The 4th Annual Technology Showcase is going virtual and will take place on September 9, 2020. The virtual event will feature a keynote address from Kite Pharma, panel sessions focused on technology commercialization and technology pitches from NCI and Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research scientists. To learn more, visit 2020 Technology Showcase.
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Two National Cancer Institute projects have been recognized with national awards from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC). The winners will be recognized at the group’s National Meeting in Portland Oregon April 28-30. The FLC is a Congressionally mandated organization that educates, promotes, and facilitates federal technology transfer. Learn more about NCI’s awards below:
Award 1: “New, First-in-class Immunotherapy, for Treatment of Recurrent, Metastatic Cervical Cancer”
Winner of 2020 Excellence in Technology Transfer Award
This award recognizes employees of FLC member laboratories and non-laboratory staff who have accomplished outstanding work in the process of transferring federally developed technology.
Early in his career Steven Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., observed a patient with terminal cancer whose disease spontaneously disappeared and theorized it had something to do with the patient’s immune system. He and other researchers pursued this hypothesis for decades despite a skeptical scientific community. Today, Rosenberg’s pioneering research in cancer immunotherapy and individually designed “personalized” medicine is at the forefront of innovation, providing hope and cures for cancer patients who have exhausted all other treatments.
In 2011, NCI and Iovance Biotherapeutics entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) for the development of adoptive cell therapy (ACT) using tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL). Technology licenses between NCI and Iovance were established to grant Iovance rights to the NIH’s TIL patent estate. Currently Iovance is conducting two pivotal multi-center trials of TIL technology in advanced cervical cancer and metastatic melanoma. In May 2019 the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) gave the technology a Breakthrough Therapy designation for advanced cervical cancer for patients who have exhausted all other treatment options.
Successes like the NCI-Iovance collaboration spur increases in medical research spending and investment. In June 2019, Iovance began construction of a 136,000 square foot TIL manufacturing plant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with capacity to meet demand for thousands of patients in multiple cancers. The next-generation facility aims to scale up TIL manufacturing and reduce the time and cost to produce the cells, which has been a major barrier for this type of treatment. The fact that immunotherapy treatments have the potential to provide cancer patients with improved quality of life with fewer, less severe side-effects will continue to attract investment and increase the development of new, lifesaving medical technologies.
NCI, Iovance and its collaborators now have now initiated additional TIL trials in other solid tumors. This effective partnership has transferred an unprecedented immunotherapy treatment from a federal lab to the private sector advanced it to late-stage clinical development. The innovative treatment has the potential to help thousands of patients a year with deadly and previously untreatable forms of cancer.
NCI Scientific Team
Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., chief, NCI Surgery Branch
Christian Hinrichs, M.D., Investigator, NCI Experimental Transplantation and Immunotherapy Branch
Aida Cremesti, Ph.D., Senior Technology Transfer Manager (TTM), NCI TTC
Andrew Burke, Ph.D., TTM, NCI TTC
Maria Fardis, Ph.D. MBA, CEO, Iovance
Award 2: “NCI Technology Transfer Ambassadors Program: Innovative Internal and External Engagement”
Winner of 2020 Technology Transfer Innovation Award
This award recognizes federal laboratories that successfully implemented innovative or unconventional technology transfer approaches that resulted in a significant increase in technology transfer (T2) activities. This is a new FLC award category.
In September 2016, to better engage and educate the scientific community, the NCI TTC launched the first federal Technology Transfer Ambassadors Program (TTAP). The program has significantly impacted technology transfer efforts across the NCI and is now being offered and adopted across the NIH.
The TTAP is the first formal technology transfer training and mentoring program open to NIH post-doctoral scientists (post-docs) seeking professional development in invention analysis, commercialization, and entrepreneurship. The one-year program augments each post-doc’s current research activities and boosts the impact on the technology transfer environment at NIH.
