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LES 2017 Deals Of Distinction Awards Reflect Value Of Collaboration And Innovation

Friday, December 15, 2017   (0 Comments)
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By Renee McMullen, Communications

Four of the year's most outstanding intellectual property licensing deals have received the LES 2017 Deals of Distinction™ Award, which was presented at the Society's Annual Meeting, October 23, in Chicago.  Four LES sectors reviewed and analyzed several deals in their respective industries to determine those worthy of recognition. The criteria for selection included being a creative solution to a business issue, a novel structure of the terms of the deal and those transactions that were sizeable events signaling a major change in their industry. While there were many deals meeting the criteria this year, the finalists exemplify distinctive innovation, creativity and collaborations worthy of this honor.

High Technology Sector Winner - AT&T Sells Pool Of 87 Patents To Uber

The theme of a larger more seasoned company working with a younger smaller organization continues with the High Technology Sector Award. The deal between telecommunications and Fortune 10 company AT&T and ride-sharing pioneer Uber certainly illustrates the role innovation and collaboration have in the IT industry. This unprecedented deal included 87 issued patents and five patent applications, encompassing various technologies. AT&T sold this block of patents to Uber, as they were directly applicable to their ride-sharing technologies and included the areas of messaging, call-handling, routing network traffic, voice over IP and billing. Dave Kaufman from AT&T noted at the awards ceremony that the Deals of Distinction Award "represents the continual relevance of intellectual property in the high-tech sector." He went on to say that this transaction demonstrated: 1) a Fortune 10 company can continue to innovate; 2) there is a cultural shift in ride-sharing and in a broader sense the "sharing economy," and 3) a start-up company can take a specific technology, productize and deploy it in a massive way that everyone can appreciate.

Deal of Distinction for the High Tech Sector, from left: Kurt Brasch (Uber), Matt Kuipers (Uber), Dave Kaufman (ATT) and Efrat Kasznik (LES).

CEEM Sector Winner: ExxonMobile And POSCO Develop Steel Slurry Pipeline

The Chemicals, Energy, Environment and Materials (CEEM) Sector had several deals to consider and awarded an international collaboration to improve the processing of oil and sand through existing pipeline systems. ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company and South Korea's POSCO researched and developed a High Manganese Steel Slurry Pipe that drastically improves the maintenance and replacement cost incurred in the industry. The licensing and commercialization of the Slurry Pipe is the result of a lengthy, multi-year effort that leveraged the unique capabilities in POSCO's technology and ExxonMobil's advanced research capabilities. The resulting product outperforms the alternatives and has been shown to outlast the industry standard pipe by a factor of five times longer. The agreement between the two organizations allows for commercialization and sale of the pipe to various companies in the oil/sand processing industry. This is a deal of distinction because it was a very large effort involving multiple organizations across multiple countries that all came together to quickly focus on a business challenge, apply their expertise and resources to identify solutions, and then rapidly apply a commercially-viable resolution.

CEEM Sector Deal Award presenation - Choo Se-Don, POSCO, speaking at podium. From left: Kevin Spivak (LES); Andrew Wasson ExxonMobil; Tim Kinn, ExxonMobil; and Lee Dong Eun, POSCO.

Life Sciences Sector Winner: Xencor And Novartis Team To Produce Preclinical Immuno-Oncology Antibody Alliance

Another alliance in the pharmaceutical industry received the Life Sciences Sector Deals of Distinction Award. It was chosen because of the complexity of the collaboration in addition to the nature of the deal. Xencor and Novartis teamed to produce a Preclinical Immuno-Oncology Antibody Alliance. As has been the case with more of the awardees in 2017, the process was lengthy, starting in 2010, and included a multifaceted approach to bring the project to fruition. The alliance includes three components, the fact that Xencor licensed technology into Novartis products, the associated scientists used various products to evaluate the technology, and finally a drug-discovery collaboration. Another aspect of the deal is the fact that the two companies are in two different places of development, Xencor being a smaller company and Novartis being on the larger end of the pharmaceutical company spectrum. The fact that this is a very early-stage deal where a small company can work with large pharma and build upon three products and a portfolio of assets reflects a positive change in the industry.

Jim McCarthy (right) presented the Life Sciences Sector award. Xencor and Novartis team members were acknowledged for the award.

Industry-University-Government Interface (IUGI) Sector Winner: NIH And AbbVie Repurpose Zinbryta® For MS Treatment

For the Industry-University-Government Interface (IUGI) Sector, a partnership between government and private sector garnered the Deal of Distinction award. Known for ground-breaking research, the National Institutes of Health (NIH-US) combined efforts with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies AbbVie and Biogen. The result was the ability to re-purpose an existing drug to treat a different disease. Zinbryta® has been approved by the FDA in the treatment of relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS is a chronic, inflammatory, autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that disrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body. Potentially two million patients each year are at risk of suffering from relapsing MS. Initially developed as an anti-rejection medication for transplant patients, Zinbryta is a long-acting injection that is self-administered by the patient monthly. This collaboration improves the potential quality of life for millions…definitely a deal of distinction.

Deal of Distinction for the Industry-University-Government Interface (IUGI) Sector: Michelle Parks, AbbVie, at podium; and Steve Ferguson, National Institutes of Health.


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