GW Inventor of the Year 2024: Dr. Rong Li

March 18, 2024

Dr. Rong Li

We are thrilled to announce Dr. Rong Li as the George Washington University (GW) Inventor of the Year. This award recognizes Dr. Li’s outstanding efforts to impact society by transferring technology from academia to the commercial sector. Dr. Li will be honored at the annual Faculty Honors Ceremony for his achievements.
Since taking up the position of Chair and Ross Professor of Basic Science Research in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at GW in 2018, Dr. Li significantly advanced the field of cancer biology through groundbreaking discoveries. His latest discovery, published in Nature, found a protein (DDR1) inhibits immune cells from penetrating solid tumors. With his collaborators, Dr. Li then developed a therapeutic antibody to target DDR1 and, enable a patient’s immune cells to attack their tumor. This has the potential to treat many solid tumors, including triple-negative breast cancers.
Dr. Li’s invention was exclusively licensed by the GW Technology Commercialization Office (TCO) to Parthenon Therapeutics (now Incendia Therapeutics) in 2021. Following this, Parthenon Therapeutics raised $65 million for product development. The initial human clinical trial for the anti-DDR1 antibody commenced last year.
Furthermore, Dr. Li's proactive approach to technology transfer led to his submission of three inventions to the GW TCO, the filing of patent applications for two of them, and the nationalization of two patent families in multiple regions including the US, Europe, Canada, Brazil, Australia, and more.
Dr. Li's commitment to innovation and collaboration with the TCO and industry partners to translate academic discoveries from the lab to the world captures the spirit of the GW Inventor of the Year Award in advancing GW's mission of impactful research.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Rong Li on this well-deserved recognition. His work continues to pave the way for new therapeutic strategies. We're proud to support his efforts, which inspire our GW research community.