Survey: UR a National Leader in Technology Commercialization

Feb. 4, 2009

An annual survey by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) has placed the University of Rochester among the top ten institutions in the nation in the amount of royalty revenue it receives from its licensed technologies.  

“Royalty revenue is one of several important measures of the quality and productivity of our scientists,” said Joel Seligman, president of the University of Rochester. “It is also an indication that the research that is being done at the University of Rochester is a source of innovation that can form the basis for new technologies, commercial products, advances in health care, and new companies and jobs.”

According to the AUTM survey of 2007 technology commercialization activity, a total of $48.8 billion was spent on research by U.S. universities; the University of Rochester had $357 million in research expenditures. In the same year, the University received $53 million in royalty income, the ninth highest in the nation. This is the seventh year in a row that the University has been in the top ten. The University also received 21 U.S. patents for its technologies. 

The other institutions in the top ten are New York University, Columbia University, the University of California system, Northwestern University, Wake Forest University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Washington, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford University.  

The bulk of the revenue received in 2007 comes from several vaccines with scientific roots at the University of Rochester. Two are based on a conjugate vaccine technology, a method that helps vaccines provoke a more aggressive response by the immune system to infection. This platform was used to make pediatric vaccines against haemophilus influenza type b (marketed under the brand name HibTITER) and pneumococcal bacteria (Prevnar). The other vaccines target the virus that is responsible for cervical cancer (Gardasil and Ceravix). 

“These funds are a critical source of revenue for our research enterprise,” said Marjorie Hunter, director of the Medical Center Office of Technology Transfer. “They provide a revenue stream that can be reinvested back into our research activities and leverage new growth in scientific talent, infrastructure, resources, and external funding.”  

“Our primary mission is the creation and dissemination of knowledge and to the extent that royalty revenue is associated with our discoveries, that’s great,” said Gail Norris, director of the University Office of Technology Transfer. “But we are not just about the money; we're about making sure our technologies find a home in the private sector were they can be applied to real world problems and ultimately benefit society.”