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Ronald Taylor named Inventor of the Year

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Teenage mutant ninja red cells

Behind biochemist Ron Taylor is a poster illustrating his invention of a bispecific monoclonal antibody complex, dubbed "teenage mutant ninja red cells," which can remove diseases from the bloodstream. Taylor and his team of researchers are working to modify red blood cells to attack and eliminate a broad array of pathogens.

Ronald Taylor named Inventor of the Year

By Charlotte Crystal

The U.Va. Patent Foundation has named Ronald P. Taylor, professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics and a member of the Beirne Carter Immunology Center, as the Christopher J. Henderson Inventor of the Year.

Taylor, a faculty member in the U.Va. School of Medicine since 1973, is being recognized for inventions related to his research into the treatment of diseases associated with pathogens in the bloodstream.

"Ron Taylor spent years struggling to find funding for his research because many people were skeptical that this technology could work," said Robert MacWright, executive director of the U.Va. Patent Foundation.

"But his patents now prove that it does. We are confident that EluSys Therapeutics Inc., a company formed to complete the process of bringing this technology to market, can apply his clever designs to saving lives and reducing suffering in unprecedented ways.

"We are very pleased to recognize Ron's passion and his tenacity, and to honor him now at the beginning of what we believe will be an exciting story of commercial and medical success."

Taylor has studied the natural mechanisms by which white and red blood cells work to rid the bloodstream of disease. Taylor's inventions, which mimic this natural process, have potential uses in routine health care, and in coping with diseases that currently have no known treatment, as well as in treating victims of biological warfare, according to MacWright.

Taylor's research has been funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. To date, his inventions have been licensed to EluSys Therapeutics Inc. of Pinebrook, N.J.

Taylor insists on sharing credit for his scientific progress with other researchers in his laboratory who have contributed to the effort in many ways. He notes in particular his gratitude to William M. Sutherland for his scientific and moral support. "Sutherland created the monoclonal antibodies needed for our experiments and has played an integral and essential role in our work from the very beginning," he said.

Taylor also expressed his appreciation for the support and advice offered by the U.Va. Patent Foundation.

"Many of my colleagues are working with the U.Va. Patent Foundation to pursue the practical applications of their research," Taylor said. "I hope that younger investigators will do so as well. Such efforts have the potential to bring credit to the University and enhance its well-deserved national reputation."

The U.Va. Patent Foundation award recognizes an invention of notable value to society. The criteria for selection include commercial success (or commercial potential) and the invention's value in treating disease, in protecting the environment, as a tool for research, in education and training, in the development of a field of science or technology, or in helping the disadvantaged, the disabled and the elderly.

The Patent Foundation named the Inventor of the Year Award after Christopher J. Henderson, president and chief financial officer of Robbins & Henderson, a New York firm specializing in financial and related services for institutions, in recognition of Henderson's interest in technology transfer and commitment to the University. Established in 1992, the award program was conceived by Dr. Richard Edlich, a professor of plastic surgery and biomedical engineering at U.Va.

The University of Virginia Patent Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation affiliated with U.Va. that is responsible for licensing to business and industry the intellectual property discovered and created in University laboratories.


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