• Minnesota Partnership-Sponsored Discovery Becomes Licensed Technology

MINNEAPOLIS — A series of biomarker discoveries developed by Robert B. Jenkins M.D., Ph.D., George Klee, M.D., Ph.D., George Vasmatzis, Ph.D., and their colleagues at Mayo Clinic, along with Donald Connelly, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota, have resulted in a licensed technology that will benefit prostate cancer patients globally.

The research that led to the discoveries and subsequent patents was funded by one of the first grants awarded by the Minnesota Partnership. Subsequent support by the Partnership enabled researchers to take the discovery into commercialization.

"This is a great example of why the Partnership was created," says Mayo Clinic's Eric Wieben, Ph.D., program manager for the Partnership. "A relatively small amount of initial support led to larger government grants and a successful outcome in a diagnostic test that will no doubt save lives and improve treatment."

"Findings from this Minnesota Partnership project are already being used nationally to help patients, while bringing dollars back to the state," says Mark Paller, M.D., M.S., senior associate dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School and one of the Partnership's founders.

The series of diagnostic patents for identifying aggressive prostate cancer has been licensed to Genome Dx Biosciences, which develops and commercializes genetic-based medical tests. The company is based in San Diego and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Income from the license will return to Minnesota in royalties for the researchers and a 50-50 split between the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic, to fund future research and education.

The Minnesota Partnership was established in 2004 as collaboration among the University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic and the state of Minnesota. Over nine years, Minnesota Partnership awards to Minnesota scientists have attracted more than $60 million in federal funding to the state.

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