More than the sum of its parts

 The University of Prince Edward Island today licensed a promising piece of medical technology to Carmel Biosciences, a biomedical company based in Tucker, Georgia. The technology is a “co-drug” with powerful anti-inflammatory activity. 

“This novel compound is derived from naturally occurring products with proven safety and efficacy in humans,” said Dr. Tarek Saleh, chair of Biomedical Sciences at UPEI’s Atlantic Veterinary College. “We’ve bonded them chemically and created a unique compound. This new compound shows great potential as an anti-inflammatory for use in neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and stroke.”

Dr. Saleh developed the new compound, patent-pending under the name UPEI-100, with Dr. Bobby Khan, a physician and investigator at the Atlanta Vascular Research Foundation and a past visiting Fulbright Scholar to UPEI. 

“The Fulbright Scholarship allowed me to meet and build this collaboration with Dr. Saleh,” said Dr. Khan. “This new technology is one of several exciting yields from this successful collaboration. I’m thankful to John and Judy Bragg, the Fulbright Commission, and Dr. Katherine Schultz for making it possible.” 

UPEI-100 is fully owned by the university. Today’s agreement licenses the technology to Carmel Biosciences, which will guide it through pre-clinical drug testing. 

“We think this compound has an exciting future as a drug for people with neurological disorders,” said Dr. Khan. “But there are numerous regulatory hoops to jump through before then. I think this partnership is a great step.” 

Frank Kelly, a director of Carmel Biosciences and past vice-president of the Coca-Cola Company, said he’s impressed by how collaborations around UPEI-100 are helping to streamline pre-clinical research. 

“It often takes two years, and more than four-million dollars, to take a drug just through the pre-clinical phases of regulatory approval,” said Kelly. “Carmel Biosciences has partnered with a well-established contract research organization in India who will be able to do it in half the time, and at a fraction of the cost.” 

The licensing deal between UPEI and Carmel Biosciences was negotiated and executed by Three Oaks Innovations Inc., an independent company, and the bridge between UPEI and industry. 

“This is another exciting piece of UPEI technology with the potential to make a real difference in people’s lives,” said Sophie Theriault, director of Three Oaks Innovations Inc. “UPEI, through commercialization partnerships such as this one, is a key player in the province's economic development and sustainability. The potential of this agreement is really limitless.” 

 “Research at UPEI is a driving force behind innovation on Prince Edward Island. This is where creativity and knowledge come together to create exciting new opportunities such as UPEI-100,” said Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, president of UPEI. “I want to congratulate Dr. Saleh and Dr. Khan on this exciting day, and I want to thank Sophie and her team at Three Oaks Innovations Inc. for helping to make it happen.” 

UPEI-100 is the first of what is expected to be several new compounds from the collaboration between Dr. Saleh and Dr. Khan, and begins a presence on Prince Edward Island for Carmel Bioscience.

Contact: Dave Atkinson
Research Communications, (902)620-5117