Campus: San Diego State University -- November 8, 2004
SDSU Licenses Two Gene-Targeting Patents to Merck Pharmaceuticals
Two new and improved methods of developing antibiotics discovered at San Diego
State University have been licensed to Merck Pharmaceuticals for $300,000, the
largest technology transfer agreement so far for SDSU.
The technology, which uncovered hundreds of new essential genes and greatly enhances
the ability to target those genes for new antibiotics, was developed by SDSU
researchers Judith Zyskind and R. Allyn Forsyth. Zyskind, a professor at the time
of the discoveries, is the director of the SDSU BioScience Center. Forsyth was a
graduate student at the time of the discoveries and is now a Merck employee.
The license agreement gives Merck exclusive use of the technology for four years
with a renewable option. SDSU still holds the two patents for the technology, and
SDSU faculty and students also can use the technology for their projects.
"The emergence and global dissemination of antibiotic resistant pathogens has led
to people dying from infectious diseases," Zyskind said. "These discoveries
strengthen the arsenal against infectious diseases by hastening the arrival of
the next generation of antibiotics."
Merck negotiated the license agreement through SDSU's Technology Transfer Service
Office. The SDSU Foundation established it in 1998 to facilitate and enhance the
transfer of intellectual property, resources and information between the university
and the private sector.
"The agreement with Merck is a perfect example of how sharing new, university-based
technologies with forward-thinking businesses leads to advances that improve our
lives - in this case in health care," said Barry Janov, director of the SDSU
technology transfer program.
Zyskind said BioScience Center researchers will use the technology to further
investigate the emerging link between infectious diseases and the nation's No.
1 killer - heart disease.
"Diseases such as athlerosclerosis and diabetes have been thought to result from
lifestyle and genetic factors, but the latest information shows infectious diseases
may be a significant risk factor," Zyskind said. "That means developing new
antibiotics could become more important for preventing disease in the future."
Contact: Aaron Hoskins, SDSU College of Extended Studies, (619)