Luna Innovations Incorporated (NASDAQ: LUNA) has acquired certain intellectual property assets of Tego Biosciences, its main competitor in developing medicines based on carbon nanomaterials. Tego Biosciences, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Arrowhead Research Corporation (NASDAQ:ARWR).
This acquisition integrates the patent assets of the two leading companies and provides Luna a dominant intellectual property portfolio in carbon nanomaterial-based pharmaceuticals.
"We are pleased to add Tego's portfolio of intellectual property to enhance our exciting program in nanomedicines," stated Dr. Kent Murphy, Chairman and CEO of Luna Innovations. "The acquisition of Tego's fullerene assets for use in pharmaceuticals demonstrates Luna's continued commitment to novel therapeutics using carbon nanomaterials to treat a variety of inflammatory diseases that address significant markets such as arthritis, allergies and asthma. In addition, Luna's technology is being used to improve diagnostic imaging by developing agents targeted to reveal brain cancer and plaque on arterial walls."
With this acquisition, Luna's intellectual property portfolio for carbon nanomaterials now includes seven owned patents, 10 licensed patents and 44 U.S. and foreign applications. In addition, Luna acquired the research programs Tego has sponsored in radiation protection, anti-viral therapies and macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. Luna also acquired Tego's license to The Bronx Project (TBP), a program for developing new medicines based on carbon nanomaterials for Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases. As a result of this transaction, Luna and Tego will equally share in the net proceeds from activities related to the TBP license.
Luna has had an ongoing program to identify novel therapeutic candidates based on the unique properties of carbon nanospheres since 2003. These nanospheres, called buckminister fullerenes, must be chemically modified to make them compatible with living tissues. During this work, Luna has made a number of discoveries, funded in part by government contracts and awards. Luna's business strategy for developing pharmaceutical products is to form partnerships with established companies to underwrite the expensive development programs.
"Tego accrued the combined fruits of most of the pioneering research on fullerene therapeutics that have been discovered over the last decade. Combining these assets with our own discoveries provides Luna with extensive intellectual property covering therapeutics based on carbon nanomaterials," said Dr. Robert Lenk, President of Luna's nanoWorks Division based in Danville, VA. "Our combined patent portfolio consists of 61 patents and pending applications covering classes of fullerene derivatives, methods for synthesizing these compounds and treatments for specific diseases. This acquisition strengthens our position in carbon nanomaterial-based nanomedicines and opens additional markets to attract potential partners as we move forward."