research.

The agreement is the university’s biggest so far in the area of nanotechnology, the science of manipulating molecule-size materials to improve conventional products.

UT researchers developed methods to break drugs into extremely small particles, making them more easily absorbed by the body. Absorption is a problem in about one-third of chemicals developed in drug research, Dow says.

“This brings a solution to an unmet need in the pharmaceutical industry,” said Ed Elder, Dow’s pharmaceutics director. “It’s a very significant issue.”

Dow doesn’t make drugs, but it is creating a division called BioAqueous Solubilization Services to provide the UT technology to drug companies.

Officials at Dow and UT say they hope the technology will help bring promising drugs to the market that otherwise might not make it out of development. Elder said it would take a few years for the first drugs improved by the technology to reach the market.

The ongoing UT research is led by Keith Johnston, a professor of chemical engineering, and Bill Williams, a professor of pharmacy. They announced the deal Monday at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists meeting in Toronto.