pINDUCER Lentiviral Vectors for Inducible RNAi in vitro and in vivo
Dr. Thomas “Trey” F. Westbrook, associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine, in collaboration with Dr. Stephen J. Elledge, an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a professor at Harvard Medical School and at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), has created a new lentiviral based system, pINDUCER, for expression of shRNA or cDNA in mammalian cells in vitro and in vivo. These systems provide for inducible expression that is able to be traced via reporters all in one vector. The reporters also allow rapid isolation of the transduced cell populations and substantially improve shRNA knockdown efficiency without the need for isolating mammalian clones. The pINDUCER system has greatly facilitated functional genetic studies in mammals, examples of which are demonstrated by large-scale in vivo genetic screening in models of human breast cancer and other malignancies. The utility of pINDUCER vectors in validating anticancer targets in vivo was highlighted by Dr. Westbrook’s publications in Cell and Science.
This invention is jointly owned by BCM and BWH. The two institutions decided to collaboratively commercialize the pINDUCER system and entered into an interinstitutional agreement. Under the agreement, BCM takes the lead on commercialization of the invention and shall share license revenues with BWH, and BWH shall direct all industry requests to BCM. In coordination with BWH, Baylor Licensing Group proactively reached out to a number of biotech companies and has negotiated and executed three fee-bearing non-exclusive license agreements, which allow the companies to use the pINDUCER vectors to enhance their internal research programs. The pINDUCER system serves as a successful example of aligned efforts between academic institutions to non-exclusively commercialize a jointly-developed invention.