Case Study

The University of Tennessee: Co-developing a Gene Therapy for Huntington’s Disease


The University of Tennessee joined IN-PART a year ago to showcase their researchers’ innovations to the thousands of industry experts who use the platform to connect with the latest advances from academia. For one of their technologies, A Novel Gene Therapy for Huntington’s Disease, the University received constructive feedback from its first match with a biopharmaceutical company. This evaluation informed their conversations with a second company matched through IN-PART, which has led to a collaborative effort to further develop the therapy for the marketplace.

Stefan Schweizer, Licensing Associate at the University of Tennessee, shared with us his story of interacting with new industry partners through IN-PART:

The Huntington’s Disease technology that our TTO manages had been marketed to 30 companies and several CDA-level discussions had been conducted, when last summer two major international pharmaceutical companies both approached us through IN-PART.

Ultimately, one of these leads declined further collaboration but still provided useful feedback that, together with feedback collected from previous industry discussions, helped us draft a comprehensive forward-looking project development plan.

This development plan helped us in conversations with the second firm, which have led to conducting an evaluative research study to de-risk the technology and assess its potential as a drug. This research will be conducted at the partner site over the next year. We have negotiated an MTA and exclusive option, which the pharma firm can exercise during or after the study.

In summary, I believe that IN-PART was instrumental in making the initial contact with both firms, as the respective contacts are located outside of the US and would likely not have been introduced through our traditional technology marketing channels.


The University of Tennessee also recently reached a licensing agreement with a global biologics supplier for a cancer-targeting antibody. Read the case study of this collaboration here.


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University of Tennessee: Co-Developing a Gene Therapy