HONOLULU, HAWAII  – The University of Hawai‘i’s Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development (OTTED) recently signed a technology commercialization agreement withPono Corporation. The agreement gives the Honolulu-based company ownership of three technologies developed by the University of Hawai‘i, including a proteasome inhibitor drug, humanized cobra venom factor, and a hybrid nanocarrier drug delivery system.

Under the terms of the agreement, UH becomes a shareholder in Pono in exchange for an assignment of the technologies, a move that may allow UH to realize their value earlier than a traditional licensing deal due to long drug development timelines.

“We are evolving our technology transfer process to speed commercialization of early-stage technologies developed at the University of Hawai‘i,” said UH President M.R.C. Greenwood. “The agreement with Pono will allow the university to participate side-by-side with other Pono shareholders and founders as technology developed at the University of Hawai‘i is commercialized.”

“We are looking forward to this promising opportunity to work with the company towards the clinical development of our novel anti-cancer drugs,” said Dr. André S. Bachmann, associate professor and chairman of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the UH Hilo College of Pharmacy, who is one of the inventors of the proteasome inhibitor discovery and a co-inventor of the nanocarrier system with Dr. Mahavir Chougule, assistant professor at the UH Hilo College of Pharmacy.

The proteasome inhibitors discovered by Bachmann and his collaborators are a new class of compounds potentially useful for anti-cancer and other therapeutic uses, and improved cancer treatment through targeted, tumor-specific delivery of chemotherapeutic drugs is the aim of the proprietary nanocarrier system developed by Bachmann and Chougule.

At the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center, Dr. Carl-Wilhelm Vogel and Dr. David Fritzinger developed the cobra venom factor proteins which are modified for treatment of diseases such as reperfusion injury and autoimmune diseases.

Pono will work to develop the technologies under the agreement with a focus on moving them through the regulatory approval process.

“Pono is honored to have the opportunity to build on the work done at the University of Hawai‘i by moving forward with the commercialization of these technologies,” said Kaleo Taft, Chief Technology Officer of Pono.

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