UniQuest, the main technology transfer and commercialisation company of the University of Queensland (UQ), signs an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with Organovo Holdings, Inc., a company that focused on delivering scientific and medical breakthroughs using its 3D bio-printing technology, to patent applications relating to methodology for producing kidney cells from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).
Professor Melissa Little and her team at UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience developed a method of growing kidney tissue from iPSCs for potential use in drug screening, disease modelling and cell therapy. The research, published last week in the prominent scientific journal Nature, has shown that this method forms an organ with all the cell types normally present in the human kidney. Previously, Professor Little and her team grew a ‘mini-kidney’ in a dish that contained two cell types, but the team have now gone one step further to develop the method of growing more complete kidney tissue, using iPSCs.
Organovo will further develop the intellectual property with the support of Professor Little and her team for commercial applications such as kidney disease modelling, nephrotoxicity screening and discovery of compounds which may improve renal function for patients with genetic kidney disease. Under the terms of the agreement, Organovo is granted worldwide development and commercialization rights for in-vitro applications. In addition to an upfront technology access fee, UniQuest is eligible to receive milestone and royalty payments. No specific terms of the deal were disclosed.