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Winner of the Inventor of the Year Award 2020 : Dr. Ramaswamy Kalyanasundaram

Ramaswamy Kalyanasundaram, DVM, PhD
Assistant Dean of Research
Professor and Head
Department of Biomedical Sciences
University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford

Ramaswamy Kalyanasundaram

Dr. Kalyanasundaram has worked tirelessly to advance a vaccine against the human lymphatic filariasis that affects over 120 million people living in 72 countries. He has received two SBIR grants with PAI life sciences to advance the multivalent vaccine (BmHAXT) that have resulted in successful development of a reliable and consistent manufacturing process and a successfully completed prophylactic-potential study in animal models. The team has manufactured the vaccine under cGMP and performed pre-clinical IND-enabling studies. While moving this important therapeutic forward for treatment in humans, Dr. Kalyanasundaram discovered that the dog heartworm parasite and the human filarial parasite share 80% genome similarity. Since that discovery in 2017, Dr. Kalyanasundaram completed preliminary studies in the mouse model demonstrating 100% efficacy in preventing challenge infection with D. immitis (heartworm). He received the UIC Chancellor’s Translational Research Initiative (CTRI) Award to conduct initial safety and efficacy study in dogs. He successfully demonstrated that BmHAXT could be developed as a commercial prophylactic vaccine for dog heartworm infections. In 2019 Dr. Kalyanasundaram began working with an industry partner under a license agreement to complete key commercially viable proof of concept studies to bring the vaccine to the veterinary market. Dr. Kalyanasundaram’s dedication and innovative contribution make him well deserving of the Inventor of the Year Award.


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