First Nigerian Patent!
UCT received its first granted patent application recently - whilst dated 7 June 2011 (the application date) it was actually received in October this year. It relates to the invention of Prof Keertan Dheda (Lung Infection & Immunity Unit) for an extrapulmonary TB diagnostic test. The early stage of development of this medical device was supported by the UCT PreSeed Fund, and the IP has subsequently been licensed to spin-off company Antrum Biotech (Pty) Ltd. Antrum have developed the test further and are current fund raising to finalise development and commercialise the test internationally.
The TB Test Strip provides rapid testing for pleural TB or in other compartments; this test differs from normal lung TB/sputum diagnosis for which other diagnostics are available, or are under development. With the test being conducted at the patient bedside, the Doctor can immediately prescribe appropriate medication instead of waiting long periods for cultures in a pathology lab.
The Intellectual Property protection entered the national phase in 2011, with patent applications being filed in South Africa, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Nigeria along with a regional African application (ARIPO). The patenting followed Antrum's business strategy which will aim to enter these key markets for the diagnostic.