UR a National Leader in Technology Commercialization

December 21, 2007

"New technologies and new companies are important byproducts of a research university. Our goal is to ensure that these advances are harnessed for both the betterment of society and in a manner that contributes to the region’s growing high-tech business sectors."

Technologies developed at the University of Rochester are among the most productive in the nation, according to a report by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM).  For the sixth year in a row, the University is among the top ten institutions in the nation in terms of the amount of royalty revenue it receives from its licensed technologies.

The AUTM U.S. Licensing Survey is an annual report of the technology transfer activity of 189 top U.S. universities, teaching hospitals, and research institutions.  In 2006, the University of Rochester received over $38 million in royalty revenue for its licensed patents, ranking it ninth in the nation among U.S. universities.  

“These royalty numbers are a testament to the productivity and innovation of our researchers,” said Marjorie Hunter, director of the University of Rochester Medical Center Office of Technology Transfer. “Since 2000, both the number of inventions reported by our scientists and patent applications have experienced significant growth.  This strong history of innovation represents a pool of intellectual property that can be tapped for commercial purposes.”

The University of Rochester Office of Technology Transfer was formed in 1980.  In 2001, a separate technology transfer office was created for the Medical Center.  The function of these offices is to protect the scientific and intellectual advances developed at the University and help move these technologies into the private sector where they can be developed into new products and services. 

Over the years, the University has licensed a vast array of technologies that have impacted millions of lives.  These include a vaccine against haemophilus influenza type b that has virtually wiped out a leading cause of meningitis in preschoolers, and another vaccine that uses the same technology to prevent infection by pneumococcal bacteria, which causes meningitis, ear infections, pneumonia, and other maladies. 

University engineers and surgeons developed a method to map previously undetectable defects in the eye that led to the creation of customized LASIK surgery which dramatically improves vision.  University engineers also developed a half-toning technology that is used by virtually every printer manufacturer in the world.

Additionally, several new technologies with roots in Rochester have recently come to market or are poised to do so.  This includes the new cervical cancer vaccine that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last year and is being marketed by Merck under the name Gardasil.  Another version of the vaccine developed by GlaxoSmithKlein is also entering the market.  Additionally, a new drug for hot flashes is in the final stages of development by Pfizer. 

In most instances, these transfers consist of licensing University technologies to existing companies, but in some cases these technologies form the basis of start-up companies, many of which are based in the Rochester area and contribute to local economic growth. Furthermore, licensing revenue is a critical resource for the University as it represents unrestricted resources that can be reinvested back into the research enterprise.

“New technologies and new companies are important byproducts of a research university,” said Gail Norris, director of the College Office of Technology Transfer. “Our goal is to ensure that these advances are harnessed for both the betterment of society and in a manner that contributes to the region’s growing high-tech business sectors.”

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Mark Michaud
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