As part of the university's global research vision:
The United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) has signed a licensing agreement with USA-based global pharmaceutical company BioLegend, Inc. to use four different UAEU patents in biotechnology. The license was granted in order to develop diagnostic tools for the early detection of Parkinson’s Disease and possibly other neurological diseases.
The technology was developed at UAEU and is patent protected in the USA, the European Union and other countries and regions worldwide. Dr. Ali Rashid Al Noaimi, Vice Chancellor of UAEU, signed the agreement on behalf of the university, while Dr. Gene Lay, the CEO and founder of BioLegend signed on behalf of the US company.
His Excellency Dr. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, Vice Chancellor of UAEU, stressed that this patent agreement was the second of its kind at UAEU. This is yet more evidence of the university’s pursuit of excellence in order to follow the directives of the national leadership headed by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of UAE; and in accordance with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Such directives are further supported by His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. This is also in tune with UAE Vision 2021. The Vice Chancellor added that UAEU reflects the leadership’s focus on healthcare. Finally, he also added that, “the knowledge-based economy is part of the global economy and our national university should protect and market its technological discoveries and collaborate with industrial leaders globally and within the country.”
Dr. Al Nuaimi also welcomed the announcement by saying that UAEU was honoured to cooperate with a global pharmaceutical company that specialized in brain diseases and neurological research as just such research is being carried out at the university. He also highlighted the importance of protecting research results by filing patent applications to protect the new discoveries: “UAEU has more than 80 different new inventions and around 190 patent applications in its portfolio, of which 36 have already been granted.”
Dr. Gene Lay added that BioLegend were, “happy to have a partnership with United Arab Emirates University and is committed to the commercial development and exploitation of these patents.” He further added that BioLegend was striving to provide quality research reagents and expert technical support to the worldwide scientific. Their mission is to accelerate research and discovery by providing the highest quality products at outstanding value, along with superior customer service and technical support.
Professor Ghaleb Al Hadrami, the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies, said that the university supports scientific excellence and innovation and said that, “there were four international competitors negotiating for the license, however our office chose BioLegend due to their leading position in developing and manufacturing world-class, cutting-edge immunological reagents for biomedical research.” He also noted the efforts of Mohamed Al Hemairy, Head of Patents and Technology Transfer at the university, and said that, “this deal took over a year of discussion before reaching a mutual consensus. Licensing biochemistry patents in the neurological sciences is challenging due to the complexity of the technology, as well as the time it requires to negotiate the details of the agreement especially when it involves human experimentation.”
The driving force behind this technology is Professor Omar El-Agnaf and his team of experienced postdoctoral and postgraduate researchers in the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at UAEU. They developed assays for the detection of proteins involved in Parkinson’s Disease. Between seven to ten million people worldwide live with Parkinson’s Disease and the lack of early detection is recognised as an impediment to effective clinical intervention as well as retarding the development of new therapeutics.