TGen and NAU Celebrate Research Agreement and Patent

TGen and NAU
Jeffrey Trent, TGen President and Research Director (left), presents NAU President John Haeger with joint US patent.

Northern Arizona University (NAU) and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) announced a five-year agreement to promote innovation and quality research that will benefit Arizona. The agreement implements the state funds allocated by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and the Arizona Legislature, and it reaffirms the commitment of both institutions toward quality research, training and educational opportunities, protection of public health, and improved patient care.

 “TGen has played a valuable role in developing and advancing Arizona’s bioscience industry,” Brewer said. “From delivering medical breakthroughs and first-rate research to creating quality jobs and growing our economy, TGen is a shining example of the innovative companies we seek to attract and expand in Arizona. By enhancing the successful partnership between TGen and NAU, we can ensure that both our bioscience industry and our economy will continue to thrive for years to come.”

Patent for tests that identify fungal pathogens 

NAU and TGen also announced that they have received patent approval for a new set of genetically based tests that accurately identify fungal pathogens that threaten public health worldwide. Broad-based identification of fungi is essential for clinical diagnostics and also for environmental testing. This is the first of many patents anticipated through NAU-TGen collaborations.

The two institutions also are celebrating other joint research, including highly accurate genetically based tests for detecting and monitoring Valley Fever, influenza, and different types of staph bacterial infections—especially the potentially deadly Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA.

These NAU-TGen developed genetic-based tests allow real-time tests in any location, including laboratories, clinics, physician offices, emergency rooms, and even field settings. Immediate diagnosis of pathogens is a critical part of TGen’s push for precision medicine, in which patients receive the correct treatments as quickly as possible, speeding their recovery and saving lives.

The genetic-based tests for various pathogens were developed by a team from NAU and TGen that includes Paul Keim, director of TGen’s Pathogen Genomics Division (also known as TGen North) in Flagstaff, and a Regents professor and Cowden Endowed Chair in Microbiology at NAU.

“These advanced diagnostics have far-reaching implications for protecting public health, quickly treating patients, and lowering the cost of healthcare,” Keim said. “Through our joint NAU-TGen research, we are continuing to develop tools and technologies that have a great impact on human health.”

Other intellectual property

This joint effort has generated other intellectual property and stimulated the founding of a start-up company that now generates licensing revenues for both NAU and TGen.

“Our relationship with TGen exemplifies the importance of the biosciences to NAU and to Arizona’s economy,” said NAU President John Haeger. “An important mission of our university is to produce research with direct benefits to the state and to the world, and, together with TGen, that is what we are accomplishing. We look forward to much more.”

--Courtesy of NAU Public Affairs