Kelly Drew, BeCool, Signs License Agreement with OIPC

February 3, 2020

In January, BeCool Pharmaceutics founder Kelly Drew licensed a UAF-developed drug composition that aims to control shivering. Drew is a UAF faculty member and researcher at UAF’s Institute of Arctic Biology.  BeCool was ready to license the technology after completing the National Institutes of Health’s I-Corps program, which provided insights into the industry and regulatory environments as well as the likely market fit for the composition. The drug is a result of many years of research into animal hibernation. 

BeCool Pharmaceutics is an Alaska-based small molecule drug development company, focused on creating therapeutics to modulate metabolism and body temperature by mimicking hibernation. It has the potential to improve outcomes for babies suffering from limited oxygen and blood to the brain; as well as possibly a medical condition known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).The therapeutic can help with the same problem for individuals who have suffered cardiac arrest or stroke; and it can reduce painful post-operative shivering.

The licensed intellectual property will advance to BeCool’s lead technology, a combination of two new chemical entities recognized as a first in class thermolytic. The company seeks investors and partners to complete Investigational New Drug Application enabling studies for a pre-IND meeting and to supplement NIH Small Business Innovation Research phase II funding to support IND submission and first in human studies.

The temperature management market is projected to reach $3.0 billion by 2024 with acute care being the fastest-growing segment. Without an effective thermolytic to suppress shivering, high cost and difficulty of temperature management limits efficacy and access to this brain-saving technology. The path to successful adoption of any drug is long and challenging, but the potential positive impact of this drug is tremendous. 

Bottom-up market analysis estimates an annual serviceable obtainable market of $3B to generate $150M annually through earned royalties. The company is located adjacent to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Dr. Drew, founder and CEO of BeCool, is a world expert in hibernation and neurocritical care and leads an NIH-funded UAF program focused on discovery and translation of druggable targets in hibernation.   

As a result of the agreement with UAF, BeCool Pharmaceutics LLC has exclusive license to patented technology for targeted temperature management for neurocritical care. With this agreement in hand, BeCool will seek investors for their drug development program. UAF has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in basic science and intellectual property protection for drug discovery based on hibernation. BeCool will develop this technology to first in human and phase 2 clinical trials. 

This effort marks the first time a UAF-developed drug composition has started down the path toward being adopted and used by the public and medical professionals. This technology stems from many years of hard work by countless individuals to build a successful biomedical research and curriculum program at UAF. Additionally, significant programmatic grant support from the National Institutes of Health – including the IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence,  Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence, Biomedical Learning and Student Training, and Accelerating Solutions for Commercialization and Entrepreneurial Development programs – has provided a stable foundation for the growth and success of biomedicine at UAF.

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