Brock researcher named innovator of the year

Chemist Tomas Hudlicky has wone the Ontario Partnership for Innovation's Innovator of the Year award.

Chemist Tomas Hudlicky has won the Ontario Partnership for Innovation's Innovator of the Year award.

Chemist Tomas Hudlicky can now add “innovator” to his many titles.

Hudlicky has won the Ontario Partnership for Innovation and Commercialization (OPIC)’s Innovator of the Year award, which comes with a $5,000 prize to support his research.

The award recognizes an outstanding OPIC faculty member who has advanced academic innovation for one or both outcomes of a better quality of life and economic well-being.

“Dr. Hudlicky has developed efficient and ‘green’ processes for the production of many medicines, resulting in a cleaner environment and relief for thousands of patients,” says Karen Zavitz, OPIC’s managing director.

OPIC, supported through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, is a virtual network of specialized technology transfer experts located at nine member institutions.

These experts enhance knowledge and technology transfer capacity by sharing expertise, educational resources, and partnering with clients both within the institutions and in the surrounding communities.

Hudlicky, a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Biocatalysis – biological methods of manufacturing – heads an international group of scientists focused on converting toxic waste into usable products through an “environmentally benign” chemical reaction process.

In addition to green chemistry, his research also centres on new pain and cancer medicines and natural product synthesis.

“I was very surprised and pleased. I almost deleted the message thinking it was a spam,” says Hudlicky.

“I will use the money for supporting the current projects in the group.”

Accomplishments during the decade since Hudlicky came to Brock University from the University of Florida include:

• Winning the Alfred Bader Award (2010) from the Canadian Society for Chemistry for excellence in research in organic chemistry
• Filing 10 patent applications
• Negotiating five licenses with a large pharmaceutical manufacturer, providing it with new processes for a more efficient production and synthesis of alkaloid compounds, which are key agents in pain control and the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction. Payments from these licenses have exceeded $100,000 per year over the last three years and are expected to grow
• Patenting a more efficient process for the manufacture of TamifluTM (oseltamivir) and additional anti-viral compounds having the potential to be more effective than TamifluTM
• Partnering with Lorus Therapeutics Inc. (Toronto) for the development of cancer drug therapeutic candidates based on his work with the drug pancratistatin and related derivatives.

“Professor Tomas Hudlicky is not only an outstanding academic, but he has been Brock University’s leading innovator,” says John Wilson, Director of Innovation and Commercialization, Office of Research Services.

“His award advances Brock’s mission to reach out to the community through the development of strong partnerships with businesses and research organizations, and continue to foster the culture of innovation here at Brock,” says Wilson.

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