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VCU Invention Licensed by Nostrum Pharmaceuticals

Inhaled dapsone may help patients with respiratory diseases

Virginia Commonwealth University and Nostrum Pharmaceuticals, LLC, are pleased to announce the signing of a license agreement for the development of inhaled dapsone for the treatment of respiratory diseases.

The license gives Nostrum exclusive rights to a patent application disclosing inhaled dapsone invented by Bruce K. Rubin, M.D., the Jessie Ball DuPont Distinguished Professor and chair of Pediatrics at the VCU Medical Center and physician-in-chief of the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.

Dapsone is an antibiotic used to treat leprosy, Pneumocystis pneumonia and malaria. It also is used as a skin cream to treat severe chronic skin inflammation. It is not a steroid and does not have the side effects associated with steroids.

Rubin’s team showed that dapsone affected an important inflammatory pathway common to lung diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis (CF), bronchiectasis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This was confirmed when his team demonstrated that inhalation of an aerosol of dapsone rapidly and safely cleared lung inflammation in laboratory experiments.

These results were published last year in the prestigious medical journal Chest.

“We are very pleased to support VCU by licensing this exciting new drug. This product will complement our other inhaled therapeutics in development,” said Nirmal Mulye, Ph.D., president of Nostrum.

Michael T. Amato, vice president of Nostrum, added, “We are developing a broad range of respiratory treatments, including developing unique aerosol delivery devices, so this drug has the potential to be a strong addition to our portfolio.”

The agreement calls for Nostrum to manufacture the product, perform the clinical development and file the drug applications with the Food and Drug Administration. Nostrum will pay VCU milestone payments and royalties on sales worldwide.

Rubin and his research team study aerosol therapy for lung diseases, airway inflammation and excessive mucus that contributes to lung disease. He conducts the only clinic in the United States dedicated to treat adults and children with serious mucus clearance problems.

Rubin also is professor of engineering, physiology and biophysics at VCU. He received the 2008 Forrest M. Bird Lifetime Scientific Achievement Award, the top research honor given by the American Respiratory Care Foundation and the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC). In 2011, he presented the Phil Kittredge Memorial Keynote lecture at the AARC, and this year was awarded the Jimmy Young Memorial medal, the top honor from the AARC.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.

Dr. Bruce K. Rubin
Dr. Bruce K. Rubin