In a span of 4 years, Panjab University researchers apply for 25 patents, get 7

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SummaryPatents range from an organic fertiliser to drug for the treatment of skin diseases like psoriasis.

Ranging from an organic fertiliser made by vermi-composting of parthenium grass to the drug for the treatment of skin diseases like psoriasis, seven patents have been granted to researchers from Panjab University in a span of four years from 2008 to 2012. They had filed for a total of 25 patents.

Toxic in nature, parthenium hysterophorus, or better known as Congress grass, has always been considered non-biodegradable, with even traces of it being found in the milk of the cattle which feed on it. It was this non-bio-degradable nature of the grass that made Professor R K Kohli, from the Department of Botany, curious, and he started his research.

Two years down the line, Prof Kohli, who retired from the varsity in December, ended up making an organic fertiliser, which was highly rich in nitrogen.

A similar thought led Prof Kohli to file another patent on biotechnological degradation of hair and bird feathers. “Hair was considered to be non-biodegradable, but I proved through my research that it is not. It can be degraded in aerobic conditions,” said Prof Kohli.

While the majority of patents were national patents, three international patents were granted to Professor O P Katare, from University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, for discovering a novel drug delivery product for the treatment of psoriasis. Three patents have been granted on the product internationally — in Russia, South Africa and Australia — while the process of granting a patent is underway in the Indian Patent Office.

The research which took eight years to complete was done in collaboration with Dr Bhushan Kumar, from Post- Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research. Accomplished with the help of liposomal technology, the drug so prepared did not have any side effects unlike the drug which was available before. “That means no irritation, no staining and less dosage,” said Prof Katare.

Talking about the patents being filed in the varsity, Prof Kohli, who is at present vice-chancellor of DAV University Jalandhar, said, “The mindset of the Indian researcher is mostly limited to publishing his/her work, since they are hesitant to file patents because of the money and time involved. However, the times have changed, and the varsity should not only lead in citations, but also in patents. Researchers should first apply for patent, and then publish the work.”

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