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Jessica Chesher

Managing Editor

Innovation eReview
Industry News: Two New York State Innovators receive National Medal of Technology and Innovation Awards

The White House will host a ceremony honoring the recipients of the National Medals of Science, and of Technology and Innovation. Two Technology and Innovation awardees come from New York State: Dr. Jan Vilcek, of New York University’s Langone Medical Center, and Dr. Norman McCombs, of AirSep Corporation in Buffalo, NY.

The award recognizes those who have made lasting contributions to America’s competitiveness and quality of life and helped strengthen the Nation’s technological workforce. In highlighting the national importance of technological innovation, the medals inspire the pursuit of technical careers, and the promise of America leading global technology and providing global economic leadership.

Dr. Vilcek’ s award is based on his career at NYU working on interferons and monoclonal antibodies. His NYU biography states: “Dr. Vilcek joined NYU Langone at the age of 31 as an assistant professor of microbiology. He devoted his entire career to the study of a group of natural regulators of the immune system called cytokines. Dr. Vilcek devoted much of his career to the study of interferons, making contributions to the understanding of their nature and helping develop their clinical applications. In the 1980's, Dr. Vilcek and his colleague, Junming Le, PhD, adjunct associate professor of microbiology at NYU Langone, generated an artificial antibody to one type of cytokine that, in close collaboration with the biotechnology company Centocor (now part of Johnson & Johnson, and recently renamed Janssen Biotech), they then developed into a drug that has become known as infliximab or Remicade®. Remicade® has since become approved for the treatment of Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. It is estimated that to date over two million patients have been treated with Remicade® in the United States and abroad.”

AirSep located in Buffalo, New York, manufacturers PSA/VPSA oxygen generators for medical and industrial applications. The company has two divisions producing a wide variety of respiratory and commercial products in more than 100 countries. Dr. McCombs was also the 2007 recipient of the Thomas A. Edison Patent Award.

Nominations for 2013 awards are being solicited by the USPTO. Information about the requirements for nominations are at their website. All completed nominations must be submitted to the USPTO by April 1, 2013 

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