Office of Research Names Robert Lee 2015 Innovator of the Year


The Ohio State University Office of Research has selected Robert Lee, PhD as 2015 Innovator of the Year. Lee, professor in the Division of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, focuses his research on the design and development of novel targeted drug delivery systems based on lipid and/or polymer-based nanoparticles.

Lee has invented a series of novel liposome and lipid nanoparticle formulations during his 18 years at Ohio State. These discoveries have resulted in numerous patent applications, invention disclosures, licensing agreements, sponsored research agreements and business startups – and most importantly, have resulted in new and more effective ways to diagnose and treat prostate, ovarian, colon and lung cancers.

In September 2014, a portfolio of Lee’s lipid nanoparticle patents, along with miRNA patents of Dr. Carlo Croce in the College of Medicine, was licensed to Microlin Bio, Inc. in the university’s largest licensing deal in more than a decade. The portfolio includes nearly 100 issued and pending microRNA patents, as well as a novel nucleic acid delivery technology to deliver these transformational therapies to cancer cells.

Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, Inc. licensed Lee’s proprietary nanoparticle delivery technology that specifically targets tumors with oligonucleotides in a way that increases potency and reduces side effects. In addition, Lee has invented a novel liposomal formulation of the anticancer drug bortezomib, which has increased therapeutic activity and reduced toxicity in acute myelogenous leukemia – and he has invented a novel liposomal formulation for therapy of multiple myeloma.