Bengaluru’s JNCASR transfers IP rights on potential cure for dementia

A Bengaluru based advanced research centre has agreed to transfer the intellectual property rights of two of its technologies — a molecule that could be a potential cure for dementia and a mobile group oxygen concentrator.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), an autonomous institute under the government’s Department of Science and Technology, signed the IP Transfer Agreements with a Delhi-based company, Hamsa Biopharma, and its own startup initiative, Rugn Abhilekha, on May 11.

Professor T Govindaraju, a scientist at JNCASR, and his team have developed a molecule that could be a potential drug candidate to halt or cure the leading cause of dementia worldwide. This research work was patented and published in the journal Advanced Therapeutics and patented by the JNCASR.

The research was aimed at designing and synthesising molecules that can reduce the toxicity of-amyloid peptide — that accumulates in the central nervous system. Prof Govindaraju stated that the molecule, named TGR63, can rescue neuronal cells from amyloid toxicity. “We saw that the molecule helped in reducing the clumping and slowly reversing the cognitive decline, which disrupts the mechanism through which neurons become dysfunctional due to Alzheimer’s,” he added.

JNCASR in a statement said, “As per studies, Alzheimer’s will soon be one of the top diseases in the country, and currently available treatments provide only temporary relief, and there are no approved drugs that directly act on the mechanisms of the disease. This molecule addresses the unmet need to develop drug candidates to halt or cure the disease.”

Reviewing the potential of this research to be a drug candidate, Hamsa Biopharma India Private Limited, a company based in Delhi, indicated its interest in further developing the drug based on a license agreement.

Another research initiative at JNCASR, led by Dr S V Diwakar, designed a robust, mobile group oxygen concentrator that can be used in rural settings and also rapidly deployed in emergencies in any location. This product addressing the novel challenges in adsorption science and engineering is named ‘OxyJani’. It is based on the principles of Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) technology. “In this multi-group initiative, Dr Diwakar, Dr Meher Prakash, Prof Santosh Ansumali from JNCASR, and collaborators, Prof Arvind Rajendran from the University of Alberta and Arun Kumar (Eiwave Digitech) executed the OxyJani developmental efforts with the help of Ritwik Das (MS student). The team replaced lithium zeolites (LiX) which are usually used in oxygen concentrators, with sodium zeolites which do not generate toxic solid waste and can be manufactured in India. The concentrator is modular and capable of delivering a range of solutions, conversion of medical air to medical oxygen, and is an entirely off-grid solution including all modules that can facilitate deployment in rural areas,” JNCASR stated.

“This new class of technology called “group concentrators” has the robustness of large PSA plants, portability similar to the personal concentrators, and is affordable too. Oxygen output from the device is in the range of 40-75 lpm, inventors have ensured medical grade components and the availability of components for this device in the local market. Hence, apart from occupying a niche segment in the market (in terms of sizing), this product provides a sustained healthcare solution in nursing homes, Tier III/Tier IV towns for ICU, and other medical uses,” it said.

JNCASR, under its startup initiative, facilitates the establishment of new enterprises with innovative technologies in various branches of science and engineering. One such initiative, a start-up named Rugn Abhilekha, based in Bangalore with a couple of faculty members of JNCASR and others, has taken birth, and JNCASR has transferred the IP rights in respect of OxyJani to it.

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