Traverse awarded much-awaited patent

Another brick in the wall: CEO Joseph Scaduto is all smiles, now that the NIH has joined the Department of Defense and a host of commercial and private investors in backing Traverse Bioscience's flagship drug TRB-N0224.

A Stony Brook-based bioscience startup has landed a long-awaited U.S. patent, marking a major step toward commercializing several novel drug candidates.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted Patent No. 9,187,406 to Traverse Biosciences, a 2013 startup residing in the Long Island High Technology Incubator on the Stony Brook University campus.

Titled “Curcumin Analogues as Zinc Chelators and Their Uses,” the patent involves compounds developed by SBU faculty members Lorne Golub and Francis Jonson and exclusively licensed by Traverse from the Research Foundation for the State University of New York.

The compounds, known as polyenolic zinc-binding agents, are the essential ingredients in a suite of anti-inflammatory drug therapies being developed by the company, including its leading drug candidate, TRB-N0224, a potential treatment for periodontal disease in dogs and cats.

Traverse Biosciences founder and CEO Joseph Scaduto said the patent “validates the novel chemical structures included in our proprietary library of drug candidates.”

“This important development adds substantive value to the intellectual property we have exclusively licensed from RF/SUNY,” Scaduto said in a statement.

“We are very pleased that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted this composition of matter patent,” said Sean Boykevisch, assistant director of life sciences in SBU’s Office of Technology Transfer and Indistry Relations. “We are optimistic that our international patent applications will also come to fruition.”

The patent is the latest big move for TRB-N0224, which was the focus of a $250,000 cooperative research and development agreement Traverse Biosciences announced in May with Kansas-based Aratana Therapeutics. Traverse also granted Aratana an exclusive sublicensing option, which could make Traverse eligible for up to $8.25 million in up-front and milestone payments, as well as royalties on TRB-N0224 global sales, if Aratana pulls the trigger.

The $250,000 is being used to conduct a proof‐of‐concept evaluations of TRB‐N0224, a step Golub called “a springboard to accelerate product development.”

Canine periodontal disease affects approximately 80 percent of dogs by age 3, particularly smaller breeds. The disease can lead to serious oral health complications and can impair liver, kidney, cardiac and metabolic functions, according to Traverse Biosciences.