While TTAP has received positive feedback and results since first implemented in 2016, TTAP’s strength directly stems from efforts to continuously enhance the program. In 2019, program leads included a new “Technology Transfer Boot Camp,” a series of intensive hands-on training sessions to equip post-doc participants with skills immediately applicable to their training while they worked directly with TTC managers. Additionally, the leads developed a “Perfecting Your Pitch” workshop and “Pitch Practice” sessions for post-doc participants to learn how to effectively communicate the value propositions of technologies to business audiences. Since participating in TTAP, several post-doc participants have transitioned their careers into technology transfer and many other related professions.
TTAP has and continues to strive toward creating a lab-to-market mindset across NIH Institutes. In some labs, a paradigm shift has investigators focusing research efforts on outcomes with more of an eye to commercialization. The result is a more entrepreneurial culture, stronger connections between technology transfer and the scientific community, and enhanced efficiency of NIH technology transfer efforts for commercialization.
Successful outcomes include multiple invention disclosures and transactional agreements initiated by post-doc participants, dozens of analyses and presentations informing NIH patent investment decisions, improved marketing campaigns for NIH technologies, and an increase in creative TT engagement with scientists.
Winners: Technology Transfer Ambassador Team Leads, NCI TTC:
Laura Prestia, Ph.D., Communications & Strategic Initiatives Manager
Rose Freel Ph.D., Senior Technology Transfer Manager (TTM)
Taryn Dick Ph.D., M.B.A., TTM
Abritee Dhal Ph.D., TTM
More information about TTAP can be found at: https://techtransfer.cancer.gov/aboutttc/ambassadors
At numerous events throughout the year, TTC proactively engages companies, entrepreneurs, investors, and those biotech stakeholders wishing to commercialize technologies and spur economic development. Find out where we will be in the winter and spring of 2020: TechTransfer Partnering & Outreach Events
Advances involving NCI tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) immunotherapies were recently featured in Nature Biotechnology: "Pursuit of tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte immunotherapy speeds up." Research involving TIL immunotherapy is not new, but recent breakthroughs in overcoming some of the challenges associated with it have made it a rapidly developing field. Subtitled: “Mounting evidence of efficacy in metastatic breast cancer and other epithelial tumors is driving clinical and commercial investment in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes,” the article references the clinical research of Steven Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D. chief of the NCI Surgery Branch, Center Cancer Research (CCR), and Stephanie Goff, M.D., an associate research physician with the NCI Surgery Branch. The NCI Technology Transfer Center facilitates technology transfer activities for NCI TIL research and discoveries.
"Three Examples That Show Why NCI is a Goldmine of Blockbuster Technologies for Commercialization" featured in BioBuzz
Recent NCI collaborations with industry are highlighted in a May 2019 feature article by BioBuzz entitled: "Three Examples That Show Why NCI is a Goldmine of Blockbuster Technologies for Commercialization." The article also highlights the 2019 Technology Showcase on June 12 as an opportunity to learn how to collaborate and license technologies from the NCI and the the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research. Learn more about the event, including how to register, at: 2019 Technology Showcase.
“Matching Researchers with Industry to Help Get NIH Inventions to Patients” featured in The NIH Catalyst
Three new cancer therapies recently approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) – avelumab (BAVENCIO®), axicabtagene ciloleucel (YESCARTA®) and moxetumomab pasudotox (LUMOXITI™) – are the result of significant efforts by researchers from NCI’s Center for Cancer Research. Read more about these examples of technology transfer at work in the May - June 2019 issue of The NIH Catalyst, a publication about NIH Intramural Research.
“NCI and Industry: Moving Innovations from the Lab to Patients” was the feature article in March 2019 edition of MedNous, a European biomedical publication.
Illustrated by success stories, the article highlights the potential for NCI discoveries to make a positive impact for the patient. It also details how partnerships between the NCI Labs, TTC, and industry partners accelerate the commercialization process to bring NCI technologies from the lab to the market. MedNous, a publication of Evernow Publishing Ltd., is available via print and online. Read: "NCI and Industry" from MedNous
NCI TTC and the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR) will host the 2019 Technology Showcase on June 12. The third annual event will highlight technologies being developed at the NCI and FNLCR to encourage startup company formation, technology licensing and collaborations. Richard Bendis, President and CEO of BioHealth Innovation, a Maryland public-private partnership focused on accelerating the growth of commercially relevant science, will provide the keynote address. The half-day event will take place at the Advanced Research and Development Facility in Frederick, Maryland. Learn more @ 2019 Technology Showcase.
