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COBRE Center Member One of Two Selected for Baxendale Innovation Award

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Outstanding success in pharmaceutical research and technology commercialization has resulted in special recognition for two University of Kansas faculty members.

Brian Blagg, the Lester and Betty Mitscher Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and COBRE-PSF Center member, and Rick Dobrowksy, professor of pharmacology and toxicology, are co-recipients of KU Innovation and Collaboration's 2015 James Baxendale Innovation Award. It honors persons whose research has resulted in significant advances and commercial opportunities for the university.

The award presentation was made October 7 at the Biosciences & Technology Business Center during the BioKansas BioBreak networking reception that followed the half-day "A Celebration of Innovation: A Startup Showcase." Previous Baxendale Award recipients are Cory Berkland, professor of chemical and petroleum engineering and pharmaceutical chemistry and Lisa Stehno-Bittel, professor and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science in the KU School of Health Professions.

Blagg and Dobrowsky were honored for research that led to a major licensing agreement last year with Reata Pharmaceuticals of Irving, TX for a portfolio of drug technologies. The two are exploring the potential use of 'novologues' for treating a complication of diabetes--diabetic peripheral neuropathy--that affects 60 to 70 percent of patients with diabetes. Novologues also show promise in treating cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

Reata is working with Blagg and Dobrowsky on a strategy for collaboration with KU. The company expects to fund new research at KU while it develops the technologies it has licensed.

Edited version of article published in KU Discovery & Innovation: News from KU Research