Three Patents, and new Patent Coins Awarded to College of Pharmacy Faculty

"The research conducted by our faculty members is a testament to the commitment we have to continue to invent and conduct research for better health outcomes."

Tech Launch Arizona kicked off a new program to recognize inventors who are named on issued patents. The first ever UArizona patent coins were given to 14 inventors, including three from the College of Pharmacy at an event on September 24th.

TLA, the UArizona office that commercializes inventions stemming from university research and innovation, launched the patent coin program this past fiscal year, and will be participating in college-focused events to distribute the coins to inventors.

“The goal is to recognize the contributions of each inventor,” said TLA Assistant Vice President Doug Hockstad, “as well as elevate the visibility of patents and the impact of commercialization throughout our campus community.”

In all, 126 university innovators were listed as inventors on the 100 patents issued to the university in FY2021. Each of those inventors will be receiving a coin in the coming months.

Each coin bears the UArizona logo, along with the Tech Launch Arizona and Research, Innovation and Impact names, and the inventor’s name, patent name and patent number.

In the first distribution of coins at the College of Pharmacy, Katie Kuhns, TLA Licensing Manager for UArizona Health Sciences, and Dean Rick Schnellmann, presented coins to three professors in the college:



Bernard Futscher, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Patent #10,870,851, ncRNAs Linked to Immortality.

Dr. Futscher's longstanding research interest is in the area of cancer epigenetics, with specific interests in the mechanisms of epigenetic dysfunction and the identification and development of epigenetic biomarkers for disease prognostication and epigenetic targets for therapeutic intervention.


Christopher Hulme, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Patent #10,730,842, Small Molecule Inhibitors Of DYRK1A.

Dr. Hulme is a professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology and the co-founder of Iluminos Therapeutics, a UArizona startup focused on new pleiotropic approaches to Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome. Prior to joining the University or Arizona he held senior R&D positions at Sanofi, Amgen and Eli Lilly over a 15 year period. His work in academia is focused on small molecule drug design and developing enabling chemical methodologies to expedite the drug discovery process. The development of small molecule inhibitors of kinases is of particular interest.

“What is noteworthy is this specific patent covers the first POC compound which demonstrates that with one molecule through interaction with one protein (DYRK1A) it is feasible to simultaneously mitigate ALL major AD phenotypes – amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, neuroinflammation and cognitive deficits in rodent models of AD. This is a unique pleiotropic approach. Think of it as a one for four effect! Encouragingly we now have a far superior molecule in-hand that is soon to embark upon IND enabling studies” said Hulme.

Yeng-Jeng Shaw, Researcher in Pharmacology and Toxicology, Patent #10,730,842, Small Molecule Inhibitors Of DYRK1A

Dr. Shaw is a researcher/scientist at the University of Arizona and co-founder of Iluminos Therapeutics . His major role in PharmTox is to provide strategic plans to implement early drug discovery projects. During his career, he has worked in pharmaceutical and biotechnology as a medicinal chemist and has coordinated or been part of chemistry efforts on multiple drug-discovery projects across a variety of disease areas, including cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, oncology, pathological pain, rare disease, and autoimmune disease.

"The disclosure of this invention reveals an early drug discovery effort from hit identification to proof-of-concept lead, which is a possible avenue for the discovery of novel therapeutics to treat unmet medical needs" noted Shaw.

While the distribution of these patent coins is new, the College of Pharmacy has a long history of issues patents and has been issued 61 patents to date.

“We are proud of the College of Pharmacy’s focus on innovation to optimize health and patient outcomes. The research conducted by our faculty members is a testament to the commitment we have to continue to invent and conduct research for better health outcomes. The patents awarded to Drs Futscher, Hulme and Shaw are three recent examples of our drive to invent. We appreciate having Tech Launch Arizona recognize the hard work required to receive a patent with the new patent coins!” said Rick G. Schnellmann, PhD, dean of the College of Pharmacy, about the recent patents and the patent coins.

TLA provides a variety of services to help secure patents and commercialize UArizona inventions, from performing market and patent landscape research to services to protect intellectual property. Beyond that, they also market UArizona technologies to help match inventions with licensees who can take them out into the world, offer funding to help advance early-stage inventions, and provide a variety of services to support inventors who want to launch startups.

Keep an eye out for more events throughout the fall when TLA will be presenting coins to UArizona inventors.