NCI Honored with 2018 “Educational Institution and Federal Laboratory Partnership Award” by FLC Mid-Atlantic Region (MAR)
Advances in the rapidly growing field of immunotherapy are being realized as evidenced by several ground-breaking, new therapies brought to market in the last year. A new type of fellowship program conceived by the NCI - the NCI Immunotherapy Fellowship Program - was designed to help train the next-generation of physicians to meet the demands of this quickly expanding field. At its 2018 annual meeting, the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) MAR presented NCI with its “Educational Institution and Federal Laboratory Partnership Award” for “NCI Immunotherapy Co-sponsored by Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer.”
James Gulley, M.D., Ph.D. of the NCI Center for Cancer Research (CCR), recognized the need to train the next generation of physicians to develop and conduct immunotherapy clinical trials. For today’s up-and-coming oncologists, the basics of immunotherapy taught to them in medical schools does not provide the in-depth preparation needed to meet the demanding and rapid advancements of this high-technology field; however, the breadth and depth of opportunities for training in clinical immunotherapy at the NCI CCR are unsurpassed. One of the major issues in making this immunotherapy fellowship a reality concerned finding funds to support the fellowship. Though the novel use of the CRADA mechanism, a partnership with the Society of Immunotherapy in Cancer (SITC), and support by an existing CRADA partner, NCI created a new fellowship program to meet an unmet training need. To date, two fellows have successfully completed the NCI Immunotherapy Fellowship, and both transitioned into roles where they can make a positive impact in the field of cancer immunotherapy.
Congratulations to the following award winners:
NCI Scientific Team:
Drs. James Gulley, Marijo Bilusic, Ravi Madan, and Christian Hinrichs
NCI TTC and NCI Ethics:
Drs. Michael Pollack, Laura Henmueller, Kathleen Carroll and Mr. Eric Hale
Dr. Howard Kaufman
TTC's Sidra Ahsan, Ph.D., received the FLC MAR 2018 "Rookie of the Year Award," presented at the FLC MAR regional meeting. This FLC award recognizes the efforts of an FLC laboratory technology transfer (TT) professional who has demonstrated “outstanding work in the field of technology transfer in a manner significantly over and above what was called for in the normal course of their work during the past year.” The nominee must be new to technology transfer, with three years (or less) experience in a TT position.
Notable Technology Transfer Contributions
In less than two years with TTC, Sidra Ahsan, Ph.D., is making a significant, positive impact on behalf of NCI. Dr. Ahsan, a technology transfer manager and TTC fellow, has diligently endeavored to increase her knowledge and application of technology transfer. The volume and scope of projects that she has tackled in her short tenure has helped position NCI to meet its mission today and in the future. Dr. Ahsan has taken on a wide-range of projects involving both extramural partnerships and intramural labs and managed several clinical trial agreements that helped advance testing of important, new therapies. Dr. Ahsan supports investigators from NCI’s Center for Cancer Research (CCR) and the NCI Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP). In the last year, Dr. Ahsan negotiated several CRADAs, Clinical Trial Agreements, and amendments for CCR and DCP. These agreements made possible the initiation of four important clinical trials examining: therapies for breast cancer, a rare brain cancer, colon cancer prevention, and ovarian cancer development and progression.
Dr. Ahsan also contributed to several TTC working groups and passed the USPTO registration exam to become a registered patent agent in 2018. “I believe that Sidra’s notable accomplishments reflect the high-level of TT work taking place in our office every day,” commented TTC Director Dr. Thomas Stackhouse. Congratulations to Sidra on a well-deserved accomplishment, and thanks to those in TTC who have mentored her and supported her success.