UW C4C, Pharmigene execute licensing agreement for warfarin personalized medicine technology

The University of Washington Center for Commercialization (UW C4C) and Pharmigene, a leader in advancing personalized medicine and reducing severe adverse reactions to drugs through genetic-based diagnostic solutions, today announced the execution of a licensing agreement between the parties. The agreement settles a U.S. patent interference concerning previously competing applications that describe methods to determine proper dosing of the popular anti-coagulant drug, warfarin. Pharmigene is now the global licensee of VKORC1-1639 SNP related patents and application from both the University of Washington and Academia Sinica, Taiwan. Pharmigene now offers the most complete VKORC1-1639 SNP patent portfolio to drive development and commercialization of genetic tests that reduce warfarin-related adverse drug events.

Previous studies have shown that leveraging patient genetic information, such as the variances in the VKORC1-1639 gene, can reduce hospitalization rates by almost one-third for patients taking the anti-coagulant drug. Each year, with several million people worldwide starting on an anti-coagulant therapy, the combination of warfarin with genetic testing promises improvements in patient care and represents enormous savings for healthcare systems.

"The agreement between the University of Washington and Pharmigene will clear the path to providing technology that will improve the health and well-being of patients the world over," commented Dr. Luke Chen, CEO of Pharmigene. "Assisting doctors in quickly determining the proper dosage of warfarin for their patients will prevent a number of dangerous outcomes, improve the patient's care, and minimize risks for doctors," he added.

"This deal between Pharmigene and UW C4C represents a positive outcome for both parties, resolving a complex IP rights situation, and allows for the further development of the market for this valuable diagnostic test. The wide adoption of this test will undoubtedly help physicians better manage a very real problem with a useful but potentially dangerous therapy," stated Dennis A. Hanson, PhD, technology manager at UW C4C.

Warfarin, an anti-coagulant (blood thinner), is prescribed for the prevention of blood clots, atrial fibrillation, or prosthetic heart valve replacement. The drug has a narrow therapeutic window, with the optimum dose for each patient varying widely. Warfarin can cause massive internal bleeding if too much is taken, but if too little is given during treatment, the drug may not have the desirable therapeutic effect. With the aid of the VKOR genetic testing technology, covered by patents and patent applications from the University of Washington and Pharmigene, a proper dosage for each specific patient can be determined quickly, and thus the likelihood of serious complications can be greatly reduced.


University of Washington Center for Commercialization (UW C4C)


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