UR And Rochester Technology Park To Collaborate If State Funding Proposal Is Approved

New organization would be created to commercialize discoveries made by UR researchers

June 29, 2001

If New York State approves a $30 million funding proposal under the GEN*NY*SIS program to help the University of Rochester Medical Center expand its medical research program, the Medical Center will use a portion of the funding to establish a not-for-profit corporation that will commercialize discoveries made in the University's laboratories.

The proposed organization, called the Rochester Technology Transfer Corporation (RTTC), would be located at Rochester Technology Park. Its staff - with expertise in various aspects of business development - would work with UR researchers to turn their discoveries into successful commercial products. In some cases, the discoveries - such as drugs, vaccines, and medical devices - would be licensed by the University to established companies that are interested in developing them as products. In other cases, RTTC would help the researchers establish their own start-up companies to bring the new products to the marketplace. The RTTC staff would help the inventors develop business plans, secure venture capital, and recruit seasoned management and technical personnel to help grow the new companies.

A portion of the GEN*NY*SIS funding would be used to lease space at Rochester Technology Park to house the new start-ups.

Over the past three years, four new companies have been established to commercialize medical inventions or innovations made by UR researchers. They include VirtualScopics, Socratech, R-Tek Medical Systems, and Vaccinex. All of the companies except R-Tek Medical Systems are currently leasing space on the Medical Center campus. Vaccinex recently purchased and began renovations on a facility near the University to accommodate a major expansion planned for later this year.

As the Medical Center grows its research programs, the availability of laboratory facilities to lease to start-up companies on the Medical Center campus is shrinking.

"We expect that the pace of new companies being formed is going to increase as we continue to expand our biomedical research programs," said Medical Center CEO Jay H. Stein, M.D. "We need an organization like RTTC that will be focused on helping these start-ups become successful, mature companies. And almost all of these companies need industrial laboratory facilities that are designed for scientific use. The facilities at RTP are excellent, and they are a short drive from the University."

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Christopher DiFrancesco
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