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Duke-NUS Commercializes Discovery to Deliver Therapeutics Across Blood Brain Barrier

Intellectual property (IP) derived from discoveries made at Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) have been licensed to a newly formed biotech start-up, Travecta Therapeutics Pte Ltd, a Singapore-based drug discovery company. Travecta plans to use the Duke-NUS technology to develop new therapeutic agents that can be selectively delivered across the blood brain barrier for treatment of diseases of the brain, eye and central nervous system.

The license agreement between Duke-NUS and Travecta was facilitated by the Duke-NUS’ Centre for Technology and Development (CTeD), which is part of an innovation and entrepreneurship initiative focused on commercializing research carried out at Duke-NUS.

In 2014, Duke-NUS’ Professor David Silver published research that, for the first time, established a path and transport system that specifically takes lipids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acids that are critical for brain development, to the brain. Professor Silver discovered that a transporter protein called Mfsd2a carries DHA in the chemical form of lyso-phosphatidly-choline (LPC) to the brain.

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