The Natural Products Discovery Institute (NPDI) received a Keystone Innovation Network Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED Grant# C000052701) to support the exploitation of the natural product resource that is located at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center in Doylestown, PA . This transfer to PA resulted in a net “Brain Gain” of four new scientists formerly employed in NJ, who developed and utilized this collection. “Natural Products” refer to compounds derived from living organisms, such as plants and microorganisms. Together, this is one of the largest, most diverse, and most carefully developed natural products collections in the world. It has been the source of billion dollar generating drugs, but it was very narrowly mined.
Early experience in screening this collection within the NPDI has yielded activity 80% of the time in unexplored extracts. The proprietary technology in this collection is based on how the plants and microorganisms were selected to cover the greatest biological diversity and how the microbes were fermented to create the greatest chemical diversity. These diverse samples will contain human and animal therapeutic products, agro-chemicals, cosmetic ingredients, fragrances, and flavor enhancers. As the NPDI develops material transfer and licensing arrangements with academic relationships and commercial clients, it will create many new employment opportunities internally, and generate new discoveries that will create job growth within the NPDI, academic laboratories, and commercial Client’s research and development organizations. Already, we have collaborations in place with four academic groups in North America. The current grant will support Pennsylvania academic research, grant application activities, business development, and technology transfer; and will thereby increase the volume of business within NPDI’s network of investigators.
We will offer our valuable collection of natural extracts in 96 well screen ready format to our Keystone Innovation Network (KIN) of academic centers and perform follow-up purification services at no cost, so they can demonstrate utility in a diversity of applications. In this manner, new academic discoveries will be made that will lead to grant funding, commercialization of natural products, and job growth in Pennsylvania. We are currently evaluating which academic institutions are best positioned to make use of this opportunity.