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Success Stories

Environmentally-friendly Replacement for Styrene

Dr. Giuseppe Palmese of Drexel University’s College of Engineering and his collaborators James Sands and John LaScala of the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) have developed a suite of bio-based styrene substitute compounds. Styrene has recently been classified as a “reasonably anticipated carcinogen” by the U.S. government, and is regulated by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The licensed styrene substitutes have performance properties similar to, or better than, commercial resins and emit 70% less hazardous air pollutants and volatile organic compounds than styrene. Drexel and ARL have entered into an exclusive license with Dixie Chemical Company to commercialize the technology, and Dixie’s multi-year license agreement with Drexel and ARL gives the company international rights to intellectual property protecting the suite of compounds. The first product based on the technology was launched in January, 2012.

Understanding Why We Eat

Dr. Michael Lowe of Drexel’s College of Arts and Sciences has long researched the behavior of humans regarding food. His research has helped us understand how different pathways in the brain affect how we decide to eat, in particular the effect of our simple proximity to food on our eating behaviors. His research has led to the development of the Power of Foodtm scale, which allows researchers to determine if certain pathways in the brain are driving eating decisions. This psychological survey has been licensed for use by a wide array of companies, clinicians and researchers for use in clinical trials, counseling and basic research. The tool and its utility have been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and the Dr. Oz Show.

Non-Invasive Blood Pressure Monitoring

Dr. Ryszard Lec of Drexel’s School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems has long been an innovator of the use of piezoelectric sensors in biomedical applications. Dr. Lec recognized that traditional blood pressure monitoring could indeed be improved, and developed a new monitor that does not rely on a disruptive, inflated blood pressure cuff. The traditional device can disrupt the sleep patterns of patients in hospitals, and can make regular blood pressure monitoring on an out patient basis very difficult. With funding from Drexel’s Wallace H. Coulter Translational Research Partners Program, Dr. Lec developed a non-invasive continuous blood pressure monitor. Drexel’s commercialization partner NetScientific launched a new company called Advanced Biosensors, Inc. to commercialize it and to date, has committed $5 million in funding to bring the technology to market.

Novel Vaccines to Fight Cancer

Drs. Uri Galili and Patricia Repik, formerly of Drexel’s College of Medicine, developed unique vaccine technology that stimulates a patient’s immune system to recognize tumor cells as foreign. Cancer is typically able to evade destruction because tumors come from our own cells, and the immune system is trained to leave our own cells alone. The Galili-Repik technology provides a unique cue to the immune system that prompts it to recognize those cancers as cells that should be destroyed. Licensed to Ames, Iowa-based NewLink Genetics, the technology has been developed as the company’s HyperAcute® technology platform, and is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.