Exciting New Partnership

University of Kentucky Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) developed an important collaborative research project between the UK College of Pharmacy and US WorldMeds, one of the Commonwealth's fastest growing pharma companies, based in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Patrick Marsac, US WorldMeds, OTC

By The Numbers

40 new patents

issued to UK in FY2017

$2.39 million

in gross royalty income in FY 2017

600+ worldwide patents

available for licensing with corporate & industry partners

117 licenses & options

active as of June 30, 2017

$3.75 million

in income distributed to inventors since 2010

$13.37 million

income distributed to colleges & departments since 2010

Featured Innovator Stephanie Jenkins

Stephanie Jenkins


Stephanie Jenkins’ grandson spent time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) when he was born. This experience inspired Stephanie to go back to school to become a respiratory therapist. After completing her degree, she started working at the University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital as a respiratory therapist in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where she provides specialized care and treatment to critically ill newborns.

The UK Children’s Hospital provides kangaroo care to the babies in the NICU. Kangaroo care is a method of providing skin-to-skin contact with a parent for as long as possible. The benefits of kangaroo care are substantial, including increasing the babies brain development and emotional development; reducing their stress, regulating their vital signs, and increasing bonding to the parents. Their fine motor skills and cognitive skills are affected for their lifetime. As well as lowering the level of hyperactivity later in life.

Kangaroo care is much more difficult with intubated babies. Because intubated babies are attached to a ventilator, the process is more intensive to prepare and more caution is needed to ensure that the baby stays connected to the ventilator.

Stephanie read an American Academy of Pediatrics article on a 20-year follow-up on kangaroo care versus traditional care.  The study indicated that there were significant and long-lasting effects for the babies 20 years after kangaroo care was given. During her work with using kangaroo care on intubated babies, she wondered if there were more secure items to make the process easier. As she researched, she determined there wasn’t any and decided to start developing prototypes herself. Based on the 20-year study and her research, she became very passionate to find a solution.

Through Stephanie’s compassion for intubated infants and her ingenuity, she developed a prototype that works to provide a more secure method of giving kangaroo care to intubated infants. It is a simple, but a very innovative product, which has the clever name of Kangaroo Keeper, which gives a nod to the care that it makes easier to provide. Stephanie aspires for Kangaroo Keeper to be used by all 983 NICU’s in the United States so that all parents of intubated babies can easily provide skin-to-skin contact for them.

Stephanie is thankful for the help that UK’s Office of Technology Commercialization OTC) played in assisting her to get her product to market. She found the experience enlightening and very helpful, especially to have assistance with determining how she should proceed with her product.

Her advice comes straight from Rosalyn Carter, “you have to have confidence in your ability and then be tough enough to follow through.”

Stephanie has participated in the UKAccel program, sponsored by the UK’s Office of Technology Commercialization and the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship. She will be presenting at the end of this month. The goal of the UKAccel program is to help you discover if launching a startup is right for you.