A scientist from the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa), Dr Jan Rijn Zeevaart, has won two prestigious awards, one local and the other international.
These are the Department of Science and Technology’s Top Intellectual Property Creator Award and the European Association of Nuclear Medicine’s (EANM’s) Marie Curie Award for best oral presentation (at its thirty-first annual conference, which was held in Dusseldorf, Germany, last October).
Dr Zeevaart, who is Necsa’s head of radiochemistry, was the corporation’s top creator of intellectual property (IP), in terms of implementable disclosures to the Office of Technology Transfer, over the period April 1, 2011, to March 31, 2018. During this time, he authored or co-authored ten Innovation Disclosures and co-authored six of Necsa’s “patent families”. All these are in the areas of radiopharmaceuticals and radiochemicals.
As the winner of the Top Intellectual Property Award, he was presented with R605 000 to fund the development of his intellectual property into products, processes or services. The aim is to develop new radioisotopes and radiopharmaceuticals which can be commercially exploited by Necsa.
“I am assured that there will be more [IP] applications going forward in the future,” highlighted Necsa acting CEO Don Robertson. He congratulated Dr Zeevaart and encouraged him to continue developing IP.
With regard to the Marie Curie Award, Dr Zeevaart was a member of an international team, with researchers from France, Sweden and Switzerland, that made a presentation to the EANM conference entitled “Terbium-161 for PSMA-Targeted Radionuclide Therapy for Prostate Cancer”. (Terbium-161 is a “new generation” – in terms of medical application – radioisotope, which permits more precise targeting of tumours for both diagnosis and treatment. PSMA stands for prostate-specific membrane antigen.)
He made a point of highlighting the assistance he had received from his colleague and fellow radiochemist, Ms Lebogang Sepini, in the development of Necsa’s input to the international team.