Intellectual Property Award: the Italian Public Research Award at Expo Dubai

For the Life Sciences sector the patent "Chimeric complex and its therapeutic applications in the treatment of cancer and metastases" of the University of Turin was awarded

ricerca scientifica IPA Expo Dubai

An award dedicated to the excellence of Italian Public Research. 

The Intellectual Property Award is a competition between Italian technology patents developed by Universities, Research Centers and scientific hospitalization and treatment institutes.

Italy Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, on February 28 and March 1 it hosted the last stage of the Intellectual Property Award.

The awarded patents are capable of proposing innovations with greater economic and social impact in 7 technological areas, currently a reference point for the global ecological and digital transition: from life sciences to IT security, AI and Big Data, passing through green technologies, alternative materials and renewable sources, without forgetting the agritech sector, future mobility and aerospace.

Among the 35 finalist inventions, fruit of the creative excellence and ingenuity of Italian research, 4 patents in agritech and agrifood, cybersecurity, green tech and life sciences were awarded.

IPA Forum 2021 Intellectual Property Award Ceremony

Over the years, the knowledge generated by research centers and universities has always been transferred to the industrial world.

In modern times, the way in which some universities promote innovation, through research, and the production of new products and services on the market, has changed. They did this by systematizing the activities of identifying, protecting and marketing these technologies to be useful to companies and accelerate their impact.

In this regard it took place in the Italian Pavilion the IPA Intellectual Property Award ceremony with which we wanted to show the world how Italian public research is an integral part of this process. 

The commissioner general for Italy at Expo Dubai opened the meeting, Paul Glisenti, who underlined how strategic the stage of Expo 2020 Dubai was for the theme of open science, the collaboration between public and private in scientific research.
Paolo Glisenti

All the thematic weeks of Expo 2020 Dubai they demonstrated how “open science is today a cornerstone of all economic, cultural and technological development and opens up a second element, the one between scientific and economic diplomacy. Public research is a fundamental element of the relationship between scientific diplomacy and economic diplomacy and the resilient and sustainable recovery scenario is inextricably linked to the relationship between economic and scientific diplomacy ". At the Italian Pavilion "we had examples of new relationships that have opened and are opening up between universities and business chains", added Glisenti. 

In accordance with the Ministry of Economic Development some specific sectors of public research have been chosen that have generated innovation and the development of patents: from sustainable mobility, life sciences, precision agriculture (CNR garden in the Italian Pavilion), energy transition, aerospace , artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. 

The Italian patents told with the Intellectual Property Awards "are a showcase and an evolution of brilliant Italy at Expo 2020 Dubai", said the Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Gilberto Pichetto.

Gilberto Pichetto

In Italy "We have a research and university structure that can give important results with the greatest number of patent filing requests". The business world “finds it very difficult to acquire knowledge and organize itself for the production of the results of Italian research. The challenge is on the one hand to be able to transfer skills and on the other to strengthen the users of these patents ".

In the last period "the approach regarding the impact of research has changed with attention to the result and the protection of the transfer to the industrial part". Netval president said, Giuseppe Conti.

Netval brings together universities, research institutions and scientific hospitalization and care institutes (Irccs) in an association that represents the 95% of Italian researchers and university spin-offs, as a meeting point between researchers, companies and investors.

The 2021 Ipa award saw “an analysis of over 200 patents, but Netval's Knowledge Share platform contains 1,500 innovative patents presented in an industrial language and with attention to market applications. There are over five thousand technology patents deriving from the university system and from research in general ”, Conti specified.

The award with 4 patents in agritech and agrifood, cybersecurity, green tech and life sciences

During the forum, 4 patents were awarded in the agritech and agrifood, cybersecurity, green tech and life sciences sectors.

With the invention "peptides with phytosanitary activity", a solution to reduce the damage due to the toxicity of pesticide compounds, the University of Padua won the prize for the agritech and agrifood sector. 

In the cybersecurity sector, the award was won by the University of Padua with the invention “Ipognac”, an innovative quantum cryptography technology.

The University of Bologna won the award for the green Tech sector with the “Re-paper: reusable silica to decontaminate recycled paper pulp” project, which promises to innovate the paper recycling sector.

In the Life Sciences sector, the award was won by University of Turin with the invention "Chimeric complex and its therapeutic applications in the treatment of cancer and metastases", an innovation that has great potential in the fight against cancer.

Chimeric complex and its therapeutic applications in the treatment of cancer and metastases

To date, oncological therapies based on microRNAs do not exclusively affect cancer cells and it is therefore necessary to develop therapies to specifically combat metastasis, preventing the onset of adverse side effects.

"Our group focuses on researching metastases, understanding how they form and providing the tools to detect them." He explained in the course of his speech Daniela Taverna, full professor of molecular biology at the University of Turin and coordinator of the project. 

Daniela Taverna

"The tools that we will represent today are the molecules composed of two portions: one should heat the malignant cells, the other should help them recover and therefore protect them". 

The invention is the result of the work of: Daniela Taverna, Lorena Quirico and Francesca Orso of the University of Turin in collaboration with the CNR of Naples. 

The molecule object of the invention consists of a chimeric complex, that is a macromolecular complex which includes molecules of different nature and capable of exerting different actions. Specifically, this chimeric complex is formed by an aptamer directed towards a specific receptor tyrosine kinase (AXL) and a microRNA with anti-metastatic activity.

The aptamer molecule is capable of binding specifically to the AXL receptor, which is known to be expressed on the surface of many cancer cells. In this way the microRNA is conveyed in a specific way to the tumor cells, where it exerts its anti-metastatic activity. Non-tumor cells, which do not express the AXL receptor, are not targeted by the chimeric complex.

This chimeric complex is therefore proposed as a therapeutic treatment of solid tumors characterized by metastatic activity.

The advantages are:

  • Targeted therapy
  • Anti-tumor activity
  • Anti-metastatic
  • Lack of toxicity


University of Turin

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