Long non-protein-coding RNA molecules as therapeutics for epilepsy.

Case ID:

Long Non-Coding RNA Molecules as Therapeutics for Epilepsy  

WSU Tech#: 12-1089

Technology Summary:

Long Non-coding RNA (lncRNA) were first described in 2002 from mouse, making this a relatively new technology.  lncRNA transcripts far exceed the number of protein coding mRNAs in the mammalian transcriptome, but in lower copy numbers.  Inventors have performed in vitro system perturbations of a subset of these lncRNA-mRNA cis-pairs and trans-pairs, showing that by modulation (increasing or decreasing) the lncRNA level, we can directionally and specifically alter the level of mRNA from the same pair.

Technology for this application is 2-fold:

  • BDNFOS as a therapeutic target for epilepsy
  • Screening methods to identify lncRNA?s in the brain related to neurological diseases.
    • Comparison of disease tissue and non disease tissue.
    • Identifying key mRNA.
    • Identifying lncRNA complement to mRNA.


Thirty four lncRNA?s were identified (CDNA and Microarray) that are highly up-regulated in human brain where seizures start (foci).  One of these lncRNA?s, BDNFOS (primate specific) was found to down-regulate Brain Derived Nuerotrophic Factor (BDNF).  BDNF supports neuronal survival and encourages the growth/differentiation of new neurons and synapses (hippocampus and forebrain).  BDNF is up regulated in epilepsy and implicated in causing epileptogenesis (epileptic brain tissues and KO mice).

Competitive Advantages


The market leaders for antiepileptic drug development are as follows: Acorda Therapeutics, Inc., Advicenne Pharma, Aeolus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Aestus Therapeutics, Inc., Allergan, Inc., Anavex Life Sciences Corp., Aniona ApS., Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc., Astellas Pharma Inc., Bial - Portela & Ca, S.A., Bio-Link Australia Pty. Ltd., BioCrea GmbH, Bionomics Limited, Biovista Inc., Celentyx Ltd., Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceutical Corp., Concert Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Convergence Pharmaceuticals Ltd., D-Pharm Ltd., Eisai Co., Ltd.,           GW Pharmaceuticals plc., Glialogix, Inc., Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Limited, UCB S.A., Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc., Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., Vichem Chemie Research Ltd., XERIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Zalicus Inc.


Benefit Analysis:


Epilepsy affects over 3 million Americans of all ages; more than Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy and Parkinson?s Disease combined.  About 125,000 to 150,000 cases per year and 30% of those diagnosed are children.  In about 2/3rds of cases, the cause of seizures is unknown.  At the present time, there are no treatments that cure epilepsy; only drugs that suppress seizures.

US epilepsy therapy market will increase from $2.9 billion in 2011 to nearly $3.7 billion in 2016.  Military veterans that have suffered traumatic brain injuries are at an elevated risk of developing post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE) and it has been estimated that between 48,000 and 169,000 soldiers that served in Iraq and Afghanistan are expected to have develop PTE.

Stage of Development: Preclinical


Patent Status:


Through the Office of Technology Commercialization at Wayne State University, we have filed an extensive and detailed US Utility application to the USPTO office. This is a detailed composition of matter application with both specific and fairly broad claims, as well as some method elements.


Licensing Opportunity:

WSU is looking for a commercial partner interested in furthering the validation of this technology and bringing it to market.  WSU investigators would be happy to support SBIR/STTR funding sources and provide consulting support for the project.

Contact for Further Information:  


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Robert Olson
Wayne State University
Jeffrey Loeb
Leonard Lipovich