Success Stories

The Technology Commercialization Office strives to connect George Washington University researchers with strategic partners in their respective fields and license GW-owned intellectual property to companies for product development and distribution. 

Here are just a few of our success stories showcasing how GW research is positively impacting the world.



Raising Blood Pressure in Distributive Shock Patients

In a clinical trial conducted at GW Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit in 2014, professor Lakhmir Chawla and a team of researchers used angiotensin II, a peptide hormone, as a successful treatment for distributive shock—a life-threatening medical condition that occurs when a patient’s blood pressure plummets. Following the successful pilot trial, Dr. Chawla worked with TCO to enter into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with La Jolla Pharmaceutical (LJPC). The company then brought the drug to market in the U.S. and E.U. In 2019, GW sold a portion of its U.S. royalty rights in GIAPREZA to fund academic, research, and commercialization activities. GW ranked in the top 10 U.S. universities for licensing income that year.



Propelling Space Exploration with Plasma Thruster Technology

Micro- and nano-satellites are popular tools for Earth-imaging, communications and other applications because they’re cheap and easy to assemble, but they’re also nearly impossible to maneuver once in space. George Washington University’s Dr. Michael Keidar and his team developed a micro-cathode arc thruster that converts titanium into a gas-like plasma which then provides small levels of thrust to create on-orbit control. Following the micropropulsion system’s successful trip into space in 2017, Keidar worked with TCO to license the technology to Phantom Space Corporation, a space transportation and rocket manufacturing startup.

Read more about the plasma thruster technology.


Image of Lorien Abroms with her app

Helping Smokers Quit Through Mobile-Based App

More than 30 million adults in the U.S. currently smoke cigarettes, and more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease. George Washington University’s Dr. Lorien Abroms in 2012 created Text2Quit, a three-month, mobile-based program in which participants receive personalized text messages and emails designed to help them quit smoking. Following a successful pilot trial, Abroms worked with TCO to license the intellectual property behind Text2Quit and Quit4Baby – a similar program specifically for pregnant women – to Welltok, Inc., a Virgin Pulse company.

Read more about Text2Quit.



Improving IV Placement Using Ultrasound Technology

Many health care providers insert intravenous (IV) catheters based solely on “feel,” which poses a higher risk for medical complications. A team of George Washington University doctors and biomedical engineers in 2013 developed SonoStik, a device that uses ultrasound technology to improve vascular access. After winning first place and $25,000 in the GW Business Plan Competition, medical resident Adam Corman and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Neal Sikka began working with TCO and are currently in the process of bringing their product to market.

Learn more about SonoStik here.



Countering Negative Cancer Treatment Side Effects

Erlotinib therapy can be an effective treatment for cancer patients, but it can also cause a range of skin conditions, including dryness, itching and rashes similar to acne. A team of George Washington University researchers began testing whether aprepitant could be used as a topical or systemic therapy to counter the dermatological related side effects of Erlotinib therapy in cancer patients. With the help of TCO, GW’s Dr. William Weglicki entered into a sponsored research agreement in 2019 with Hoth Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on unique targeted therapeutics. Clinical trials started in 2023 to establish safety and efficacy.

Read more about the partnership with Hoth.


Founder of Nanochan

Reducing Knee Injury Recovery Time with 3D Printing

One of the biggest threats young athletes face is a severe knee injury that could end their sports career before it even begins. George Washington University’s Dr. Benjamin Holmes and Nathan Castro developed a 3D-printed, implantable device that fosters bone and cartilage repair and regrowth, significantly reducing recovery time by allowing patients to put weight on a damaged joint after just a few days. With help from TCO, the pair were able to patent their idea and launch their startup Nanochon, which finished in the top three at Pismo Ventures' National Life Science Startup Symposium in 2022.

Read more about Nanochon.