Through an active technology transfer program, NMRC's Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) facilitates Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) between private organizations and all NMRC laboratories. NMRC leverages its scientific talent and resources by working in close collaboration with private companies, universities, and medical centers to move promising technologies from the bench to the battlefield and bedside.
A good example is a recent CRADA with a private company to conduct Phase III clinical trials of a new chemically modified hemoglobin solution. Hemorrhage accounts for the preponderance of potentially salvageable combat casualty mortalities and is a large contributor to deaths in civilians when there is a long pre-hospital time frame. It is thus paramount to maximize resuscitative techniques that address these injuries. The current standard of care in the field or pre-hospital setting relies on hemostasis, fluid resuscitation, and evacuation. Although blood transfusion may be lifesaving, the capability is costly and sometimes unavailable. A safe and efficacious oxygen-carrying resuscitative fluid that can augment microcirculatory flow and increase tissue oxygenation is urgently needed to decrease potentially avoidable fatalities.
Hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers (HBOCs) are chemically modified hemoglobin solutions that may be room temperature stable with a long shelf life, may be free of communicable pathogens, and have no ABO/Rh or other blood antigens. Research suggests that HBOCs are likely to improve cardiovascular parameters and tissue perfusion, reverse anaerobic metabolism, and decrease morbidity and mortality. Hemoglobin substitutes are potentially ideal resuscitative fluids for hemorrhagic shock casualties.
Hemopure ® is the trademark for an ultrapure, bovine-derived, polymerized hemoglobin solution with a hemoglobin concentration of 13 g/dL and an osmotic pressure similar to whole blood. The source of bovine hemoglobin is controlled herds with known origins and medical histories. Hemopure ® on-loads and off-loads oxygen and appears safe in animal and human studies. Hemopure ® has been utilized in 22 clinical trials, including a Phase III trial in patients undergoing orthopedic surgery that included stabilized trauma patients, and the results of some of the other clinical trials of Hemopure ® have been published in peer-reviewed journals.
When technologies are transferred to the competitive marketplace, OTT also offers marketing support and negotiates licensing on behalf of investigators. These collaborative relationships help accelerate the development of promising medical technologies.
NMRC currently has 26 patent applications pending at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and 49 issued patents. They include DNA-based vaccines for dengue fever, malaria, and anthrax. Many of these technologies have been licensed and are in various stages of clinical development. NMRC also has a large portfolio of technologies currently available for licensure.