Drug delivery, new therapies, AI, VR: Array of VCU inventors receive Commercialization Fund awards

By Jeff Kelley

A Virginia Commonwealth University pharmacy professor and his team have repurposed a long-approved drug that could soon be used to treat eye disorders such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

Qingguo Xu, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutics of the School of Pharmacy, has formulated a pharmaceutical using fenofibrate, an FDA-approved oral drug used to treat high cholesterol. Fenofibrate also activates a protein in the body known as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPAR-alpha), which Xu’s lab is studying for its ability to improve the body’s “good” cholesterol, decrease triglycerides and reduce inflammation. Those factors cause diabetic retinopathy and speed up macular degeneration, which can impair vision and even cause blindness.

Xu was one of six recipients of the fall 2022 round of TechTransfer and Ventures’ Commercialization Fund Awards. These awards support researchers who are conducting valuable research that may one day be translated into real-world applications.

“The inventors we’ve selected represent a diverse group of researchers from across VCU and the health system who are contributing transformational and translational research that we believe will one day be a benefit to society,” said Ivelina Metcheva, Ph.D., VCU’s assistant vice president of innovation and head of VCU TechTransfer and Ventures.


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