A technology award for the University of Vienna and MFPL
Dr. Nadezda Sedlyarova, researcher of the University of Vienna at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL), and Dr. Jürgen Mairhofer of enGenes Biotech GmbH, were awarded one of three prizes from START:IP 2018 for their collaborative evaluation of an innovative technology developed in the laboratory of Prof. Renée Schroeder at the MFPL. Their project was rewarded with a voucher for consulting services by Redl Life Science Patent Attorneys.
The suggested methodology “protein booster” is based on novel regulatory RNA domains, termed “RAPs”, discovered and characterized during Dr. Sedlyarova’s PhD research.
If the technology performs as well as expected in an industrial setting, enGenes Biotech GmbH intends to seek a license from the University of Vienna, in order to provide solutions to protein expression problems across a range of industries.
Dr. Sedlyarova is excited about the accolades for their successful project: “While searching for novel, natural RNA-based regulators of gene expression in bacteria, we have discovered ‘RAP’ elements that increased reporter protein levels in our proof-of-principle experiments. We realized that such ‘protein boosters’ can be translated into applications in the biotech industry. Our work is a nice example of how fundamental research can lead to practical applications.”
The START:IP initiative matches entrepreneurs with technologies from academic institutions, thus promoting the commercialization of the results of academic research. It was started by iNiTS, a business incubator designed to improve the rate of startup success in Vienna. iNiTS is an enterprise by the University of Vienna, Technical University of Vienna and “Wirtschaftsagentur Wien” and is supported by “Austria Wirtschaftsservice”.
Dr. Sedlyarova and Prof. Schroeder were expertly supported in filing a patent for the “protein boosters” by Dr. Ingrid Kelly from the Technology Transfer Office of the University of Vienna.
Update from March 7th: The project is now one of eight nominees for the prestigious Houska Prize, a tremendous honour. The winners will be announced on April 26th.