A private biomedical research laboratory in Shreveport is set to be the production site for a new University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM)-licensed technology researchers say has potential to treat a wide range of disease and ailments, from skin conditions to cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
This week representatives from Segue Science Management, the newly formed private company Oleolive and ULM’s School of Pharmacy inked a contract to license an extraction method and application for oleocanthal, an active compound of olive oil. ULM researchers have found the compound has potential to suppress human cancer cells and Alzheimer’s disease, and has anti-inflammatory applications to potentially treat a wide range of conditions.
Oleolive, headed by Bossier City native Kiley Grant and co-founded by Drs. Jim Cardelli (CTO) and Alana Gray (COO), is the company formed to commercialize the technology developed by ULM professors and co-founders Drs. Khalid El Sayed and Amal Kaddoumi.
Oleolive operations will be based out of BRF’s Intertech 1 facility in the newly opened Segue Science Labs, a startup portfolio company of the Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program (EAP) co-founded by Drs. Gray, Cardelli and David Coleman. Gray and Cardelli also head Segue Science Management, a partner of EAP.
Segue Science Management aims to commercialize scientific technologies discovered in the academic setting. The successful completion of their first contract with ULM revealed 10 new technologies and led to the license agreement and launch of Oleolive.
EAP Executive Director Dave Smith said the many entities partnering to support biotech commercialization in North Louisiana – ULM, EAP, Segue Science Management, Segue Science Labs, BRF and Oleolive, in this case – are part of an entrepreneurial ecosystem that has developed around local universities and entrepreneurs wishing to commercialize the research happening every day in the academic setting.
“The objective is to take technology from the research and theory side to the commercialization and market side. That’s what we saw this week with the agreement brokered by our partners Segue Science Management for the licensing of technology from ULM to a private company that will produce this technology that has the potential to impact human health, right here in Shreveport,” Smith said.
EAP is currently advancing three companies formed from LSU Health Shreveport-licensed technology. This is the first licensure agreement for ULM and the first, of many, according to Cardelli and Gray, Segue Science Management hopes to expand their services to other North Louisiana universities in the near future.
“This is the first time we’ve taken something from idea to the commercial marketplace. We’re taking existing research and commercializing it, protecting the patent and working toward fulfilling ULM’s mission to be a health provider for the region. The best thing about this will be if we can make an impact on cancer, Alzheimer’s or any of the other diseases affecting us,” said John Sutherlin, Executive Director of ULM’s Research Corporation of Louisiana.
Oleolive plans to begin production of oleocanthal in December. The first official product is yet to be announced, according to Grant. The first applications may be in addressing skin ailments. Research related to oleocanthal will continue at ULM thanks in part to the Segue family of companies and Oleolive.