Life-Saving Drug Developed at GW Sublicensed for Use in Europe

A portion of the money GW receives will be used to fund the Technology Maturation Awards, which provide early-stage funding for faculty research innovations.

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February 08, 2021

By Kristen Mitchell

A drug developed at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences used to increase dangerously low blood pressure in life-threatening situations will soon be available in Europe, expanding the impact of this life-saving drug, GIAPREZA™, worldwide. 

GIAPREZA™ narrows blood vessels and increases dangerously low blood pressure in patients experiencing septic or other distributive shock, which can result from an infection, allergic reaction or severe accident and ultimately decrease blood flow to vital organs like the brain and heart. Last fall, medical trials in Europe tested whether the drug could effectively treat critically ill COVID-19 patients who developed sepsis.

The university recently supported GW licensee,La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company, in their effort to sublicense the technology to Germany-based company Paion for sales in Europe. As part of the agreement, GW will receive a meaningful portion of the $22.5 million Paion is paying up front to La Jolla.

Steven Kubisen, managing director of GW’s Technology Commercialization Office (TCO), said this new agreement is a significant milestone for GW on its path to becoming a preeminent global, comprehensive research university. 

“GW is developing new innovations that have global impact and are save lives,” he said. “This deal opens up a brand new market. We now have a global, life-saving drug that can be used to help more people around the world.”

The development of GIAPREZA™ began several years ago with funding from GW. After promising medical trial results, the university entered into a license agreement with La Jolla for GW’s intellectual property rights in 2014, allowing the company to complete the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval process and bring the drug to market in 2017. 

GW sold a portion of its royalty rights to GIAPREZA™ in 2019, allowing the university to reinvest significant funds into strategic priorities in academics, research and innovation and accelerating its growth as a preeminent research university. The TCO’s Technology Maturation Awards were established as part of this ongoing effort to provide early-stage support for faculty working toward innovations with promising commercial potential and societal impact.

“Early stage money can be tough to get, and that’s why we created the Technology Maturation Awards,” Dr. Kubisen said. “This deal will be providing more money that’ll allow us to continue that program and fund more research within GW.”

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