Restasis® and Optimmune®
Research at UGA College of Veterinary Medicine resulted in development of the drug RESTASIS® to treat a disease called chronic dry eye. The disease, which affects an estimated one million people in the U.S., is characterized by insufficient production of tears and can lead to serious cornea damage. RESTASIS®, which enables tear ducts to produce tears, is one of the first medicines ever developed first for veterinary use (Optimmune®) and then tested and approved for humans. It is marketed in more than 35 countries.
UGA’s world renowned poultry research program including the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine’s Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center (PDRC) and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Science’s Poultry Science Department continues to develop technologies that positively impact the poultry industry which is one of Georgia’s most important economic industries. Selected examples include Fowl Cholera poultry vaccine, PM-ONEVAX©, poultry coccidial vaccine, HatchPak® Cocci III, and Mycoplasma gallisepticum vaccine, recently launched in Japan, with more countries pending.
Since 2001, the UGA Blueberry Breeding Program has brought 13 new and improved patented cultivars to market. There are approx. over 20,000 acres of blueberries planted in the state of Georgia; a vast increase from approx. 3,000 acres in production 20 years ago. Blueberries have surpassed peaches as the #1 fruit crop for our state. UGA blueberry cultivars account for approx. 70% of the cultivars grown in Georgia. In addition to the impact the UGA Blueberry Program has had on Georgia’s largest industry (Agriculture), these cultivars are licensed, grown, and marketed in over 11 countries on all continents except Antarctica. The goals of the program are to continue to develop cultivars through breeding for increased disease and pest resistance, higher yield, improved flavor, and ornamental appeal.
Based on UGA’s superior peanut cultivars the state of Georgia leads the US in total annual peanut production with just under 50% of the total peanut production for the country. UGA peanut varieties account for over 90% of southeast U.S. market share. The primary objectives of the UGA Peanut Breeding Program are the development of improved cultivars with desirable traits including yield, commercial grade, disease and insect resistance, virus resistance, aflatoxin resistance, drought tolerance, better shelling characteristics, longer shelf-life, and enhanced flavor and nutritional qualities. Nineteen elite peanut cultivars have been developed at UGA through long-term intensive breeding efforts. Additionally, 2 improved peanut cultivars have been developed by joint research with the USDA. UGA Peanut varieties are the highest royalty producing plant cultivars for UGARF.
During the past 7 years, 70% of Georgia’s acreage of soybean was planted with UGA-developed cultivars. The UGA Soybean Breeding Program is focused on developing high yielding, multi-pest resistant cultivars with value-enhanced traits. The overall goals of the program are to increase the yield and decrease inputs required for crop production to increase profitability of soybean products, enhance the quality and reduce the cost of soybean products in human and animal diets, and reduce the impact to the environment from soybean production.
UGA’s Turfgrass Breeding Program continues to develop superior cultivars of hybrid bermudagrass, seashore paspalam, and centipedegrass. Patented UGA bermudagrass cultivars include TifSport, TifEagle and the newest release, shade tolerant TifGrand. Newly developed turfgrass cultivars have increased tolerance to drought, disease and cold. Turf quality, density and color are also areas where UGA bermudagrass cultivars excel.
Seashore paspalum cultivars developed at UGA include SeaIsle 1, SeaIsle 2000, SeaIsle Supreme, SeaSpray and the newest cultivar SeaStar™. These cultivars are especially useful when there are water quality problems, such as when salt water is used as the irrigation source.
UGA’s elite centipedegrass cultivar TifBlair is popular on home lawns and on roadsides because it is slow growing and very dense, resulting in less mowing and fewer weeds.
UGA turfgrass cultivars are also grown on sports fields worldwide. A case in point is TifSport, a bermudagrass which was used on one of the soccer fields in Durban, South Africa during 2010 World Cup Soccer.
Clevudine (Levovir® and Revovir®)
Clevudine is an antiviral drug for the treatment of hepatitis B. It is approved and commercially sold in South Korea and Philippines (marketed under the names Levovir® and Revovir® by Bukwang Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. and Eisai Pharmaceuticals, respectively). Clevudine is currently in clinical trials in other countries.
Antimicrobial food wash
Researchers at UGA’s Center for Food Safety developed a new antimicrobial technology that is a safe, economical and more powerful alternative to chlorine-based disinfectants (e.g., bleach) used for food items and food processing facilities (factories, restaurants and home kitchens). The technology has been tested against over 50 bacteria, fungi, yeasts and viruses that cause food poisoning and results indicate that it is between 1,000 and 100,000 more effective than bleach. One additional benefit of this technology is that it does not damage delicate food items, such as leafy vegetables, in contrast to bleach. Applications include cleaning of contaminated surfaces including kitchen counters, meats, produce, food processing, disinfectant wipes, hand cleansers and animal facilities.
While the best-known example of bioluminescence (the production of light by a living organism) is probably the common firefly, there are actually a number of different organisms that utilize chemical reactions to produce and emit light. UGA researchers isolated the light-producing components from a species of jellyfish (Aequorea) and the Sea Pansy (Renilla). These light-producing components are utilized in a variety of research and medical applications to enable measurement and visualization of biological processes. For example, forensic investigators can use a solution containing one of these components to uncover traces of blood at a crime scene. The technology discovered at UGA offers distinct advantages over competing methods including greater reliability and sensitivity. As a result, the UGA developed technology has been incorporated into over 75 products sold worldwide by three multinational companies with additional products under development.
Silvion™ and Silvaklenz®
University of Georgia researchers developed technology to inhibit the growth of microorganisms at the site of a wound or burn, promoting healing and reducing the sensation of pain. Molecular Therapeutics, LLC, a University of Georgia start-up company, received clearance from the FDA to market two antimicrobial solutions based on UGA technology, Silvion™ and Silvaklenz®, which can be used to fight multiple-drug-resistant bacteria. A veterinary version, Tricide, is being used to treat animals at zoos and aquariums to prevent infection and promote healing. Additional products that incorporate the technology are under development.
University of Georgia researchers developed technology allowing the production of neural cells derived from stem cells. These cells provide a unique platform for conducting biomedical research to help understand the causes of neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The cells can also be used to help discover new drugs to treat neurological diseases. The technology is licensed to ArunA Biomedical, Inc., a UGA start-up company located in Athens, Georgia. The company’s first product, hNP1™ (ENSTem-A™), is based on patented technology licensed from the University of Georgia.
MuniRem® environmental remediation
UGA researchers developed a new technology to assist in eliminating explosives residue and to immobilize heavy metals in the soil. Trials conducted by PLANTECO, a UGA startup company, demonstrated that the technology successfully remediated soils contaminated with various explosive constituents. Compounds detected at lower concentrations were also completely neutralized in a matter of hours, rather than days to months achieved by competing technologies.
Researchers from several UGA colleges, including the College Veterinary Medicine, the College of Education, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences utilized gaming software to develop a platform that helps high school students understand challenging scientific concepts. A UGA start-up company, IS3D, licensed the technology and produced Osy™, an app that was launched in the spring of 2011. IS3D is developing additional educational games and software focused on science education.
A novel interactive educational tool designated Glass Horse™, distributed by UGA startup Interactive Sciences in 3D, provides three-dimensional representations of the normal equine gastrointestinal anatomy and animations depicting the most common intestinal displacements that occur in horses. Veterinarians, veterinary students, and horse owners alike can use this animated program to explore and view the gastrointestinal conditions associated with colic in a horse from any vantage point they desire. The program is an essential tool in fully understanding the internal effects of colic.