In the Spotlight...

Wei Wang, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
The University of New Mexico

Dr. Wang has disclosed 39 inventions, received two issued U. S. patents, has two pending patent application, one license agreement with Aldrich Chemical Company, Inc., for his metal-free organo- catalysts technology, and one option to license agreement with Andaman Therapeutics, Inc., for his bi-functional cancer drugs technology. In 2009, Dr. Wang received $25,000 in gap funding from STC's gap-fund program to develop his technology for a more efficient and cost-effective process to produce the pharmaceutical agents Lyrica and Balcofen. Dr. Wang's metal-free, small molecule-based organocatalysts as general promoters can catalyze a wide variety of organic reactions. Aldrich Chemical is licensing his technology for the synthesis of structurally diverse chiral building blocks. These catalysts offer attractive features such as easy preparation, low cost, operational simplicity and environmental friendliness since they are not composed of expensive and toxic metals. Additionally, the catalysts perform reactions under mild conditions and are very stable because they are not sensitive to air and water. They can be immobilized on solid support and are easier to recycle and reuse. These characteristics make them particularly appealing for practical applications in industrial settings. Andaman Therapeutics has an exclusive option to license Dr. Wang and his co-inventors' technology for bi-functional cancer drugs. Small chemical inhibitors that target DNA repair and replication proteins in cancer cells could prevent them from escaping therapy and drug resistance. The technology uses new small bi-functional molecules that inhibit the cancer cell's DNA repair and replication proteins and damage DNA. Additionally, the inhibitors can be combined with traditional anti-cancer agents and other therapies, especially radiation therapy, to significantly enhance efficacy. The technology is undergoing clinical trials at the UNM Cancer Center to validate their use as a new class of cancer therapeutics for several cancers including breast, prostate, lung, and rare and high mortality cancers. Dr. Wang's laboratory is interested in developing innovative chemical technologies and strategies to solve chemical and biological problems in the areas of organic synthesis, chemical biology and medicinal chemistry.

UNM-Affiliated Issued U.S. Patents

  • 7,968,734 Organocatalysts and Methods of Use in Chemical Synthesis, issued June 28, 2011
  • 8,084,641 Organocatalysts and Methods of Use in Chemical Synthesis, issued December 27, 2011

UNM-Affiliated Pending Patent Applications

  • Novel Bifunctional Metnase/Intnase Inhibitors and Related Compositions and Methods of Treatment of Cancer
  • Compositions And Methods For Controlling Cellular Function

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Learn more about 2014 STC.UNM's Innovation Fellow, Dr. Plamen B. Atanassov, from UNM's Department of Chemical & Nuclear Engineering and his research in fuel cells for automotive applications.

Recently Issued Patents

Biological Detector and Method
U.S. Patent No. 8,698,494, Issued April 15, 2014. Inventors: Laurel Sillerud, Todd M. Alam, Andrew F. McDowell
Large Area Patterning Using Interferometric Lithography
U.S. Patent No. 8,685,628, Issued April 1, 2014. Inventors: Alexander Raub, Andrew Frauenglass, Steven R.J. Brueck
Carbon Fiber Foam Composites and Methods for Making the Same
U.S. Patent No. 8,679,381, Issued March 25, 2014. Inventor: Zayd Leseman, Mark Atwater, Jonathan Phillips
Nanocrystalline Optically-based Neutron Irradiation History Sensor
U.S. Patent No. 8,680,469, Issued March 25, 2014. Inventors: Nathan Withers, Marek Osinski, Gennady Smolyakov
System and Methods of Compressed Sensing as Applied to Computer Graphics and Computer Imaging
U.S. Patent No. 8,666,180, Issued March 4, 2014. Inventors: Pradeep Sen, Aliakbar Darabi