Yibin Kang Awarded IP Accelerator Funding

Written by
Office of the Dean for Research, Catherine Zandonella, Princeton University
April 15, 2022

Six innovations with the potential to solve today’s most pressing problems have been selected for support from Princeton’s Intellectual Property Accelerator Fund.

Kang and his team are developing a small-molecule inhibitor that could significantly enhance the efficacy of existing immunotherapies against a broad spectrum of human cancers. The team has identified drug candidates that inhibit the growth and spread, or metastasis, of several types of cancer, including breast, prostate, lung and colorectal, in mice either when given alone or in combination with immunotherapy. These drug candidates target proteins produced by the metadherin (MDTH) gene, which the team discovered as a driver of metastasis in at least 20 types of cancer. The development of drugs that inhibit MTDH activity could result in new curative therapies for cancer patients.

The Fund helps transition University discoveries from early-stage research into technologies that can address societal needs. Often, discoveries made at universities require additional work to demonstrate their suitability to become a new beneficial product or service. The IP Accelerator Fund provides assistance that goes toward proof-of-concept work, data collection or construction of prototypes. This support can help advance technologies to the stage where they can attract investment and licensing by a startup or existing company.

Projects are selected following a competitive application process that includes evaluation based on scientific and technical merit, innovation and novelty, the ability of the technology to meet a market or societal need, and the potential for public benefit.

Now in its tenth year, the IP Accelerator Fund has provided seed funding for numerous early-stage discoveries, including many that have been licensed to existing and newly formed startup companies working to develop Princeton discoveries into benefits for society.

"The IP Accelerator Fund helps faculty and their research teams strengthen the link between promising discoveries and real-world solutions," said John Ritter(link is external), director of Princeton's Office of Technology Licensing(link is external). "The overarching goal is to help University research provide widespread positive impacts.”

The Fund is one of several seed funding programs administered by the Office of the Dean for Research.