Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Universities and Commercializing Research

In Universities Continue to Increase Start-Ups and Commercialization of Research, the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) reports that universities continued to commercialize academic research in 2010.  “Institutions completed more licensing deals with companies than in the previous year while also forming more start-up companies and filing for more patents, according to newly released data from the Association of University Technology Managers.”  The increase in the number of companies formed around university-owned intellectual property (613, compared with 555 the previous year) was reportedly attributable to “increasing political pressure to contribute more to economic development and job growth.”  The article indicates that nonprofit educational organizations made no small contribution to the uptick:

Three institutions accounted for more than a quarter of the total revenue reported: Northwestern University, which reported nearly $180-million in revenue, up nearly $20-million from the previous year; New York University, with $178-million, up $65-million from the previous year; and Columbia University, with $147.2-million, down slightly from its $154.3-million in 2009….  New York University, which saw the biggest one-year jump in revenue, said three factors drove that increase: a spinoff company that makes a touch-screen technology was sold, and NYU was paid for its ownership stake in the company; the arthritis drug Simponi, based on a university invention, came onto the market; and royalties from several other licenses rose.  The university has been a leader in licensing revenue ever since another NYU-related arthritis drug called Remicade became a big seller, and for several more years at least, it faces no imminent threats to its big-producing patents. "There are no cliffs on the horizon," said Abram M. Goldfinger, executive director of industrial liaison.


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