UT Austin Honors Inventor of the Year and Emerging Inventor of the Year

Bill Williams, professor and head of UT Austin’s College of Pharmacy’s Division of Molecular Pharmaceuticals and Drug Delivery named UT Inventor of the Year


By LAURA LOREK
Publisher with Silicon Hills News

A crowd from the University of Texas at Austin of professors, staff, researchers and more turned out Thursday night at the AT&T Education and Conference Center in Austin to honor the UT Austin’s Inventor of the Year and Emerging Inventor of the Year.

The annual event is like the Super Bowl for innovators at the university.

The UT Austin Office of Technology Commercialization named Bill Williams, Ph.D., professor, and head of The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy’s Division of Molecular Pharmaceuticals and Drug Delivery, as inventor of the year.

“The award honors a researcher whose discoveries have made a significant impact in commercialized technologies,” according to a news release.

“It is very humbling to me,” Williams said during a brief interview before the ceremony. “It’s a culmination of the last 22 years of graduate students, visiting scholars, faculty colleagues, interdisciplinary collaborations being put into the intellectual property. Companies are being formed.”

Williams has 35 patents and patent applications focused on the fields of drug delivery, processing, and biotechnology. He holds the Johnson & Johnson Centennial Chair.

“We are a really active research group,” Williams said.

Williams’ research has led to novel ways to administer drugs to patients through new ways such as sprays and mists. The focus is to enhance drug solubility and dissolutions for patients so they can quickly and easily absorb drugs. Williams has also co-founded a few pharmaceutical companies.

Many of Williams’ patents are licensed to technology and pharmaceutical companies. One company, DisperSol, based in Georgetown, created KinetiSol technology to create enhanced, soluble, and highly efficacious pharmaceutical products based on Williams’ patented technology.

Williams earned his B.S. in biology from Texas A&M University and a B.S. in pharmacy and Ph.D. in pharmaceutics from the University of Texas at Austin. He worked for nine years in the pharmaceutical industry before returning to UT Austin in 1995.

Everett Stone, a research assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences at UT Austin, is named the 2017 UT Austin Emerging Inventor of the Year.

In addition to Williams, the Office of Technology Commercialization at UT Austin, also named Everett Stone, a research assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences at UT Austin, as the 2017 Emerging Inventor of the Year.

“The award is given to recognize faculty members who excel in their fields and whose work produces practicable innovation and life-changing discoveries,” according to a news release.

Stone’s research focuses on enzyme therapeutics and using enzymes to effectively target cancer and metabolic diseases. He takes human enzymes and gives them properties they need to become therapeutics. He has co-founded two biopharmaceutical startups: Aeglea BioTherapeutics, which has three Phase I clinical trials underway using the therapeutic enzymes, and Kyn Therapeutics. He is the co-inventor on 13 patents and patent applications.

Stone earned his B.A. in chemistry and biology magna cum laude from Drury University and he received his Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology from UT Austin.

“It’s a nice recognition that this work we’re doing is going places,” Stone said about being named Emerging Inventor of the Year.

“I’m a little unused to all this attention,” he said.

Stone says he has more startups in the works and to stay tuned.

Video by UT’s Office of Technology Commercialization at UT Austin

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