Greta Kaul In the 1980s, when the medical community was searching for treatments for the HIV — at that time, with few exceptions, a death sentence — Robert Vince’s University of Minnesota lab submitted compounds he thought might hamper the virus’ ability to take hold of people's bodies to the National Institutes of Health for testing. Ultimately, the compounds, dideoxycarbocyclic nucleosides, were commercialized by the company now known as GlaxoSmithKline and used to make the drug abacavir (also known by its brand name, Ziagen). It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998. Before its patent expired a few years ago, the drug made the University more than $600 million dollars, according to Vince, now the director...
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Patently lucrative: the intellectual property that makes big money for the U