Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Partnerships and Technology Transfer

Success Stories

NellOne Therapeutics, Inc. Licenses ORNL Inventions

While at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Dr. Cymbeline Culiat identified the role of the Nell1 gene and its signaling pathway in the formation of bone, cartilage, skeletal muscle and cardiac muscle.  This discovery is the basis for patents for applications of the Nell1 gene and protein in diagnostics and treatments for certain human diseases.  UT-Battelle has patent applications that cover the Nell1 system in the three treatment areas of cartilage and vertebral disc growth, cardiac repair, and skeletal muscle regeneration.


Dr. Cymbeline Culiat

Dr. Culiat’s discoveries at Oak Ridge National Laboratory were based on studies of a special and unique mutant mouse stock generated from a large-scale mutagenesis program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.  Oak Ridge National Laboratory pioneered the techniques for generating the single base mutations in the mouse genome that enabled the Nell1 research.   Moreover, Oak Ridge National Laboratory has comprehensive resources for conducting genetic research which include a state-of-the-art pathogen-free mouse facility, molecular biology and genomics laboratories ( e.g. microarray and genotyping), and more than five decades of scientific expertise in mammalian genetics-all of which were utilized in building the Nell1-based technology.  UT-Battelle manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory and provides private funds for world wide patents and for maturing these technologies as commercial opportunities.  UT-Battelle is partnering with the start-up company and spin out from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, NellOne Therapeutics, Inc., to commercialize two of these treatments for human diseases.

NellOne Therapeutics is a regenerative medicine company focused on protein therapeutics for restoring cardiac muscle mass and function in patients recovering from heart attacks and for regenerating skeletal muscle.  NellOne Therapeutics has an initial $1.5 million seed investment from Battelle Ventures, LP and Innovation Valley Partners.  http://www.nell-one.com/

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