New therapeutic approach for prurigo nodularis

Dermatologist  Jörg Wenzel - of University Hospital Bonn and University of Bonn.
Dermatologist Jörg Wenzel - of University Hospital Bonn and University of Bonn. © Foto: UKB/Alessandro Winkler all images in original size .
Dermatologist Prof. Jörg Wenzel of Bonn University Hospital and University of Bonn has collaborated with Incyte, a U.S.-based global biopharmaceutical company, to develop a strategy for treating patients with severe pruritus (prurigo nodularis) with ruxolitinib cream. The University of Bonn and Incyte have now entered into an agreement whereby Incyte has acquired the rights to a related joint patent application from Bonn.

"Chronic itching is a common and very distressing condition in our patient population," says Jörg Wenzel, co-inventor and senior physician at the Centre for Skin Diseases at the UKB. "The causes are very diverse and, unfortunately, the established drugs, such as anti-histamines, which are known from allergic diseases, do not help for a long time in all patients." In prurigo nodularis, the unbearable itching tempts sufferers to scratch intensively and permanently. Over time, painful papules form, which themselves cause itching - thus creating a vicious circle. The disease is extremely stressful for those affected - anxiety, depression or even suicidal thoughts can develop as a consequence - and is a major therapeutic challenge. Incyte is currently evaluating ruxolitinib cream for the treatment of prurigo nodularis in two randomized Phase III clinical trials.

From research to application

University of Bonn’s Transfer Center enaCom has negotiated the transfer of Bonn’s patent share to Incyte together with the patent leveraging agency PROvendis GmbH. "The focus of our activities is to bring innovations from research to the market," says Sandra Speer, head of the Transfer Center. Her team successfully achieves this time and again in close collaboration with researchers. "The patent transfer is a great conclusion of this corporate cooperation," explains Rüdiger Wolf, who accompanied the negotiations with Incyte as an advisor for intellectual property rights (IP) at the Transfer Center. In patent matters, the University of Bonn works closely with the PROvendis team, which specializes in IP and property rights in science and research.