The LES Deals of Distinction Award (DDA) is an annual industry sector award program of LES (U.S.A. & Canada), which aspires to recognize worthy licensing deals and promote creative and innovative solutions to business issues involving contracts.

Each of the LES (U.S.A. & Canada) Industry Sector Committees has the option to make an award to whom they feel has completed the most deserving deal from within their field.

2021 Deals of Distinction Award Winners

  • Life Sciences Sector: Denali Therapeutics and Biogen
  • High Tech Sector: Xperi and Comcast
  • Industry University Government Interface Sector: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)/National Institutes of Health (NIH), the University of Texas – Austin/Dartmouth/The Scripps Research Institute

Life Sciences Sector Winner: Denali Therapeutics and Biogen

Denali Therapeutics and Biogen are recognized for their worldwide collaboration for development of a small molecule LRRK2 inhibitors for treatment of Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders. The partnership represents an opportunity to advance the development of a potential first-in-class oral therapy that may slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease with significant unmet medical needs due to the absence of approved therapies that may slow disease progression

High Tech Sector Winner: Xperi and Comcast

Xperi and Comcast, both holders of significant intellectual property in the “media” segment, are recognized for their long-term patent license agreement. The “media” segment of technology evolves rapidly, creating uncertainty in the long-term value of intellectual property in the space. The agreement illustrated the awardees’ combined ability to identify and agree on the relative long term value of their respective patent portfolios in view of significant technological disruption and business evolution in the “media” area of technology.

Industry University Government Interface Sector Winner: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)/National Institutes of Health (NIH), University of Texas – Austin/Dartmouth/The Scripps Research Institute

The path to rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine was cleared by a research collaboration between scientists at the NIH Vaccine Research Center at NIAID, the Scripps Research Institute, Dartmouth College and the University of Texas-Austin. The 2020 nonexclusive license of the stabilized spike protein discovery from that collaboration to BioNTech – with that company’s subsequent partnership with Pfizer producing an mRNA-based vaccine first launched in 2020 administered over 178 million times.


2020 Deals of Distinction Award Winners

  • Chemicals, Energy, Environment & Materials Sector: ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company and The University of Houston – Low-Frequency Seismic Technology License and Consortium Foundational Agreement
  • High Technology Sector: University of Chicago, Configuration Dynamics and Underwriter Laboratories for their Software Technology Commercialization deal
  • Industry-University-Government Interface Sector: Oregon Health & Science University and Illumina – Single-Cell Genome Sequencing Processes and Tools License
  • Life Sciences Sector: Sangamo Therapeutics and Biogen — A broad global R&D collaboration for gene regulation therapies to treat neurological diseases

Nominate a Deal

Of the deals announced in your industry over the past year, can you think of a worthy candidate?

Consider the criteria below and submit your information:

  1. The Award may be granted to a representative from each party of the selected deal wherein the transaction was announced in the past year and had a significant licensing component.
  2. Wherein further at least one party to the selected deal is an organization based in the territories of LES (U.S. or Canada).
  3. All types of licensing and technology transfer subject matter will be considered, and the selection criteria will include:
    1. Creative solution to the business issues,
    2. Novel structure for terms, and/or
    3. A deal that is seen as a “seismic event” and signals a major change for the art of licensing in your Industry Sector

(Other qualifications, such as LES membership, will be vetted by the DDA Awards Subcommittee.)

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