The Simulect Success Story

By Professors Arne Akbar and Hans Stauss

Academic science has to work in closer partnership with the Biotechnology sector to give value to the research that is performed at Universities. This is the message that is filtering down from the government through the funding agencies and now from the Universities themselves. The added benefit from these collaborations is perceived to be an important goal for the future given the austere climate of grant funding that currently exists. To this end, a new committee for Knowledge Transfer, of which Professor Arne Akbar is a member, has been established in our Faculty to address the issues surrounding this.

It is therefore a matter of some pride to note that a product known as Simulect was produced by current and past members of the Division of Infection and Immunity who were based at the Royal Free at the time, in collaboration with Novartis. UCL Business, which was set up as a specialist company to commercialize research carried out in UCL’s departments, was responsible for the acquisition and management of the necessary funds to steer this project to successful exploitation. The royalty income to UCL Business that has been generated from this product has just reached the £15 million mark.

Simulect is a chimerized mouse/human monoclonal antibody (anti-CD25) that is used to condition solid organ transplant patients to reduce the risk of acute rejection. The drug has been used to treat more than 150,000 transplant patients. The vast majority of these funds go to UCLB, some are earmarked for the development of the Department of Clinical Immunology at the Royal Free and the inventors, Prof Arne Akbar, Dr. Peter Amlot (retired) and Professor George Janossy (Emeritus) receive a very small fraction. This product gives credence to the formation of UCL Partners in Immunology and Transplantation at the Royal Free Campus. The aim of the centre is to facilitate and advance bench to bedside translational research by joining the clinical and academic activities seamlessly to benefit patients locally and nationally. The Centre will be a hub for translating novel research in immunology into new diagnostic tools and therapeutic interventions that will facilitate early diagnosis and improve therapy in viral infection, cancer, transplantation, immunodeficiency and autoimmunity.

To celebrate this successful collaborative venture between the Division of Infection and Immunity and the Biotechnology sector, Professors Arne Akbar and Hans Stauss will be hosting a reception at the Royal Free later this year.

Page last modified on 02 feb 11 11:17 by Karen Rumsey