Winners of NovaUCD’s 2023 Innovation Awards Revealed

  • NovaUCD has today announced the recipients of its annual innovation awards which highlight successes made in areas of knowledge transfer, consultancy, entrepreneurship and the promotion of an innovation culture, by members of the University College Dublin (UCD) research, innovation and entrepreneurial community.

    A total of 7 Awards, including the main 2023 NovaUCD Innovation Award, were presented by Professor Mark Rogers, Acting UCD President during an event held in the UCD University Club.

    Among this year’s awardees are the founders of Aer Therapeutics, DOCOsoft and seamlessCARE and the inventor of a vaccine candidate for Melioidosis, a potentially fatal tropical disease, which has been licensed to Poolbeg Pharma.

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    Professor Mark Rogers, Acting UCD President said, “The NovaUCD Innovation Awards are a key annual event at UCD recognising and highlighting successes achieved by our research, innovation and entrepreneurial communities across the University and I congratulate all those who have received awards. I would also like to take the opportunity of wishing them ongoing success in the future as they continue to deliver economic and societal impact through their commercialisation, consultancy, entrepreneurial and innovation activities.”

    The 2023 NovaUCD Innovation Award, which recognises excellence in innovation or of successes achieved in the commercialisation of UCD research or other intellectual activity over a number of years, was awarded to Professor Stefan Oscarson, UCD School of Chemistry and Professor Stephen Carrington who retired from the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine in 2016.

    They received the Award in recognition of their successful and longstanding research collaboration with Professor John Fahy, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).  The focus of this collaboration was understanding why mucus in the lungs of people with respiratory diseases is thick, sticky and difficult to cough up and to develop new treatment strategies to help such patients breathe more easily.

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    The UCD-UCSF research collaboration led to the filing of a patent application for a novel mucolytic drug to address a large unmedical need for patients with mucus-associated lung diseases. These diseases include, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), asthma, cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis. 

    In addition Aer Therapeutics, the first joint UCD-UCSF spin-out company, was founded by Professor Oscarson and Professor Fahy, and Jim Shaffer, an experienced biotech executive, was recently recruited as CEO.

    The company, which is headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, licensed the patented novel mucolytic drug in 2022 and recently closed a significant funding round. The funding will enable initial safety studies in patients and a proof-of-concept clinical trial in patients with COPD.

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    Professor Stefan Oscarson said, "It’s really exciting times for me now, when after more than 40 years of academic research involving drug and vaccine development, seeing an excellent and fun team effort leading to the possibility of a lead candidate going into human clinical trials. It feels great to receive the NovaUCD Innovation Award with Steve as a recognition of this achievement."

    Professor Oscarson and Professor Carrington began collaborating with Professor Fahy in 2010.

    Source: Written from press release

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