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Prof Rybicki named UCT’s most prolific inventor

The Department of Science & Technology’s (DST) National Intellectual Property Office (NIPMO) has recognised Professor Edward Rybicki as the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) most prolific inventor.

A Certificate of Acknowledgement was presented to Rybicki, head of the Biopharming Research Unit (BRU) in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, by Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane at a ceremony in Pretoria yesterday. It is accompanied by an award of R605 000 to UCT to spend on nurturing Rybicki’s innovations along the path towards commercialisation.

The core of Rybicki’s intellectual property portfolio relates to the production of a variety of proteins in plants that can be used as reagents, diagnostics and vaccines, most notably the human pampillomavirus (HPV) vaccine technology, which has been of interest to a number of international licensees. As a world leader in the Weld, Rybicki has also secured large research and consulting contracts aligned with the licensing deals.

This once-off award considered the number of inventions Rybicki has logged with UCT Research Contracts & Innovation (RC&I) since 2010, although his string of inventions started well before this date.

His co-inventors Dr Ann Meyers and Dr Inge Hitzeroth were close behind in terms of numbers. BRU has an enviable track record in terms of commercialisation through both licensing and the creation of the new venture, Cape Bio Pharms.